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Printed, for the Proprietors, at the Anti-Jacobin Press, No. 3, Southampton-Street, Strand,
AND PUBLISHED AT THE ANTI-JACOBIN OFFICE, NO.3, SOUTHAMPTON-STREET, STRAND,
Review and Magazine;
&c. &c. &c.
For JANUARY, 1802.
Hofea. Tranflated from the Hebrew: with Notes explanatory and critical. By Samuel Lord Bishop of Rochefter. 4to. PP. 274. Robfon. London. 1801.
T is with pleasure we addrefs ourselves to the review of a work, which every former publication of the fame Right Reverend Prelate induces us to think will amply repay us for any time or attention that we may be able to bestow upon it. In faying this, we do not feel ourselves committed to admit and approve every tranflation or criticism of this learned commentator; efpecially when we find him, on many occafions, widely differing from other expofitors of the first rank and authority.
We are well affured that his Lordship will indulge us in the fame liberty, which he freely takes with others, being himself in an eminent degree" Nullius addictus jurare in verba magiftri.'
The Preface to this work we 'confider as a masterly performance. The argument as to the reality of the prophet's injunction, which many interpreters fuppofe to have been only in vifion, is difcuffed at large; and the Bifhop takes decidedly the former propofition, and fuppofes the marriage to have been realized; not, however, grounding, in any material degree, the tenor or tendency of the prophecy on this circumftance.
"The general fubject of the prophecy appears to be the fortunes of the whole Jewish nation in its two great branches of Ifrael and Judah. The depofition of Jehu's family, by the murther of Zedekiah, the fon and fucceffor of Jeroboam, was the commencement; the termination will
NO. XLIII, VOL. XI.
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 have fallen, upon the two diftinct kingdoms of Ifrael and Judah, typified by Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi."
His Lordship (p. xxviii.) imputes the mifinterpretation of this and other prophecies to the notion, that the particular accomplishment of them was to be locked for in the prophet's own time, or in the times which would foon fucceed them; as though they looked not to the final restoration of the Jews as a principal branch of the great fcheme of general redemption. The obfcurity of this prophecy the Bishop imputes folely to the ftyle; differing herein (but in terms of the highest esteem and refpect) from "that illuftrious critic," Bishop Lowth, with whom, fays his Lordship, I reluctantly difagree; whofe abilities I revere; and whofe memory I cherish with affection and regard." The Bishop of Rochester accounts thus for the obscurity of the prophet:
"He delights in a ftile, which always becomes obfcure, when the language of the writer ceases to be a living language. He is commatic, to ufe St. Jerome's word, more than any other of the prophets. He writes in fhort, detached, disjointed fentences; not wrought up into periods, in which the connection of one claufe with another, and the dialectic relations, are made manifeft to the reader by an artificial collocation; and by those connexive particles which make one difcourfe of parts, which otherwife appear as a ftring of independent propofitions, which it is left to the reader's difcernment to unite. His tranfitions from reproof to perfwafion, from threatening to promife, 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 ftile: for to thefe circumftances it owes that eagerness and fiery animation, which are the characteristic excellence of his writings, and are fo peculiarly suited to his fubject."
After acknowledging his obligations to Archbishop Newcome, the Bishop of Rochefter enters his folemn proteft 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 confequences.
"That the corruptions are greater in Hofea, than in other parts of the Old Teftament, I fee no reason to fuppofe. That the corruptions in any part are fo numerous, or in fuch degree, as to be a principal caufe of obfcu rity, or, indeed, to be a caufe of obfcurity at all, with the utmost confidence I deny. And, be the corruptions what they may, I must protest against the ill-advised meafure, as to me it seems, however countenanced by great examples, of attemping to remove any obfcurity supposed to arife from them, by what is called conjectural emendation. Confidering the matter only as a problem in the doctrine of chances, the odds are always infinitely againft conjecture. For one inftance in which conjecture may reftore the original reading, in one thousand, or more, it will only leave corruption worfe corrupted."
The conjectural emendations which I chiefly dread and reprobate, fays his Lordship, are those which reft folely on what the critics call the exigence of the place.
"Numerals (he observes) may fometimes be corrected by conjecture; to make dates agree one with another, or a fum total agree with the articles of which it is compofed. But this is not to be done without the greatest circumfpection, and upon the evidence of calculations formed upon historical data, of which we are certain. A tranfpofition of words may fometimes be allowed; and all liberties may be taken with the points. Beyond this, conjecture is not to be trufted, left it make only a farther corruption of what it pretends to correct. At the utmost, a conjectural reading fhould be offered only in a note (and that but rarely), and the textual translation fhould never be made to conform to it. It is much fafer to fay, This paffage it is beyond my ability to explain;' than to fay, 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 obferves) is certainly one of the greatest, and most important, that have been undertaken, and accomplifhed, fince the revival of letters. But its principal use and importance is this; that it fhuts the door for ever against conjecture, except under the reftrictions which have been mentioned."
The notes in the work before us are very copious, as well explanatory as critical: and a very great share of biblical, hiftorical, and grammatical knowledge is difplayed throughout the whole. It is impoffible to follow his Lordfhip through the work; but we find it difficult to induce ourselves to adopt fome of the fuggefted alterations in the text. He wishes it to be diftinctly understood that he does not defire this tranflation fhould fuperfede the ufe of the public tranflation in the service of the Church. We could never reconcile our ears to fuch a paffage as this:
"I will be as a lion unto Ephraim, and as a young lion to the houfe of Judah, I!" We fee no reafon for not continuing the stop at I, I will tear, &c. we think conveys the fame emphatical fignification in a more natural form of expreffion, Nor can we readily admit the words belaboured them by the Prophets. There is a certain degree of (his Lordship will excufe the term) vulgarity in that word, which we conceive beneath the dignity of the prophetic ftyle. We think the word hewed, ufed in our tranflation, might be improved; and would recommend this reading of the verfe as pre
"Therefore have I wounded them as (in which fenfe the word is ufed by the Prophet Ifaiah) by the Prophets; I have flain them by the words of my mouth."
Thefe, however, with a few others that might be noticed, are the pauce macula, which, in a work, wherein plurima nitent, we might readily have paffed over, were we not willing to prove the attention which we have paid to his Lordship's work, as well as to demonstraté