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NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
The Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels. By Andrews
Norton. Vol. I. Second Edition. Cambridge: J. Owen.
1846. 8vo. pp. 261 and cclxxvii. Additions made in the Second Edition of the First Volume of
Norton's Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels. Cam. bridge : J. Owen. 1846. 8vo. pp. 52.
That a second edition of Mr. Norton's first volume on the “ Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels” has become necessary, within a period of ten years from the date of the origi. nal publication, affords gratifying proof, that, amid the general neglect into which critical theology has fallen, or is falling, among us, there is yet felt some lingering respect for works of thorough erudition and ripe scholarship. For the convenience of those who possess the first edition, all the important additions made in the second are here given in a pamphlet, in type corresponding to that of the volume, and with a notice of the places to which they belong. The additions are not all of equal importance; but no one who has the first edition would like to be without them, or would willingly spare the least fragment of what Mr. Norton may write on the subjects to which they relate. We would have his latest thoughts upon them. In the “ Note on Eichhorn and other Ger. man Theologians,” statements which stood apart in the original edition are brought together, and connected with some additional remarks. Some brief criticisms are offered on De Wette and Strauss. The weak parts in the argument of the latter are referred to, though no minute and elaborate refutation is attempt. ed. This Mr. Norton does not consider necessary. His estimate of both Strauss and De Wette, together with Eichhorn, may be learned from the following assertion: “ The books I have quoted will not be read after the present generation has passed away; and the opinions I have observed upon will soon cease to attract notice, except from the student of the history of theology." Besides the note already mentioned, and some others, “ Epiphanius's Account of the Gospel used by the Ebionites," and three on particular passages in the New Testament, additional chapter is given, containing “Concluding Remarks on the Direct Historical Evidence of the Genuineness of the Gospels." The historical argument is here clearly and succinctly stated, after which some modern objections are noticed, particu. larly those of Strauss already referred to. The denial of the possibility of miracles, with which Strauss starts, Mr. Norton ar
Notices of Recent Publications.
gues is equivalent to the denial of a Deity, that is, in any proper sense of the term, and therefore amounts to atheism, and thus involves the destruction of all religion. “But the fact has been overlooked,” he says, “ that, supposing the proposition to be admitted, that a miraculous intervention of the Deity is impossible, it would have no bearing on our present subject. No inference could be drawn from it to show that the Gospels were not written by those to whom they are ascribed.” This is an acute and discriminating remark, for the illustration of which we must refer the reader to the work itself.
A new edition of the second and third volumes is in press. We learn from the author that the additions made in it will probably not exceed ten or twelve pages in the two volumes, and will be printed separately, for the use of the owners of the first edition. He has not found it necessary to make any other alterations of any considerable importance. We do not see, there. fore, that the value of the copies of the first edition will suffer any essential depreciation. As to the first volume, we are inclined to think that its bibliographical value will be enhanced, since it contains some fifty pages of matter which has not been, and probably will not be, reprinted, and all the important addi. tions are given, as we have said, and may be procured separate. ly. The publication of such a work, in this country, can, of course, be attended with no pecuniary benefit to the author. Its sale, however, should, in all reason, secure him against loss. We conclude with expressing our deep sense of the value of Mr. Norton's historical and critical labors, and the hope that health and strength may be granted him to complete the remaining works on which he has bestowed so much thought, and which no one is so well qualified to execute, - works impatiently expected from his pen.
Defence of the Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius against Professor
Stuart's Translation. By the ORIGINAL TRANSLATOR. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1847. 8vo. Pp. 54.
In a notice of Professor Stuart's Translation of Gesenius's Grammar, in our number for January last, we mentioned that we hąd detected in it mistakes, and evidence of great haste and carelessness. We had not a copy of the original German before us. But in this pamphlet by Professor Conant, the first translator of Gesenius's Grammar, instances of mistranslation on the part of Professor Stuart, by which the sense of the original is perverted or obscured, are adduced in such number and variety as to con. vince every scholar who will attend to the subject, that singular injustice has been done by the Andover Professor both to Gese. nius and to Rödiger. We feel bound, in justice, to take back even the measured commendation which, after a superficial examination, we bestowed upon his translation, when we said, in the notice above mentioned, that it was in the main a good one. We now feel bound to say, that it never ought to be used as a representation of the grammar of Gesenius. Its errors are ab. solutely astounding, both for their number and their character. We therefore recommend that all, who have occasion to use a Hebrew Grammar, will call for Conant's Translation of Gesenius, which, though susceptible of some improvement, is immeasurably superior to that of Mr. Stuart.
We have made the preceding remarks with unfeigned regret. We are afraid that the effect of Professor Conant's pamphlet will be to lower the public estimation of Professor Stuart's previous labors, and of his general scholarship, beyond what is just and reasonable. It should be remembered that many of the errors detected by Professor Conant were the consequence of unaccountable haste and carelessness in the translator ; and that, though errors of a similar kind appear in all his writings, yet much, also, that is valuable and useful is found in them all. It is in consequence of the impulse which he has imparted to sacred, especially to Hebrew, literature in this country, that the younger race of scholars are able to detect his errors.
The Agamemnon of Æschylus, with English Notes. By C. C.
Felton, A. M., Eliot Professor of Greek Literature in the University at Cambridge. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. 1847. 12mo. pp. 189.
This edition of one of the most splendid of the Greek tragedies has just been issued by Professor Felton, who designs it for a text-book in our colleges. The text, which, as is well known, has always presented peculiar difficulties to commentators, appears here in an excellent form. The purpose of the work forbade the editor's swelling its size by undue quotations or commentaries, and he has consequently been compelled to exclude some ingenious emendations of difficult passages which have been suggested but not yet fully approved." From the same cause he has been led occasionally to render very involved and obscure passages in a somewhat inelegant manner, sacrificing grace of expression to the literal fidelity which is essential in a work intend. ed for young students. These are the chief defects of the book, if they can properly be regarded as defects; and, taking into 1847.]
Notices of Recent Publications.
account the peculiar difficulties of the work and the restraints imposed upon him by his immediate object, Professor Felton's edition of this play cannot but be considered as in a high degree creditable to himself, and likely to be widely and permanently useful.
Entertaining this opinion, we have been surprised and grieved to see in so respectable a magazine as the New York Knickerbocker a notice of this work, which, to our mind, is sadly want. ing in fairness and courtesy, as well as in accuracy. Besides the ungentlemanly feelings which he has displayed towards Mr. Felton personally, the writer has made what should have been a manly and dignified notice of a production claiming at least the rank of respectability a vehicle for the most unworthy local prejudices. So marked, indeed, is the tone of illiberality and flippancy which pervades the review, that we are persuaded it must furnish 10 every calm and considerate person the strongest internal evidence of its injustice ; and we should not have felt called upon to notice it in any way, were it not that the wide circulation and honorable character of the magazine in which it appears may give it a currency to which it is not of itself entitled.
Our limits will not permit us to furnish at length all the reasons upon which we found our opinion of the article, but a careful and so far as time has allowed) a thorough examination of every point which it contains justifies us, we think, in saying that the reviewer's charges may be divided into four classes, as follows. First, some five or six instances in which Mr. Felton's judgment or taste may be considered as questionable, or in which he is clearly liable to no heavier charge than that of inadvertence. Secondly, assertions of the reviewer of an entirely arbitrary nature, in which he settles doubtful points or corrects statements by an ex cathedrâ decision. Thirdly, remarks apparently pointless and unnecessary, the only object of which seems to have been, as certainly their only effect is, to swell the article to an imposing size. And, lastly, a large class of charges of inaccuracy or ignorance made by the reviewer against Mr. Felton, which prove, on examination, to be unsupported and erroneous. of this last class, as most important to our purpose, we ven. ture to present a few obvious specimens.
v. 231. The reviewer here, after asserting that quantity is of “ very small account with the Bostonians," and accusing Professor Felton of ignorance of the quantity of the word onios, exhibits himself a great want of accuracy in respect to that word; for anios does not universally mean “ the Peloponnese,” but is also used (as by Soph. E. C. 1678) in the sense of " distant.” (We know that Blomfield, Glos. Ag. 247, contends for the former meaning in that passage also; but his opinion is not generally re. ceived.) Moreover, anios is used by later writers in the sense of “the Peloponnese." (Vide Liddell and Scott, Buttmann's Lexil.)
535 – 538. roxaiov both Liddell and Peile translate "an. cient,” as does Felton. Just so, kozuiov öveidos, Pind. O. 6. 89.
713. Aivos occurs only three times in the Agamemnon. In two of those instances, including the present, it is translated by Wellauer "laus." How far, then, it is true, that “ the word is not usually employed in a good sense in this play," the reader may judge.
816. A glance at the lexicon will, we think, satisfy the reviewer that the metaphor here is not taken from “ throwing dice,” since xatapoints is never found to bear that meaning; the words so used being αναρρίπτειν and βάλλειν.
979. On this we would say that nápa plainly stands for náρεστι, ,
a fact which seems not to have occurred to the reviewer. Comp. Soph. Elect. 285, Æsch. Pers. 167, in both of which cases the word stands, as here, at the end of an iambic line.
1206. úntiagua. Professor Felton's rendering of this word, “prostration," is certainly a possible one, and we must be per. mitted to think it the best one in this place, the somewhat extraordinary quotation from Horace's Ode to Phydele to the contrary notwithstanding.
1244 - 1247. The calmness with which Klausen, Peile, Schneider, and Felton are pronounced to have mistaken the construction of this passage is really rather astonishing, and somewhat prepares us for the assertion, that tiver is said of those who pay the penalty, but not of these who inflict it. Cf., to the contrary, Æsch. Theb. 638, Soph. CE. C. 227, Pind. P. 2. 24.
1311 - 1314. Porson's emendation of this passage, so far from being " universally" received, is rejected by Wellauer, Dindorf, and Klausen ; the last of whom (pronounced by Peile the first of foreign commentators on Æschylus) reads, with Fel. ton, vórą yável. We prefer Professor Felton's translation of nozévuadiy as simpler than Linwood's.
We have thus briefly noticed some of the instances in which the heavy accusations of the reviewer recoil upon himself. It is not easy for us to express the regret with which we regard all such indications of the existence of a narrow and ungenerous spirit of rivalry as that contained in the following extract.
“ The inhabitants of the American Athens, setting up for universal geniuses, have, among other things, assumed to be the classical instructers of the whole American community ; while it is notorious that there is not man among them who can write three pages upon any subject involving real scholarship without exposing himself egregiously. And not only do they claim to be the classics of the country, but the only classics, affecting to despise New York scholarship, which is really very