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Sacrorum Evangeliorum Verfa Syriaca Philoxeniana ex Codicibus

manuscriptis Ridleianis in Bibl. Cold. Nov. Oxon. repofitis nunc primum edita : cum Interpretatione et Annotationibus Josephi White, A. M. Coll. Wadh. Socii, et Ling. Arab. Profesoris Lau. diani. Tom. II. Oxonii. E Typographeo Clarendoniano, 1778. The Syriac Philoxenian Verfion of the Gospels, &c.

By the Rev. Jofeph White, Sc. 2 vols. 4to. Oxford. 17. 185. boards. AT

T the commencement of the fixth century, one Syriac

translation only of the New Testament existed; which had been composed in a free and paraphrastical manner, for the use of the common people, and thence probably received the appellation, which it has ever since retained, of the Simple Version. It had suffered, before that period, a considerable degree of change, and had then become so extremely incorrect, as to demand the interposition of authority. It was judged a more easy and eligible task to execute a new version, ihan to expunge the errors of the old. A literal translation appeared ne cessary in order to ovviate the inconveniences which had arisen from the diffuse and explanatory turn of the former. In the year so6, therefore, a literal translation was begun, under the direction of Xenaias, more commonly called Philoxenus, bishop of Mabug or Hierapolis in Syria, by Polycarp his vice-tishop or substitute. We mult of course conclude that Polycarp made use of the best and most ancient original Greek ext that could be procured, which we may reasonably alcribe to the third or fourth century, and which is confequently of higher antiquity than any copies now extant *. This Version is

* Si vis igitur Syrorum doctorum fententias, evangelistarum et apostolorum sensuni explicandium intelligere, adi fimplicem : fin quis fuerit GERMANUS TEXTUS CODICUM GRÆCORUM IN QUINTO E'T SUFERIORIBUS SECULIS inquiras, Herachienfem Philoxiniance Vera fionis Recenfionem pervolve aique (crutare. Ridl. Differt, p. 72. Vou. XLVII. Feb. 1779.


written, not, as the Simple, in the Antiochene, but in the Babylonic or Aramæan dialect of the Syriac language; and is moft religiously faithful to its Greek text, which it follows, not only in every * minute distinction of the sense, but even in the peculiar turn and mode of expression. Polycarp finished his work in the year 508, and inscribed it to its patron Philoxenus. In the year 616, Thomas of Charkel or Heraclea (who had also been bishop of Mabug, but was then an exile in Egypt) residing at Alexandria, a place highly eminent for learning, and having searched the libraries of that city for the very valuable MSS. with which Origen and Pierius had furnished them, twice collated the Philoxenian Version with two (some mention three) Greek copies of the most approved authority, in the library of the Antonian monastery. These collations he judiciously inserted in the text and margin. The Greek copies which he collated, were soon after destroyed, when the Saracens burnt the Alexandrian libraries. The learned Dionyfius Barsalibæus, towards the close of the twelfth century, restored the Heraclean (i. e. Thomas's) Revisal, or improved Edition, of Polycarp's Translation. Mr. Samuel Palmer, travelling by land to the East Indies, sent a present of two MSS, from Amida or Diarbec, the chief city of Mefopotamia, a province of Syria, to the celebrated Ridley, as we learn from Mr. Palmer's Letter, dated at Bassora, June 4, 1730. These MSS. are distinguished in the work before us by the names of Codex Heracleensis and Codex Barsalibai.

When it shall be considered, that the very ancient text from which Polycarp compofed his Version, is no where extant, that the copies which Thomas collated are irrecoverably lost, that his collation was evidently made with a view to preserve the genuine readings, the learned world will not only look upon this work as a curious and critical performance, but will regard it as something more, and conceive a high opinion of its va. lue and its use. Such were the arguments and confiderations that induced the archbishops + Potter and Secker, and other great and learned men, to recommend the study, revisal, and finally the publication of the Codex Heracleenfis, with a collation of the Codex Barsalibai, to Dr. Ridley, whose property they were. The Bodleian library contains another copy, the collation of which has produced nothing more than a few va. rious readings. That learned and eminent critic was, at that

• Let the following example suffice. The Greek compound eudonia is rendered by two Syriac words corresponding to bonitas voluntatis, and wegieenue by two words which answer to cinxit posuit. † This circumstance is not mentioned by the editor.

time, far advanced in years : he applied himself, !:owever, with incredible pains to learn the Syriac language; and though he wanted both an instructor and proper books, surmounted every obstacle. A Latin translation was not included in his plan. He was employed for several years in the laborious task of transcribing the four gospels in Syriac from the Codex Heracleenfis, adding at the bottom of the page the various readings from the Codex Barsalibæi and Codex Bodleianus. He had gone thus far in his undertaking, when the infirmities of old age rendered him unable to proceed, and imposed on him the melancholy necessity of discontinuing his design. His transcript he gave to the university of Oxford ; and his MSS. were left at his death to the library of New College. We cannot continue our account of the work before us better, than by the fubfequent quotation from the editor's preface.

• Mihi tandem hoc munus attributum eft ob humaniffimam commendationem Roberti Lowth nuper Oxoniensis episcopi, nunc Londinensis. Erat itaque apud eruditos fumma expectatio Verfionem Philoxenianam brevi in lucem emissam fore. Hoc quidem fi ita eveniffet, non minus mihi commodi, quam omnibus voluptatis attuliffet : fed prorsus aliter contigit. Si causas igitur ob quas tamdiu opus productum fuit, obiter attingam, non abs re facere videbor. Vifum eft itaque rei typographicæ cu. ratoribus textui Syriaco interpretationem Latinam subjiciendam esse. Quod arduum fuisse et difficile experiundo didici: malto fane operofius quam textus Syriaci exfcriptionem, in qua tamen una celeberrimus Ridleius plures annos consumpserat. Præterea textum ipsum Syriacum, quia exscriptum Ridleianum, ob lite rarum nexus fere femper omiffos, typographi usui non fatis commodum erat, multo cum labore cotum ipse iterum exscripsi. Neque hoc de viro qui mihi amiciffimus fuit, inique intelligi velim : quod ideo tantum a me dictum est, ut ignaviæ crimen a me ipso amoveam.

• Sed et illud difficillimum erat, quod tamen apprime neceffarium arbitratus sum, de lectionibus aftericis et obelis notatis regalam quandam, et veluti canonem criticum ftatuere, unde de lectionum iftarum auctoritate accuratius decerneretur. Nes minem in hac re adjutorem habui, ne antecessorem quidem, fi Wetstenium excipiam, cujus tamen fententia a noftra longe die verfa eft. De ea infra

agetur. • Quod ad notulas attinet, quas ad calcem evangeliorum ad. jeci, quamvis paucæ fint, et præcipue ad grammaticam spectent, multo omnino in iis temporis consumpli, quod æqui rerum æsti. matores, fpero, facile agnoscent. Accedit, quod pofterioribus duobus annis adeo infirma usus fuerim valetudine, ut sæpe cypographicis erroribus corrigendis morosam operam impendere vix potuerim.


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The Syriac text of the Heraclean edition is marked with asterisks and ubeli; a method which Origen first adopted in his Hexaplar and Tetraplar editions of the Septuagint. The learned editor concludes that these marks have no reference to the Simple Version : that the words marked with asterisks were fupplied by Thomas from the Greek copies which he collated, and were by him inserted in Polycarp's text; and that the obeli are used to denote those words which were found in Polycarp's text, but did not exist in the Greek copies. He adds, that, this position being established, the agreement and disagreement of the copies of the fifth and the preceding centuries is immediately discovered and ascertained. The following passage, extraced from the oth chapter of St. John, will ferve as a specimen of the manner in which the asterisks, obeli, and final marks are used.

• John IX. 7. Et dixit ei, Abi, lava in baptifterio Siloam (quod exponitur, Miffus). Abiit igitur et lavit, et venit videns. 8. Vicini ergo, et illi qui videbant cum prius, quod mendicus esset, dicebant, Nonne hic eft qui fedebat et mendicabat? 9. † Alii dicebant, Hic eft ; alii autem, Similis ei eft : ipse # autem dicebat, Ego fum. 10. Dicebant ergo ei, Quomodo # igitur y aperti funt oculi tui ? 11. Respondit ipse, et dixit, Homo # qui di&tus eft Jefus, lutum fecit, et illevit super oculos meos, et dixit mihi, li Abi ad baptifterium Siloam, et lava. Quum abiiffem autem et lavissem, vidi. 12. Dixerunt igitur ei, Ubi eft ille ? Dixit, Nescio. 13. Adducunt eum ad Pharisæos qui quondam cæcus fuerat, &c. · The words thus referred to (+ 5) in the margin being an addition, and not being inserted in the text, are, according to Mr. White's hypothesis, the collation of some critic pofterior to Thomas, probably James of Edeffa. The other various readings distinguished by these references (Il $) are attributed by the same hypothesis to Thomas: that he could not have inserted them in the text, is obvious. The number of va. rious readings inferted in the text by means of asterisks and obeli, and of the readings in the margin, and the Syriac explications of Greek words, amounts to 820.' It would be a task of much labour and difficulty to make an estimate of the number of various readings which will accrue to the Greek Teftament from the original translation by Polycarp. et alii] Lectio Marg. (alii) Autem.

alii autem, Similis ei elt] Marg. (alii autem) Dicebant, Non j fed fimilis (ei eft).

| Abi ad baptisterium Siloam, et lava] Marg. (Abi, et) Lava in baptisterio Siloam. § Autem] Marg. Igitur.


The present edition is not less remarkable for the splendor and elegance which it has received from the Clarendon Press, .than for the labour and learning which the profeffor invariably appears to have bestowed upon it. The work is introduced by an elegant dedication to the chancellor of the univerfity. The preface presents to our view a history of the Philoxenian Verfion, an Enquiry concerning the Antiquity and U ility of the Simple Version compiled from Dr. Ridley's Differtation ; an Account of the MSS. which we have mentioned above; and a Section on the Asterisks, Obeli, and marginal Rcadings. We transcribe the following pafiage from the concluding section.

• Prius quam finem fecero, liceat mihi grates dignas preli Clarendoniani delegatis persolvere ; quod munus adeo honorificuin mihi demandaverint. Simul reipublicæ literariæ gratulor, quod hoc prelum hominum candore et doctrina primariorum du&u hodie regatur : illorum, inquam, hominum qui operibus utilitlimis publicandis ftrenue patrocinantur, et quorum unicum votum effe videtur venerandum Oxonii nomen amplificare, er doctrinæ ac religioni quam plurimum prodeffe. Item cuitodi et sociis Coll. Nov. gratias refero, quorum in manu sunt Cl. Ridleii MSS. quod eosdem mihi privatim, magno meo commodo, benigniffime mutuo crediderint. Ex hac etiam occafione gratias omnibus reddo qui in me beneficia contulerunt, iis præsertim viris dignisfimis qui unanimi fuffragio in cathedræ Arabicæ Præfidem me co-optarunt,'

The editor has omitted, not injudiciously, the genealogical tables, Eusebius's Epistle to Carpian, and the two tables of the Decalogue, which are prefixed, in the MSS. to St. Matthew's Gospel. The Syriac text is printed with the editor's Latin tranflation underneath, and the marginal readings at the bottom of the page.

At the end of each of the evangelists a Syriac note is added: the following are the notes at the end of Matthew and Mark: 1. Here ends the holy Gospel of Matthew the Evangelist,

which he delivered in the Hebrew language in Palestine. 2. Here ends the holy Gospel of Mark, which he delivered

in Latin at Rome, The story of the wo'nan taken in adoltery, which the Codex Heracleenfis does not exhibit, is added separately at the end of St. John, from the Codex Barsalinzi. Then follow three Syriac notes, accompanied with Latin translations, respecting the several dates and the different editors of the Philoxenian Version.

Ridley's Collation of MSS, is incorporated with the editor's annotations : we copy what our author says on this subject.


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