« הקודםהמשך »
the prophecies of the Apocalypse, by the guidance of their own internal marks and characters, without that prepossesion which might arise from an acquaintance with the systems of other interpreters; so it became necessary to avoid the perusal of translations, as well as of expositions ; because a prejudice in favour of a particular mode of interpretation may be suggested by the translator. The original Greek was therefore to be studied by itself, and the meaning of the words and phrases of it to be ascertained. But to ascertain these in English idiom, was to produce a new English translation; which, in this case, being designed solely for the use of the annotator, was rendered as literally as the forms of the two languages would admit. When the new translation had served this purpose, and when the notes engrafted upon it were completed in their first form, it was then compared with the common English version, and thence received considerable accession and improvement. For, as I am fully persuaded that the best form of a new English version of the Scriptures will be that which shall retain the phraseology of the common translation, where it is not evidently faulty; so in revising my new version, and preparing it for general use, I was careful to adopt into it those expressions of the old version which appeared to represent the Greek original faithfully, and not inelegantly; retaining those only of my own translation whichi
seemed to conrey the meaning of the original with juster effect.
The version, therefore, now offered to the public may be considered as corrective of that which is, inserted in our English Bibles. Yet, having been first moulded in an original form of its own, a form derived directly from the Greek, it has thereby acquired this advantage; that the servile uniformity cannot be imputed to it which Dr. Macknight alleges to have characterized all English translations of the New Testament prior to his own. Such uniform similarity, he observes, is almost inevitably produced by the method which the translators have commonly pursued; by their examining the steps of their predecessors, while they themselves were translating, and not after they had finished *.
There is no book of the New Testament which more necessarily requires a revision of its text, and consequently a new translation corrective of the old one, than this. For it appears, from the accounts of inquiring critics, that the editors of the Greek text from which our received English version is taken, were in possession of very few ancient manuscripts of the Apocalypse. Erasmus possessed but one; Stephens had only two; and it is not made apparent that Beza had the means of consulting more f. Hence, the diligence of
* Macknight's General Preface to the Epistles.
+ Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament, c. xii. sect. 1, and in other passages,
succeeding succeeding scholars, by the collation of the remaining manuscripts (some of them of the first authority), has restored many original readings, which, by consent of judicious critics, have been received into the Greek text, and ought therefore to pass into translation. A Greek text, receiving these and assigning their authorities (and which, therefore appears to be the most perfect copy of the original yet printed), is that of Dr. Griesbach, which is accordingly followed in this translation. It has been attempted to translate it as closely and literally as the English idiom would allow; a restriction which must be thought necessary in rendering a symbolical prophecy; in which a very slight deviation may materially change the sense of the original.
It has been the wish of the translator to express the very stamp and figure of the original, truly if not elegantly, 'and without bias toward any favourite method of explanation. The translation was begun and completed, in its first form, before any knowledge was obtained by the translator of the various modes of interpretation which have been devised by the learned. And in the subsequent corrections, it has been his endeavour to preserve it pure from all tendency to prejudice and system.
That this new version may be compared with the Greek, and also with the common English translation, of which it is corrective, they are all printed together. Those words are placed between brackets, to which Griesbach has prefixed his mark, denoting that they are probably to be expunged; and those are wholly omitted, which he has inserted in his interior margin, accounting them indubitably spurious *. Probable ellipsises, or such as the English idiom seemed to require, are supplied in Italic characters. The relatives who, whom, which, &c, are generally used in preference to the relative that, which is so frequently employed in the old translation; and thus an ambiguity is avoided, of which foreigners justly complain. But the word which is still retained, in preference to who or whom, when referring to the great God of Heaven, whose personality is far different from that of any of his creatures, and is therefore properly expressed by other terms t.
The translator has thought himself at liberty to disregard the common punctuation, and the received division by verses ; because they evidently appear to be of modern date, and are not seen in the ancient manuscripts; and he has been guided to the sense of a passage by its context,
* The Greek text is printed from the edition of Griesbach, Halæ, 1777; but in this copy now printed, no notice is taken of his marks referring to authorities in the margin, which could not be conveniently exhibited in this edition. Only those passages to which he has prefixed his mark =, denoting that they are probably no part of the original text, are included in brackets, after the manner adopted in Bower's Greek Testament.
† The modern attempts to amend the translation of the Lord's Prayer, by substituting“ who art in heaven” for “ which art in heaven,” are, I believe, not approved by the judicioụs,
rather than by such recent and arbitrary restrictions *. For the same reasons, and supported by the same authority, he has not confined himself to the received division by chapters, but bas portioned the book into parts and sections, as its internal structure seemed to require. The Apocalypse was very little understood when the division of it into chapters and verses took place t.
The authorities taken from books are generally referred to by exact quotation. In some instances such particular reference may seem wanting. For any such omission, this cause is to be assigned :—that the work was not originally intended for publication; and when that view began to suggest itself, some of the books containing the passages quoted were gone out of the author's hands, and not easily recalled. Quotations, when in the learned or foreign languages, are commonly presented also in an English form, for the accommodation of the English reader, who will find few disquisitions in this work, which he may not understand.
* See Clerici Ars Critica, p. iii. sect. 1. c. x. 7, 9, and Mis chaelis's Introd. to the New Test. ch. xiii. sect. 2, 3, &c.
† The Scriptures were divided into chapters in the xiiith century; into verses in the xvith. See Michaelis's Introd. to the New Test. ch. xiii, sect, 9, 10, 11, and the notes of his learned translator,