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original it felf, is reasonably to be allow'd our most authentick guide in the CHRONOLOGY of the Old Testament, and not the Septuagint Translation, and by consequence not 'the Samaritan Pentateuch. Which passage I urge to Mr. W. no further than the reason imply'd in it will bear. For I am sensible Mr. W. has much () chang'd his thoughts in respect to the chronology of the Hebrew and Samaritan texts; the first whereof he now thinks false, notwithItanding he formerly thought it fo evidently true as to lay it down for an axiom to be granted him without contest, and the latter true. Nor do I in the least blame him for so doing; who has a right to follow his. judgment, in all matters where-ever it leads him: butperhaps, he may need to be told, that it very much becomes him, to bear with the differences of others from him ; who by his own great change of opinion, and by the difficulties wherewith he fees himself encompass’d, should naturally think most of the theological subjetts he treats of to be of the utmoft uncertainty, and, bating their curiosity, to be in themselves of no manner of im portance to the world...,
(?) Whillon's Elay, to restore, &c, p. 214.
5. To derogate yet further from the autority of the Samaritan Pentateuch, I obferve with the learned PRIDEAUX, that tho? that Pentateuch be said to be written in the old Hebrew (or Phænician, or Canaanitijb) character, and so may seem to have fome advantage over the vulgar hebrew Pentateuch, which is written in the Chaldee character, yet is that Pentateuch, according to him, but a transcript from the vulgar Hebrew out of the Chaldean into the old hebrew character. For, (q) fays he, firft, it has all the interpolations, that Esdras's copy (that is, the vulgar Hebrew) bath; whereas had it been ancienter than Esdras's copy, it must have been without them. Secondly, there are a great many variations in that copy, which are manifeftly caus'd by the mistake of the similar letters in the Hebrew alphabet ; which letters having no similitude in the Samaritan charakter, this evidently proves those variations in the Samaritan copy were made in transcribing that from the vulgar Hebrew, and not in transcribing the vulgar Hebrew from the Samaritan. From whence it seems past doubt, that the Samaritan Pentateuch, such as it now is, was not in being among
(9) Prideaux's Connektion, Vol. 1. p. 416. See also Simon. H. C. du V. T. p. 66,67.
the Samaritans till after the compilation of the vulgar hebrew Pentateuch by Esdras, and transcript of it into Chaldean characters. How long after I pretend not to determine. Dr. PRIDEAUX () fupposes, or conjectures, that MANASSEH, when he fled to the Samaritans with other apostate Jezes, and settled in Samaria, first brought the law of Moses among them; which was not long after the fuppos'd compilation of EsDRAS, and was about 400 years before Christ, I should suppose they had their present Pentateuch, first, among them, much later, For about 160 years before Christ, they seem to me to have had as little occasion for the law of Moses, as the mere Cuthean-Samaritans (s) had from the time of their establishment till long after the return of the Jerusalem Jews from the Babylonish captivity ; during all' which time they (t) féry'd their own heathen gods. For fo lately, as 160 years before Christ, they (u) petition'd ANTIOchus king of Syria, to whom then all Judea was tributary, that their temple on Gcrizim, which had been dedicated to no especial deity, might thenceforth be made the temple of the GRECIAN JUPITER; and be so called for the future. And An Tiochus gratify'd their request ; and caus'd their temple to be confecrated to the GRECIAN JUPITER, by the name of JupiteR THE PROTECTOR OF STRANGERS; which additional title, they themselves also defir'd, that it might thereby be express'd, that they were Strangers in that land, and not of the race of Ifrael.
fr) Prideaux, lb. p. 416, 417. .
Mr. W labours (20) to prove, that EsDRAS was not the transcriber of the Old Tea stament out of the Old Hebrew into the Chaldee character ; as is asserted by Pri. DEAUX and others, in virtue of fome conjectures ; and he (á) guesses, that it was a work done about the end of the first, or begina ning of the second century of the gospel. Now, if the Samaritan Pentateuch was transcrib'd from the vulgar hebrew bible, after that was transcrib'd into the Chaldee chara&ter ; and if the vulgar hebrew bible was not transcrib'd into the Chaldee charader, till the time Mr. W. mentions ; then is the present Samaritan Pentateuch not only not deriv'd originally from the first few paration of the ten tribes in the days of JEROBOAM; but very modern, and not
(w) Whifton's Ejay, p. 149. (x) Ib, p. 159.
even of autority and antiquity enough to fettle the hebrew text, as it stood in the times of Jesus and his apostles; to fettle which was the end for which Mr. W. lays fo much stress on the Samaritan Penta
· But after all, supposing with (1) SIMON and many other learned men ; that the prefent. Jewish (which is, the Chaldean" or Asyrian) character, was the character always in usę among the Jews; and that the Samaritan (that is, the Phænician, or Canåanitish, or, as it is also call’d, the old Hebrew) character was never used by the Jews before the captivity, in any manner, either in books or medals : it will then follow, that the Samaritan Pentateuch, as written in the Samaritan chara&ter, could not be the Pentateuch in its original charafter, but must have been tranfcrib'd into that character, either to give it a pretence to antiquity, or to distinguish it from the Jews Pentateuch, or to render it legible to the inhabitants of Samaria, who, upon the Pentateuch's being first introducid among
(y) Simon Bibl. Crit. Vol. 2. p. 389--435.