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Sanctorum during the ages emphatically called dark. I shall produce two of them. The first is of Francis of Assise, the founder of the order of Franciscans, who being tempted, as he relates of himself, to have a book, which seemed contrary to his vow, that denied him the possession of any thing but Coats, and a Cord, and Hose (Femoralia), and in case of necessity only Shoes, resorted for advice to the GOSPÉLS, and having first prayed, casually opened upon Mark, ch. iv. v. 11. “ Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God:but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables ;" from which he drew the conclusion that books were not necessary
for him. The other is of one Peter of Tholouse, who being accused of Heresy, and having denied it upon oath, one of those who stood by, in order to judge of the truth of his oath, seized the book
upon which he had sworn, and opening it hastily, met with the words of the devil to our Saviour, “What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth," Mark, ch. i. v. 24. and from thence concluded that the accused was guilty, and had nothing to do with Christ !
The extraordinary instance also of King Charles I. and Lord Viscount Falkland, is so applicable to divinations of this kind, that it deserves to be related. Being together at Oxford, they went one day to see the public library, where they were shown, among other books, a Virgil, finely printed and exquisitely bound. Lord Falkland, to divert the King, proposed that he should make a trial of his fortune by the Sortes Virgiliana. The King opening the book, the passage which he happened to light upon was part of Dido's imprecation against Æneas :
At bello audacis populi vexatus et armis,
Æn. L, iv. I. 615. &c. King Charles seeming concerned at this accident, Lord Falkland would likewise try his own fortune, hoping he might fall upon some passage
that could have no relation to his case, and thus divert the King s thoughts from any impression the other might make upon him: but the place Lord Falkland stumbled upon was still more suited to his destiny, being the following expressions of Evander upon the untimely death of his son Pallas:
Non hæc, ô Palla, dederas promissa parenti :
quantum nova gloria in armis,
En. xi. 1. 152. &c. The gallant Falkland fell in the battle of Newbury, in 1644; and the unfortunate Charles was beheaded in 1649.
The kind of divination in use among the Jews, and terned by them 31pna (Bath-Kol), or the Daughter of the Voice, was not very dissimilar to the Sortes Sanctorum of the Christians. The mode of practising it, was by appealing to the first words accidentally heard from any one speaking or reading. The following is an instance from the Talmud. Rabbi Jochanan and Rabbi Simeon ben Lachish, desiring to see the face of R. Samuel, a Babylonish doctor: " Let us follow, said they, “the hearing of Bath Kol.” Travelling therefore near a school, they heard the voice of a boy reading these words out of the First Book of Samuel; “ And Samuel died.” They observed this, and inferred from hence that their friend Samuel was dead ; and so they found it, for Samuel of Babylon was then dead.' It is probable that from the Bath-Kol of the Jews was derived the practice of some of the ancient Christians, of going to church with a purpose of receiving, as, a declaration of the will of heaven, the words of Scripture which were singing at the instant of entrance.
A species of Rhapsodomancy, similar to the Sortes Sanctorum is in use among the Mohammedans in the East. Sir William Jones in his Traité sur la Poésie Orientale, speaking of his selections from the Odes of the celebrated Hafiz, observes, « Comme il étoit difficile de faire un choix dans l'excellent recueil des odes d'Hafiz, on en a pris celles-ci au hasard, à l'imitation des Orientaux, qui, pour se décider. dans les moindres comme dans les plus considérables occasions, ouvrent fortuitement un livre, et s'en remettant au sort, s'en tiennent a ce qui d'abord a frappé leur vue. On a pu remarquer la confiance que ces peuples ont dans cette espèce de divination, lorsque dans l'histoire de Nader Chah, on a vu ce prince se résoudre à deux sièges fameux, sur deux vers de ce même Hafiz.?!?
REMARKS ON THE
BUCHANAN ROLL OF THE PENTATEUCH.
LT was with some surprise that I read the following passage in the Preliminury Remarks, prefixed to Mr. Yeates's Collation of the Buchanan Roll of the Pentateuch : “ It ought to be a satisfaction to know, that herein (viz. in the Buchanan Roll) are ample specimens of at least three ancient copies of the Pentateuch, whose testimony is found to unite in the integrity and pure conservation of the sacred text, acknowledged by Christians and Jews in these parts of the world. The following collation confirms the truth of
· Lewis's Origines Hebrææ, vol. i. b. ii. ch. xv. p. 198.
this remark, and if such specimens, furnished by this MS. are allowed their proper weight and importance, we can have little room to doubt of the general purity of the entire copies ; so that we now have no reason to expect from Hebrew MSS. obtained from the Oriental Jews, any new or extraordinary emendation of the Hebrew text of the Pentateuch.” Prel. Rem. pp. 8, 9.
If by “the integrity and pure conservation of the sacred text," Mr. Yeates means, that “the printed copies of the Hebrew Bible are free from such corruptions as affect faith and morals," I would most cordially agree with him; but if he means that the various readings of the Buchanan Roll afford a fair specimen of the present state of the Hebrew text, I imagine he will find some difficulty in supporting such an hypothesis.
The Buchanan Roll exhibits a very striking conformity to the text of Athias's edition : so striking indeed, as to lead any one who is conversant with the various readings of the collated MSS. to suspect a common origin at no remote period. The various readings of this MS. compared with Athias's text, amount, according to Mr. Yeates, only to 18! None of these are at all important: they consist chiefly in the omission or insertion of 1, which, after the introduction of the Masoretic punctuation, which supplies the want of 1 as a vowel, seems to have been nearly discretionary. Four readings are peculiar to this Roll: namely, Gen. xxii. 1. 707. Gen. xli. 45. 7". Numb. xi. 26. 7758 and .
, , . 1758 is the reading, not only of all the other collated MSS. but likewise of the LXX. and Vulg. versions, both in the 26th and 27th verses. The other ancient versions I have not examined. The four readings, therefore, which are peculiar to this MS. seem to have arisen from the negligence of the transcriber. Now it may fairly be asked, if this collation gives a just idea of the present state of the Hebrew text, of what use are the mighty labors of Kennicott ? If the received Hebrew copies are nearly perfect, and vary merely in a few letters of little or no consequence, what benefit is to be expected from the magnificent collation of the Septuagint now proceeding at Oxford? Of what use is it to collate the MSS. of the Vulgate, as warmly recommended by Kennicott, or of the ancient and faithful Syriac, as recommended by Mr. Yeates himself? But let us examine whether the received Hebrew text is in so pure and uncorrupt a state as the collation of the Buchanan Roll would lead us to suppose. The Buchanan Roll varies from the text of Athias in eighteen instances, and from that of Vander Hooght in thirty-nine. (Yeates's Collation, p. 41.) Now let us compare the text of Vander Hooght with
is evidently an error of the התלך וקריב .5
. xvi .יקריב for וקריב and ,ויתן is for ויתין as ,התהלך transcriber for
that of the ancient and celebrated Bodleian MS. No. I. of Kennicott's collation.
« In MSti hujus Pentateucho," says Kennicott, “ commatibus licet 758 nunc carente, variantes a textu Hooghtiano lectiones exsuperant 2000 ! quarum haud paucæ habent in 'se momentum, et antiquas versiones confirmant.-Et hoc MSto in Pentateucho, eoque nunc non integro, sunt lectiones, a textu Hebraico hodierno diversæ, quæ tamen confirmant versionem Græcam in vocibus. 109, Syriacam in 98, Arabicam in 82, Vulgatam in 88, et paraphrasin quoque Chaldaicam in 42. Docet experientia, MStos Hebraicos, quo vetustiores sunt, eo magis textui consentire Samaritano : nonne hinc igitur validum antiquitatis MSti nostri exoritur argumentum, quod textui consentit Samaritano, contra textum Hebraicum in vocibus 700 ? Experientiâ quoque sumus edocti, MStos Hebraicos, quo sunt vetustiores, eo magis a textu Heb. hodierno discrepare : et hinc quoque stabilitur MSti hujus antiquitas, quòd-variatione a textu Hooghtiano continet 14000 !” Kennic. Diss. Gen. p.71.
That the collated MSS. exhibit a great variety of readings, many of which are preferable to those of Vander Hooght's edition, and not a few of considerable importance, is so clearly and elaborately proved by Kennicott, in his dissertations, that it is needless to enlarge on the subject. It would be the height of presumption in the writer of these remarks, to offer any arguments to those whom Dr. Kennícott has failed to convince.
The origin of these various readings is easily accounted for. Besides the usual causes of errors of transcribers, the Hebrew text is peculiarly liable to accidental corruption. The letters 7 and 7, 2 and 3, 1 and, MT and n, 1 and 3, 38 and 1, 7 and 7 bear a near resemblance to each other, and can scarcely be distinguished in some MSS. In addition to these letters, the resem blance of which is obvious to every eye; some other letters, which are sufficiently distinguished in Vander Hooghts and other mo, dern, editions of the Hebrew Bible, bear a near resemblance to each other in some of the ancient MSS. and the early editions of the Hebrew Bible. In MSS. No. 89 and 184 of Kennicott's col. lation, 1 final frequently resembles. 7, 7 and i can scarcely be distinguished in No. 265 and 98. resembles 2 in No 324.77 resembles 7 in No. 4 and 104. O closely resembles D in No. 89. i resembles P in No. 103, &c. and in Froben's edition of 1636, now before me, 7 can scarcely be distinguished from 7,(7-7) 73 from 17 (1-1) and from , onn) Now under these circumstances it naturally follows that corruptions would be gradually introduced from frequent transcription, every century adding to the number of errors. Consequently, we ought not to be surprised at the assertion of Dr. Kennicott, that the earliest MSS. appear to contain the fewest errors, and that the ancient versions
having been made from the Hebrew text, whilst in a state greater purity, often point out the true reading, where the text corrupted in the modern Hebrew copies. Hence results the i portance of a complete collation of the ancient versions, that their authority the original readings may be restored in the places which appear to be corrupt, and where the collated MS afford no assistance. I am fully aware that the printed Hebro text ought not to be altered with levity. I am persuaded that conjectural criticism ought to be admitted, but where there is an ple ground to suspect that the text is corrupted, and where t parallel passages, the collated MSS., and the ancient versior afford no assistance. Far better would it be to take the present 'te with all its faults, and to adhere to it implicitly, than patiently suffer the Holy Scriptures to be mutilated and interpolated, mere from the crude conjectures of bold and unskilful critics. Brith
Before I conclude, I wish to make a few observations another passage in Mr. Yeates's “ Preliminary Remarks," prefix to his collation. « Had this gentleman," (Dr. Kennicott) sa Mr. Yeates, “ examined by a regular collation, only such rolls he but partially consulted, he had saved himself immense labor since such copies are the prime and fountain copies of this part the Hebrew Scriptures, and have an authority against which n other private copies caur have any manner of weight in the dete mination of any various reading. This ill choice of MSS. whereb to procure a pure text, has rendered the Doctor's labors so un popular with the Jews.” Prel. Rem. p. 4.4.2 free download 2- That Dr. Kennicott would have saved himself « immense la bor” by adopting the mode which Mr. Yeates has 'pointed out, i very clear; but it is by no means equally evident, that he woul in that case have so well merited the gratitude of every Biblica student, that he would have corrected grammatical anomalies that he would have reconciled apparent contradictions, that h would have restored to clearness and good sense, passages, which in the present Hebrew text are obscure, if not unintelligible. It fact it appears, both from history, and from the numerous altera. tions which have been made in the Hebrew MSS.' that the tex has been, at different times, revised, and rendered conformable to certain standards, and this appears to have been often done with little judgment. It is natural to suppose that the rolls of the Synagogues would first be made conformable to the standards most in repute; whilst many of the private copies, either from want of opportunity, or of inclination, would retain their original readings, which in many cases seem to be genuine. A great de