« VorigeDoorgaan »
of India ? In its grammatical inflections it stands aside from all the Germanic languages now known; it has a dual; and like the Scandinavian languages, a passive voice. The regularity, and indeed, the perfection, of its structure entitle it to a much bigher regard than the Anglo-Saxon; and it is absurd to suppose that this order and beauty were obtained from a mixture of the dialects of all the Gothic tribes. Besides, no philological principles yet discovered can support an opinion thus contravening all known facts in the formation of languages. Who could have decided from what particular idiom the phrases to be employed should be selected ? Ulphilas, certainly, could not have had the presumption to invent an alphabet, and then to make a language to suit : if he did, he was certainly the most successful of experimenters, and no wonder that bis language is a puzzle to philologists !
The only position, then, with regard to the Moeso-Gothic, which seems in any degree tenable, is that of Count Castiglione; viz. that the Gothic was the parent of the Germanic languages. There is no word in the Gothic, which may not be found in some of the Teutonic, that is, Germanic and Scandinavian languages. It bears, too, evident marks of having flourished previous to the time when the Low and High German dialects arose-the peculiarities of enunciation, which distinguish these classes, are not observable-or at least they did not find their way into the Gothic writings, and not until the exact epoch is known when the Gothic was exclusively used throughout the North of Europe, can any calculation be made of the antiquity of these dialects.
But there can be no uncertainty with regard to the value of the Moeso-Gothic language as preserved in the code of Ulphilas. In the precision, multiplicity, and freedom of form both of conjugation and declension, it equals if it does not surpass the Greek: it bears an equal impress of antiquity,—its changes are equally regular_its facility of compounding is equally wonderful, having a formative power almost unappreciable except by a Gernian scholar. The copiousness and richness of its vocabuJary, with its remarkable capability for expressing nice shades of meaning, peculiarly adapted it to the purposes of translation. But we labor under a great disadvantage in possessing the Gothic only in the form of a translation, as it is impossible to judge so fully of the whole force of the language as an original composition would have placed it in our power. In a translation, violence is done both to the original and the language into which the translation is made. The multiplicity of synonymes, the taste and consistency of metaphor, and the varieties in the forms of phraseology, traits particularly showing the genius of a language, and always manifest in every original production, cannot be brought forward in the language into which the translation is made. Yet all this does not deteriorate from the worth of the Moeso-Gothic as a philosophic language. One of the most valuable links in the chain of Indo-Germanic languages, it develops important principles, and its value for grammatical reference cannot be too highly appreciated.
Very little has as yet been done towards the cultivation of this interesting language, and, indeed, many educated men are not aware of its existence in a separate form. In the general awakening which seems to be taking place throughout our land with regard to the northern languages, we hope that the MoesoGothic will receive its due share of attention. While the Anglo-Saxon, the mother of our own native tongue is cultivated, may her elder sister not be neglected!
INQUIRY RESPECTING THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE OF Mat
Thew's Gospel, AND THE GENUINENESS OF THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF THE SAME ; WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO Mr. Norton's View OF THESE SUBJECTS AS EXHIBITED IN HIS TREATISE ON THE GENUINENESS OF THE GOSPELS.
By M. Stuart, Prof. Sac. Lit. Theol. Som. Andover.
$ 7. Introductory Remarks. In the preceding number of this Miscellany I have examined at length the position, that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, and that our present canonical Matthew is only a Greek translation of the original. It is possible, indeed, that this position is true ; but the sum of the evidence before us, when thoroughly examined, seems to render it highly improbable.
Mr. Norton, who rejects the first two chapters of our canonical Matthew because he deems them to be an interpolation, has prepared the way for the introduction of this opinion, by maintaining that the Original Gospel of Matthew was in Hebrew. He had his reasons for so doing. The state of the testimony before us, in regard to the two chapters in question, is such as makes the case desperate for those who impugn their genuineness, if the Greek Matthew is to be relied on as the source of evidence. This we shall see in the sequel. Consequently, if there be any room for suspicion as to the Genuineness of Matthew I. II., it must be sought for in the Hebrew editions of this Gospel. Now as the church has never heard any thing of these since about the beginning of the fifth century, excepting a few fragments that some of the fathers have preserved, conjecture has room apparently for a wide range; and at any rate it is freed from the danger of being overthrown by positive evidence drawn from the Gospel according to the Hebrews. It is not until we come down to the times of Epiphanius, near the close of the fourth century, that we can find more than some four or five extracts from the Jewish Gospel, which enable us to form any decisive judgment as to its internal state or condition.
Mr. Norton uses very freely the liberty which this state of things seems to afford him. He tells us (p. liii.), that Matthew I. II. was at first a separate composition-an Evangelium Infantiae published by some curious inquirer into the early bistory of the Saviour; and that this, from its seemingly obvious congruity with the history of Jesus's public life as given us by Matthew, i. e. from its supplementary nature, was first written separately on the same Ms. with the Gospel, and finally incorporated with it. In that state the Greek iranslator found his Ms. or Mss. to be, and he rendered the whole into the Greek language, as belonging to one and the same author.
But what are the facts on which this very important deduction or proposition is built? Mr. Norton has not told us what they are ; at least he has given us no external evidence whatever of a historical nature. No voice of antiquity is raised in favour of such an opinion. No hint of this kind any where appears. The two chapters under examination were indeed omitted, as Epiphanius avers, in the Gospel of the Ebionites. But instead of an intimation that there was any good reason for
omitting them, this father expressly calls such Gospel of theirs νενοθευμένος και ηκρωτηριασμένον, adulterated and curtailed.
Internal grounds of suspicion, however, are to be found in the chapters aforesaid, according to the views of Mr. Norton. It is on these, and on these only, that he builds his opinion. These, therefore, claim our attention; and in the sequel they must be examined. But before we come to this part of our task, it will be important to show the reader what the actual state of evidence is, in regard to the chapters before us. This I shall now endeavour to do.
$ 8. Positive evidence establishing the genuineness of
Matthew 1. II. (1) AN Ms. copies of Matthew the world over, and all the ancient Versions without an exception, contain the first two chapters of Matthew, and exhibit them as part of his Gospel.
The only exception to this remark is, that some two or three Mss. are defective, i. e. have perished, at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel. Thus the Codex Bezae or Cantab. wants the first twenty verses in Matthew, and Cod. Eschenbach. at Nürnberg has a like defect. Both unquestionably exhibited the genealogy in their original state.
The time was, in the days of Griesbach, when it was given out that the Codex Ebner. (Cod. 105 apud Wetstenium) did not contain the genealogy in Matthew. But this was a mistake; which was rectified by Gabler in his Journal für Theol. Lit., 1801, part. 6. Schoenleben, who published a minute account of this Ms., gave occasion to this report by saying in his Exposè : Primum caput A his verbis incipit, 10ī de Inooũ yevundirtos. It is true, indeed, that megádalov A., i. Chap. I., does so begin. But there is another truth respecting matters of this kind, which shows that there is not a particle of weight in the testimony derived from this, in favor of the omission of the two first chapters of Matthew, but the contrary. - All the books of the New Testament,” says Griesbach (Comm. Crit. II. p. 49), “omit the numbering of the first paragraph in any book .... Thus, in all the Codices of Matthew which are furnished with zíhou [i. e. titles, short contents), xepáhalov A, or chap. I., begins with Matthew 2: 1, and is entitled nepi tov Μάγων.” So in Mark the first κεφάλαιον begins with Mark 1: 29; in Luke with 2: 1; in John with 2: 1; in the Epistle to
the Romans with 1: 18; and so of the rest. A matter of fact plain enough, indeed, but one which, if it had been earlier noticed, wouid have saved some critics not a little of empty declamation.
John Williams, who in 1789 published a second edition of his Free Inquiry into the Authenticity of the first and second Chapters of Matthew's Gospel, boldly avers that some of the old Latin Codices omit these chapters. It turns out, on investigation, to be nothing more than that some Codices place the genealogy by itself, as a kind of preface to the whole work. Thus the Codex Harleiianus, written perhaps in the seventh century, at the end of Matt. 1:17, contains the following words inserted by the copyist: Genealogia hucusque. Then, as a heading to the sequel, he adds : Incipit Evangelium secundum Matthaeum. Doubtless these notices were taken into the body of the work, from the margin of some older copy. They are evidently notes which are essentially marginal in their very nature.
A few other Latin Codices, mostly written in Ireland during the 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries, in like manner arrange the genealogy in the way of a proem, after which they introduce titular matter before verse 18th of Matt. I., which commences the regular narration. But all this shows nothing more than the hand of some critical redactor, who wished the reader to make a distinction between a genealogical table of names, and what might be appropriately named the Gospel or History of Jesus.
Other Latin Codices older and better, all the Syriac, Coptic, and other versions, in all their copies, and finally all the Greek copies without any variation, exhibit the chapters in question.
So far then as it respects any evidence actually in being, either from Mss. or Versions, there is not one copy of either upon the face of the whole earth, which is known to be wanting as to Matthew I. II.
The case then is absolutely desperate, on critical ground. We may conjecture what we please, I admit; but conjecture can never stand in the place of plain and palpable facts, when the discussion turns upon a point of lower criticism. To the Mss., and to the Versions—is the answer always to be made to every inquiry of this nature. Conjecture is allowable only where these fail us.
We might stop here, then, and consider the discussion as at