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To The EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL. Your correspondent, Mr. Calm, does me the honor to say, that he shall be happy to find that his last paper on the Phænician Inscription gives me any satisfaction. I can have no hesitation in assuring him, that, as far as my humble opinion goes, he has considerably improved his version. I must, however, still object to his 77 yox, for which he contends with ingenuity, but, as I think, without success. If the letters in dispute between us be really a mem and a daleth, I would propose to read the three last words of the first line, 77) OX 73. The sense then would be as follows: To our Lord Melkarthus tutelar Divinity of the metropolitan city of Tyre, one that hath wandered, his servant Obedassar, &c. Mr. Calm tells us, that he has seen a variety of Tyrian medals ; and consequently he will re. member the Phænician characters which answer to the Chaldaic y DX upon several of them. Ox73-Tsur Metropolis. By 172, Qbedassar seems to describe himself as one that had erred, or wandered, in is his course; and this agrees with the concluding part of the sentence, where he intimates that he has been saved (we may suppose from shipwreck) a second time.
Nominatives absolute are certainly unusual in Hebrew ; but so, says Mr. Calm, justly enough, are lapidary inscriptions in that language. In all events, I think credit is due to Mr. Calm for adhering to the exact number of letters contained in the original, without finding it necessary in his Chaldaic version to introduce any additional characters.
I shall now, sir, proceed to make a few observations on the letter of your correspondent, Mr. S. of Norwich.
I beg leave to assure your correspondent, that I am as sensible as he can be, that argumentations about what he said, and I said, are generally tiresome to readers; and if I misunderstood and misrepresented him, when I said he had misunderstood and misrepresented me, I can only lament, that we should both unintentionally have given each other so much unnecessary trouble. But while human nature continues liable to error, and while the republic of letters continues to exist, it must be expected that literary crimination will be followed by recrimination. I had observed, that in the Coptic word OTPO 'rer, the Or was the indefinite article adhering to the word PO, which opinion I advanced upon the authority of Woide. Mr. S. denied that I had Woide's authority. In answer to him I cited Woide's words ; but as he is now pleased to say that I have misunderstood Woide's meaning in another place, (which we shall examine presently) I must ask him, how he came himself so completely to misunderstand Woide's meaning, as to deny that I had that writer's authority for saying, that OY in OYPO was the indefinite article, VOL. VIII. Cl. Jl. NO, XV.
which had coalesced with the original word PO rex? Woide's words are, interdum articulus indeterminatus cum nomine coalescit. Ab antiquo (et inusitato) PO rer, fit OPPO, et hinc cum articulo NOYPO, et OYOYPO, rex, &c. I think Mr. S. might have had the candor to acknowledge, while he went ou with imputing mistakes to me, that he himself had fallen into a mistake upon this point. Again, he asserted that the Royal Shepherds were to be found no-where but in my Essay (or words to that purpose) when without going farther, he might have found a whole chapter on the Royal Shepherds in Mr. Bryant's Analysis of ancient mythology.
But, sir, there is one sentence in the last letter of Mr. S. of which I feel the full force: “it is a very unpleasant task,” says he, “although à necessary one, to be thus obliged to notice the mistakes of others, and to be puzzling ourselves about words, instead of the more en. gaging pursuit after truths, if haply we may be able to discover them.” No man is exempt from mistakes. Mr. S., in charging me with mistakes, has fallen, as I have shown above, into mistakes himself. Let us quit this useless war of words; and follow “ the more engaging pursuit after truths,” I shall proceed to answer Mr. S., and where he has pointed out any error on my part, I trust that I shall candidly acknowledge it.
1. Concerning the word Paaneah, I can add little more to what I have already stated. It must, however, be allowed, that if I erred in endeavouring to explain it by the Hebrew, 1 bave erred with some of the most learned men in Europe.
2. I still remain of opinion, that in the time of the Patriarchs the Egyptian and Hebrew were coguate dialects. I request Mr. S. to examine my paper on that subject in No. XII. of the Classical Journal
3. Mr. S. observes, that according to Scripture, the native Israelites and Egyptians could not understand each other without an interpreter. He alludes to Gen. xlii. 23. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. If this version were correct, I should be much induced to abandon my hypothesis ; but I cannot help thinking that the meaning of the original is altogether misrepresented in the translation. Before I cite the verse in the original, however, I must observe that the word melits, which is rendered interpreter, is of very doubtful import, and seems to have been em. ployed in various senses. Its proper meaning is a derider, if we trust to Buxtorf, who brings it from 17; but it also bears significations very remote from that which I have just given. roho is translated Ambassadors (2 Chron. xxxii. 31.) "The same word is translated teachers, (Isaiah xliii. 27.) In the verse under consideration, I am inclined to think, that melits signifies au interlocutor rather than an interpreter. It is the custom to this day in the East, when a man of exalted rank receives a stranger and an inferior into his presence, that the great man sits in a corner of the room, and that, whether the stranger understand the language, or not, he speaks to him by an in
terlocutor, who repeats his words. I conceive that the melits, mentioned in this verse, was such an interlocutor. The words are
והם לא ידעו כי שמע יוסף כי המליץ בינתם
and they knew not that Joseph heard, because (the melits) the interlocutor was between them. This version appears to me to be much more faithful than that given in our English Bible; and if it be so, I think the objection of Mr. S. is removed. This gentleman cites the Targum ; but he gives the Latin translation, and he must be aware, that as far as the authority of Onkelos goes, (which I should not consider to be decisive,) it must depend on liis own words; I have not the original at hand.
4. When I spoke of the ancient Ethiopian, I certainly meant the Geez, that dialect of Ethiopia into which the Scriptures have been translated; nor am I, (as yet at least,) prepared to admit, that in making this statement I am either deceived myself, or ain likely to mislead others. Mr. Bruce
says that the Geez was the language of the Agaazi, or Shepherds, who appear to have been among the most ancient inhabitants of Ethiopia. The Geez, according to Dr. Murray, (whose loss the literary world has now to deplore) is the oldest dialect of Arabia-the Hamyarite Arabic. Scaliger says, that the Ethiopians called themselves Chaldeans, on account of their books, which were written in their most polite and ancient tongue, which was nearly similar to the Chaldaic, or Syriac. Mr. $. will, perhaps, contend, that when we speak of ancient Ethiopian, we should rather speak of the language of the Cushîtes, than of that of the Agaazi. But even allowing this, “ history assures us,” says Dr. Murray, “ that the original seat of the Cushites was in Arabia, whence a colony of that people carried the name into Africa, before the time of Sesostris." It follows, that the ancient Ethiopian spoken by the Cushites must have been an Arabian dialect, and
consequently a dialect allied to the Chaldaic and Hebrew. Tó this
, indeed, may be opposed the authority of the writer of the Appendix to the Book of Axum, who records the tradition, that Cush came from Egypt to Ethiopia ; but this account is, I believe, generally discredited by the learned.
5. I am sorry that I misunderstood Mr. S. concerning the meaning which he affixed to “the Egyptian.” I certainly thought that he was speaking generally of the Coptic. He has now clearly explained himself.
6. I freely acknowledge, that when I stated on the authority of Strabo, that the language of the Gauls differed only a little from that of the Aquitani, I must have read the passage 100 negligently, and have referred to it too rashly. I am obliged to Mr. S. for giving me an opportunity of correcting my error.
7. When I gave an account of the Saidic word for rex in my Essay on a Panic Inscription, which was in part reviewed by Mr. Bellamy in the Classical Journal, I referred to Woide. A few sentences from that Essay were quoted on this subject, in another Number, merely for the purpose of showing Mr. S. that I had not omitted to refer to
the Coptic in speaks of the word Pharaoh. Mr. S. Observes, that I base steppikended Mode, and is properly reduced ear to sas. Now it is true, that in the wate prated in the Classacal Journal, this mistake occurs by an error of the press ; bot though I bare not the ongital Exay at band, I am almost certain, that no such mistake caurs in it. I speak from memory; bat I am very cosidest, that sy statement in the book itself runs thus-“This word (OYPO) is, in the Saidie dialect, ÞPO;" (alloding bere to Woude's Grammar, p. 12.) “ and it may be suspected that it was origioaliy writen PO." (aluding to the same Grammar, p. 17.) But in the Classical Journal the word PPO was printed without the little line above; and this line as distinctly marks how the word is to be read in Coptic, as if it were written in Greek cbaracters, s.r. As the word stands in the sout, it is undoubtedly wrong; but I have to answer for the pasBaza 23 it is to be found in the Essay, and Bot as it appears in the
8. Mr. S. stil persists in calling the ancient word PO, res, a pretended Egyptian word, and a mere supposition of mice. I must still persát, a my jant, in referring him to Woide's Grammar, p. 17.
9. This gentleman further remarks on the difficulty of making the Hetstes, my, roh, e Shepherd, and the Egyptian Po, re, a king beu the same sense; and he adds; that“ the method adopted for this by making a Shepherd become a king is still more curious.” Mr S. was plead on a former occasion to say, that the Royal Shepherds had no existence but in my Essay. But be must have expressed himself inadvertently. He must know very well, that the Royal, or king. Shepherds - the Basireis Tieres, as Manetho called them, invaded, and long remained masters of, Egypt. Is it then so impossible, that the word , Tyg, roh, a shepherd, in Hebrew should come to bear the signification of King among the Egyptians; or that among the King-Shepherds, the Shepherd, xai' oron, might imply the King, and become the monarchal title? If the Hebrew and the ancient Egyptian vere cognate dialects, as I hold theni to have been, this conjecture does not appear to me improbable. It is likewise to be sbaned, that if the King-Shepherds were of the same race with the Agaazi, or Shepherds of Ethiopia, their language must bave been Hanyarite Arabic, which is not greatly removed from the Hebrew.
10. I cannot at present refer to Akerblad; but I am not aware that I misappreheaded his meaning-M. Quatremère understood it as I did.
11. I have now, sir, only to assure Mr. S. that I shall be happy tą join with him in the engaging pursuit after truth. He doubts, and I think justly, whether any real difference exist between us, excepting concerning the resemblance of the Chaldaic and ancient Egyptiali. It is surely important to the bistory of philology to determine, if it be possible, whether the Coptic retain, or not, any considerable part of the ancient Egyptian, and whether that part belon ed, or not, to ap original language. Mr. $. observes, that it is the residuum of the
Cóptic, after deducting all more modern and foreign words introduced in later ages, which he calls ancient Egyptian, and an original language ; and of this kind, adds he, is the chief part of the Coptic. I am bumbly of opinion, that according to this statement the question ought to be tried; and Mr. S. must allow me to say, that if I misapprehended his meaning before, he never put his meaning in so clear a point of view as he has done in his last letter. The matter for our examination may now be comprised in a few words-Does the residuum, of which Mr. S. speaks, form, as he thinks, the chief part of the Coptic language, and does it appear to liave belonged to an original tongue ? I will fairly confess, that I have found so many words in Coptic, which, without referring to the Greek, I could trace to the Chaldaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Geez, that I must still suspect that no such residuum as Mr. S. describes exists, and that the real residuum is only a chaos of corrupted and deflected words, some of which have lost their ancient form, and others their original signification. I am, however, no bigot to this opinion. In the mean time, I think, Mr. S. will find that the list of words in Coptic, which I have derived from the Hebrew and Chaldaic, is considerable. I submitted my list to the late Dr. Murray, before I remitted it to you, Mr. Editor. It was originally fuller than it is at present. Dr. Murray was nearly of the sentiments of Mr. S.; apd, therefore, as night be expected, the scrutiny was severe. I erased every derivation, which Dr. Murray, certainly one of the greatest linguists of the age, did not admit as either certain or probable.
There is one observation which I must make to Mr. S. His theory, if just, cannot, I think, be reconciled to the received chronology. Of that chronology I am not an advocate; but if it be found that the Egyptian was an original tongue in the days of Abraham, this fact alone will let in the light of truth, where darkness still prevails. That Noah and his immediate descendants spoke Hebrew is certain. The words put into their mouths sufficiently prove it, nor can this be doubted by those who can read the original. Thus Noah calls God, 738 TT'; and there is an evident play of words, when he says, “God shall enlarge Japhet,” na DTX ná", from which it is evident, that he spoke in Hebrew. But Abraham was of the tenth generation after the flood; and who that knows any thing of the history of philology will believe, that after ten generations any vation has employed a language wholly and radically different from that of its founders?. We cannot, however, allow even ten generations for this singular phænomenon. All the earth was of one speech until the building of the Tower of Babel. The Egyptians, then, must have invented their original language, much ne:rer to the time of Abraham; and this only renders the difficulty greater. No argument can be deduced from the confusion of tongues. The whole passage (Gen. xi. 7.) is wrongly translated in our English version, which unwittingly makes Moses say, that God confounded the language of all the earth, which could not be true, since, if that had been the case, the Hebrew, which was spoken from the creation of the world, would have been