authority, that assurance and guarantee, wherewith a version of the Scriptures should come recommended. We decline to receive it on à priori groands. It may be good or it may be bad. Its merits or demerits we shall not stop to consider ; 'nor, indeed, would we presume to decide on all that is right or all that is wrong in any version. Blotches here and there we may discover in all versions; but which of them, all things considered, were the fittest to be received as a text-book in church and school, we must leave to learned divines to decide, who can speak with more authority and judgment in the matter than we. We must be satisfied of such authority ere we substitute every text for the honored one of our fathers. We cannot accept any new-fangled thing presented to us by this man or that, by a committee of New York or a committee of Philadelphia, or any other would-be judges or correctors, as the word of God.

What the “Final Committee” attempted in the version before us we have no means of knowing. We have no notion of plodding patiently through a book we utterly discard, to compare it line for line with our old version. A glance, however, at the Gospel of St. John shows us that they undertook to modernize the language. How they have succeeded we have no inclination to examine. We merely ask our readers, Is there anything more barbarous, from Matthew to Revelation, in King James's, than the following sentence from the first page of that gospel : “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become children of God to them that believe on his name?

We have now done with the Final Committee and their New Testament. To justify the exception we have made to Macaulay's proposition in favor of translators of the Holy Scripture, we would beg our readers to examine one text with us, and see how translators, for want of learning, have floundered one after another in it. Take, for instance, St. John, chap. viii., v. 25: In the Greek we find ""Eleyov oúr αυτώ Συ τις ει; Και είπεν αυτοίς ο Ιησούς. Την αρχήν ο τε και λαλώ υμίν.»

The Saviour's answer to the question " Who art thou is " Triv dpxriv ő tu tat lalo íuiv. Let us see what a mess our translators have made of this

passage. The Latin Vulgate has “ Principium, qui et loquor vobis." But what does “ Principium quis et loquor" mean, or how is it to be parsed ? Principium, accusative (representing inv apxnv), governed how, or by what? Can any one suppose



translator of the Vulgate knew himself what he meant when he penned these words ? Credat Judæus-he did not. The words "principium qui et loquor vobis," taken singly each by itself, are indeed Latin words, but, taken as they stand together, are not Latin; they have no meaning. The translator did not understand his text, and was seemingly determined to justify his ignorance by challenging his Latin readers to make out a sentence which he called Latin.

The common English version, or King James's, renders the passage

thus : " Who art thou ? .. Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.” Though this is anything but correct, it is preferable to the Vulgate. If a false translation, we have, at least, an English sentence; it is intelligible; it means something; whereas the Vulgate is mere

This much, however, is all we can claim for the Protestant reading. It is intelligible, and bears a meaning, but whose meaning is that—the translator's or St. John's ? Not St. John's, but the translator's. The interpretation was first suggested, or at least advanced, and defended by the able Jesuit commentators Lapide and Maldonatus. The latter translates “(Ego sum) id quod vobis a principio

Tnv apxnv, according to Maldonatus, must be taken as an adverbial expression with nata understood, and having the force of £& apxins or an' apxns, i. e., a principio, from the beginning. This were all well if it could only be shown that tnv apxnv is sometimes used adverbially in the signification of απαρχης or εξ αρχης. In the first place, we observe that tnv apxnv nowhere occurs in the Bible bearing such a meaning. But granted this argument would be insufficient, and that it may occur once, though no more, before such a meaning could be affixed to the words it were to be shown from profane authors that they may mean “from the beginning." But no passage of any Greek writer has yet been adduced to show that the words are capable of the meaning imposed on them in our common version. 6. From the beginning," then, is no more a translation of the Greek TnV apxnv than “from Calcutta" or "the Bay of Biscay” would be.

While on the subject let us point out another circumstance or two which tell against the English interpretation. St. Johạ had frequently occasion to express the idea “ from the beginning."** In all cases he expresses himself in the usual Greek formula of an or Ex apxns. Again, the common interpretation entirely overlooks the structure; the order of

* See ch. vi., v. 64; XV., 27 ; xvi., 4, and First Ep., ch. i., vs. 7 and 24.


but την α

words in the sentence. We have not οτι και την αρχην, ,

οτι και, κ. τ. λ. It is ridiculous to suppose that the Evangelist,in giving a simple reply of the Saviour to a simple question, “Who art thou ?ii would make use of such a violent hyperbaton as our common interpretation demands. If the adverbial phrase tnv apxnv belonged to lala, meaning “I said from the beginning,” the sentence would assuredly run o τι και την αρχην, κ. τ. λ. But so it runs not.

But there still remains another serious objection to the common interpretation ; one so plain and palpable that we wonder how it could have been so persistently overlooked by translators. Had St. John wished to express " as I said," we should not have the verb lalw at all, but leyw; nor should we have the verb in the present (iałw), but in an aorist or preterit tense.

Next comes the Douay interpretation, which was adopted by the late Archbishop Kenrick, in his "Four Gospels :"*

“ The beginning who also speak to you." This is, if possible, still more meaningless than the Latin Vulgate. The word “beginning," in answer to the question “Who art thou ?" is unquestionably in the nominative case, whereas principium, representing env apxnv, must be in the accusative. Again, “ beginning” is made to stand antecedent to "who," while it is evident that neither its Latin nor Greek representative is the antecedent of the following pronoun. In a foot-note to this passage the archbishop modestly remarks: “As the passage is confessedly obscure, I have literally rendered the Vulgate, and presented the reader with the explanation of St. Augustine.” But we have just shown that he did not literally render the Vulgate. As to the interpretation of St. Augustine, the learned archbishop should have been aware of the fact that St. Augustine was entirely mistaken as to the Greek text, reading the conjunctive ori instead of the two pronouns o and ti. Of course, this threw St. Augustine entirely out as to the meaning of the phrase.

In a later editiont the archbishop gives up this rendering and approaches the Protestan't text, translating “ As from the beginning I also say to you.” Say what? The sentence is done. And such is presented to us as Christ's reply to the question " Who art thou?" Let us commend, however, all we can. We get something for the nai (“ also”), for which the

New York, 1849.

Baltimore, 1862.

Protestant text shows nothing. For the rest, we have already proved that tnv apxnv does not mean “ from the beginning." Still we like the version of 1862 better than that of 1849. In the former the archbishop recognises the necessity the translator-even a Catholic translator—is under of acting at times the role of interpreter. Besides, he gives up the old plea which read so stupid and faggish, and followed the Vulgate, when the world knew the Vulgate had nothing in it for him to follow. In passing, we may observe that the “ Fiual Committee" have not "corrected” the mistranslation of any apxnv. They follow Archbishop Kenrick, " That which I also say to you from the beginning."

A word on a few foreign translations we have seen of this passage: The Abbé Glaire, in his edition of the New Testament, * thus renders the passage, “ Ils lui dirent: Qui ètes vous ? Jésus leur répondit, le principe moi-même qui vous parle." This only differs from the Rhemish in that it is a good deal worse. It has all the errors we pointed out in that version, and a clinching one of its own to boot, viz. : the introduction of the word " moi-même." Where on earth was this found? Then, what becomes of nai, a particle that certainly holds a remarkable and significant place in the sentence?

De Sacy's translation is much the same. In the edition we are using † we read “(Je suis) le principe (de toutes choses) moi-même qui vous parle.” Dr. Martini, in his Italian version, translates in like manner : “Il principio, io, che a voi parlo.” That “io” he has inserted of himself, and of himself, too, has suppressed nai, which he saw the Vulgate retain.

Dr. Allioli translates : I Wer bist, du denn? Jesus sprach zu ihnen: Der Anfang, der auch zu euch redet." Like the Abbé Glaire, he manages to become a bit worse than either Vulgate or Rhemish. Besides all theirs, he has a fault over and above, all to himself: halw, loquor, becomes a third singular, “redet,” in his hands. In a note he gives the following paraphrase and explanation of the text: “I am the Eternal Word which reveals itself to you. The Son of God calls himself the • Beginning,' not only because he is the • Begotten' of the Father before all time, but also because he is the source of all creation der Grund alles Geschaffenen.') " In Greek,"adds he, "we find. Ich bin was ich auch anfangs gesagt habe (das Licht der Welt,')” Ob., v. 11. In the Greek we find no such thing; law is not " gesagt habe," nor is tnv apXny correctly translated by “anfangs,” as we have abundantly proved. We cannot pass all this over without calling the attention of our readers to the manner in which this author contradicts himself. In the explanation of the text he remarks that the Son of God " calls himself the Beginning," &c., and in the next sentence informs us that the Saviour never used the expression at all, but only "I am what I also said to you from (or in) the beginning, (anfangs), the Light of the world," as in v. 12. *

* Paris, 1861.

f Bruxelles, 1844. Siebente Auflage-Munchen und Landshut, 1851.

Kistemaker, in his tenth edition of his Testament, renders it, “Der Anfang Der ich auch das zu euch sage." The best we can say of this rendering is to be silent. We should, indeed, be puzzled to put it into English. With the rest, he gives us “ Der Anfang," nominative case for inv apxnv. He makes an effort, however, to retain the accusative of lala, tz (Vulg. " quod loquor"), “das zu euch sage," and correctly puts the verb in the first person," sage,” not with Allioli in the third, “ redet." Weitenduer's version needs no special comment:

" Der Anfang (aller Dinge) wie ich euch shon anfanglich gesagt habe." He works two words, " anfang" and " anfanglich,” out of the single one apxnv. The only correct interpretation of this verse we have ever met with is that given by Dr. J. Th. Beelen in his Flemish edition of St. John's gospel : { "(Ik ben) volstrekt dat, was ik ulieden ook leer (te weten, de beloofde Messias)"—(I am) assuredly that what I also announce to you (to wit, the expected Messiah).

The whole interpretation hinges on the meaning of the word tnv apxnv. It must be borne in mind that nowhere else in the New Testament does the word occur, bearing the signification Beelen here attaches to it. But on this ground alone no one would contend that it should be rejected. Neither does it occur, as we remarked before, in the sense

* The versions of Martini, Allioli, and Glaire have been approved by the Holy See. It is proper to state, however, that this approbation is a mere negative one, not necessarily implying the endorsement of a single line of any of the works. But such as it is, since it is rarely granted, and never except to works that come before the Holy Father with the very highest encomiums, it gives any text so approved a considerable degree of authority. Besides the three mentioned, we know of only two other vernacular versions of the Holy Scriptures approved by the Pope: the Polish text of Father Wuicko and the Spanish version of Father Scio de S. Miguel. We have none in English. + Munster, 1860.

# Louvain, 1862

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