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Murdock Translation - Appendix





     THERE are three Syriac translations of the New Testament, which are denominated the Peshito, the Philoxenian, and the Hierosolymitan versions; and also two Syriac translations of the Old Testament, which are known by the designations of the Peshito, and the Syriac Hexapla. Of the first of these five versions, the Peshito New Testament, it is here proposed to give a pretty full account; and then to treat, more summarily, of the other versions in their order.



     This is not only much older than the Philoxenian or the later Syriac version, but is very generally admitted to be the oldest version that has come down to us, of the New Testament in any language. It is called by the Syrians the Peshito version, on account of its style or character. The Syriac verb . . . . signifies to unfold or spread out that which was folded up, so that it can be seen in its true form, dimensions, and character. Hence the participle . . . . signifies spread out, not involved or folded up, simplex and not duplex; or, as applied to a translation, explicit, free from ambiguities, direct, simple, and easy to be understood. And precisely such is, in fact, the character of this venerable version.*

     * It was therefore a great mistake of Bertholdt, (in his Einleitung in das Alt. u. Neue Testament, 18, vol. i. ii. p. 593, ) to suppose, that this version was called the Peshito, because it was the version in common use, among the sects of Syrian Christians; thus making the word Peshito equivalent to the Greek .  . . . ., and the Latin vulgata. The word does not denote an expansion or extension ad extera, or over a larger space, but an internal development, an unfolding, which exhibits the thing in its fair and full proportions.

     The Peshito version embraces all the canonical books of the New Testament, except the 
second Epistle of Peter, the second and third Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Apocalypse; that is, all the . . . . . . . . . . . . . of Eusebius, together with one only of the  . . . . . . . . . . . viz., the Epistle of James. Thus the Peshito Canon embraces all the books, which were universally admitted to be genuine in the early ages of the Church; and it excludes all but one of the books concerning which there was for a time doubt and uncertainty. It is almost precisely the same with the Canon derived from the writings of Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others in the first ages of the Church. And this may be considered as evidence of the high antiquity of the version. It was made before the New Testament Canon was fully settled.


     Among the Aramaean Christians the tradition is universal, and uniform everywhere, that 
this version was made at the time when Christianity was first preached, and when Christian churches were first established, in Syria and Mesopotamia: and, of course, that it was made by some one or more of the primitive Apostles and Evangelists, or by persons who were their companions and associates. Some name Mark the Evangelist; others, Thaddeus the reputed Apostle of Mesopotamia; others, Achaeus or Aghaeus, a pupil and immediate successor of Thaddeus.
     Anterior to the present century, most of the Europeans who gave attention to Syriac 
learning, so far assented to this Syrian tradition, as to maintain, that the Peshito version must have been made either by an Apostle, or by some companion and assistant of the Apostles. A few, however, men of talents and erudition, but not versed in Syriac learning, - e. g. Bp. Fuller, Grotius, and J. J. Wetstein,-maintained that the Philoxenian was the only Syriac version of the New Testament; and that, as this version was not made till the sixth century, of course that must be the date of our Syriac New Testament. Such reasoning needs no confutation at the present day. And accordingly, since the middle of the last century, all the learned men of Europe seem to be agreed, that the Peshito version was probably in existence in the latter part of the second century, and certainly in the beginning of the third. Thus Michaelis, Storr, Adler, Eichhorn, Hug, Bertholdt, Hoffman, Uhlmann, Horne, Guerike, Roediger, &c.
     The more recent German writers content themselves with tracing back the existence of this version to the latter part of the second century. But the English, and also the Germans before the year 1800, very generally believed, and argued, that it must have been made either near the close of the first century, or early in the second century. Says the Rev. T. H. Horne, in his Introduction, (vol. i. p. 270. ed. New York, 1844): " Bishop Walton, Carpzov, Leusden, Bishop Lowth, and Dr. Kennicott, fix its date to the first century; Bauer, and some other German writers, to the second or third century; Jahn fixes it, at the least, to the second century; De Rossi pronounces it to be very ancient, but does not specify any precise date. The most probable opinion, (he adds,) is that of Michaelis, (Introduction to New Testament, vol. ii. P. 1, pp. 29-38,) who ascribes the Syriac version of both Testaments to the close of the first, or to the earlier part of the second century; at which time the Syrian churches flourished most, and the Christians at Edessa had a temple for divine worship erected after the model of that at Jerusalem: and it is not to be supposed that they would be without a version of the Old Testament, the reading of which had been introduced by the Apostles."
      Those who attempt to trace back the existence of this version, by means of historical 
proofs, tell us, that the Peshito version certainly existed, and was in common use, in the middle of the fourth century. For, at that period, Ephraim Syrus composed his voluminous writings, which abound in quotations and expositions of the sacred books, as they are found in this version. And going back of that period, we are able to trace a solid Christian literature, and a series of well-informed theologians reaching up to the age of Bardesanes, in the latter part of the second century. Now such able theologians, and such a Christian literature, could not have existed without a knowledge of the Scriptures: and yet, through all this period, we have no intimation that the Aramaean churches lacked the holy Scriptures in their vernacular tongue. We therefore infer that the Peshito version existed, and was in common use from at least as early as the latter part of the second century. And this inference seems to have the support of direct testimony. For Eusebius says, (H. E. iv. 22,) that Hegesippus, (who lived and wrote about A. D. 188,) "made some quotations from the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and from the Syriac Gospel :"-  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This language (as Hug has clearly shown: Einleitung, vol. i. p. 367, ed. 1826) implies that there was, in the days of Hegesippus, a Syriac Gospel, and that it was a different book from the Gospel according to the Hebrews.-And in the Passio Sancti Procopii Martyris, (annexed by Valesius to the Hist. Eccles. of Eusebius, lib. viii. c. 1, ed. Amsterdam, 1695. Annotatt, p. 154,) the martyr is said to have been born at Jerusalem, and to have passed his life at Scythopolis, where he performed three functions in the church,- " unum in legendi officio, alterum in Syri interpretatione sermonis, et tertium adversus daemones manus impositione consummans ;" until his martyrdom, under Diocletian, A. D. 303. The words Syri interpretatione sermonis, explicitly, make him the public translator, (of the Scriptures, undoubtedly,) from the Syriac language into some other, the Greek, most probably: for we may suppose there were some Greeks in the Syrian church of Scythopolis, for whose benefit the Scripture lessons were translated as they were read.
     The arguments for carrying back the origin of this version to the last part of the first century and the first part of the second, are the following:-
     1. This accords with the constant and uniform tradition of all the Aramaean churches, Nestorian, Monophysite, Melchite, and Maronite; in all of which this version has been in public use, time out of mind, and has ever been revered as coeval with the origin of those churches. Moreover, there is no contradictory tradition from any quarter; nor does ecclesiastical history afford any invalidating testimony. All the evidence in the case is therefore on one side, or stands uncontradicted and unopposed by any contrary evidence. By what laws of historic reasoning, then, can the tradition just referred to be set aside ?
     2. The uncertainty which is found in the tradition, respecting the precise time, and place, and author of this version, is good evidence of the truth of the tradition; for it shows, that this version was made at so early a period, that the particular circumstances attending its formation were hid in obscurity.
     This argument may be thus stated:-We know, that there was an uninterrupted series of learned writers in the Aramaean churches, from the times of Bardesanes, who was cotemporary with Irenaeus and Clemens Alex., in the latter part of the second century,- down to Barhebraeus in the thirteenth century. Yet not one of them could authenticate the universal tradition, or trace it to its source, or correct the minuter details of it. They could only repeat the generally received fact, that this version was made when their first churches were planted by the Apostles and their coadjutors; and then give their conjectures respecting the precise time, and place, and author of the version. And the early Greek Fathers, many of whom lived in Syria and Palestine, were equally in the dark respecting these points. Now the fair inference from these facts is, that the translation must have been made in the very earliest times of the Church, and so long before the days of the learned ecclesiastical writers,-(that is, before the times of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Bardesanes, Clemens Alex., &c.)- that the circumstances of the time, place, and author of the version could not be ascertained, and therefore the door was open for different conjectures respecting them.
     For the due appreciation of this argument, it should be recollected, that from the termination of the New Testament narratives to about the middle of the second century,- (that is, for about 60 or 80 years,)-the only Christian writers were those called the Apostolic Fathers; whose writings are few and meagre, and scarcely throw any light on sacred literature and the occurrences in the churches. Hence, that early period was, emphatically, the OBSCURE AGE of the Church, and one which it has baffled the attempts of learned theologians to explore, from the times of Eusebius to the present day. After that period, learned Christian writers began to arise, and to multiply more and more; so that from that time onward, and especially after the commencement of the third century, All the more important occurrences in the Church became tolerably well known, being mentioned by the cotemporary writers; while all that occurred in the latter part of the first century, and in the first half of the second, is almost as little known as the events before the flood.
     This argument receives confirmation from the fact, that the very early translation of the Scriptures into Latin, (which no one calls in question,) is exactly parallel with this asserted early origin of the Syriac version. Both versions were supposed to have been made in the times of the Apostles, or shortly after, and by an author, or authors, unknown to the subsequent ages. The chief difference in regard to them is, that there are said to have been several early Latin versions, one of which, being superior to the others, obtained the greatest circulation, and was called the ITALA, whereas we read of only one early Syriac version, that called the Peshito. Augustine's declaration concerning those early Latin versions is well known. He says, (de Doctrina Christ. 1. ii. c. 11:) "One can easily enumerate those who translated the holy Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek; but not so, the Latin translators. For, in those early times of Christianity, whoever got hold of a Greek MS., and thought he possessed some knowledge of both languages, at once undertook to translate it."-In regard to these very early versions, both Latin and Syriac, the entire ignorance of all the learned fathers, in subsequent ages, as to their authors, and as to the precise time and place of their composition, arises from the same causes; namely, the very early period at which the versions were made, and the scantiness of the records of those times. And hence the vagueness, or the want of uniformity and consistency in the details, is the very best internal evidence of the general truth and authenticity of both traditions.
     3. The character and circumstances of the first Syrian Christians, and of their teachers, would both demand and facilitate an early translation of the New Testament into the common language of the country. The first converts of that country were, doubtless, to a great extent, from among Jews. And we know that the first Christians were, generally, from the humbler walks of life, or from the common people,- that class of persons who, in Syria and Mesopotamia, spoke and understood no language but the Syriac. An early translation of the Scriptures into this language was therefore exceedingly necessary. Indeed, it was nearly indispensable for the due instruction of the new converts, and for qualifying their principal men to be teachers and guides in the new formed churches. What modern missionary attempts to propagate Christianity, and to establish Christian churches, in any unevangelized country, without at once putting the Bible into the hands of the common people, in a language they can understand ? -The first preachers of the Gospel in Syria and Mesopotamia, and the founders of the first Aramaean churches, we may suppose, were for the most part Palestine Jews. For such were all the Apostles, the seventy disciples, the seven Deacons, and among the Evangelists, Mark, Barnabas, Silas, and perhaps others. But to all the Jews of Palestine, an Aramaean dialect very similar to the Syriac, was vernacular, and was the ordinary language of all public addresses in the synagogues of their country. Hence we may suppose, that the Gospel was first preached among the Syrians in the Aramaean language, either in pure Syriac or in the dialect of the Jews. And if so, the first founders of the Syrian churches were fully competent, to give them Syriac translations of the several books of the New Testament, as soon as they successively arrived in the country. And we can hardly suppose it possible, that they would neglect a work so easy of accomplishment, so necessary to lighten their own labors, and so indispensable to the full establishment and permanent prosperity of the churches.
     4. The character of the version itself affords evidence that it was produced in the very earliest ages of the Christian Church. Its style has all the simplicity and directness of those sincere and honest-hearted men who first propagated Christianity. It is, precisely, what its name Peshito implies-a perfectly explicit and lucid version, every word of which seems to be the spontaneous efflux of a warm heart, and of a mind fully master of its own conceptions. There is no pomp of words, no artificial constructions or phraseology, nothing that betrays vanity or ostentation, nothing factitious, elaborate, and studied. It exhibits no undue veneration for the technical terms of the new religion, or of the Church and its organization. Indeed, it seems not to know that there are technical words and phrases, belonging to the new dispensation. And although it is the translation of a sacred book, it seems to have no superstitious reverence for the mere words, the phraseology, or the grammatical constructions of the original text. To give the substance of what is written, and in the plainest, simplest manner possible, seems to be its sole aim. In these respects it stands alone among all the ancient versions of the Bible; and especially is it totally unlike the second Syriac version, which will be described hereafter. And this fascinating artlessness of the Peshito version, while it affords strong evidence of its very early formation, will account for its permanent and very strong hold on the affections of all Aramaean Christians in every age of the Church.
     5. If this version was not made till near the end of the second century, it is utterly unaccountable that neither any notice of the time, place, and circumstances of its formation, nor any intimation whatever of its recent origin, can be found in any cotemporary, or any subsequent ecclesiastical writer, Syrian, Greek, or Latin. For if the Aramaean Christians had been destitute of the holy Scriptures in a language they could understand, during one hundred and fifty years, and had then first received the full light of the Gospel from this translation, surely the publication of it must have produced an astonishing change in the character and condition of the Aramaean churches. It must have formed a grand epoch in their history; and the learned writers of those times, witnessing the wonderful changes that occurred, could not have failed to notice them, and to dwell on them with wonder and delight. And yet no notice is taken of any such occurrences by any writer of those times, either Syrian or Greek. Surely this is very strange; and the advocates of this hypothesis may be challenged to produce a parallel case in the whole history of the Christian Church. For what other equally venerated version can be named that was made as late as A D. 200, and for so numerous a body of Christians, previously for ages destitute of a vernacular Bible, the formation of which is not noticed, nor even alluded to, by so numerous a body of writers, all deeply interested in the momentous transaction ?
     If these arguments, collectively, afford satisfactory evidence in the case, then we are to believe that most of the books called . . . . . . . . . . . ,  or the greater part of those forming the proper Peshito Canon, were translated in the latter part of the first century, for so early they must have been well known in Syria, having, been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70.-The only books forming an exception are the Gospel and the Epistles of St. John, which, if written (as many suppose) near the end of the century, may not have reached Syria in time to be translated before the commencement of the second century.-The Peshito . . . . . . . . . . (namely, the 2d Epistle of Peter, the 2d and 3d of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Apocalypse) were undoubtedly translated considerably later. Their style, which differs somewhat from the rest of the Peshito, and approximates towards that of the Philoxenian, is evidence of this. Hug, indeed, (Introduction, i. p. 356,) maintains that these books originally formed a part of the Peshito Canon, and were afterwards left out of it; while others maintain that they belong exclusively to the Philoxenian version. Neither of these opinions is admissible. For if, according to Hug, they originally belonged to the Peshito version, it is strange that they should differ so much from the usual style of the Peshito, and also that they are found, almost invariably, omitted in the MSS. of this version. The opinion that they belong to the Philoxenian version, is equally objectionable, for the style of these books coincides more with that of the Peshito than with that of the Philoxenian, though differing from both. It is, moreover, scarcely supposable, that these important books remained unknown to the Syrians, and untranslated by them, until so late as the sixth century. Besides, they are actually quoted by Ephraim Syrus, in the middle of the fourth century, or more than 200 years before the Philoxenian version was produced. (See Hug, Introduction, vol. i. p. 356, and Michaelis, Introduction, ii. i. p. 55.) It is therefore probable that they were translated after the decease of those excellent men who translated the Peshito canonical books; and that, for this and other reasons, they were held in less estimation by the Syrian Christians, and were but rarely inserted among their canonical books.


     Most of those who carry back the origin of this version to the close of the first, and the commencement of the second century, regard Antioch as most probably the place where it was produced: because, there the first Syrian church was gathered, and chiefly by the labors of Barnabas and Paul; there also the Apostle Peter taught; and John, surnamed Mark; and Silas, a companion of Paul; and there the disciples first bore the name of CHRISTIANS. That city was the capital of all Syria; and thither Paul and Peter, and other apostolical men, often resorted. There the mother church of all Syria long flourished; and from it, undoubtedly, Christianity was propagated, not only throughout Syria, but also in Mesopotamia, and in all the countries in which the Syriac language prevailed. No place, in that early age, afforded such advantages, or afforded such inducements, for producing a correct Syriac version of the Christian Scriptures.
     Michaelis, however, (Introduction, ii. i. 39,) dissents from this opinion: and he has been followed by most of the later German writers. He says: " The common opinion in Europe, that the version was made at Antioch- was never entertained in Asia :" and "it is highly improbable in itself: for, Greek being the current language in all the cities to the west of the Euphrates, and especially at Antioch, no motive could have existed for making a translation of the Greek Testament in that city. Though no tradition were still extant, that the Syriac version was written at Edessa, it would naturally occur as the most probable place, it being a city where the Christian religion was planted in the first century, was adopted by its sovereigns, who erected churches with all the magnificence of heathen temples,-was thence early and widely propagated in the eastern parts of Asia;-and a city, not only whose language was Syriac, but which, during many ages, was the eastern metropolis of the Christian world."-Again he says, (p. 74,) " Syria had an established church at an earlier period than any country in Europe, for the kings of Edessa were converted to Christianity before the middle of the first century, and the ceremonies of the Church were attended with solemnity and pomp. When a religion is thus publicly introduced, the first care is to procure an authentic version of the sacred writings for the public service."-But, surely, it is assuming a great deal, to affirm, that Greek was so far the current language of all Syria west of the Euphrates, and was so universally understood by the common people, that no translation of the Scriptures into Syriac was there needed. (See Dr. E. Robinson's Biblical Repository, vol. i. pp. 309-363, Andover, 1831.) And, although we admit that Christianity early gained a footing in Osrhoena, and particularly at Edessa, yet there is so much uncertainty about the conversion of Abgarus, and his making Christianity the religion of the state, in the first century, and so little evidence of the frequent resort of Apostles and apostolical men to that city, or that it was really " the eastern metropolis of the Christian world," till far into the second century,-that we may suitably hesitate on this subject. In our view, Antioch has as strong claims as Edessa, to be regarded as the birthplace of the Peshito, provided it originated from Apostles or apostolical men, and was written as early as the first century.


     The great value of this translation depends on its high antiquity, on the competence and fidelity of the translators, and on the near affinity of its language to that spoken by our Lord and his Apostles. In all these respects it stands pre-eminent among the numerous versions of the New Testament.
     On this subject we will here give the published statements of various learned men who have devoted particular attention to this unrivalled version.
     JAMES MARTINI, a Professor at Wittemberg, in his elaborate Preface to the Syriac New Testament, edited by Trostius, in 1610, says: " Let those who speak lightly of this version know, that the Syriac, if not the very language in which CHRIST himself conversed with his Apostles, approaches very nearly to the vernacular tongue of our Saviour and his companions, and that into it the recent books of the New Testament were the first of all translated, and that, too, at the very time when the Apostles, (those divine teachers whom Christ himself had educated, and who were enlightened and instructed by the Holy Spirit,) were laying the first foundation of the Christian church among the nations. I admit that it is a version, but it is the first and most ancient of all versions. It is a version, I say, but one to be preferred before all others, as being more authentic and more correct. It is a version, I say again, but made either by some one of the Evangelists, or certainly by one of those who had the Apostles present with them at Antioch, whom they could consult and hear speak on many of the obscurer passages. And therefore to this version only can we safely go, when any obscurity or difficulty occurs in the original Greek. This only can be safely consulted and relied upon, whenever there is doubt respecting the import or the rendering of any passage. By this only is the Greek text illuminated and correctly explained. For the authority of this version very nearly approximates (proxime accedit) to that of the Greek original."
     WOLFGANG FRANCIUS, a colleague of Martini, in his Treatise on Hermeneutics, 
(p. 46,) says: "This version, all the learned pronounce and declare to be the purest of all versions: and, doubtless, it was so exactly transferred by the holy men, because Christ spoke and discoursed in the Syriac language: so that we cannot doubt, that the Apostles and the apostolical men carefully inquired after and laid up the very words of Christ, and, with a holy veneration, endeavored to record them in this version."- And (p. 38) he says: "Among all the versions of the New Testament, that which holds the first rank, and is the most exact, felicitous, and divine, is certainly the Syriac, which, undoubtedly, was most faithfully handed down by apostolical men, who remembered well the recently uttered words of Christ and his Apostles, and understood their meaning. For CHRIST himself used this language."
     EMANUEL TREMELLIUS, in the Preface to his Syriac New Testament, A. D. 1568, says: "It is entirely consonant with truth, that this version was formed at the very commencement of the Christian church, either by the Apostles themselves or by their disciples: unless we would suppose that in writing they had regard only to strangers, and cared little or nothing for their own countrymen."
     BRIAN WALTON, in the Prolegomena to his Biblia Polyglotta, (p. 92,) says: "The Syriac version of the New Testament exhibits the native aspect, (faciem nativam,) of the original text, and confirms its integrity. For it follows the Greek text for the most part, . . ., strictly. For, the New Testament being written in Greek, by men whose vernacular language was Syriac, everywhere savors of Syriasms. Hence, Ludovicus de Dieu (in his Harmonia trium Linguarum) affirms, that the true import of the phraseology of the New Testament can scarcely be learned, except from the Syriac. For no one will say that the phraseology of the Evangelists and Apostles is pure Greek: and it would be easier for Europeans to imitate the elegance of Plato and Aristotle, than for Plato and Aristotle to explain to us the New Testament, because the holy men conceived in Syriac, that which they wrote in Greek, injecting, the force of their vernacular tongue into foreign words." After accounting for some diversity in the orthography of certain Syriac words, such as Golgotha, Aceldama, Mammona, &c., in the Greek and Syriac New Testaments, by saying, that the Peshito of both Testaments is written in the Antiochian dialect, and not in the dialect of Jerusalem, he concludes thus: " From these most ancient versions we infer, that this (the Syriac) language is of the highest importance, because the writers of the New Testament, to whom this language was vernacular, first preached the divine oracles in it to the Jews, and to the nations around them, and afterwards wrote them out in Greek, yet retaining everywhere the spirit (gustum) of the Syriac. Nay, it was vernacular to the Lord and Saviour himself; He drew it in with his mother's milk: and in it, the only-begotten Son of God revealed to the world the will of God, and the express promises of eternal life. This language, He consecrated by his holy lips; in this language, He taught the doctrines of the Gospel; in it, He offered his prayers to the Father, laid open the mysteries hidden from the world, and heard the voice of the Father coming from heaven: so that we may say,

                          " Lingua hominum est lingua nobilitata Dei."

And, as a poet has said of a Syrian lexicographer,

                          " Nos docet hic unus, Numinis ore loqui."

Moreover, this is the language of the Christian doctors through nearly all the East, as appears from the Liturgies and Divine Offices almost everywhere performed in it."
     REV. EZRA STILES, D.D., Pres. of Yale College, in his Inaugural Oration, says: " Kindred with this, [the Hebrew,] or rather a bath-kol, and daughter-voice, is the Syriac, in which the greater part of the New Testament (I believe) was originally written, and not merely translated, in the Apostolic age.... The Syriac Testament, therefore, is of high authority; nay, with me, of the same authority as the Greek."
     The opinion of Dr. Stiles, that the greater part of the books of the New Testament were originally written in Syriac, and not merely translated, is far from being so strange as to have no other advocate. Many have believed that Matthew's Gospel and the Epistle to the Hebrews, if not also some other books, were originally written in Hebrew or Jewish Aramaean. And J. A. Bolten (in his German Translation of the Epistles, with Notes, Altona, 1800, 2 vols. 8vo.) maintains, that nearly all the Epistles must have been first composed by the Apostles in Aramaean, their native tongue, and then committed by them to some of their Grecizing companions, (e. g. Titus, Timothy, Tertius, Sosthenes, &c.,) by whom they were translated into Greek before their publication. And Bertholdt (Einleitung, 46, vol. i. p. 148-154) accedes to, and defends, this opinion. And he thinks that, after due time for reflection, the learned world will generally come into it. Such an hypothesis does not militate at all against the authority of the original Greek, because it supposes the Greek translation to have been made by the special direction of the Apostles, and to have been inspected, and fully approved by them. But it does show us that the Syriac version may be something more than a mere translation, and may have nearly, or quite equal authority, with the Greek.
     JOHN D. MICHAELIS, in his Introd. to the New Testament, (translation of Marsh, ed. London, 1802, vol. ii. P. I. p. 40, &c.,) says: " The Peschito is the very best translation of the Greek Testament that I have ever read; that of Luther .... holding the second rank. Of all the Syriac authors with which I am acquainted, not excepting Ephraim and Bar-Hebraeus, its language is the most elegant and pure; not loaded with foreign words, like the Philoxenian version and other later writings, and discovers the hand of a master in rendering those passages where the two idioms deviate from each other. It has no marks of the stiffness of a translation, but is written with the ease and fluency of an original: and this excellence of its style must be ascribed to its antiquity, and to its being written in a city that was the residence of Syrian kings.... It is true that the Syriac version, like all human productions, is not destitute of faults, and (what is not to be regarded as a blemish) differs frequently from the modern mode of explanation. But I know of none that is so free from error, and none that I consult with so much confidence, in case of difficulty and doubt. I have never met with a single instance where the Greek is so interpreted, as to betray any weakness or ignorance in the translator and though in many other translations, the original is rendered in so extraordinary a manner as almost to excite a smile, the Syriac version must ever be read with profound veneration." After a few sentences, Michaelis adds: "The affinity of the Syriac to the dialect of Palestine, is so great as to justify, in some respects, the assertion that the Syriac translator has recorded the actions and speeches of Christ in the very language in which he spoke.... The difference between the dialect which was spoken by Christ, and that of the Syriac translator, consisted almost wholly in the mode of pronouncing; and if a proper use had been made of this advantage, the Syriac version would be the most valuable commentary on the New Testament. Many obscure passages would be made clear, if the words were still on record which Jesus spoke with his disciples in the Aramaean language. But the translator appears not to have been fortunate in rendering passages of this nature.... This circumstance alone affords sufficient evidence that the Syriac version was not written by one of Christ's immediate disciples."-(Ibid. p. 44.) " The Syriac version .... leads us sometimes to just and beautiful explanations, where other help is insufficient, e. g. Matt. vi. 7; John, xvi. 2; Rom. ix. 22; and xiii. 3; and confirms some ancient rites in which we are deeply interested, such as the celebration of Sunday, 1 Cor. xi. 20. And in discovering either the meaning of an unusual word, or the unusual meaning of a common word, where no assistance can be had from the Greek authors, the Syriac version may be of singular service, as the translator was probably acquainted with the language of common life, as well as the language of books; and is, at least, of equal authority with a Greek lexicon of later ages."-(p. 45.) "The chief advantage to be derived from the Syriac version is, in applying it to the purposes of criticism. Its high antiquity, and frequent deviation from the common reading in passages of importance, must recommend the use of it to every critic, who in general will find himself rewarded for his trouble.... The difference between the Syriac version and the greatest part of the Greek manuscripts, is no ground for condemning the former. It is natural to suppose, from its great antiquity, that it must deviate in many cases from the Greek manuscripts, the oldest of which were written above four hundred years later, and are mostly the productions of countries remote from Syria."


     In his Novi Test. Versiones Syriacae, Hafn. 1789, 4to., J. G. C. Adler divides the manuscripts of the Peshito New Testament into two classes, the Jacobite and the Nestorian, the former written in Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, the latter written in Persia and in the East Indies; but there is very little difference between the texts of the two. Most of the copies of both omit the 2d Epistle of Peter, the 2d and 3d Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Apocalypse. They likewise generally omit the story of the Adulteress, John, vii. 53 to viii. 11; and the disputed text, 1 John, v. 7; and also Luke, xxii. 17, 18.
     The Nestorian manuscripts arrange the books of the New Testament in an order peculiar to themselves. After the Four Gospels, which they commonly put into a separate volume, and denominate the GOSPEL, they arrange the other books, which they call the APOSTLES, in the following order: (1) the Acts; (2) the three Catholic Epistles, (1st Epistle of Peter, 1st Epistle of John, and the Epistle of James); (3) the Fourteen Epistles of Paul, in the same order as in our Bibles.
     Both the Jacobites and the Nestorians divide all these books into LESSONS for public worship, and in such a manner, that the whole are read over once a year. The Lessons from the Gospels are 248; and those from the Acts and Epistles are 245. The length of the Lessons varies, according to the solemnity of the days for which they were appointed, and the connection and sense of the passages. The average length of the Lessons is about 15 &
1/4 of our verses, or half the average length of our chapters, Besides this division into Lessons for the public worship, there is a division into Chapters or Paragraphs, according to the sense. One Nestorian manuscript divides these books in 165 Chapters; each, on an average, being equal to one and a half of our chapters. Another, a Jacobite Codex Evengeliorum, divides the Four Gospels into 1389 short Chapters or Paragraphs, averaging less than three verses each.
     Till recently, the greatest collection of Syriac manuscripts was to be found in the Vatican Library at Rome, of which Asseman has given a good account in his Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementina Vaticana. But others were to be found at Florence, Milan, Paris, Vienna, Oxford, and elsewhere. Adler (in the work above mentioned) gives account of fourteen Peshito manuscripts of the New Testament, eight of them Jacobite, and six Nestorian. Of the eight Jacobite, seven contained only the Four Gospels, and the eighth only the Acts and Epistles. Of the six Nestorian, three contained all the books of the proper Peshito Canon; one contained only the Four Gospels; and two contained only the Epistles of Paul. The dates of these fourteen manuscripts ranged from A. D. 548, down to the Reformation. Those written before A. D. 800, were all in the Estrangelo character. Those of later date, if Jacobite, slide more and more into the cursive character terminating at last in the modern Syriac letters. The Nestorian manuscripts since A. D. 800, are written in the character still in use among the Nestorian Christians, a modified form of the Estrangelo, differing considerably from our printed Syriac.
     Dr. Buchanan, who travelled extensively among the Syrian Christians of India, in the years 1806 and 7, "discovered and obtained," (says Dr. Horne,) "numerous ancient manuscripts of the Scriptures, which are now deposited in the public library at Cambridge. One of these, which was discovered in a remote Syrian church near the mountains, is particularly valuable. It contains the Old and New Testaments, engrossed with beautiful accuracy in the Estrangelo character, on strong vellum, in large folio, and having three columns in a page." "In the opinion of Mr. Yeates, who has published a collation of the Pentateuch, it was written about the seventh century." Mar Johanan, the Bishop of Gavalan in Oroomiah, who visited this country a few years since, brought with him a Syriac New Testament, written on vellum, in the Nestorian character, and forming a very thick 4to. volume. Its date is not ascertained, but from the character of the writing, it is probably not very ancient. This, and some other Syriac manuscripts, are lodged in the Missionary Rooms of A. B. For. Miss. at Boston. The Library of the American Oriental Society, at Boston, likewise contains some Syriac manuscripts.
     The " London Quarterly Review," for December, 1845, has an article on Valuable Manuscripts recently brought to England from the Monasteries of Egypt. This treasure was first discovered by Lord Prudhoe, in 1828, and has since been almost wholly bought up and transported to England. The manuscripts are in Coptic, Ethiopic, Syriac, and Arabic. Their ages vary from A. D. 411 downwards. A manuscript, dated A.D. 464, of the Syriac Peshito Pentateuch, is the oldest biblical manuscript. There are about thirty volumes of this version of portions of the Old Testament, dated about the sixth century. Of the Peshito New Testament, there are forty manuscripts, of about the same date. The age of these, and the authority of this version, will make them of great value to critical students of the Bible. Among other works in this collection, there is said to be "the Recension of the Old and New Testament, by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Edessa" (in the seventh century.) Besides these biblical works, in this rich collection there is a large number of theological productions, of the same ancient times.


     The first edition was printed at Vienna, in Austria, A. D. 1555, at the expense of the Emperor Ferdinand I., prompted by his Chancellor, Albert Widmansted. It was intended for distribution among the Jacobite Christians in the East, whose Patriarch, in the year 1552, sent Moses of Marden as his envoy to Europe, for the twofold purpose of cementing a union with the See of Rome, and procuring the printing of the Syriac New Testament for the use of his people. Moses of Marden brought with him a manuscript copy, prepared in the East; and likewise superintended the press. One other manuscript, containing the Four Gospels, was also consulted. The edition was neatly and accurately printed in 4to., containing the simple text, and embracing all the Books of the New Testament, except the 2d Epistle of Peter, the 2d and 3d of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Apocalypse. It also omitted the story of the Adulteress. As this edition was nearly all sent to the East, copies of it are rare in Europe.
     2. In 1568, Emanuel Tremellius republished, at Heidelberg, in folio, the edition of Vienna, in Hebrew characters, and accompanied it with a Latin translation made by himself. He likewise had a Syriac manuscript, but he made little use of it.
     3. In 1571, Guy le Fevre de la Boderie, (Boderianus,) reprinted the same text, both in Syriac and Hebrew letters, accompanied with a Latin translation, in the third volume of the Antwerp Polyglott Bible. Boderie also had a Syriac manuscript, brought from the East by William Postell, from which he drew some various readings.
     4 and 5. The fourth and fifth editions were in Hebrew letters, and without points, printed at Antwerp, by Plantin, in 1573 and 1575; the first in 8vo. the other 18mo.
     6. In 1584, La Boderie reprinted, at Paris, 4to., the Syriac text in Syriac letters, with an interlineary Latin translation.
     7. In 1579, Elias Hutter inserted Tremellius Hebrew-Syriac text in his Polyglott New Testament, and supplied the deficient Books by Syriac of his own making.
     8. In 1621, Martin Trost, at Kothen, in Anhalt, reprinted the Syriac text of the Vienna edition, in fair Syriac types, with a Latin translation; 1 vol. 4to.
     Hitherto, the 2d Epistle of Peter; the 2d and 3d of John, the Epistle of Jude, and the Apocalypse, had not been printed from manuscripts. But in 1627, Lewis de Dieu published, at Leyden, the Apocalypse, from a manuscript brought from India, which had been the property of Scaliger; and in 1630, Edward Pocock published, also at Leyden, the four lacking Epistles, from a manuscript in the Bodleian library at Oxford. And since that time, the editions of the Peshito New Testament have contained all the books that compose the New Testament Canon.
     9. In 1645, the Peshito New Testament was inserted in the Paris Polyglott, copied from the Antwerp Polyglott, and enlarged by the insertion of the wanting Epistles and the Apocalypse; the whole being revised and corrected by Gabriel Sionita.
     10. In 1653, the London Polyglott republished the entire Syriac New Testament from the Paris Polyglott, and added, for the first time, the history of the Adulteress, from a manuscript belonging to Archbishop Usher.
     11. In 1664, Giles Gutbir published his Syriac New Testament at Hamburg, in a moderate sized 12mo. volume, for common use. His text is that of Trost, with some amendments, and is followed with a list of various readings, chiefly derived from the printed editions. This is a cheap edition and very common, and it would be a good edition, if the typography were what it should be. It is generally accompanied with a good compendious Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament.
     12. In 1684, Christian Knorre reprinted, in 12mo., at Salzbach, Plantin's edition of 1573, in Hebrew letters.
     13. In 1713, the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, at Rome, printed the New Testament, Syriac and Arabic, in 2 vols., folio, for the use of the Maronites.
     14. In 1708, John Leusden and Charles Schaaf published at Leyden their excellent edition, Syriac and Latin, in large 4to., with a copious list of the various readings in different editions. This edition was reprinted by Schaaf in 1717. He also published, with both editions, his highly esteemed Lexicon Syriacum Concordantiale in Novum Test. Syr., in large 4to.
     15. In 1713, the Schaafian text was inserted in the Biblia Quadralinguia of Christian Reineccius, Leyden, folio.
     16. In 1805, Richard Jones republished, at Oxford, in 4to., the Schaafian text, corrected by two Syriac manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, and by the Commentary of Bar-Hebraeus, existing in the same library.
     17. In 1816, the British and Foreign Bible Society published at London, (Richard Watts, printer,) a very beautiful edition of the Syriac text, corrected by manuscripts, in 552 pages, 4to., intended for distribution in India. " This edition" (says Mr. Horne) " was corrected for the press, as far as the Acts of the Apostles, by the late Rev. Dr. Buchanan, and was completed by Rev. Samuel Lee, D.D., Professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge."
     18. In 1826, the British and Foreign Bible Society reprinted their edition of 1816, in a fair, but smaller type, in 360 pages, 4to. This edition was, probably, superintended by Professor Lee.
     19. Lastly : In 1846, the Missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M., at Oroomiah, in Persia, having completed their translation of the New Testament into the vernacular dialect of the modern Nestorians, printed it, with the Syriac text, in parallel columns, and both in the modern Nestorian character, with a marginal notice of all the deviations of the Syriac from the Greek text: printed at Oroomiah, in one vol., large 4to. The Syriac text of this edition appears to coincide with that of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
     It has often been regretted, that the editors of the Peshito New Testament have taken so little pains to collate manuscripts, and to obtain a correct text. They have, for the most part, followed the editio princeps, with some changes in the vowel points, and have admitted but few changes of words on the authority of manuscripts. The received text, it is said, appears to have been derived chiefly from the Nestorian family of manuscripts, and needs a thorough collation, especially with manuscripts of the Jacobite family.



     The history of this version is given in the Syriac Indorsements on its manuscripts. One of the fullest of these Indorsements is subjoined to a manuscript of the Four Gospels, in the Bibliotheca Angelica of the Augustinians at Rome. It may be thus rendered in English:-" This Book has been collated with two approved manuscripts.-This Book of the Four Holy Evangelists was translated from the Greek tongue into Syriac, with much accuracy and great labor; and first, in the city of Mabug (......), in the days of the holy PHILOXENUS, Confessor, and Bishop of that city. It was afterwards collated, with much care, by me, THOMAS, a poor sinner, with two highly approved and correct Greek copies, at Antonia, of the great city Alexandria, in the Monastery of St. Anthony. Its completion will, surely, conduce to the benefit of my sinful soul, and of the many who love and desire to know and preserve this accuracy in the sacred books. It was written and collated, at the place above named, in the year 927 of Alexander, in the 4th Indiction. But, how much labor and anxiety I had, in this and the other [books], the Lord only knoweth, who will recompense every man according to his works in the day of his righteous judgment.'' -The Indorsements on two other manuscripts, as cited by Adler, are substantially the same with this, although more concise. Instead of the two first sentences, they simply say:-" This is the Book of the Four Holy Evangelists, which was translated from the Greek tongue in the year of Alexander the Macedonian, 819, in the days of the holy Mar PHILOXENUS," &c.
     From these Indorsements, it appears that this translation was made at MABUG, or Menbij, as it is called in Arabic, the Hierapolis of the Greeks, a city of Syria, near the Euphrates, and the See of both a Nestorian and a Jacobite Bishop: and that it was made in the year 819 of Alexander, that is, A. D. 508, and in the days of Philoxenus, the Bishop of Mabug. It is not said that it was made by Philoxenus, but only in his days. This Philoxenus, otherwise called Xenaias, was the Monophysite Bishop of Mabug, from A. D. 488 to A. D. 518, (see Asseman's Bibliotheca Orient. tom. ii. p. 10-46 ;) but he did not sit quietly on his throne. Being a warm partisan of Peter Fullo, he was in sharp conflict nearly all his life, and he could have had but little leisure for biblical studies. The persecutions he suffered, procured for him the title of Confessor among his own sect. According to Moses Aghaeus, (in Asseman's Bibliotheca Orient. tom. ii. c. 10,) one POLYCARP, a rural Bishop under Philoxenus, made this translation; and dedicated it, in the year specified, to Philoxenus, by whom he had been prompted to undertake the work. And hence this version is often called the Translation of Polycarp.
     It further appears, from these Indorsements, that about 100 years after this version was made by Polycarp, one Thomas, a monk, at Antonia, a quarter in the city of Alexandria, and in the monastery of St. Anthony, in that city, revised and re-wrote this translation, collating it with two (or some indorsements say, three) highly approved Greek manuscripts. This was in the year of Alexander 927, or A. D. 616. Who this Thomas was, and when and where he lived, we learn from Bar-Hebracus' Chronicon, (year of the Seleucidae 927, or A. D. 616.) Bar-Hebraeus there says:- "About this time flourished Thomas Harclensis, (i. c. Thomas of Harkela, or Harkla, . . . , an obscure village in Palestine,) a monk of the monastery of Taril; who, in his childhood, learned Greek in the Kenserine monastery, and was afterwards Bishop of Mabug. Being, persecuted by Domitian, the Meletian, he went to Egypt, and resided in Antonia of Alexandria, in the holy monastery of the Antonies; where, with praiseworthy diligence, he restored, by a very exact and accurate emendation, the holy Codex of the Gospels, and the other Books of the New Testament, after the first version of them by the procuration of Philoxenus, of Mabug."-From this statement, and from an inspection of the manuscripts, it appears, that Thomas Harclensis corrected the text of Polycarp's translation; added various readings, derived from his collation of Greek manuscripts; and subjoined other marginal notices, especially the division into Lessons for the public worship through the year. That he did not materially alter the text of Polycarp, Adler infers from a manuscript that he examined at Florence, which had none of the marginal notes and indorsements of the Harclension recension, yet contained almost precisely the same text; whence he concluded, that it was copied from an ancient manuscript of Polycarp's version, written before its revision by Thomas Harclensis.
     Such is the origin of the so called Philoxenian version. It is the translation of Palycarp, as revised, and furnished with marginal notes, by THOMAS HARCLENSIS. It was exclusively of Jacobite origin; and it never obtained currency among the other oriental sects. Yet it was not made for any sectarian purposes; nor in hostility to the Peshito version. The sole aim of its author and reviser, was, to produce a Syriac version, which should more perfectly resemble the Greek original as it existed in their times.-It embraces all the books of the New Testament, except the Apocalypse. The history of the adulteress, is also wanting; but not so, the 2d Epistle of Peter, the 2d and 3d of John, and the Epistle of Jude; which are here found in the same style with the other books, and differing from the style of the same Epistles in the Peshito version.


     The prominent characteristic of the Philoxenian version, is extreme servility, even to the habitual sacrifice of the purity and propriety of the Syriac language. It generally copies the Greek phraseology, so exactly, that it would often not be difficult to translate it back again into the identical words of the original. As the Syriac has no Article, the definite Article of the Greek is often expressed by the Syriac pronouns for he, she, and they. The Greek expletives, which could not be expressed in Syriac, are sometimes transcribed in the translation. Greek compounds are awkwardly expressed, by two or more words in strange combination. Greek diminutives are imitated in the Syriac. The Greek construction is followed, as closely as possible, without regard to the laws of Syriac construction. And in all the proper names, even those of Hebrew origin, the Greek orthography is imitated in Syriac letters, though subversive of every trace of the etymology, and perverting the true pronunciation. Even the case endings of these names are retained; which could only serve to puzzle the brains of a Syrian who did not understand Greek.
     Of the value of this translation, J. D. Michaelis, (in his Introduction to the New Testament, vol. ii. P. 1. p. 67, &c., ed. Marsh,) says: " The intrinsic worth of the Philoxenian version, admits no comparison with that of the Peshito. The style is much inferior, and more difficult to be understood; the version is less accurate; and the translator was less acquainted with the Greek. It is neither so valuable to a divine, for the purpose of instruction in the Christian religion; nor to the learned expositor, as a means of explaining difficult and doubtful passages. But the version is not devoid of value, and is of real importance to a critic, whose object is to select a variety of readings, with the view of restoring the genuine text of the Greek original. For he may be fully assured, that every phrase and expression is a precise copy of the Greek text, as it stood in the manuscript from which the version was made. But it is not prior to the sixth century; and as the Peshito was written either at the end of the first, or at the beginning of the second century, it is of less importance to know the readings of the Greek manuscript, that was used in the former, than those of the original employed in the latter."


     No portion of this version was printed prior to the year 1778. Of course, up to that time, the learned had not the means of examining it, and ascertaining its true character. The Rev. Gloucester Ridley, LL.D., Prebend of Salisbury, about the middle of the last century, received a copy of the entire version, brought from Amida in Mesopotamia, by a Mr. Palmer. Ridley immediately applied himself to the study of Syriac: and in 1761, published a learned Dissertation, de Syriacarum Novi Testamenti Versionum Indole et Usu; in which he gave the first good account of both translations, and a full description of the Philoxenian. He also prepared for the press, a copy of the four Gospels, transcribed from his Amidan manuscript, and collated with another found at Oxford. But he did not live to see it published. It was printed at Oxford, Syriac and Latin, with critical notes &c., by Joseph White, Professor of Arabic, in 1778, 2 vols. in 1, 4to. Professor White then proceeded to prepare the remainder of the work for the press; and published the book of Acts and the seven Catholic Epistles, in 1799; and the fourteen Epistles of Paul, in 1803, uniform with the previous volumes. The whole is ordinarily bound in two large vols. 4to. This edition, so far as I have learned, is the only one ever printed.-The Manuscripts of this version are less numerous than those of the Peshito. Adler examined six manuscripts of the Gospels; and he learned the existence of some others, containing the Epistles. Perhaps some of the forty manuscripts of the New Testament, lately brought from Egypt, will be found to belong to this version.


     Besides the manuscripts of the Peshito and Philoxenian versions, Adler found in the Vatican at Rome, one manuscript of the four Gospels, in a translation different from either. It is more servile and inelegant than the Peshito; but is not so servile as the Philoxenian. Its idiom also differs from both; for it is not pure Syriac, but is a species of Chaldee, or Jewish Aramaean: and the characters in which it is written, approximate to the Hebrew. Adler supposed it was made by some Jewish Christian about the fourth century. And as it is written in Jewish Aramaean, and not Syriac, he called it the HIEROSOLYMITAN VERSION. It has never been published, and is not considered of any great value.
     What some have called the KARKAPHENSlON VERSION, is found not to be a new version, but merely a recension of the Peshito Old and New Testaments, made near the close of the tenth century, by a Jacobite monk named David, residing in the monastery of St. Aaron, on Mount Sigari, in the northeastern part of Mesopotamia. Dr. Wiseman, in his Horae Syriacae, (Rome, 1828, Svo.,) has carefully investigated the history and character of this recension, and he pronounces it to be the Peshito text, with merely a change in the orthography of proper names, and of Graeco-Syriac words, conformably with the orthography of the Philoxenian version. He also declares it to be of Monophysite or Jacobite origin. Dr. Lee, however, defends the old opinion, that it was intended for use among the Nestorians.


     PASSING on to the Old Testament, we there find two distinct translations of nearly the whole, as we before found two of the New Testament. One of these is likewise called the Peshito, and is very ancient. The other is more modern, resembles the Philoxenian, and bears the name of the Syriac Hexapla.



     This version, as appears from internal evidence, was made directly from the Hebrew, and before the Masoretic points came into use. It is quoted and commented on by Ephraim Syrus, in the fourth century; was received by all the Aramaean Christians, of whatever sect, and is held by them all in high estimation at the present day. They have a tradition, that it is of the same age with the Peshito New Testament, and that it was made in the days of Thaddeus, the Apostle of Mesopotamia. The learned also of modern times, suppose it to be at least as old as the Peshito New Testament, placing its formation in the latter part of the first century, or early in the second. From some diversity in the mode of translating the different books, it is supposed not to have been the work of one man: and from certain peculiarities of diction, and from other considerations, it is concluded that the translators were Christians. It is universally pronounced a judicious and faithful translation. Dathe regarded it as a sure guide to the true state of the Hebrew text, in the second century: and both Dr. Kennicott and De Rossi derived from it many valuable readings. " Indeed," (says Mr. Horne, Introd. vol. i. p. 270,) " De Rossi prefers it to all the other ancient versions, and says that it closely follows the order of the sacred text, rendering word for word, and is more pure than any other." After comparing a large portion of the Syriac Pentateuch with the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate, the impression on our own mind is, that the Syriac does not yield precedence, in accuracy or fidelity, to either of the other two versions; while in its style, it is much more easy and natural. It is, undoubtedly, more servile than the Peshito New Testament, and throws less light on the true meaning of the original; yet, on the whole, it is a noble version.-It embraces all the books of the Old Testament; but it arranges them in a different order. First comes the Pentateuch; then the book of Job; then Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, and the two books of Chronicles; then the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes; then Ruth and the Canticles; then Esther; then Ezra and Nehemiah; then Isaiah, followed by the twelve minor Prophets; then Jeremiah, followed by Lamentations; then Ezekiel; and lastly, Daniel.-Most of the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament are extant in Syriac; and several of them are found in the Peshito Codices of the canonical books: but I have not the means of ascertaining their character as translations. According to Mr. Horne, four of them, viz.: Tobit, Judith, the third book of Maccabees, and the Story of Bel and the Dragon, were translated from the Greek. Five others are said to be found in Syriac, viz.: Ecclesiasticus, Susanna, Baruch, and the second and fifth books of Maccabees. But I have not learned from what language they were translated.


     (1.) The first edition was that in the Paris Polyglott, printed A. D. 1645. The manuscript from which this was printed was imperfect, and Gabriel Sionita supplied its deficiencies with translations of his own, from the Latin Vulgate. He also annexed the vowel points to the Syriac of the manuscript. (2.) Walton's Polyglott, A. D. 1657, also contained the Peshito Old Testament, derived from four manuscripts, and from the text of the Paris Polyglott. This edition, therefore, is purged from the factitious additions of Gabriel Sionita. (3.) In 1823, the British and Foreign Bible Society printed, at London, all the canonical books of the Old Testament, in this version; 1 vol. 4to. pp. 705. In this edition, which was intended for circulation among Eastern Christians, the vowel points are not added, except to the proper names, and to here and there an ambiguous word. Prof. Lee, who prepared the work for the press, made use of three manuscripts. One of them, of great value, was brought by Dr. Buchanan from India; and this was collated by Dr. Lee very carefully. Another belonged to the late Dr. Adam Clarke. The third was a Syriac Pentateuch, which Prof. Lee found in a college library at Oxford. This is the edition which I use.-These, so far as I know, are the only editions of the entire Old Testament in this version. Of the book of Psalms only, there have been six editions; the last and best by Dathe, 1768, 8vo. Of the Pentateuch there has also been a separate edition, by Kirsch, 1787, 4to.- Of the manuscripts of this version I can say little more than has already been incidentally mentioned. Among those manuscripts lately brought from Egypt, it is said, there is a Peshito Syriac Pentateuch, dated in the year A. D. 464, besides thirty other volumes of this version, containing portions of the Old Testament, and dated about the sixth century.


     Of this version I have heard of only two manuscripts, and one of them containing only a single book. These manuscripts lay hidden at Milan and Paris, or rather were overlooked and not carefully examined, until after the middle of the last century. They contain a Syriac translation of the corrected Greek text of the Septuagint version in Origen's HEXAPLA, with all its marginal notes and various readings, and hence its name, the Syriac Hexapla. From the indorsements on the manuscripts of the Syriac Hexapla, we gather the following facts. The Greek Hexapla of Origen was left by him at Caesarea in Palestine, and fell into the hands of Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, who was bishop of Caesarea; and Eusebius, aided by his friend Pamphylus, early in the fourth century, extracted from this Hexapla a corrected Greek text of the Septuagint, with all its marginal readings and glosses. Of this Eusebian text, with such a margin, a copy, indorsed by Eusebius himself, was found at Alexandria, in the beginning of the seventh century; and Athanasius, at that time the Jacobite Patriarch of Alexandria, caused one Mar Paulus, a monk and bishop, to translate that Greek copy into Syriac, retaining all its marginal readings and glosses. This task Mar Paulus accomplished, at Alexandria, in the year A. D. 616.


     The third Indorsement to the second book of Kings. " And (now) this (book) of the four kingdoms, [this second book of Kings,] is added (to this volume), being translated from the Greek into Syriac." And this, here present, is from the Heptapla Codex, which has seven compartments, and which belongs to the library of Caesarea, in Palestine; and from which, likewise, the interpretations [fragments of versions, or the various readings] are annexed. And it was collated carefully, with the Codex of seven compartments, there being at the end of it this inscription:-" Fourth Book of the Kingdoms according to the seventy: and I, Eusebius, have carefully corrected it, Pamphylus having commenced the correction."- Immediately after, follows the fourth Indorsement, thus:-"This book is translated from the Greek tongue into Syriac, from the version of the Seventy -Two, by the religious monk, MAR PAULUS, Bishop of the Faithful, in the great city of Alexandria, by the injunction and solicitude of the holy and blessed ATHANASIUS, Patriarch of the Faithful, in the monastery of Mar Zacchaeus Callinicensis, while they resided at Alexandria, in the days of the religious Mar Theodorus, Prefect of the house of his monastery; in the year DCCCCXXVIII., in the fifth Indiction, [that is, in the year of the Greek, 928, or A. D. 617.] Whoever reads, let him pray for the religious MAR THOMAS, Deacon, and Syncellus of the holy and blessed Patriarch, MAR ATHANASIUS, who labored and was at pains; and for the others who toiled and labored with him, that God may grant them the salvation of their souls, on account of their labor and pains, through the prayers of his [God's] Mother, and of all saints."-At the end of most of the other books are Indorsements of much the same general import: thus, at the end of the Book of Isaiah, there is the following:-" End of the Prophecy of Isaiah. This is annexed (to the other books), from the Codex of EUSEBIUS and PAMPHYLUS, which also they corrected from the Bibliotheca of ORIGEN."_ See also the Indorsements at the end of the twelve minor Prophets, at the end of the Book of Proverbs, end of the Book of Canticles, and of the Book of Ecclesiastes. In all these places, it is stated that the Syriac translation was made from a Codex, set forth by Eusebius and Pamphylus, from the Bibliotheca of Origen, containing various readings and marginal notes.


     Both manuscripts of the Syriac Hexapla are written in the Estrangelo character; and are apparently ancient. That of Paris contains only the 4th [2d] Book of Kings: and it was first brought into notice in 1770, by Paul Jacob Bruns. That in the Ambrosian library at Milan, contains nearly or quite all the Old Testament. To this valuable manuscript, John Baptist Branca, a doctor in the Ambrosian college, directed the attention of Dr. Kennicott and of J. P. Bruns, while on a visit to Milan, about the year 1767. A few years after, J. J. Bjornthal, of Sweden, visited Milan, examined the manuscript, sent some specimens of it to England and Sweden, and also published a description of it. De Rossi then became interested in it, and in 1778, published the first Psalm as a specimen, accompanied by a full account of the manuscript. In the same year, Matthew Norberg, of Sweden, visited Milan, and took a copy of a large part of it: and in the year 1787, he published at Lund, in 4to., the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, from his copy. The next year, Cajetan Bugatus, of Milan, published the book of Daniel, Syriac and Latin, 4to. He also commenced the publication of the book of Psalms, about the same time; but it was not carried through the press till 1820. In the mean time, Bruns had procured a copy of the Paris manuscript. But neither he nor Norberg, met with sufficient encouragement to proceed with the publication of their copies. They left their manuscripts in the hands of Eichhorn; who at length transferred them to Henry Middledorpf, a professor in the university of Breslau, in Silesia; and he published so much of these transcripts, as had not before been published,-(viz. the 4th [2d] book of Kings, Isaiah, the twelve minor Prophets, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes,)-in one large vol. 4to., Berlin, 1835; with a learned Preface, containing the facts above stated. The following books, we suppose, have never been published, viz.: the entire Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, first and second of Samuel, first of Kings, the two books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
     This Syriac version adheres very closely to the Greek; and therefore will aid us, so far as it extends, in ascertaining what text of the Septuagint was approved by Origen, and by Eusebius and Pamphylus. It may also help us to recover some of the deviations from the Septuagint, in the several Greek versions collated by Origen. Of course, for criticism of the Septuagint Greek text, it is of great value. But for the interpretation of the Scriptures, it cannot be of much use, on account of its servility, and its adherence to the Septuagint. As a translation, it is very like the Philoxenian New Testament: which Thomas Harclensis was revising at Alexandria at the very time, when Mar Paulus was producing this version. As the Peshito New Testament is far more valuable, for exegetical purposes, than the Philoxenian version; so the Peshito Old Testament which is a faithful translation from the Hebrew, must be far more valuable to an interpreter, than the Syriac Hexapla, which is a servile translation from the Septuagint Greek.