Page images



עֶבר עלם

all :

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Jukeb; and, according to Terry's Jagnacob; and in what lan


12. Apoúxalov, Arkite,

In the following, it is not pronounced, no point being under-
neath it:

Lasha, of this word unfortunately the refer-
ence was lost


C. X. v. 23.
Εύαλ, , Obal,

In the following it is pronounced e, tzere being under it:
"Εβερ, Eber,

c. X. V. 21.
"Endeling Elam,

In the following we have it with the Pathach furtivum :
Ten Bous, Gilboa, II. Sám. c. xxi. v. 12.

Are the learned required to read this last name Gilboang, and my Pharoang !!! See Genesis, c. xli, v. 1. and innumerable other instances might be adduced.

The above Hebrew words, and the punctuation of them, are taken from the Biblia Hebraica of John Simon, Halæ, 1767, an edition, of which, perhaps, it is not too much to say, that it as correct as any that could be quoted. In no one of the instances now selected, or indeed in


other that have occurred, is there any reason to suppose, that the pronunciation of y was ng, or any thing resembling it; but, as far as the Septuagint may be received as an authority for what was adopted at a period approaching nearly to that when Hebrew was a living language; tracing it thence through the modern languages of Europe, either English, French, Spanish, Italian, or German, no traces of y sounded as gn or ng are found ; on the contrary, that it was as much modified by the point under it as ehevi.

According to Parkhurst's scheme, Jacob would be Jocab, or guage, or in wliat country, was either Jocab, or Jokeb, or Jagnacob ever met with ?

The next author quoted shall be the learned Adam Lyttelton, the author of the Latin Dictionary, who says, » speaking of this Hebrew letter, duplicem fuisse antiquitus potestatem evincit O,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

brew and the reading in the English version, it is to be supposed that the Hebrew was read as printed.

? Ou is evidently the sound given to Van, having no respect to P, as is evident in the next dame, on, and, as in other cases, Saul for instance, where Vau is ren

See p. 3. of the Grammar prcfixed to his Lexicon, 3 Iptroduction to 0.

[ocr errors]

dered by our


[ocr errors]

interpretum tralatio qui jy reddunt com 17 yay! Gomorra et ry quæ illis est Gaza Syris olim, Stephano teste, 'Açox dicta est. Causam assignat magnus Scaliger, viz. priscos Hebræos quod Arabes hodie factitant fecisse indurato y, discriminis gratia "puncto super imposito, cujus rei sexcenta exempla observare est, quä in propriis, qua in appellativis, e lingua Hebræa in alias ductis. Itaque meram illam gutturalem sive vocaleni vim Tom y hic agnoscimus, cujus sono g perperam a plerisque admiscetur.''

He does not, however, state any evidence to show that anciently the letter had a double power : Og and Omorra might as well be the effect of the Masoretic point, as of the pronunciation of y. And here he plainly declares that the letter g perperam admiscetur.' Nevertheless in understanding this quotation, the reader will labor under no small difficulty. He is perhaps to be understood as considering the G introduced as the initial of Gomorrah and Gaza as improper ; and if this interpretation be correct, may he not be supposed equally to condemn the introduction of it in Gnain ? but what he would substitute in its room is not stated.

Having shown that the letter receives its power from the Masoretic point, 'as far as the Septuagint affords assistance to ascertain it, unless, as was before observed, it is the point that is pronounced and not the letter, the next author whom it is necessary to quote is the celebrated Buxtorf; and his opinion seems to do more to guide the student in his uncouth way, than that of any other person, whose labors have been directed to the subject. He describes it as SPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS,' a sound of which perhaps very little idea can be conveyed by any other, and which; if any adequate specimen of it could be given, might be found to approximate more to the old pronunciation of the Spanish X than to any other, as debaxo,' &c. where the x is sounded with the highest aspirate that the organs could well express; debahhio comes as near it, as we can well convey it; this will give the following words in the Hebrew; Nah-hiar instead of Nagnar Rashah-him instead of Rashagnim, &c.—this gives the high aspirate; the SPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS of Buxtorf ; it gives likewise the aspirate in Pihel, Puhal, &c.; it rejects the G which Scaliger says, . perperam admiscetur ;' yet, at the same time, any

any one who utters the word two or three times will perceive, that in a corrupt


| How would the advocates for the power gn or ng sound in the instance of Omora or Aza ?

2 The above observation must be confined to the old pronunciation, as there is reason to believe that of late years a new pronunciation of the letter, nore resembling that of S, has come into fashion; the change is thought to have been the effect of a more intimate connexion with the French, whicli has produced a change in their phraseology, as well as their fashions.

and lax way of pronouncing the aspirate, the letter G might intrude itself. It is not at variance with Buxtorf's definition of the Gutturals, Literæ gutturis sive gutturales quia spiritum valent qui in gutture formatur.' It is not an opinion resting solely on the authority of Buxtorf. Dr. Wilson in his Elements of Hebrew Grammar, published at Edinburgh 1802, speaking of this letter, says, Others maintain that it is a strong and deep guttural, equal to three h’s. Is not this recognizing the 'SPIRITUS. ASPERRIMUS?' and though the author declares himself of the opinion that O is the proper power of the letter, yet as he assigns no better reason for rejecting the aspirated pronunciation than that he HOPES ON ACCOUNT OF THE DIFFICULTY OF THE SOUND, AND THE GREAT NUMBER OF GUTTURALS already in the alphabet, that that is not the true sound, the reader will perhaps be of opinion that there is not' MUCH OF ARGUMENT to refute. If it be said that there is nothing in the Septuagint that authorizes this sound, the answer is that there is no reason

to believe that the ·sound now spoken of was known to the Greeks, and, consequently, they had no character to express it; though it is certain - that they had accents in their language, and what their power was, no one after the lapse of so many ages can tell,

Having therefore or the authority of Buxtorf declared our preference of the sPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS, which, it appears, the advocates for another system have not been entirely able to do without, as in Terry's account of Pihel, Puhal, &c. the reader will excuse the trespassing on his patience, if something be subjoined respecting the G, stated by Lyttelton, on the authority of Scaliger, to have been improperly admitted into the names Gomorrah and Gaza; and the assigning the reason of this, if at all possible, must be done by pursuing that track which has brought the reader to this point of the argument; for it will be recollected that it has been shown on the authority of those who have contended for the sound like gn, that gutturals may likewise be quiescents; that some of them, aleph and he, are admitted to be such; from proper names, as given in the Septuagint, it appears that the power given to y either must be said to depend upon the Masoretic point placed beneath it, or that it is the point that is sounded, and not the letter; that in no instance sufficiently authenticated does the sound ng or gn occur, and that those who contend for that pronunciation, or for that of O, are driven to gross inconsistencies that may almost be said to annihilate their hypothesis. Buxtorf, a man'inferior to none in Hebraic learning; has assigned a different power to the letter ; a power which removes some of the difficulties of former schemes; and if more accurate descriptions of it do not occur, it may be attributed to the impossibility of giving the due sound perfectly; but

which, it is coriceived,' as far as it can be given; accords with that found in an European language deriving part of its language from Eastern nations, and not improbably some of its peculiarities of enunciation also. This, it is conceived, has been done.

The author of these pages, who rather seeks to draw forth the learning of others, thán to create an exalted and erroneous opinion of his own, has not the arrogance to say that he defies all the learning of the kingdom to refute the system for which he contends, or the arguments by which he supports it. Some Hebraic Porson may perhaps from sources unknown to Him draw forth intelligence that shall consign these pages to oblivion. In this event he will at least have this consolation in his defeat, that he retires from the conflict wiser than he entered it. But to proceed: it has been already observed that the Spaniards gave a high aspirated sound to X; a sound nearly similar was also given to G; whence they gained this sound, it is now impossible to discover; but, however, it certainly existed in those words which are supposed to be of eastern origin. Now, as it is known that after the year 1040,' immense numbers of Jews, driven out of Mesopotamia, settled in Spain, would it be deemed too fanciful an hypothesis to say, that the SPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS of W might resolve itself into Ġ, and thus form Gomorrah and Gaza, and that the same SPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS is found in the language of Spain, into which country many Jews fled for refuge, carrying with them their learning and their customs, and perhaps some peculiarities of their language?

For the reader will, doubtless, recollect how many sources there were whence Oriental modes might find admittance into Spain, the origin of the people themselves : the invasion by the Moors who remained in the country from about the year 720, to the time of our Henry the Seventh ; during whose stay there, it was occasionally the policy of the Calyphs to send large colonies of Jews into the country, who settled there: the vicinity of Spain to the African coast: and lastly, what was mentioned above, the persecutions of the Jews in Mesopotamia, which drove many of them into Spain. Whether they adopted the oriental part of the language from Phoenicians, Arabians, or Jews, it is needless to inquire ; but incredulity itself will surely allow that it was scarcely possible that these languages, being thus

1 See Prideaux's Connexion, Part 1. Vol. II. pagc 472. His words are these: • Forabout the year 1040, all their schools in Mesopotamia, where only they enjoyed these high titles, (Seburaim and Gernim) being destroyed, and all their learned men thence expelled and driven out by the Maliometan princes, who then governed in those parts, they have since that, with the greatest number of their people, flocked into these western parts, especially into Spain, France, and England.


introduced, should not in some degree insinuate themselves, to say the least of the influence they would have, into the original or vernacular language of the country, whatever that might be.

To the above considerations may be added, that the high aspirated sound of X and G exist AT THIS MOMENT in some of the Eastern languages; and that those who have been conversant with the Eastern languages, have afterwards found the high aspirate used in the Spanish language familiar to them, from their being conversant with those of the East. To instance one : the language of Arabia may be selected from many to which the observation applies. Now as it is the opinion of many learned men that almost all the languages of the East are derived from the Hebrew, and that as early as the period when the Septuagint, or at least that part of it which was called the Law, was formed, the-SPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS Y took the aspirate G as in Gomorrah and Gaza ; does not this form a concatenation of evidence, corroborating the opinion of Buxtorf, that the true power of y is the SPIRITUS ASPERRIMUS ? and that the ASPERRIMUS might resolve itself in some instances into a G, as in Gomorrah and Gaza, as it is found in some modern languages that G is sounded with a high aspirate? As the rough breathing of the Greeks in some instances became H, as in Hector, Hamadryad, &c. and in others S, as in semi, super, &c.

Thus then, to trace the argument from the beginning to the end, it amounts to this : that those who contend for the power of y as O, or as ng or gn, are grossly inconsistent, and are obliged to depart from their system, in order to accommodate themselves to those impediments which they meet with in their own schemes.

That Buxtorf has given to this letter a power which UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES he is obliged to abandon.

That this power is found, as exactly as the nature of two languages admits, retained in the earliest mode of giving the proper names of the Old Testament, that is to say, in the Septua.. gint translation of The law.

That this power accounts for any seeming difficulty in the orthography of words beginning with G, in the Septuagint, which in the Hebrew begin with y.

That many eastern languages give to their corresponding letter the sound claimed for y, and for G which represents it.

And that the same sound of G is found in a living language, notoriously derived, as to that part which respects the sound of G, from the languages of the east.

For the above reasons, the author of these pages conceives himself justified in declaring, that, as far as his judgment enables him to determine, the opinion of Buxtorf is the most likely TO BE

« PreviousContinue »