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ESSAYS AND DISSERTATIONS
BY A SOCIETY OF CLERGYMEN.
CONTAINING CHIEFLY TRANSLATIONS OF THE
WORKS OF GERMAN CRITICS.
Southern District of New York, ss. BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the 18th day of September, A. D. 1820, in the fifty-fourth year of the Independence of the United States of America, G. &C. & H. Carvill, of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the words follow. ing, to wit :
Essays and Dissertations in Biblical Literature. By a Society of Cler
gymen. Vol. I. Containing chiefly Translations of the Works of
German Critics." In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled " An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned.” And also to an Act, entitled “Àn Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned, and extending the henefits thereof to the arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching historical and other Prints."
FRED. J. BETTS.'
W. E. DEAN, PRINTER
In publishing this volume, the authors beg leave to accompany it with a few introductory remarks.
The object of the work is to advance the cause of Biblical Literature, principally by placing within the reach of students some treatises, which are not now readily accessible. At the present time, this department of theological science is receiving a thorough investigation. Scholars, celebrated for the accuracy and the extent of their erudition, are devoting their talents to the illustration of the Bible, by cultivating a fundamental acquaintance with its languages, and with the whole circle of knowledge-connected with it, and by applying to the subject all the light, afford. ed by historical research and philosophical investigation. In our own country, there is an increasing interest in Sacred Literature ; and the Clergy of all denominations are more and more impressed with the importance of searching the Scriptures, in order to ascertain and defend the fundamental truths of revelation. Our Seminaries of theology are directing the attention of their stu. dents, to the careful study of the Bible in its Original Languages, and supplying them with aids, to prosecute this study with suc.
In England, several of our critical works have been re. printed ; a few productions of continental scholars have been translated ; and some original publications have been added to the sacred treasury.
But of all those who apply their learning to the explanation of the Scriptures, not only the largest number, but we must say, the clearest in arrangement, and the most satisfactory in collecting knowledge, are to be found among the German writers. well aware, that there is a prejudice in some minds, against Ger. man divinity and philology in general, arising from that looseness of interpretation, which has characterized the modern neological school. We would by no means vindicate their views ; but it is unreasonable to condemn the whole, for the errors of a part only, even if that part should be considerable. And it is possible, that the works of many, even of that part, may contain much, that is of great interest and value. Is it wise, then, to forego the ad. vantage, to be derived from the study of these authors, because some of their sentiments are loose and untenable? It is the part of prudence, to use them with the proper caution ; for we may guard against their errors, and avail ourselves of the ample fund of learning, which they are ready to pour out before us.
With these views, we offer the following Essays to the student of Sacred Literature, and to the intelligent Christian, who is interested in whatever extends a knowledge of the Bible. one exception, they are selected from the works of able German scholars of the last half century.
The biographical sketch of such a man as Bochart will be read, we think, with interest, by all who appreciate his vast literary labors, and regard his productions as a storehouse of learning almost inexhaustible. MICHAELIS deserves an honorable place, in the estimation of all who have a due regard to criticism ; and his Treatise on the Use of the Syriac Language, to which, as a favourite subject, he paid more than ordinary attention, may excite the student to increase his knowledge of Hebrew, by an acquaintance with this easy cognate dialect. EICHHORN and GESENIUS, the former of whom has not been dead two years, and the latter is still living, are too celebrated, to require a particular notice. The Treatise on the Canon of the Old Testament is generally allowed to be among the best, if not the very best, ever
written ; and the History of the Interpretation of Isaiah is evidently the work of a writer, well acquainted with interpretation, and able to form a judgment for himself, in all cases of difficulty. These two learned men, it is well known, exhibit inade. quate views of revelation, although it is but seldom, hat, in the treatises contained in this volume, any very objectionable features are to be traced. Where this is the case, however, the translators have either added notes, or wholly omitted the objectionable pas. sages. The reader is informed of such omissions, and of the extent of them ; but they are, in general, only a few lines. With the exception of such, the whole of the author's matter is, in every case, given in the translation.
STORR and Tittmany are both decidedly orthodox. The former is already favourably known among us, by his Treatise on the Historic Sense, which was translated and published by Pro. fessor Gibbs, of the Theological Seminary of Yale College, and by his Biblical Theology, for which we are indebted to Professor SCHMUCKER, of the German Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. The author took a firm stand against the accommo. dating system, as maintained by Semler and his followers ; and as a learned defender of the leading doctrines of the Gospel, he arrested the progress of naturalism, by the salutary influence of his able writings. His treatises unite the results of a vigorous discrimination, and of an enlarged view of scripture truth. He seems to bring together all that the Scriptures contain, on the subjects which he is investigating ; so that the parallel or colla. teral texts are either referred to, or brought to bear upon them. In this respect, he is superior to any author with whose works we are acquainted. TITTMANN is eminent, in the same honorable rank with SroRr. Orthodox in his views of divine truth, careful in his investigations, and judicious in his conclusions, by his Treatise on Gnosticism he has furnished us with valuable infor. mnation and sound criticism.
Great care has been taken, to make the translations accurate, and we trust, that we have not often failed in this respect, but,