Imatges de pÓgina

the freedom of his inquiries and his love of philosophy, taught him Euclid's elements from the Hebrew version. After the prema ture death of his beloved friend, Dr. Kisch, a Jewish physician, supplied him with books, and devoted some part of his time to the instruction of a student, whose strength of intellect he had the discernment to perceive, and the affection to aid. Under the instruction of this valuable friend he was soon enabled to read Locke in a Latin version.

"In 1748 Mendolsohn formed an acquaintance with Dr. Samuel Gumpertz, another learned Jew, who, to his professional studies, added a knowledge of the mathematics, and was well acquainted with the modern languages. He introduced him to a literary circle, and this intercourse enlarged his mind. He now applied himself to the living languages, chiefly to the English, that he might read his favorite Locke in his own idiom. His literary friends soon became numerous, among whom was the celebrated Lessing, who encouraged and assisted him in his studious labors.

"In 1751 he published some philosophical dialogues; a translation of Rousseau's essay on the inequality of man; and a dissertation on the sensation of the beautiful. The German language was then in a neglected and unpolished state, and the clearness, precision, and dignity of the style of the Hebrew philosopher was exhibited to great advantage. He next associated himself with Lessing, Ramler, and Nicolai, in writing a journal, composed in the form of letters, on German literature; and this work obtained great celebrity. In 1767 he published his "Phaedon, or discourse on the immortality of the soul." This work was considered as a most curious disquisition on a subject so abstract and sublime, and diffused the fame of Mendolsohn through literary Germany. He was styled "the Jewish Socrates" for the strength of his reasoning, and "the Jewish Plato" for the amenity of his diction. This work has been translated and published in French and English. In 1794 [1774?] he gained the prize from the Berlin academy for his essay on the evidence of the metaphysical science.

"After these publications, amidst the daily occupations of commerce, he still retired to his studies, and composed elementary books for the children of his neglected nation. To raise the degraded character of his brethren was the favorite object he always had in view. One of his publications, styled 'the ritual of the Jews,' was formed under the direction of the chief rabbi, Hirsch Levin.

"The tranquillity of Mendolsohn's life was at length disturbed by his publishing a work, entitled 'Jerusalem,' in which he pretends, that the Jews have a law, and not a revealed religion; that dogmas can never be revealed; and that the only doctrine of his nation is the religion of nature. His advancing these opinions gave rise to a controversy which agitated his feeble and sensitive frame to such a degree, that it is supposed to have occasioned his death.

Zimmerman, who was personally acquainted with him, informs us, 'that his nervous system was deranged in an almost inconceivable manner.' His whole character was a too subtle composition of genius and sensibility, and his whole life a malady. He died of an apoplexy, 1785, aged fifty-three years. It has been said of Mendolsohn, that 'he instructed his fellow-citizens as a father, and his rivals he cherished as a brother.' His soft, modest, and obliging disposition procured him the esteem of the superstitious and incredulous, and at his death he received from his nation the honors which are usually paid to the first rabbis.

"Beside the works above mentioned, he published letters to La.vater, a version of the Pentateuch in German for his countrymen, general Principles of the Belles lettres and fine arts, and several other ingenious productions." vol. ii. pp. 132-137.

We have no complaints to make in regard to the arrangement of the work under review; and the style is plain, perspicuous, and free from all affectation. Of reflections upon the subjects of the history, there are few; and as Miss Adams claims no higher rank among authors, than that of a compiler, whatever she has done in this way is gratuitous. In commencing and closing her labors however, she offers such remarks, as would occur to a thinking, well-informed, and pious Christian.

We think the public much indebted to Miss Adams for her faithful and judicious labors, as well in this, as in her preceding works. When we consider that the former part of this history is drawn chiefly from a folio of seven hundred and fifty closely printed pages, and a book rarely to be found among us, and that the latter part is collected from various works, in order to form a continuous whole-and that all this is done with great judgment and accuracy, we are persuaded that she has furnished a popular book, which was much wanted. We cheerfully recommend it therefore to all the reading part of the community; and are willing to promise, even the well informed, much entertainment, especially in the latter half of the history, in which much is comprised in a small compass, that we should not readily know where else to find, without the author's continual references.

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[THE editor has been favored with the following notice of the edition of the Hebrew Bible proposed at New York. Some account of this may be seen in the last number of the Repository, p. 230.]

MESSRS. WHITING & WATSON of New York have issued proposals for a critical edition of the Hebrew Bible, with the vowel points and accents, in stereotype, under the inspection and revision of Dr. Mason and Prof. Matthews. Every friend of sacred literature must consider the publication of a Hebrew Bible as a most desirable event. Copies of it of any edition are so rare, and of the best editions so rare and expensive, that all the motives of convenience and economy unite with those of national partiality and sacred utility in urging us to wish success to the undertaking of an American Hebrew Bible.

As the proposed edition is offered to the attention and patronage of the public, we would present to the notice of its editors and patrons those remarks on the nature of the undertaking, which suggest themselves to our minds. They regard the text, the vowel points and accents, the various readings, and the mode of the impression.

1. The text of Van der Hooght, as it appears in his edition of 1705, is proposed by the editors as the basis; but it ought to be Frey's impression (if trial should confim its character) of Van der H's, text, which is now publishing in numbers, three of which, at the last accounts, had appeared. It ought to be Frey's impression, because he has discovered several errors in Van der H's. original edition, which certainly, being thus discovered, ought not to be copied into a permanent edition of Van der H's. text.

2. In regard to the vowel points, without entering upon the controversy, which they have excited (which is now however considered by the best critics as having resulted in establishing the originality of some but not all of the masoretic vowels,* or

* Eichhorn's Einleitung ins Alte Test. vol. i. p. 156. Michaelis Orient. und Exeget. Bibliotheh. Th. ix. p. 82, in a review of Dupuy's dissertation, in the history of the academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres.

vowels similar to them,) we shall only say, that, in our opinion, formed from several years experience, they are of no inconsiderable value and importance. But if we may trust the accounts we have of the labors of other editors-or indeed the obvious extent of the undertaking, it is too much to expect of the gentlemen, engaged to "inspect and revise" this edition, any ap proach to perfection in this particular. Of the edition of Van der Hooght we are told, that the proof sheets were thrice corrected by a Jew, before they were sent to Van der Hooght;→→→ who then corrected them by a threefold comparison with the edition of Robert Stephens, 1539-59, Bomberg's Veneta major, and J. Athias' of 1667, "ut certo certius exploratum mihi esset nec Typothetam nec Correctorem Judæum quicquam, me invito, omississe aut immutasse."* Meisner, after saying, that he doubts whether there are many, who are armed with such an iron patience, and disposed to such an expense of time and strength, as are required for a work of this kind, adds, with respect to the correction of the press, and the selection of readings which will be a part of the labor of the present edition: "For one can hardly conceive how tedious, oppressive, and fatiguing this labor is, who has not himself been employed in the correction of some of the sheets; and thus learnt how long one must be detained upon trifles, how many books must be consulted over and over again, how much caution and circumspec tion must be used in selecting the most important various readings, from such a medley and mass of them as strikes even the eye in Kennicott's work, how much attention and discrimination must be exercised to answer your own and public expectation. Two sound eyes, with a firm constitution, and a thorough, nay perfect, knowledge of the Hebrew language, will hardly be sufficient to secure a work from errata, which is exposed to them in such various ways." Therefore it is not with the least intention to undervalue the Hebrew knowledge of the gentlemen, who propose to inspect and revise this edition, that we suggest that they have formed an inadequate idea of the difficulties of their undertaking, in superintending an impression of the Hebrew Bible, with the Masoretic points and accents. • Van der Hooght. Prefatio, §4. † Meisner. Prefatio vi.

There are probably very few Christians of our country, who have paid much attention to the accents, farther than they serve to denote the pauses in discourse: in which character they answer in some measure to our English punctuation. About one fourth of them are so used. As to the accents therefore, which are nearly thirty in number, we may suppose that the editors would be obliged to do almost every thing by ocular inspection and comparison. The utmost aid, which they could derive from each other, would be from the constant annunciation by one of them of the name of the accent, placed over, or under, or between the several letters, from word to word, while the other is looking in his proof sheet for the accent of that name. The difficulty is increased by the barbarism and length of the names, and it will be no small addition to the toil of pronouncing first the consonants, and then the numerous attendant vowels, to articulate upon almost every word some such name as Sagolta, Gereschajim, Schalschaleth, Merca-Kephula, and Jareach Ben Jomo. Though the accents, with the exception of those above distinguished, are of no use out of the synagogue, and of undecided use in it, yet it would be mortifying, after having undertaken to give them entire, to fall into those numerous errors, which cannot be avoided without a prodigious expense of time, a constant and severe vigilance, and a perfect knowledge of the tongue.

But to return to the vowel points, we will state some reasons for thinking accuracy unattainable by the arrangements for the proposed edition. Every vowel point, together with those marks which denote the different powers of the same consonant, is placed over, or under, in, or between the letters. The difference of the sound between some of the vowels is so subtle, that the ear cannot be trusted to distinguish between them: so that the person inspecting the proof sheet, without a thorough grammatical knowledge of the pointing of every word, could derive but little aid from another, who should read the copy ever so correctly. If again the critic is to depend upon his grammatical knowledge of the points, he must have a distinct remembrance of every word in his Bible; should know how far, for the sake of euphony, a long vowel is sometimes

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