Imágenes de páginas

d honours champions com, and hadvice thene

how much more effective that testimony might have been, if they had consecrated aright in God's service the noble powers with which He had gifted them, and had come out clearly and unmistakeably as champions for the truth as it is in Jesus: if they had honoured God with their whole heart and mind and soul and strength, and had laid their learning and intellect at the foot of the Cross. In contradiction, then, to much prevalent assertion, we assert, that belief in the most essential dogmas of Christianity is not, in the nineteenth century, discordant with the most capacious intellect, the most profound and varied learning,—that it has been manifested, in our own day and generation, that adhesion to these dogmas is not invariably the result of hereditary training and home influences, but may and has followed pertinacious rejection of dogma, and has been the result of self-formed conviction. We maintain, moreover, that such orthodox conclusions have been come to in the full vigour and maturity of strength and intellect, when neither hopes, nor fears of approaching dissolution, were likely to disturb the intellect, or to terrify the imagination into submission. In the case of Coleridge, we have his own testimony-and that before he had blighted his vast powers with fatal indulgence—that “reflection and reading, particularly the Bible, had taught him the unstable foundation upon which Socinians grounded their faith.” Is this a process impracticable on philosophical grounds, or contemptible in the estimate formed by the wisdom of this world? We affirm finally, that these opinions were embraced and upheld from no paltry motives of selfish calculation, or regard for worldly interest; from no class prejudices but by those who had turned aside from all the paths of ordinary worldly advancement, and were content to be poor so long as they might be free to hold what they pleased, how they pleased; for the subtle art by which men now-a-days sign articles, and profess belief in creeds which in their hearts they rebel against, was not yet reduced to a system, and it required some moral courage and some self-sacrifice, however worthless might be the object, to profess infidelity. To our judgment, it is amongst the most evil signs of our times, that

“Men can think one thing and can another tell,”

and yet find acceptance in a world the breath of whose nostrils has fondly been supposed to be-honour.

Two other essays form the remainder of Professor Shairp's studies. One on Keble, which is full of interest as conveying the impressions made upon a young and clever Scotchman, trained up, as he expresses it, in the traditions of the Kirk, by

the Tractarian movement at Oxford. He speaks of it with enthusiasm, as men do of the recollections of the hey-day of their life. Curiously enough, he does not attempt to analyse Newman's career, or to explain how so subtle an intellect could subdue itself to the fetish worship of Rome; and space would fail us to discuss his estimate of Keble. The concluding essay is on what he, by a somewhat affected title, terms the Moral Dynamic. In this he glances at the theories of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Bishop Butler, Kant and Mill, and shows how all fail in furnishing a new dynamic power of virtue, an inspirer of goodness. This he recognizes in our Blessed Lord, and quotes, with high eulogium, some passages from “Ecce Homo," which he thinks to the purpose. It is but justice, however, to Professor Shairp to say, that he affirms that we must go further than the author of that much over-rated and most unsatisfactory book does, and in this we most assuredly agree with him. We fully agree with him also that the cry is vain which is so often heard, "Give us Christian morality without the dogmas,”—that “the dream of a Christian morality without a true Christian theology supporting and inspiring it, is vain.” We agree with him in his strenuous rejection of the Comtean " service of humanity;" and with him also reject the last new substitution for the Gospel of Christ"culture." It will be seen, from even this hurried review, that Professor Shairp himself must, in many points, be looked upon as a most independent witness, with whom, on many important points, we do not sympathise; but on a careful review of his volume, we feel there is so much which we can approve of, that it is with regret we differ, when we do differ, and think that in certain cases his book may be serviceable, where writings more distinctly and exclusively Evangelical, and therefore, in our judgment, far more valuable, might not readily find acceptance. With such necessary limitations, we commend it to our readers, those more especially who feel themselves capable of exercising discrimination in what they read, and of appropriating what may be really valuable for the establishment of their faith in the Gospel of Christ.

ANCIENT HEBREW INSCRIPTIONS IN THE CRIMEA.* The publication of the learned essay of Professor Dr. Daniel Chwolson, of St. Petersburgh, upon the ancient Hebrew Inscriptions on tombs in the Crimea, has led to much interesting discussion among scholars. The learned Professor tells us that in the beginning of 1839 Prince von Woronzoff, then Governor General of Odessa, and President of the Archæological Society of that city, addressed a letter to the Governor of Sympheropol, in which he requested the latter to put certain queries to the Karaite Jews in Eupatoria, relative to their origin, and the date of their emigration into the Crimea. As no one of the Karaites there was able to answer those queries, the Karaite community deputed their teacher, Abraham Firkowitsch, to seek after such documents, manuscripts, inscriptions, and monuments of all kinds which might exist in the towns of the Crimea, inhabited then, or at any former time, by their people, in order that some account of their history in the Crimea might be drawn up with the assistance of such records. Firkowitsch was a man well qualified for this task, as he had previously interested himself in editing several ancient Karaite works. He had also lived some time in Constantinople, had travelled in the East, and was in possession of a valuable collection of Karaite works, both printed and MSS.

Firkowitsch accordingly proceeded to Tshufutkale, which was the dwelling place of a very ancient Karaite community, and from thence to other places, in most of which he was amply rewarded by discoveries of considerable value. The result of his first journey was the discovery of 51 Biblical MSS., most of them containing inscriptions of various kinds by which their respective dates could be ascertained, a most important feature

* Mémoires de l'Académie Impé. riale des Sciences de St. Petersbourg, VIIe Série, Tome ix. No. 7 et dernier. Achtzehn Hebräische Grabschriften aus der Krim. Ein Beitrag zur biblischen Chronologie, semitischen Paläographie u. alten Ethnographie. Von D. Chwol. son, Mit 9 Tafeln. St. Petersburg, 1865.

Judische Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft und Leben. Herausgegeben von Dr. Abraham Geiger, Rabbiner der israeli. tischen Gemeinde zu Frankfurt a. M. Dritter Jahrgang, 1864-54" Grab-In. schriften.” Vierter Jahrg. 1865-6

« Weiteres über die Grabinschriften in der Krim”_" aus einem Briefe des Herrn Prof. Chwolson, Oct. 10." Fünf. ter Jahrg. 1867"'“ aus einem Schrei. ben des Herrn Prof. Chwolson, April 17.Breslau, Schletter'sche Buchhandlung (H. Skutsch.)

The Theological Review: a Journal of Religions Thought and Life, Oct. 1868. Article I. Ancient Tomb In. scriptions of the Crimean Jews. By Samuel Davidson, D.D., LL.D. Wil. liams and Norgate, London and Edinburgh.

Firkouty, to proceed tern, the Directociety of o

in Hebrew MSS. He also brought back with him some 59 copies of ancient Hebrew tomb inscriptions, the oldest of which was of the year A.D. 640, and among these the inscription on the tomb of the renowned Isaac Sangarī, who had converted to Judaism the King of the Chazars.

The news of this discovery awakened much interest among Jewish scholars, although many of them were inclined to doubt the correctness of the transcriptions which had been made by Firkowitsch. The Archæological Society of Odessa accordingly commissioned Dr. Stern, the Director of the Jewish School in that city, to proceed to the spot and verify the copies made by Firkowitsch, and to examine further into the matter. Dr. Stern accordingly visited the Crimea in 1842, and examined the MSS. discovered by Firkowitsch with the inscriptions found in them, as well as the Tomb-inscriptions. He found the transcriptions of Firkowitsch correct, with the exception of some unimportant points in places where the deciphering was attended with peculiar difficulties. He himself made some new discoveries of important MSS. with ancient inscriptions, and brought back, besides, some additional inscriptions from the graveyard of Tshufütkale.

Encouraged by his former success, Abraham Firkowitsch, in company with his son-in-law, Gabriel Firkowitsch, made repeated journeys to the various Karaite communities in the Crimea, among which he found other very valuable MSS. He also examined anew the graveyards in Solchat, Kaffa, Eupatoria, &c., and especially that in Tshufutkale, where the most important tomb-inscriptions had been found, and discovered several inscriptions of a much earlier date than those he had on the occasion of his first visit.

The two Firkowitschs visited St. Petersburgh in 1853, and brought with them copies of about 700 epitaphs from Crimean tombs, as also copies of 150 inscriptions discovered in various Karaite MSS. These were carefully examined by Professor Chwolson, who at once perceived their great importance, and even thus early expressed his belief in their genuineness. Under his advice, and that of other scholars at St. Petersburgh, Firkowitsch, on his next visit to the Crimea, took paper impressions of the epitaphs from the original stones, and brought back to St. Petersburgh about one hundred of these, selected from tombs of various centuries. Of these, four belonged to the 1st century, three to the 2nd, seven to the 3rd, four to the 4th, three to the 5th, five to the 6th, twelve to the 7th, fourteen to the 8th, six to the 9th, and so on; three being from tombs of the 18th century, and one even from a grave of the present century.

Ihese impressions exhibited a great variety of workmanship, some of the epitaphs having been cut with considerable care, while others are very indifferently, and some very badly, exe. cuted. The gravestones from which many of the paper impressions were taken had been seen and described by travellers in the previous century, and over several of them large trees have spread their boughs and roots, so that in their case it is utterly impossible to conceive any fabrication of antiquities. Nor can it be imagined that the Karaites of former days erected these for the purpose of the honour of their sect, as among these epitaphs nothing whatever distinctively Karaite has been discovered.

In 1863, Firkowitsch, on the occasion of another journey through the Crimea, sawed off the portions with inscriptions of eight gravestones from the Jewish cemetery in Tshufutkale, and sent these stones to St. Petersburgh, where they are now in the Asiatic Museum. Professor Chwolson's memoir treats in the first place of these epitaphs. From the paper impressions before mentioned the learned Professor has selected ten additional inscriptions, partly on account of their age or im. portance, and partly in order to explain the eight inscriptions, the originals of which he had before him.

Tshufutkale (more correctly, as Chwolson notes, Dshufutkale), or the Jews' fortress,lies on a lofty chalk ridge about two miles from Bachtshisarai. It was formerly inhabited solely by Jews, and, being naturally a very strong place, served as a place of refuge. Near it, in a valley shaded by lofty trees, is the Jewish burying-place, called by them, by a name borrowed from the Holy Land, the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Here, deeply imbedded in the ground, were discovered many of these interesting gravestones.

The inscriptions themselves are brief enough. The following may suffice as examples,—(1) “Rabbi Moses Levi (or the Levite) died in the year 726 after our exile.” (2) “Zadok, the Levite, the son of Moses, died 4000 after the Creation, 785 after our exile." (5) “And this is the monument belonging to the grave of Esther, the daughter of Solomon, which I have placed at her head, who died in the year 536—May her soul be bound up in the bundle of life-after the Creation, that is 385 according to the Matarkians." (9) “ This the monument of Buki, the son of Isaac, the priest. May his rest be in Paradise! At the time of the deliverance of Israel, in the year 702 after our exile.” (10) “ This is the monument of the grave of Gulef, daughter of Shabtai. She died in the year 4108-May her soul be bound up in the bundle of life-after the Creation." (11) « This is the monument of the grave of Toktamish, son of Bacshi, may his soul abide in happiness, who died 4173 after

« AnteriorContinuar »