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ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
In issuing a second edition of the Book of Jasher, the publishers deem it just and proper to subjoin a portion of the remarks from various sources that have offered in relation to the merits of the work. That it has not had a circulation commensurate with its merits, may be ascribed to the timidity of those who were apprehensive that it was put forth as an inspired work, whereas all that was originally claimed for it was the fidelity of its translation from the Hebrew and its undoubted antiquity. Since the publication of the first edition, it has been ascertained that seven or more editions of this work have issued from the Press in various parts of Europe since the discovery of printing ; and eminent Hebrew scholars from Germany, now in this country, are familiar with the book, and bear testimony to the estimation in which it is held abroad, among literary persons of high attainments.
University of New York, April 10, 1840. I have compared a large portion of the translation of the Book of Jasher' with the original Hebrew, and find it faithfully and elegantly rendered into English. The Hebrew itself is of a very pure character.
PROFESSOR OF ORIENTAL LITERATURE.
To Messrs. Noah of Gould,
GENTLEMEN-I am acquainted with the 'Book of Jasher,'having read a considerable part of it while in the hands of the translator in England. The Hebrew is very purely written, and the translator is an eminent scholar and has done it ample justice. It is full of interest throughout, and breathes a pure spirit of picty and religion, and I am satisfied that this is the first English translation ever made of that work, the Royal Asiatic Society at Culcutta never having completed the translation of their copy as anticipated. April 14, 1840.
H. V. NATHAN,
The following letter is from Professor Turner an able Hebrew scholar.
Theological Seminary, Chelsea Square, N. Y., April 28, 1840. GENTLEMEN--Agreeably to a request made to me yesterday by Mr. Noah, I have sufficiently examined the English version of the Rabbinical work which heads the title of the Book of Jasher,' to satisfy myself of its general correctness. I have carefully compared three chapters of the translation with the original, and have no hesitation in saying that in general they give a correct representation of the author's meaning, and as literal as the different idioms of the two languages would allow. In some instances however, it would have been desirable that every word of the Hebrew should have been rendered into English. For instance, in ch. i, v. 2, the translator has omitted the word dust, in mentioning man's formation from the ground,' and in v. 4, the literal version after middle part would be and he took away one of his ribs and built flesh upon it, and made a woman and brought her to the man.' In v. 6 also, the Rabbinical writer does not say 'called their names Adam and Eve,' but in the very words of the Hebrew bible, v. 2, 'called their name Adam.' In chap. XX, v. 4, the version reads thus; and the servants of Abimelech went to Abimelech, saying,' in the original it is and the servants of Abimelech came and praised Sarah to the king, saying,' &c. In v. 19, the name of Pharaoh is omitted, and occasionally the word 'subjects,' is substituted for • servants.'
It is possible that the translator made use of a copy of some other edition which may have varied in a few words from that examined by me. The points referred to, are, on the whole, unimportant, and do not detract from the general accuracy of the translation.
I am respectfully,
Your obt. serv't. To Messrs. Noah of Gould.
SAMUEL H. TURNER.
The following letter is from Professor Bush of New York. .
New York, April 30, 1840. GENTLEMEN I have examined portions of several chapters of the Book of Jasher in the original, carefully comparing with it the translation put into my hands by the publishers. The work itself is evidently composed in the purest Rabbinical Hebrew, with a large intermixture of the Biblical idiom, and I consider the translation as a whole, not only as decidedly faithful, but as peculiarly happy in retaining the air of antique simplicity which distinguishes the original, and which constitutes the matchless excellence of our English version of the Hebrew Scriptures. In a few instances I have noticed slight verbal variations from the original, similar to those adverted to by Prof. Turner, as in one case.choice of our sepulchres' for choice of our land ;' but they are of too little moment to detract from the character of general fidelity which I do not hesitate to assign to the translation.
Very respectfully, Yours, &c.,
NOTICES OF THE PRESS. THE BOOK OF JASHER.-In the book of Joshua, x. 13, it is said, Is this not written in the book of Jasher ? And in 2d Samuel I. 18, 19, it is recorded, “Behold it is written in the book of Jasher, the beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places ; how are the mighty fallen! In Horne's Introduction to the study of the Scriptures there is an account of various writings that claim to be the book of Jasher, and among the rest is one written in Rabbinical Hebrew, said to have been discovered in Jerusalem at its capture by Titus. This book has been translated into English, and has just been published in a beautiful octavo volume of 260 pages.
This volume forms what may at least be termed a literary curiosity. The translator lays no claim for this book • as a work of inspiration, but as a monument of history comparatively covered with the ivy of the remotest ages ; as a work possessing in its language all the characteristic simplicity of patriarchal times; and as such he conceives it peculiarly calculated to illustrate and confirm the sacred truths handed down to us in the Scriptures.'
That the present work is a faithful translation of a veritable Hebrew original we cannot doubt after perusing the testimonies of such men as Professors Nordheimer, Turner, and Bush of this city, who have all examined it, and upon comparison pronounced the English version in general correct; although it will be observed that these gentlemen carefully abstain from uttering any opinion as to the authenticity of the work, or its value as auxiliary in any sense to revelation. There can be no question as to its being the same work with that mentioned by Horne as printed at Venice in 1613, and from internal evidence we think it may be dated as far back as any of the kindred fictions of the Talmud, and perhaps to a period coeval with the recently Anglicized . Book of Enoch,' of which Prof. Stuart has given an elaborate account in the January number of the Biblical Repository. A certain value no doubt attaches to any book faithfully transmitted to us from so remote a period of the past, and if we should find in it no traces whatever of historical verity, we may still be interested or amused to see into what wild extravaganzas a Rabbinical fancy may run, and with what ingenuity it may graft upon the majestic simplicity and brevity of the sacred narrative a luxuriant offshoot of fables, fictions, allegories, and dreams.
N. Y. Observer. The Book of JASHER.—The existence of the book of Jasher' mentioned in the Bible has long been doubted. The most industrious researches for centuries were baffled in its pursuit, and a number of forgeries produced during the early ages of Christianity predisposed scholars to regard with suspicion every work for which was claimed antiquity or verity. The discovery of the book of Enoch in Abyssinia, and other exhumations of the same kind, have in some degree lessened the habitual suspicion with which such pretensions are regarded, and the announcement of the publication of the · Book of Jasher,' will now command the attention of the learned, at least, if not their sanction.
Some persons of less wit than assurance have declared that this curions production is an im. position. We do not know precisely what meaning they attach to that term ; but if it is to be taken in its legitimate sense, those who apply it to the Book of Jasher' are incapable of judging of what constitutes an effort to deceive. It is declared by the editor to be a translation of a very old Hebrew manuscript nothing more. No claim of inspiration is preferred ; no declaration of belief that it is even a veritable historical chronicle, though an opinion is hazarded that it is the book spoken of in one or two passages of scripture, of the same title. Of its antiquity we have abundant evidence in the work itself. Eminent orientalists, well qualified to give judgment in the premises, assert that it is written in the purest Hebrew, and that the style is of that peculiar kind for which the earliest Jewish writings are distinguished. It is certainly a great curiosity, and it must command much attention among critics.--New Yorker.
THE BOOK OF JASHER.-This remarkable book, which is twice referred to in the Old Testa ment, has caused much literary disturbance. It being a desideratum in biblical literature, the temptations have been great to produce fabrications under the title, and some of these have proved successful in imposing for a time even upon men of learning and research. The impositions however have been long detected, and another copy, in Hebrew, of the work has been discovered. A translation of it was commenced by order of the Asiatic Society, but upon learning that the work we now notice was in progress, that translation was discontinued. This has been most carefully examined by persons conversant with the original language, and it has received from them very high praise both for the fidelity and the vigor of the translation. To those who may not happen to be acquainted with the book, we would state that it is a bible history from the creation of the world to the death of Joshua; it has never been deeined a canonical book, but yet one of high authority ; in no instance contradicting the Old Testament text, but in some particulars amplifying where the bible has slightly touched. It is therefore an important adjunct to the biblical library, and no mean assistant to the biblical student. It removes several apparent discrepancies in the sacred text, assists in enforcing very early traditions, by showing weighty cotemporary existences, and by collating the Bible, this work and Josephus, together, the latter two of course being but notes as it were to the former, a service will be done to the religious as well as to the antiquarian world, the value of which cannot easily be calculated. We earnestly recommend the work to general perusal, and in fact have little doubt that the nature of it will commend itself. That there are many interpolations and certain extravagances in this copy there is no doubt, and as an apocryphal work it must be considered; but if it were only for its chronological merit it must be always interesting -Albion.
The Book or JASHER.—This work, with a few exceptions, probably interpolations, bears very clear and decisive marks of a very high antiquity. But a few of its words recognize even the existence of the Chaldean language, as stated by its learned and judicious translator. It was written, if we may judge from the close of its records, not long after the death of Joshua. And besides confirming most of the Bible facts recorded anterior to that date, adds many incidents and particulars not found in the sacred books. Its author is not known, for the book of Jasher' means the correct or upright record.
Various forgeries under this name have from time to time appeared. This seems to be of a more plausible parentage. Still its claims to any thing but a human origin will not admit of much debate. It has no internal evidence of inspiration ; but, like the Epistles of Clemens, Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas, the book of Enoch, and other apocryphal books, Jewish and Christian, it savors not of that peculiar unction which gives to the canonical scriptures an unrivalled claim upon the credence of mankind, and bespeaks for them a candid and reverential hearing. Such are its claims for a reading. * * *-Millennial Harbinger.
The Book of JASHER.–Like the Book of Enoch, which has lately been given to the world in an English dress, the antiquity of this work will, we suppose, scarcely admit of a doubt; the particular date of its origin must be matter of scholastic conjecture. As to its inspiration, the publishers decline expressing an opinion, but we imagine, that no one, who compares its apocryphal style with the simplicity of the Holy Scriptures, will be at any loss for an opinion upon this head. Still, we believe that the book is worthy of the attention of scholars, and that the novelty of its character, as well as the elegant mode in which it is bound, will recommend it to many general readers.
Baptist Advocate. The Book of JASHER.—This curious piece of antiquity lies before us, which we should have noticed ere this, had not a press of other matter prerented. This book purports to be the identical book of Jasher referred to in Joshua and ad Samuel. As to the truth of its professions, we do not pretend to say, and leave that to the learned to examine into ; but from a careful perusal of it, we are unable to see why it should not be so considered, for it breathes as pure a spirit of piety as the Mosaic account in the Sacred Oracles, which it corroborates and amplifies. That it is: translated from the purest Rabbinical Hebrew any person at all acquainted with the Hebrew character, must be convinced even from a glance of the original copy, now in the possession of the publishers. There are, no doubt, some parts, fabulous interpolations of the Rabbi, but which do not affect the general character of the work. The conversation between Abraham and Isaac, while going to the place of sacrifice, and that between Joseph and his brethren ; the reception which Jacob received from Joseph, are all calculated to please, interest, and sustain the claim to: authenticity of the work. We recommend the book to the public as a work of uncommon in-terest, and a very great curiosity.-N. Y. New Era.
The Book of JASHER.-- We have received this handsome and interesting volume. Generally speaking, it has been noticed with much favor, and by those who know' especially. A distinguished scholar, writing in the Boston Atlas, observes of the work that it is a great curiosity,