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the use of good authors will warrant the propriety or elegance. Sufficient evidence in the one case, is often no evidence in the other.
§ 13. BLACKWALL 2 admits freely that there are many Hebraisms in the New Testament, at the same time asserting that they are real beauties, which add both vigour and ornament to the expression. In this opinion, if he was serious, I believe that, upon examination, we shall not be found to differ. Abstracting from that lowest kind of beauty in language, which results from its softness and harmony, consi. dered as an object to the ear, every excellency of style is relative, arising solely from its fitness for producing, in the mind of the reader, the end intended by
be no solidity in this reasoning, nine tenths of what has been so pompously produced, to show that the supposed Hebraisms of the New Testamentare in the genuine idiom of the Greek tongue, are no better than arrant trifling. It was to triflers of this sort that Chrysostom said very appositely, Iνα μη καταγελωμεθα ετω διαλεγομενοι προς Ελληνας, επειδαν ημιν προς αυτές αγων ην, καταγορω. μεν αποσολων ως αμαθων, η γαρ κατηγορια αυτη εγκωμιον. Chrys. Hom. 3. in 1 Cor. i. 6 That we may not render ourselves ridi. “ culous, arguing thus with Grecians, for our dispute is with “them; let us accuse the Apostles of being illiterate, for this
accusation is an encomium.” Origen goes still farther, and says, Ουκ ασυναισθητοι οι αποστολοι τυγχάνοντες των εν οις προσκοπτασι, φασιν ιδιωται είναι τω λογω, αλλ' και τη γνωσει. Ρhiloc. c. 4. “ The Apostles, not insensible of their own defects, profess " themselves to be of the vulgar in speech, but not in knowledge.”
21 Sacr. Class. Part I. Ch. 1.
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the writer. Now in this view it is evident, that a style and manner may, to readers of one denomination, convey the writer's sentiments with energy as well as perspicuity, which, to those of a different denomination, would convey them feebly, darkly, and, when judged by their rules of propriety, improperly. This I take to have been actually the case with the writers of the New Testament. I speak particularly of the historical books. I look upon the language of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as better adapted to the readers for whose use the Gospels and Acts were at first composed, than the language of Plato or Demosthenes would have been.
I should, at the same time, think it unreasonable to deny that the latter must have been more intelli. gible to an Athenian, and much more pleasing, nervous, and animated, than the former. Nay, if such a one had even denominated the idiom of the New Testament barbarous, I should not have thought it an unpardonable offence. The word indeed sounds harshly; but we know that, from the mouths of native Greeks, it could only mean that the idiom of that book is not conformable to the rules of their grammarians and rhetoricians, and to the practice of their writers of reputation ; a concession which we may easily make them, without derogating, in the least, from the Apostles and Evangelists ;-a concession which (as was observed before) the most learned and oratorical of the Greek fathers did not scruple to make. In such cases, it is evident, that a native
of common sense is a much better judge than a learned foreigner ?
end sido Neni Tha whil
$14. I EXPRESSED myself dubiously of Blackwall's seriousness in affirming that the Oriental idioms,
with which the sacred authors abound, are highly ornamental to their compositions; because nothing can be plainer than that he is indefatigable in controverting their claims to the greater part of those ornaments. I cannot think he would have willingly injured them; yet it is impossible not to perceive, that he is at infinite pains, though on the most frivolous pretexts 23, to divest them of almost every beauty of
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22 Hardly any foreigner of the last century has been more conversárit with English men and English books than Voltaire. Yet his knowledge of our language, on which I have been told he piqued himself not a little, has not secured him from blun. dering when he attempted to write it, In a letter to the Pari. sians, prefixed to his comedy L'Ecossaise, which he thought proper to introduce to the world as a translation, he quotes the following sentence as part of a letter he had received from the English author : “ You have quite impoverished the character of Wasp; and you have blotted his chastisement at the end of “the drama.” An Englishman might have guessed what he meant by the first clause, but must have remained in total dark. ness about the second, if he had not explained himself by sub. joining the translation. Vous avez afaibli le caractere de Fre. lon ; et vous avez supprime son chatiment a la fin de la piece. An explanation not less necessary to many of his English rea. ders than to his French.
23 The following is a specimen, Vol. II. Part I. Ch. 2. $ 2. Kataßorn rooms in the sacred writers, seemed to some gentle
this sort ascribed to them by others ! I desire only to restore to them the merit, of which he has not very consistently, though I believe with a pious intention, endeavoured to strip them. This critic did not consider that, when he admitted any Hebraisms in the New Testament, he, in effect, gave up the cause.
. That only can be called a Hebraism in a Greek book, which, though agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, is not so to the Greek. Nobody would ever call that a Scotticism which is equally in the manner of both Scots and English. Now, such foreign idioms as Hebraisms in Greek, Grecisms in Hebrew, or Latinisms in either, come all within the definition of barbarism, and sometimes even of solecism--words which have always something relative in their signification ; that turn of expression being a barbarism or a solecism in one language, which is strictly proper in another and I may add, to one set of hearers, which is not so to another. It is, then, in vain, for any one to debate about the application of the names barbarism and solecism.
To do so, is at best, but to wrangle about words, after admitting all that is meant by them. The Apostle Paul, less scrupulous, does not hesitate, by impli
men conversant in these studies unexampled in the old Gre6.cians,' Indeed it is very rare; but it is found in the lofty “ Pindar (Nem. Od. 2.) Kataborav izgav cywww.” A most ex. traordinary way of proving that the phrase KataBorn xorus is not unexampled in the old Grecians. About the noun Katabora no doubt was ever made, nor was any doubt made about Koruos; the question was solely about the phrase. VOL. 1.
cation, to call every tongue barbarous to those who do not understand it. If I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be a barbarian to him that speaketh; and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian to me 24. Nor does it make any difference, as appears from the whole of the Apostle's argument, even if what is spoken be spoken by the Spirit. Surely, with equal reason, we may say of those foreign idioms in any tongue, which render what is said unintelligible, or even obscure, to the natives, that, in respect of them, they are barbarisms. Nor is it, I think, denied, by any judicious person, that there are some idiomatical expressions in the New Testament which must have puzzled those who were absolute strangers to the language of Holy Writ 25. My intention, in observing this, is chiefly to show, that if we would
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24 1 Cor. xiv. 11. 25 Take the two following for examples : Oux aduvalt noel FXsa tw OW #uganceLuke, i. 37. and gx av fow.In fata cast, Matth. xxiv. 22. phrases which, in my apprehension, would not have been more intelligible to a Greek author than Arabic or Persian would have been. Pause for thing, Tav 8x and ATM 8x for no os none, rue for person, &c. would to him, I suspect, bave proved insurmountable obstacles. Indeed the vulgar trans. lation of the last phrase is no more Latin than the original is classical Greek. Non fieret salva omnis caro, which we may venture to affirm would have been no better than a riddle to Cicero or Cæsar. Castalio has expressed the sense in proper Latin, Nemo prorsus evaderet. Our translators have not un. fitly kept in their version the one Hebraism flesh for person, to which our ears are, by scriptural use, familiarised, and not less fitly rejected the other saying, No flesh should be saved; for