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REVIEW AND MAGAZINE,
Monthly Political and Literary Censor,
JANUARY TO APRIL (INCLUSIVE,
WITH AN APPENDIX,
AN AMPLE REVIEW OF FOREIGN LITERATURE.
PRODESSE ET DELECTARE.
By R. Bostock, of Brydges-Street, Covent-Garden.
BY J. WHITTLE ; AND BY COBBETT AND MORGAN, AT THE CROWN AND MITRE, PALL
Hofea. Translated from the Hebrew : with Notes explanatory und
critical. By Samuel Lord Bishop of Rochester. 4to. Pp. 274.
Robson. London. . 1801. T is with pleasure we address ourselves to the review of a work,
Prelaté induces us to think will amply repay us.
time or ata tention that we may be able to bestow upon it. In saying this, we do not feel ourselves committed to admit and approve every translation or criticism of this learned commentator ; especially when we find him, on many occasions, widely differing from other expositors of the first rank and authority: We
e are' well assured that his Lordship will indulge us in the same liberty, which he freely takes with others, being himself in an emi: nent degree “ Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri."
The Preface to this work we consider as a masterly performance. The argument as to the reality of the prophet's injunction, which many interpreters suppose to have been only in vision, is difcuffed at large ; and the Bithop takes decidedly the former proposition, and fupposes the marriage to have been realized; not, however, grounding, in any material degree, the tenor or tendency of the prophecy on this circumstance.
• Tre general subject of the prophecy appears to be the fortunes of the whole Jewish nation in its two great branches of Israel and Judah. The deposition of Jehu's family, by the murther of Zedekiah, the son and successor of Jeroboam, was the commencement; the termination will NO, XLIII, VOI., XI.
be be the restoration of the whole Jewish nation under one head, in the latter days, in the great day of Jezrael ; and the intermediate parts of the action are the judgements, which were to fall, and accordingly bave fallen, upou the two distinct kingdoms of Israel and Judah, typified by Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi.”
His Lordship (p. xxviii.) imputes the misinterpretation of this and other prophecies to the notion, that the particular accomplishment of them was to be looked for in the prophet's own time, or in the times which would soon succeed them; as though they looked not to the final restoration of the Jews as a principal branch of the great scheme of general redemption. The obscurity of this prophecy the Bishop imputes solely to the style ; differing herein (but in terms of the highest esteem and refpe&t) from “ that illustrious critic,” Bishop Lowth, with whom, fays his Lordship, I reluctantly disagree ; whose abilities I revere; and whose memory I cherish with affection and regard.” The Bishop of Rochester accounts thus for the obscurity of the prophet:
“ He delights in a stile, which always becomes obscure, when the language
of the writer ceases to be a living language. He is commatic, to úre St. Jerome's word, more than any other of the prophets. He writes in short, detached, disjointed sentences; not wrought up into periods, in which the connection of one clause with another, and the diale&tic relations, are made manifest to the reader by an artificial collocation; and by those connexive particles which make one discourse of parts, which otherwise appear as a string of independent propofitions, which it is left to the reader's discernment to unite. His transitions from reproof to perswafion, from threatening to promise, from terror to hope, and the contrary, are rapid and unexpected. His fimiles are brief, accumulated, and often introduced without the particle of fimilitude. Yet these are not the vices, but the perfections of the Holy Prophet's stile: for to these circumstances it owes that eagerness and fiery animation, which are the characteristic excellence of his writings, and are so peculiarly suited to his subject.”
After acknowledging his obligations to Archbishop Newcome, the Bishop of Rochester enters his solemn protest against his Grace's charging the difficulties of interpretation on the corrupt readings which deform the printed text. This, the Bishop obferves, (and we heartily concur with his Lordship in opinion) is erroneous and pregnant with the most mischievous consequences.
" That the corruptions are greater in Hofea, than in other parts of the Old Testament, I fee no reason to suppose. That the corruptions in any part are fo numerous, or in such degree, as to be a principal cause of obscurity, or, indeed, to be a cause of obscurity at all, with the utmost confidence I deny. And, be the corruptions what they may, I must protest against the ill-advised measure, as to me it seems, however countenanced by great examples, of attemping to remove any obscurity supposed to arise from them, by what is called conjectural emendation. Considering the matter only as a problem in the doctrine of chances, the odds are always infinitely against conjecture. For one instance in which conjecture may restore the original reading, ia one thousand, or more, it will only leave corruption worse corrupted.”
The conjectural emendations which I chiefly dread and reprobate, says his Lordship, are those which reft folely on what the critics call the exigence of the place.
" Numerals (he observes) may sometimes be corrected by conjecture; to make dates agree one with another, or a sum total agree with the articles of which it is composed. But this is not to be done without the greatest circumfpe&tion, and upon the evidence of calculations formed
hiftorical data, of which we are certain.. A tranfpofition of words may sometimes be allowed ; and all liberties may be taken with the points. Beyond this, conjecture is not to be trusted, left it make only a farther corruption of what it pretends to correct. At the utmost, a conjectural reading should be offered only in note (and that but rarely), and the textual translation should never be made to conform to it. It is much safer to say, “ This passage it is beyond my ability to explain ;' than to say, “The Holy Prophet never wrote what I cannot understand; I understand not the words, as they are redde-I understand the words thus altered; therefore, the words thus altered are what the Holy Prophet wrote.'
“ The work of Dr. Kennicott (the Bishop observes) is certainly one of the greatest, and most important, that have been undertaken, and accomplished, since the revival of letters. But its principal use and importance is this; that it shuts the door for ever against conjecture, except under the restrictions which haye been mentioned.”
The notes in the work before us are very copious, as well explanatory as critical : and a very great share of biblical, historical, and grammatical knowledge is displayed throughout the whole. It is impoffible to follow his Lordship through the work ; but we find it difficult to induce ourselves to adopt some of the suggested alterations in the text. He wishes it to be distinctly understood that he does not defire this translation should supersede the use of the public transla, tion in the service of the Church. We could never reconcile our ears to such a passage as this :
“ I will be as a lion unto Ephraim, and as a young lion to the house of Judah, I!” We see no reafon for not continuing the stop at
. "* "* I, I will tear, &c. we think conveys the same emphatical signification in a more natural form of expression, Nor can we readily admit the words belaboured them by the Prophets. There is a certain degree of (his Lordship will excuse the term) vulgarity in that word, which we conceive beneath the dignity of the prophetic style. We think the word bewed, used in our translation, might be improved ; and would recommend this reading of the verse as preferable:
“ Therefore have I wounded them yngsn (in which sense the word opp is used by the Prophet Isaiah) by the Prophets; I have pain them by the words of my mouth."
These, however, with a few others that might be noticed, are the paucæ maculæ, which, in a work, wherein plurima nitent, we might readily have passed over, were we not willing to prove the attention which we have paid to his Lordship's work, as well as to demonstraté