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THE

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

JULY, 1820.

Art. 1.-1. An Historical and Critical Enquiry into the Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, with Remarks on Mr. biellamy's New Translation. By J. W. Whittaker, M.A. Fellow of St. John's, Cambridge. 2. A New Translation of the Holy Bible. Part II. By John

Bellamy. 3. Reasons in favour of a new Translation of The Holy Scrip

tures. By Sir James Bland Burges, Bart. 4. A vindication of our Authorized Translation and Translators

of the Bible in answer to Objections of Mr. John Bellamy and

Sir James Bland Burges. By the Rev. H. J. Todd, M.A. 5. Supplement to an Historical and Critical Enquiry into the

Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, with Remarks on Mr. Bellamy's New Translation. By J. W. Whittaker, M.A. Fel

low of St. Johu's, Cambridge. WHEN we last called the attention of the public to Mr. Bel

lamy's, “New Translation,' we pledged ourselves not to betray our duty by remaining in silence, while he or any one else was attempting to degrade the Bible, by capricious and ill-founded interpretations, tending to the perversiou of its sacred truths.

Several circumstances have occurred which induce us to redeem this pledge without further delay. In the first place, it appears that, whatever may be the present opinion of the public respecting Mr. Bellamy's qualifications, he has not yet been led to form a just estimate of them himself: for, notwithstanding all that has passed, he has published a second part of his translation in the same style with the first.-- In this he commits the same blunders ; displays the same ignorance of the plainest principles of Hebrew ; exhibits the same vulgar and incomprehensible jargon; repeats the same exploded falsehoods; and treats with the same insolence the learned persons who framed our present authorized translation. In the bext place, a clearer proof has been afforded, than we were prepared so soon to expect, of the advantage which the infidel is ready to take of his perversions. When Carlile was lately indicted for publishing Paine's Age of Reason, be asked, (prudently enough for his own purposes.) in reference to the position that the Bible is sanctioned by the common law of the land, what Bible is meant, VOL. XXIII. NO. 46.-Q. R. 37

whether

whether the Bible according to the authorized version, or that according to Mr. Bellamy's? If the former, he had the authority of this distinguished Hebrew scholar for asserting that it is full of the grossest errors, so as to deprive it altogether of the sacred character which might otherwise attach to it; and, to prove that he (Bellamy) was worthy of credit in such a matter, he quoted the names of the many eminent and illustrious persons,* who had subscribed to his publication).

But, in the third place, we are now supplied with positive proof that, even after all which has passed, there is some danger of the public being led into the belief that Mr. Bellamy's translations are truly derived from the Hebrew, and that his charges against the received version are not destitute of foundation. At least, there has appeared one individual who has publicly and unequivocally professed his belief in them-we allude to Sir James Bland Burges, Bart. This gentleman, we understand, passes in certain circles for a literary character. We are well aware that this term is one of extensive signification, and is sometimes coupled with qualifications sufficiently humble.--Be this as it may, Sir James, as far as we are informed, has bitherto confined himself to works of imagi. nation ; in the present instance, however, he has attempted a more serious style of composition, and launched into the field of Biblical criticism. By what course of study he had prepared himself for such an effort, and by what or by whom he was deluded into the belief that he was qualified to enlighten the public mind in this department, must be left to the conjectures of the reader.

His work is entitled • Reasons in favour of a New Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and he shews his own opinion of the performance by dedicating it to Lord Grenville, specially on account of his óeminence as a statesman and scholar,' and his dignified situation as Chancellor of Oxford.' We expected, of course, a discussion of such passages in the English version as, in the judgment of the author, are not sufficiently close to the original Hebrew, or do not express the sense with sufficient elegance and propriety; instead of which we found the greater part of his book occupied with a stale and tedious discussion on the origin and merits of the Septuagint version, prefaced by a desperate assault on us for our statements respecting it.

The ure made of the great and respectable nanses of tbose who subscribed to Belo lamy's translation bas been pogi upwarranted. The greater part, if not the whole of those who pave their pames to thie publication were influenced entirely by the desire of promoting the cause of sacred literature, having been led into the persuasion that the per 3 whose work they patronized was qualitied to do service to this cause. As soon 23 ihoy discovered their error, and found that any thing rather than advantage to sacred literature was likely to be derived from this new translation, they without hesitation withe drew themselves from all support of it, and connexion with it.

The The familiarity of Sir James Bland Burges with Caur-deLions,' and · Dragon Knights,' has evidently given him a chivalrous disposition ; yet it is still a mystery to us why he should set his lance in the rest, and tilt so furiously at those who gave bim no provocation. We never criticised his poetry-how was it possible we could, since we never read a line of it ?-Yet the book opens as if the writer were smarting from recent criticism, and eager to revenge himself on us for the imaginary injury. “Mr. Bellamy's new trans. lation' (it is thus he begins) was continually rising in general estimation, when the Quarterly Review made a most virulent attack upon it, evidently calculated to crush it at the outset, and to intimidate those by whom it had been patronized.'-(p. 1.) How has this author the audacity to accuse us of virulence, or of a wish to intimidate? We came forward in the solemn discharge of a great but painful duty, actuated by loftier and porer motives than the confused intellects of our calumniators appear capable of appreciating, or even comprehending.

After wading through more than two thirds of his book, we came to the professed subject of it, his · Reasons for a new translation : Sir James repeats, with little variation, the assertions of Mr. Bellamy, that our translators never pretended to translate from the Hebrew, and only copied with servility from the Greek and Latin. Quitting for the present all observation on this part of his statements, we hasten to his method of proving that our authorized version departs from the original. And here we must request the reader's particular attention. Through the space of thirty pages, he ranges in four parallel columns selected verses of the Bible, according to a literal translation from the Hebrew, to the Septuagint, to Jerome's version, or the Latin Vulgate, and to the received (English) version. He makes no remarks as he proceeds; but directs the reader at the outset to the general inference to be drawn from the whole, viz. that because the received English version agrees for the most part with the Septuagint and the Vulgate, and differs widely from that which he terms a literal translation from the Hebrew,' it must therefore have been made from the Septuagint and Vulgate, and not from the Hebrew. We will readily allow that his conclusion is sufficiently legitimate, provided his premises are sound. But what is ineant, it will naturally be asked, by his literal translation from the Hebrew,' on which the whole of his conclusion depends? At first we were disposed to take for granted that he had himself examined the original Hebrew, had rendered it into English in what he deemed the most literal manner, and then concluded, from his own judgment of the sense of the original, that the received version is erroneous. Judge then our surprise, when we found that this literal translation from the Hebrew,' by which, as a test, he tries the accu

racy

racy of the received version, is not his own, but John Bellamy's! that very translation which has been shewn to be full of the grossest errors and absurdities, and to be framed by a person who is no less ignorant of the plainest rules of Hebrew grammar than destitute of every other qualification for a Biblical translator! Thus, by a style of proceeding more truly astonishing thay could have been imagined, Sir J. Burges assumes, not only without examination, but in the face of the clearest evidence, the accuracy of Bellamy's translation ; adopts it as the test by which the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the authorized English versions are to be tried; and then, because these versions differ entirely from it, comes to the portentous conclusion—not that versions approved by the most competent judges in all ages are right, and that which rests on Bellamy's single authority is entirely wrong, but just the reverse ; that these versions are all unfaithful to the original-and that Bellamy's alone gives the true and accurate sense!

In addition to the lamentable weakness of judgment and incapacity which this proceeding betrays, there is, we regret to say, a want of ingenuous dealing in it, which demands the most serious reprobation. As we have stated, Sir James quotes a • literal translation, but studiously conceals the name of John Bellamy* in connexion with it; well knowing that the public were apprized of his demerits, and would not now set much value on a literal or any 'translation, professing to come from him. Again, when Sir J. Burges brings forward what he calls a literal translation,' the natural inference is that he is prepared to vouch for its being s0; that he has examined it, and ascertained, on other grounds than the mere assertion of the author, that it is what its name implies, a true

literal translation. Now we beg leave to ask, has Sir James Burges done this? Is he able to do it? Does he possess knowledge enough of the Hebrew language to judge whether this or any other translation is literal ?- We see no symptoms in his book of his possessing such knowledge, and our belief is, that he does not possess it. How can he, then, as a man of principle, and an investigator of truth, bring forward, for the very grave purpose of shaking the con

• Sir J. Burges, in a flippant and angry Reply to Mr. Todd, recently published, pretends to coinplain that he is coupled by him with John Bellainy, and represented as advocating his cause; and says (Reply, p. 9) that, to the best of his recollection, there is only one passage in his book in which any mention of Mr. Bellamy, or any allusion to him, can be discovered.' The best of his recollection seems to be but bad when it suits bis pur pose. We think we can refresh it a little by reminding him that, through several pages of his book, he has quoted Bellamy's version as a literal translation from the Hebrer, and represented our received version as not a literal translation, because it does not agree with it. If this be not to shew his implicit faith in Bellamy's version, we beg leave to ask what can he so. We are not surprized that Sir J. Burges begins to be a little weary of the connec tion : on his account we wish that he had shewo a little more wariness, in entering in'o it.

fidence

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