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ART. VII. Runie Odes. Imitated from the Norfe Tongue, . In the
Manger of Ms. Gray. By Thomas James Mathias. 410. Is. 6d.
Becket, &c. 1781. D ATHER with a view to gratify curiosity, than from the N expectation of communicating pleasure, has Mr. Mathias, we presume, printed his runic odes. The wild and monstrous system of northern mythology, though it may occasionally furnish a sublime or magnificent image, yet when considered as a subject for modern poetry, contains little that can be interesting. Should we be told ihat the translations of Mr. Gray are exceptions to this remark, we may ask what could not the ge. nious of Gray have given animation to? We wish it not to be inferred, however, that we are diffacisfied with the attempts of Mr. Mathias; his translations being in general spirited and harmonious. In proof of this we give the following pailage from his first Ode, intitled, The Twilight of the Gods; or the De Arullion of the iVorld:
i Why does beauteous Lina weep?
• Glowing with paternal fire,
Think not yet the measure full,
Lays the death-doomd monster low,
. From the cavern deep and dank,
• Signs abroad portentous low'r;
Veils creation's ruin'd work.
" While the mideigbe corches gleam,
Rivals of pale Cynthia's Beam. The Dialogue at the tomb of Argantyr has been more than once translated before. There is a well-executed trandation of it in a collection of poems published a few years ago by Mr. Ste. phens of Magdalen College, Oxford. See our Review, Vol. LIII. 263.
• Immediately previous to the destruction of the world, the Edda supposes, that the Stygian dog, named Garmar, will be unbound.
Art. VIII. A Differtation on the Judicial Customs of the Saxon and
Norman Age. By James Ibbetson, Esq; Barrister at Law. 4to.
18. 6 d. White. 1780.
Norman Governments, with a Pottscript addressed to the Dean of
2 s: rauldes. 1781.
| general object, and particular line of study; and may be looked upon as the natural fruits of a young Barrister's re
searches into the customs and inftitutions of early times. We Tould have pronounced the first of the two, viz. the Dissertation on the Judicial Customs, &c. to have issued from the Robertsonian School, did not Mr. Ibbetson speak of the subject as being in its nature novel and peculiar; whereas it could hardly appear very novel to any person who has read and remembers (and it is impossible for one who has once read to forget) Dr. Robertson's masterly introduction to the “ History of the Emperor Charles V. with the proofs and illustrations annexed to
The object of the second Differtation is to shew the origin of national assemblies in this country, rather than the present con. Aitution of Parliament. The traces of general or national coun. cils and conventions, are indeed abundantly evident in our hifa tory; though they appear to have been differently constituted at different periods, under the Saxon governments strongly verging to democratical freedom, and in the Norman times to Aristocracical tyranny: till at length the introduction of po. pular representation, cherished and supported by a fortunate co. incidence of events, restored in some measure the rights of the people, and brought our constitution to its proper poise. There changes and these events Mr. Ibbetson has deduced with great: ingenuilv. His ftile is animated and vigorous, his authorities are full and satisfactory.
Though Mr. I. is sufficiently fevere upon the unfriendly ge. nius of the feudal Aristocracy, he will not suffer any other writer to exaggerate its oppressions. In his Postscript, ad. dressed to the Dean of Gloucester, he convicts the Reverend Polemic of a gross mistake relating to the antient boroughs, and likewise in asserting that the military tenants were the only free. men of the realm, and that the tenants in focage were held in a state of slavery. "The intention of these misrepresentations (says Mr. Ibbetson) is sufficiently apparent, they evidently tend to invalidate the existence of political, and indeed of civil, liberty, beneath the feudal goverment, except in the instance of the barons : to reduce the husbandmen and the tradesmen to a state of villenage; to deny the existence of the rights we at present enjoy, till they were wrung from the crown by the arms of its vaslals, and diffeminated by similar usurpations of the commons: and finally by these insidious deductions to strengthen the Aue thor's attack upon the privileges we feel, and the constitution we revere.'
How extant, noft learned. Mr. Bryan Gifanius arudovicus Captaquil
falded Le received spankeim. and i
Art. X. Vindiciæ Flavianæ : Or, a Vindication of the Tellimony
given by Josephus concerning our Saviour Jesus Christ. By Jacob
Bryant, Érq. 8vo. 1 s. 68. Cadell, &c. 1780. “ Timust be owned,” says Dr. Jortin, with his ufual plea
I fantry *, “to have been a generous proceeding in Vorsius, to take the weaker fide on several occasions, and to be an advocate for those who stood most in need of allistance; in which charitable behaviour he has been, and will be imitated.” We wilh that Mr. Bryant, the very learned Writer now before us, may not have some concern in this remark and prediction.
The authenticity of the passage in Josephus concerning our Saviour *Jesus Christ, though it be found in all the copies of his Works now extant, has been, with great reason, called in question by some of the most learned men and able critics of this and the two preceding centuries. Mr. Bryant, in the present publication, has enumerated the following: Gifanius and Ofiander, Jacobus Salianus, Daniel Heinsius, Jacobus and Ludovicus Capellus, Boxhornus, Salmasius, Gronovius, Vorstius, Frenchemius, Tanaquil Faber, Sebaldus Snellius, Blondell, and Lardner. He might have added Le Clerc, Vitringa, Warburton, &c. On the contrary, it has been received as genuine, and defended by Cave, Huet, Fabricius, Whislon, Spanheim, Daubuz, and many others. The Reader will find a very juft and impartial account of the argument on both sides, with many judicious remarks, in Dr. Lardner's Jewish and Heathen Testimonies to the Truth of the Christian Religion, Vol. I. p. 150, and Preface to Vol. II. The last writer in this country, profefledly in vindicarion of the passage, was Dr. N. Forster, who, in a Dillertation published at Oxford, 1749, attempted, by an arbitrary alteration of the text, to sender it more consistent with the known character and sentimenis of Jofephus. Dr. Lardner, in the latter of the two places
above referred to, has, in our opinion, given a satisfactory re· piy to his arguments.
Mr. Bryant has now ranked himself among the defenders of this celebrated paragraph; endeavouring to prove it genuine, by taking into consideration the character and circumstances of the historian, together with the temper of the times, and the dispoficion of the Jews, both when our Savious lived, and when Jou [phus wrote;' and by giving such an interpretation of the patrage itself, as may ronder il confiftent with his sentiments and ticuarion. My purpose,' says he, is to search into the internal evidences with which this history is attended : to confider the fituasion of the Jews in general, and of Josephus in particular, and of their dilposition towards our Saviour and his
* Rem on Ecol. HA. Vull. p. 254,
miracles : and lastly, to shew that there is nothing in the account transmitted of Christ, the Man of Wisdom, but what an historian, so situated and circumstanced as Josephus, may be supposed to have given.
In order to enable our Readers to judge of the merit of his argument, and of the ability with which he hath supported it, we shall firft lay before them his translation of the paffage, and then give a few specimens of his reasoning in defence of it. His translation of the passage, as corrected by himself in his remarks on the feveral parts of it, is as follows:
• At this time Jefus appeared to the world, a man difinguished for his wisdom; if it be right to speak of him merely as a man. For he was a performer of wonderful works : a teacher of those who were well inclined to religion and virtue. And he won over to his doctrines many of the native Jews, and also many of the Pelleniste, who were of other countries. This was the person named Chris. And when Pilate, upon an accufation of the principal per fons among the "Jews, had condemned him to be crucified, those, who had from the beginning shewed their regard for him, fiill perfified in their affection. For he appeared to them upon the third day restored to life, according to the predictions of the sacred Prophets; who had foretold this, and many other wonderful circumstances concerning him. And to this day there exists a feet, who are from him denominated Chriftians.'
The learned Reader will perceive, by comparing this with the original, that in several places it is rather a paraphrase, than a translation. Mr. Bryant supports his interpretation by confidering each sentence apart, and endeavours to prove that there is nothing in the whole, but what may be fairly supposed to have come from the pen of Josephus.' We proceed to give some specimens of his reasoning on the subject.
Hv gaip trupadówv &pywe gointris: For he was a performer of wonderful works. "A Chriftian writer,' says Mr. Bryant, I would probably have spoken of these works by the terms Savudriwy spywr: Dr. Lardner *, in his Remarks on Dr. Forster's Dillertation above mentioned, has brought instances to prove, that the word TrocadoEos in Josephus has a precise and determinate meaning, and is equivalent to miraculous. He like. wise observes, that Eusebius applies the term tapadótos to the miracles of Jesus in the title of the chapter in which he intro. duces the passage in question from Josephus; and that in two different partages of his Demonftratio Evangelica, he makes use of the very expretion, παραδόξων ποιητής έργων, when fpeaking of our Saviour. Mr. Bryant's remark therefore falls to the ground; and it even becomes probable, that either Eusebius bim
ehere exijs wonderful citacred Prophe day r.
* Jew. and Heath, Tett. Pref. to Vol. Il. p.9.