From Bentley's Miscellany. ORIGIN OF THE HEBREW:

making the Greek Septuagint imperfect. The Jews by the end of their captivity must necessarily have made quite a distinct dia

WITH SPECIMENS OF A NEW TRANSLATION OF lect of their own, and their original dialect


[blocks in formation]

AFTER a life-long study of the Hebrew Bible, I have discovered that the language called 66 Hebrew" is only a dialect of the Arabica dialect in use amongst those tribes dwelling between Jordan, Red Sea, and Egypt, and in the latter days Hemyar, Hudhail, and Benitameem. There were some other tribes in their vicinity called Hijas, Badiya, Najed, and Yemen, the dialect of which is very like that of the first three, except for some changes which I will show. One is substituting one letter for another, for instance, l for m or n, and vice versa.

Three tribes use salah to forgive, whilst Hijas used samah for to forgive, using salah to express arms or war implements.

They also substitute d for t, and vice versâ. For instance, three tribes use kudd, extract of marjoram, and the Hijas kutt, using kudd for a small waist.

They also transpose words; for instance, three tribes use nahush for serpent, and Hijas hanash, using nahush for copper, &c. Three tribes use musur to send, and Hijas rusul, using musur for to milk sheep, village, clay, &c.

Three tribes use shabar to drink, and Hijas sharab, using shabar for to measure. Three tribes use ajaf, to weed, and Hijas jaaf, using ajaf for to become lean.

Three tribes use samar to practise, and Hijas maras, using samar for white, black, grain, millet, water, wilderness, victory, &c. Three tribes use kharad to slaughter, and Hijas radakh, using kharad for silence, &c. Three tribes use rakah for ointment, and Hijas rahak, using rakah for merchandise, gain, &c.

The reason why the Bible was so ill translated by the Jews seems to be that during their vicissitudes, wanderings, and captivities they must have lost a good deal of their original dialect; for when Ptolomy Philadelphus, in establishing the famous library of Alexandria, caused to be made the translation called the Septuagint, he sent to Eliazer, high priest of Jerusalem, for translators. Eliazer chose seventy-two learned Jews from each tribe, and sent them to Ptolomey. They translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and because of the change that had taken place in their dialect they did not understand the Hebrew properly, thus

[ocr errors]

must have been that of the three tribes aforementioned, because Abraham was a native of Worka, or Ur of the Khaldees, a town situated on the west bank of the Euphrates (twelve hours' journey on foot from the banks of the river). He removed with his family through the desert to Damascus, thence to Haran in Mesopotamia, and in Anti-Lebanon, thence with Lot to Canaan, the dialect of which place is the same as that of those tribes. A native geographer, Yakut Alhamawi, speaks of Worka as the native city of Abraham, and Josephus says that Abraham, on his way from his country to Damascus, stopped at a village which was afterwards called after him.

Mr. Rassam goes on to apply this principle of errors in the translation of the Old Testament, produced by transmutation of letters, and which entailed a change of meaning that escaped the Septuagint and other versions, to certain passages in the Holy Writ, the force and importance of which newly proposed versions, will at once strike the intelligent reader.

Genesis, chap. x. 9. He (Nimrood) was mighty, even invading Emperor for the cause of the Lord, therefore it was said there was none like Nimrood, mighty even invading、 Emperor for the cause of the Lord. Genesis, chap. xviii. 6. And Abraham went to the tent to Sarah, and said unto her, cause three measures of wheat to be grinded, and mix it with butter, and make it cakes.

Genesis, chap. xx. 4.-And Abimalik had not come near her, and said, O Lord, will you kill a notable even upright man?

Genesis, chap. xx. 6. And God said unto him in a dream, yea, I know that thou didst this, through the perfection of thy heart. I then have prevented thee and protected thee from falling into sin against me;

therefore I did not cause thee to have the act of adultery with her.

Genesis, chap. xxx. 1. — And Rahail was sad for not having begat a child for Jacob, therefore Rahail bore hatred towards her sister; moreover, she said to Jacob give me sons, that I may not die.

Genesis, chap. xxx. 37. — And Jacob took cuttings of poplar-trees, and of pine, almonds, and pomegranate and he separated the bark from the sticks taken from the branches of the poplar-trees, then of the white cuttings made small poles.

Genesis, chap. xliii. 11. — And their father Israel said unto them, if this is the case do the best, and take from the fruits of the

land in your sacks and carry down to the | for you on the seed, and the seed shall man presents, some wine and some treacle grow up into blades, and ye shall eat your of grapes and Nika fruits, and nuts of the bread until ye are satisfied, and dwell happine cones and pistachio nuts. pily in your land.

Genesis, chap. xxxvii. 25. — And they sat down to eat bread, and they lifted their eyes and behold Ishmaelites travelling coming from Gilead, and their camels were laden with Nika fruits, and wine and butter, going down to Egypt.

Exodus, chap. ii. 3. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him a basket made from branches of date-trees, and stretched on it a fine mat, made of the leaves of the date-trees, and spread on it tar, and put in it the child, and placed it among the tall coarse grass near the edge of the canal.

Exodus, chap. iv. 16. And he speaketh for thee to the people; he being of consequence he shall be to you a councillor, and thou shalt be to him ruling president. Exodus, chap. xxx. 34. · And the Lord said unto Moses, take unto thee pure musk, and balasan, and pure heselban (gum of Java), and of the best frankincense: they should be of equal proportion.

[ocr errors]

Exodus, chap. iv. 10. And Moses said unto the Lord, forgive me, O Lord! I am not a man of diplomacy, yea, I am a simple man; I am also of a delicate constitution; and your words are very weighty to thy servant; while I am of weak utterance, yea, I am of a sluggish tongue.


Isaiah, chap. xvii. 17, 18. After the expiration of seventy years the Lord shall punish Tyre, and chastise her on account of her iniquity and her committing fornication with all the kingdoms of the earth before the face of her connections. But she will repent (to be purified) and come to Jerusalem to the Lord; there she shall not be oppressed, nor shall be degraded, but to be like those who supplicate before the Lord. If she is hungry, she might eat until she is satisfied; and for her clothing she will have the robes of honour.

Leviticus, xxvi. 1.-Thou shalt make no idols, nor shalt thou set up for yourselves graven images nor molten images, nor have a place of worship paved with stones in your land to kneel down upon and worship; for I am the Lord thy God.

V. 2. Thou shalt keep my Sabbath, and respect my sanctuary; I am the Lord. V. 3.- If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

V. 4.-- Then will I give unto you rain in great abundance, and the land shall yield her grains, and the trees and the fields shall yield their fruits. V. 5.

And the rain shall pour down

V. 6. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall kill you; and I will keep away the ravenous beasts from the land, and the sword shall not cause disturbance in your land.

V. 7. And ye shall expel your enemies, and they shall fly before you precipitately; V. 8. - And five of you shall drive away a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; yea, your enemies shall run away, and flee before you precipitately.

V. 9. -I shall provide for you abundantly, and make you mighty; yea, I shall make you great, and shall establish my covenant with


V. 10. And you shall eat corn continually, for it flourished because the rain will cause it to grow. V. 11. And I shall establish my dwelling amongst you, and my will shall not vary from you.

V. 12.I shall walk among you, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. V. 13. — I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, where you were slaves to them. I will break the rod which tormented you, and make you rulers over nations.

[ocr errors]

V. 14. And if you do not listen to me, and do not these commandments;

V. 15. And if you act contrary to my statutes, and pervert my justice, or disobey my commandments, and reject my covenant;

V. 16. I also will do these unto you; I shall visit you with boils terribly, and with sores, which weaken the sight and make the soul languid. You will sow your seed vainly, for your enemy shall eat it.

[ocr errors]

V. 17. My destruction shall come upon you, and you shall flee suddenly before your enemies; and those who hate you shall surround you, and you shall run away, and no one shall assist you.


THE greatest and most famed of modern academical libraries must needs have had a history of its own. The only wonder is that it should never yet have met with its appropriate annalist. Of the host of men of learn

* Annals of the Bodleian Library, Orford, A. D. 1598-A. D. 1867; with a Preliminary Notice of the earlier Library founded in the Fourteenth Century. By the Rev. William Dunn Macray, M. A. London, Oxford, and Cambridge: Rivingtons. 1868.

ing and leisure who have toiled or trifled quiet cells and well-stored galleries of the for hours or years amid its teeming shelves, Bodleian, not less real or potent than that it might be thought strange that to none of the íarpeiov yvxns of old Osimandyas himshould have occurred the design of chron- self. The inheritance of all the ages is icling the growth and describing the con- here stored for our use, and the simple tale tents of those mighty collections which of the growth of this great treasure interests make the Bodleian in some respects the us in the telling. richest and most choice among the libraries of Europe. We are glad to find the task at length undertaken by a gentleman whom all who are in the least degree conversant with Oxford life, or otherwise at all competent to form an opinion, must judge beforehand well fitted for the work. Mr. Macray has from his official position enjoyed exceptional advantages for the execution of his design, and he has carried it through in an exact, conscientious, and pains-taking spirit. The subject is not one to call for rhetorical display, or to give much play to the arts of imagination. The book itself may not be one to possesss much interest for such as read simply for amusement or from a love of sensation. Its tale is told in a manner sufficiently plain, or even, as some would be inclined to say, dull. There is nevertheless enough of interest connected with this august temple of learning, and with the shades of the great and wise who have drawn inspiration from its shrine, to engage the minds of all earnest and thoughtful students, if not to attract the attention of a frivolous generation. A more imaginative writer might have thrown a glow of romance over the theme. The mighty scholars and profound thinkers of three centuries and more might have been shown at work among these dusty tomes. The sounds of philosophic or literary strife might have been evoked once more from the silence of ages. The writer's view might have been widened to take in the history of other and rival collections from the earliest page in the annals of human learning. The bent of Mr. Macray's literary temper has not led him so far afield, nor has it tempted him from his sensible and modest purpose into the thorny paths of critical or polemical controversy. It is not his ambition to emulate the erudite German who began his history of all the libraries of the world by a lengthy and learned chapter De Bibliothecis Antediluvianis. We are not detained on our way to decide how far the glory of modern Oxford had a prototype and model in the mysterious Kirjath Sepher, the "City of Books." It is as the annalist, not the historian or the critic, that our author enters upon the records of the great foundation which he has so long and so well served. If less recondite or remote, there may be a charm of its own attaching to the

In the north-east corner of St. Mary's Church, over a dark and cavernous vault now the receptacle of the University fireengines, but once the seat of the Chancellor, Doctors, and Masters in Congregation, is the site of the original University library of Oxford. This is a chamber forty-five feet long and twenty broad, now assigned as a lecture-room to the Professor of Law. Here was begun about 1367, and finally established in 1409, the first actual library of the University, called after Thomas Cobham, Bishop of Worcester, who about 1320 (seven years before his death) set about building the room and providing for the books he had collected. Before this time, however, Wood tells us there were some books kept in chests in St. Mary's Church, which were to be lent out under pledges, as well as some chained to desks. Another precursor of the general library was the collection bequeathed to Durham College (on the site of which stands the present Trinity) in 1345 by one of its founders, the learned author of the Philobiblion, Philip of Bury. On the dissolution of the College by Henry VIII., some of the books are said to have been transferred to the building in which Bishop Cobham's collection had by that time found a permanent and more spacious home, or rather had undergone what amounted to a new foundation. Before a score of years had passed since the completion and the opening of Cobham's Library, the needs of the University brought forward Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, the munificent patron of the new learning. Besides liberal gifts of money to the new Divinity School then in process of erection, the Duke came down with still richer contributions of books for the library. Between the years 1439 and 1446, he appears to have forwarded about 600 MSS. which were for the time deposited in chests in Cobham's Library. A catalogue of 364 of these MSS., printed from the lists preserved in the University Register, in Documents Illustrative of Social and Academic Life at Oxford, edited by the Rev. H. Anstey, is in the series of Chronicles issued under the sanction of the Master of the Rolls. They were very varied in character. With works in divinity, philosophy, and law were mingled treatises on medicine and science, together with many in lighter literature. There were no

stalls of Duke Humphrey's treasure were, in the name of that seat of learning, condemned for firewood.

less than seven MSS. of Petrarch and three of Boccaccio. A bequest of additional MSS. contemplated by the Duke, being "all the Latyn bokes that he had," together with Four years after this act of vandalism an 100%. towards the completion of the "Divyne undergraduate entered at Magdalen College Scoles," was with difficulty procured, owing who was destined thereafter to be moved by to his having died in 1447, without formally the sight of the ruin and desolation around signing his will. We hear with surprise so to reconstruct the old Plantagenet's lithat only three out of all these MSS. are brary that the glory of the second house known to exist in the present library. Sun- should eclipse by far the glory of the first. dry of them appear in some mysterious way A successful student both of the classic and to have crept into the Harleian, Cottonian, modern languages, and eager in the cause and Egerton collections now in the British of learning, Thomas Bodley, on being elected Museum. The original room at St. Mary's a Fellow of Merton in 1563, undertook, proving wholly insufficient to hold these without fee or reward, a public Greek lecadditional treasures, the building of a new ture in the college hall. After some years one was first intimated in a letter from the spent in academic pursuits, Bodley betook University to the Duke, July 14, 1444. It himself to diplomatic service abroad, carrywas finally completed in 1480, and forms ing with him still his affection for the ancient now the central portion of the great read- scientiarum sedes, the haunts of his earlier ing-room. The name of another liberal studies. Weary at length of statecraft and donor follows that of Duke Humphrey in the ways of Courts, "I concluded at the the list of benefactors. Bishop Thomas last," he says, in Reliquianæ Bodleiana, Kempe of London, besides largely contribut-"to set up my staff at the library door in ing to the Divinity School, sent some books in the year 1487, which, however, Wood complains, in a very few years began to disappear, being borrowed by scholars upon petty and insufficient pledges, which they chose to forfeit rather than restore the books. An imputation of this kind rests upon Polydore Virgil, who, being refused any further opportunities of abstraction, had to obtain a special license from Henry VIII. for taking out any MS. Sir H. Ellis, in his preface to his edition of Virgil, attempts indeed to exculpate his author. The storm of Puritan bigotry did most, however, to disperse the gathering treasures of learning. In 1550 the Commissioners appointed under Edward VI. for reformation of the University visited the libraries in the spirit of John Knox. All MSS. ornamented with illustrations or rubricated initials were destroyed as Popish, and the rest exposed to indiscriminate injury and theft. The traditional reports of eye-witnesses handed down by Wood are abundantly confirmed by the well known descriptions of Leland and Bale as to what went on elsewhere. We hear of MSS. burned, or sold to tailors for measures, and to bookbinders for covers and the like, until not one remeined in situ. An entry in the University Register, extracted by Mr. Macray, completes the record of the catastrophe. On the 25th of January, 1555-6, the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors, with two Masters of Arts, one of them Mr. Morwent, President of Corpus, were elected a delegacy ad vendenda subsellia librorum in publica Academia bibliotheca, ipsius Universitatis nomine. The very shelves and

Oxon; being thoroughly persuaded that in
my solitude and surcease from the common-
wealth affairs I could not bring myself to
better purpose than by reducing that place
(which then in every part lay ruined and
waste) to the public use of students." In a
letter to the Vice-Chancellor, February 23,
1597-8, he offers to take upon himself the
charge and cost of fitting it up with shelves
and seats, of obtaining benefactions of books,
and of endowing it with an annual rent.
Merton College found the timber. In two
years the beautiful roof was put up, which
is deservedly admired still. Bodleys's arms
are painted on the bosses dividing the panels
which bear the arms of the University. The
Eastern wing was added in 1610, and the
picture-gallery in 1613–19.
The original
register of benefactions, provided by the
founder two large volumes in vellum
one of the curiosities of the library.
Among the first and largest donors of
books in the year 1600 occur Lord Buck-
hurst (afterwards Earl of Dorset), the Earl
of Essex, Lords Hunsdon, Montacute (pa-
tristic works), Lisle, (afterwards Leicester),
Lumley, and William Gent, who gave a
large collection of books, chiefly medical.
Of the many books given about this time by
Bodley himself, one was no doubt the fa-
mous copy of the French Romance of Alex-
ander, specially interesting for its numer-
ous quiant illustrations of the customs,
trades, amusements, and dress of the time.
Great use has been made of these by Strutt.
The colophon shows that this work was
four years in painting, and ends with the
words, in gold letters, "Che liure fu perfais

- is



de la enluminure au xviii e jour dauryl. | ements in Distaff Lane, London, yielding a Per Jehan de grise, Lan de grace M. ccc. rent of 401. xliiij." The scribe's name is given as Dying on January 28, 1613, Bodley was Thomas Plenus Amoris (Fullalove). Sir buried, by his desire, in the chapel of his H. Savile and William Camden are regis- college, with much state, and bewailed in tered as donors of books in the following two volumes of elegiac verse, among others year; but the greatest benefactor of the year by Laud in Latin, and Isaac Casaubon in was the first librarian, Dr. Thomas James, Greek. One volume was entitled Bodleiomfor love of whom Bodley consented to relax nema, and the other, Justa Funebria Ptofor once his stringent rule which till the year lemæi Oxoniensis. The bulk of his fortune, 1856 forbade the librarian to be married. 7,000l. it was said, was bequeathed by him Almost every year contains the mention of for the building of the east wing of the ligifts from men of mark or rank. In 1603 brary and the completion of the schools. Raleigh gives 50l. There seems to be But it fell miserably short, Dr. Hudson, some doubt as to the story of his having the librarian, says, by reason of the fraud procured for Oxford the library of Osorius, of his executor, the loan of a great sum of Bishop of Faro in Portugal, which was car- money to Charles I. in his distress, and by ried off at the capture of that place by Essex the fire of London," the tenements in Disin 1598. In this year Sir R. Cotton pre- taff Lane having no doubt been burnt. A sented, together with ten other MSS., the curious present had been promised by BodMS. of the Gospels, traditionally believed ley of a cloak of "Tartar lamb's wool," sent to be one of the two copies of the old Italic to Sir Richard Lee by the Emperor of Musversion sent by Pope Gregory to Augustine covy. This singular garment was, after in Britain, long preserved in St. Augustine's some time, recovered from Bodley's execuAbbey, Canterbury. The other copy is now tors. among Archbishop Parker's MSS. in Corpus Christi Library, Cambridge. June 20, 1604, letters patent were granted by James I., styling the library by the founder's name, and licensing the University to hold lands, &c. in mortmain for its maintenance to an amount not exceeding 200 marks a year. Visiting the library in the year following, His Majesty is recorded to have prosed as was his wont touching the fruits of learning, and to have uttered the mild witticism that the founder's name should rather be Godley than Bodley, adding that were he not King James he would be a University man. It seems, however, that the King's liberal offer of choice and rare books from the royal collection bore but meagre fruit. Dr. James's first catalogue both of printed books and MSS. was printed in this year. In 1610, by agreement with the Stationers' Company, Bodley, after "many rubs and delays," secured for his library copies of all books published by members of that body. This agreement was the precursor of the obligations secured by the Copyright Acts. An order of the Star Chamber was made July 11, 1637, confirming this grant. An ordinance of the Company, passed in 1612, for enforcing the obligation upon all its members, is printed by Mr. Macray, for the first time, from the University archives.

Tradescant's first catalogue of the Ashmolean Museum mentions "a coat lyned with Agnus Scythicus," but it is not now to be traced. A report from the University archives, given in the appendix by Mr. Macray, explains what this queer bequest really was. Agnus Scythicus is simply the woolly fungus-like growth of a large fern common in Tartary, which bears some resemblance to a


full-grown lamb poised on the top of a vegetable stalk. Tons of the same fibrous substance are now imported from New Zealand for stuffing cushions, &c. Dr. Hochstetter's admirable work on that colony enables us to identify it with Raoulia eximia, found in Canterbury in abundance at an elevation of 6,000 feet above the sea. 1629 the valuable Barocci collection of Greek MSS. in 242 volumes, purchased by William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of the University, was presented by that nobleman to the library. Some supplementary volumes kept back by the Earl were bought and presented by Cromwell. The gift of Sir Kenelm Digby, in 1634, of 238 MSS. including the works of Roger Bacon, Grostête, Reade, Eschynden, and others, was of immense value, chiefly as bearing upon the early history of science in England. Laud's great collection, consisting of nearly 1,300 MSS. in divers languages, forms a series of priceless treasures, preThe permanent endowment of his library eminent among which are the famous Cowas commenced by the founder in 1611 by dex Laudianus, of the Acts, in parallel colthe purchase from Lord Norreys of the manor umns of Greek and Latin, set down by Mr. of Hendons, near Maidenhead, worth annu- Coxe and Dr. Tischendorf as written toally 917. 10s., to which he added certain ten-wards the end of the seventh century. An

« VorigeDoorgaan »