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PREFACE BY THE GENERAL EDITOR.
This volume embraces three distinct parts, as follows:
1. A General Introduction to the Poetical Books of the Old Testament, by the American Editor. It corresponds to a similar Introduction to the Prophetical Books. In its preparation I have chiefly consulted Lowth, Herder, and Ewald. I might have considerably enlarged it by introducing more specimens, and discussing minutely the difficult questions of Hebrew metre, rhyme, and versification generally, but the great extent of this volume suggested brevity.
2. A new Version of the Book of Job, with brief philological annotations, a preliminary essay, and a series of dissertations on the more difficult passages of the Book, by Prof. TAYLER LEWIS, who has made Job for years the object of special study. He discusses with rare ability and vigor its grand all pervading Theism, its leading idea and aim, and finds in the humble and unconditional submission to the Divine will the final answer to Satan's question in the Prologue: “Will a man serve God for naught?” The theistic relation of man, made in the image of God, so strongly expressed in Job and Genesis, contains “the power of an endless life" (Heb. vii. 16), though a future state is not dogmatically expressed. The veiled Shemitic idea has more moral power than the Greek or Vedaic conceptions of another life, though the latter seem so much more definite and mythologically clear. The Rhythmical Version aims at fidelity and conciseness, smoothness of measure, and harmony with the Hebrew accentuation and divisions. The Exegetical Notes pay special attention to the broken, ejaculatory or soliloquizing style of Job's speeches, as distinguished from the less impassioned addresses of others; also to the passages on the great works of nature, and those questions in the latter part of Job which—according to Humboldt's dictum-have not as yet been answered by science. (See especially notes on chs. xxviii., xxxvi. to xxxix.) Of the twelve Excursuses on important sections, those on the famous passage ch. xix. 25 (pp. 173 sqq.), on the peculiar character of Job's speeches (175), and on the Angel Intercessor (pp. 208 sqq.) deserve special attention.
3. The Commentary of Prof. ZOECKLER, prepared for the Lange Series (Leipzig, 1872, pp. 321), translated by Dr. L. J. Evans, Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Literature in Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati. Prof. Evans has given a faithful and idiomatic version of the German work, and has added valuable references, citations, and critical remarks, mostly in the exegetical part, where the general utility of the commentary seemed to require it. He has also, in the Introduction (pp. 252-262), ventured upon a new and ingenious suggestion in respect to the vexed question of the authorship, which deserves careful consideration. He ascribes it to king Hezekiah, and regards the beautiful ode after his recovery, which Isaiah has preserved (ch. xxxviii. 9-20), as the key-note rather than the echo of Job. To the same age, though not the same author, Ewald, Renan and Merx assign the composition. But the conjectures of a post-Mosaic and post-Solomonic authorship leave it an inexplicable mystery that a pious Israelite enjoying the blessings of the theocracy and the temple service, should, in such a long poem on the highest theme, have purposely ignored the sacred laws and institutions of his Church, and gone back to a simpler and more primitive religion. Ancient literature furnishes no example of such a complete reproduction of a byegone age. For, whoever was the author, he certainly represents a patriarchal state of society and a religion of the order of Melchizedek, the cotemporary of Abraham, the mysterious ιερεύς του θεού του υψίστου, βασιλεύς δικαιο. σύνης, απάτωρ, αμήτωρ, αγενεαλόγητος.
But I cannot enter into details. The object of the Preface is simply to introduce the reader to the contents of this volume. The remaining parts of the Old Testament division of this Commentary are considerably advanced, even in anticipation of the German work, which has not yet reached Isaiah, the last historical Books, and the post-exilian Prophets.
NEW YORK, Norember 7, 1874.
POETICAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
I. SPECIAL WORKS. * Robert Lowth (son of William Lowth, who wrote a Commentary on the Prophets, born at Winchester, 1710, Prof. of Poetry, Oxford, since 1741, Bishop of London, since 1777, died 1787): De Sacra Poesi Hebræorum Prælectiones Academicæ, 1753; with copious notes by John David Michaelis (Prof. in Göttingen, d. 1791), Gött. 1770; another ed, with additioval notes by Rosenmüller, Leipz. 1815; best Latin edition, with the additions of Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Richter, and Weiss, Oxon. 1828. English translation (“Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrers, with the principal notes of Michaelis") by G. Gregory, 1787; re-edited with improvements by Calvin E. Stove, Andover, 1829. Comp. also Lowth's prelim nary dissertation in his translation of Isaiah (13th ed., Lond., 1842). Lowth's work is the first earnest attempt at a learned and critical discus sion of Hebrew Poetry.
* J. Gottfried Herder (an almost universal genius and scholar, poet, historian, philosopher and theologian, born 1744 at Mohrungen in East Prussia, died as court chaplain at Weimar, 1803): Geist der Hebräischen Poesie, Dessau, 1782 ; 3d ed. by Justi, Leipz., 1825. Full of enthusiasm for the purity and sublimity of Hebrew poetry. English trant lation by President James Marsh, Burlington, Vt., 1833, 2 vols. Comp. also the first twelve Letters of Herder on the Study of Theology.
L. T. Kosegarten: Ueber den Dichtergeist der heil. Schriftsteller und Jesu Chr., Greifsw., 1794.
J. G. Wenrich: Commentatio de poeseos Hebraicæ atque Arabicæ origine, indole mutuoque consensu atque discrimine. Lips. 1843 (276 pp.).
J. G. Sommer: Vom Reime in der hebr. Volks-poesie, in his Bibl. Abhandlungen, Bonn, 1846, pp. 85-92.
H. Hupfeld: Rhythm and Accentuation in Hebrew Poelry, transl. by Prof. Charles M. Mead in the Andover 'Biblia Treca Sacra' for 1867.
* Isaac Taylor (Independent, a learned layman, d. 1865): The Spirit of the Hebrew Poetry, repub., New York, 1862 (with a biographical introduction by Dr. Wm. Adams).
Ernst Meier: Geschichte der poetischen National-Lileratur der Hebrüer, Leipz., 1856. The samo: Die Form der Hebril ischen Poesie, Tübingen, 1853.
Older essays on Hebrew poetry and music by Lowth (sec above), Ebert, Gomarus, Schramm, Fleury, Dannhauer, Pfeiffer, Leyser, Le Clerc, Hare, and others may be found in the XXX Ist and XXXIId vols. of Ugolini's Thesaurus.
II. ARTICLES IN CYCLOPÆDIAS. G. B. Winer: Poesie hebräische in his Bibl.-Realwörterbuch, Vol. II., 264–268 (3d ed., 1849). Ed. Reuss: Hebräische Poesie, in Herzog's Real-Encyclopædie, Vol. V., 598-608. W. A. Wright: Hebrew Poetry, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, (enlarged Am. ed.), Vol. III., pp. 2549-2561. Diestel: Dichlkunst der Hebrüer, in Schenkel's Bibellexicon, I., 607–615.
III. COMMENTARIES AND ISAGOGICAL WORKS. • K. Ewald: Die Dichter des Allen Bundes, in 3 Parts, Göttingen, 1854–67; 2d ed., 1865 sqq., Vol. I., pp. 300. Full of genius and independent research.
E. Meier: Die poel. Bücher des A. T., Stuttgart, 1864.
Tayler Lewis : Metrical Version of Kohelelh, with an introduction (in an Appendix to his translation of Lango on Koheleth), New York, 1870.
The relevant sections in the Critical Introductions to the Old Testament by De Wette, LAEVERNICK, KEIL, BLEEL, Hoese, etc.