« AnteriorContinuar »
Ostendant nobis Patrum patroni unicam Scripturæ pericopen, quæ, alias obscura cum esset, ab iis sit lucem mutuata.
WHITBY, Dissertat. de Scriptur. Interpretat,
Hor. Art. Poet. 60.
Undique collatis membris,
unus et alter
Ibid. 3 et 15.
"O your mistranslated texts, all of which I have
examined in the preceding letter, your correspondent has added one of his own. Having hitherto toiled, though with little success, to confirm your sentiments, he now takes upon him to controvert one of your rules, and your interpretation of a passage dependent upon it.
The form of expression Ιακωβος θεα και κυριε Ιησκ Xpiss dernos (James i. 1.), which you affirm (page 12) to be regularly descriptive of two persons,* the compiler considers as being in itself ambiguous, and such as may be used indiscriminately of either one or two: though he thinks that James, in this
* I observe, however, that by an erratum, page 80, you, or your editor, would cancel this text from your rule : whether in consequence of what the compiler has said, or from any other motive, you know best.
ticular place, using it of one person only, means to call Jesus God as well as lord.
To persuade us of this, he goes to work in his old way of quotation from the fathers; as if they, truly, were the best sources of interpretation.* I say of interpretation, because it is evident he does not now appeal to them merely as being the best judges of their own language: for he allows that the form of words is here ambiguous; and indeed it appears to be so from the fathers themselves, some of them, with Cyril,t understanding it of one person, while others, with Oecumenius, understand it of two. And here we see the use which your correspondent would make of his fathers; they are to be our expounders of scripture!
I agree, however, with your friend in thinking that James in this text meaned to call himself the
* In his title-page he calls them the best authors; but, as a body, they are the very worst he could pick out of the whole republic of letters, not only for general use, but for that particular purpose to which he has applied them. However, when he calls them the best, he has had the modesty, not to say so in his own words and language ; but has wrapt it up decently in a little bit of Ciceronian latin.
+ From this passage of Cyril (No. 4, p. 118), we see some thing of the confidence with which a true son of the church speaks of his own explanation of a text confessedly ambiguous. And consequently we see what stress is to be laid
argument on which your correspondent grounds his whole book, viz. that because a mob of such gentlemen, in support of what Mr. Locke (Essay on Understand. b. iv. c. iii. S. 20.), admirably calls “ the well-endowed opinions in fashion,” unite in explaining certain texts in one particular way, therefore there can be nothing jambiguous in the meaning of them,
servant of one person only. But I take that person to be, not Jesus Christ, but the God and father of Jesus Christ. My reasons for thus understanding the text are as follows.
The most obvious way of explaining Jer without the article, is to consider it as a proper name.
And hence I think xat is not here used in the sense of and; for if it were, the other proper name Jesus Christ, would either have the article prefixed to its descriptive epithet xupia, just as in english we should say (as indeed our translators have actually said in their version of this passage; whether by so doing they have made that version quite accurate and exact is another question) “ God and the lord Jesus
Christ," not God and lord Jesus Christ;" or else that epithet would be altogether omitted. I therefore take xan to be exegetical. In which case it may be rendered by even, by who is, &c. or it may
be omitted in the translation. James's meaning then seems to be this : “ James, a servant of God, scho is “ lord of Jesus Christ."
Paul, in the addresses prefixed to his epistles, fre: quently reminds those to whom he writes, that God was lord of Jesus Christ. And it was quite in point, and much to the purpose, which both he and James aimed at, and laboured in the body of their epistles, to do so. It was an observation of like import to that explained before, when Paul tells the Ephesians (v. 5.) that the kingdom of Christ was the kingdom of God. It was reminding their readers that the great object of Jesus was the will of God, and goodness; and not the inventions of men, displayed in
fites and ceremonies, and worldly distinctions of sects and parties, and in learned controversies in attack or defence of them. And the inference was, that their readers should lay aside their disputes about such things, and, instead of valuing themselves, or despising their opponents, for being jewish or gentile believers, should, on all sides, shew themselves the true disciples of Jesus, by following his example in serving God, and cordially embracing the good of all parties, in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. A point which it is the main business of all the epistles of the New Testament, both general and particular, to recommend, enforce, and explain at large.
Your correspondent; having now exhausted all his rich treasures of interpretation, both such as are for you and such as are not against you, latin as well as greek, spurious as well as genuine, closes his work with no less than ten pages (pages 122-131) of what he calls · forms of expression closely resembling' that contained in your mistranslated texts; that is, with instances, still taken from his beloved fathers, of nouns, articles, and conjunctions, circumstanced according to the description given in your rule: all of which, he contends, are used in that sense which you allirm such forms must necessarily bear, and are therefore so many confirmations of
your theory. But here again we have nothing but ideal painting. There is not one of his examples, where the two nouns clearly and indisputably relate to one and the same person, but what has something else, besides the bare form of words, to point out and as
certain that relation.
In every one of these exa amples, therefore, it is the context, and not your rule, that fixes the sense, and refers the nouns to one person. : If one of the two nouns be Jeos, either the phrase is limited in some such way as I have before described, when speaking of the examples which your friend has collected in pages 57–61, of his work; (see p. 59), or Jeos is accompanied with some word, such as ενανθρωπησις, γενεθλια, σωμα, αιμα, &c. which cannot possibly be predicated of the God of nature, but can only be applied to an artificial, factitious God, a character theologically supposed to belong to the other noun. Or if both the nouns be unequivocally descriptive epithets (which is not the case if geos be one of them), then one of them is left destitute of any thing to which it can be referred (and as an epithet it must be referred to something), except the word to which the other serves as an cpithet. Or there is some other subsidiary circumstance to bind up the two nouns into one descripțion, exclusive of any thing contained in the description given in your
rule. Though therefore the form of expression, as to the mere disposition of nouns, articles, and copulatives, is, in all these examples, the same as your's; yet, as to the most material circumstance of its independence upon any thing extrinsic, and foreign to itself, to fix and ascertain its meaning, it is in no one instance similar, and similarly situated, to your's. Indeed, I question whether any example could be