Imágenes de páginas

in another;

years, having been used during many centuries in distant lands, by people who had another vernacular language, it necessarily has greatly varied. We find peculiarities of form and meaning belonging to different times and countries. It does not follow, that, because a Greek word had one signification in one age, that it must have had that signification

nor because it was used in one sense by the people who spoke Greek in Macedonia, can we infer that it must have been used in the same sense by the people who spoke Greek in Palestine. The difference that there is between the language of Chaucer, of Milton, and Wordsworth, may serve to illustrate the nature of the difference which is found in the works of Greek authors. The difference that there is between the language of good writers in this country, and that of ordinary conversation in the back settlements of America, will show the difference that there was between the Greek of the Grecian literati, and the Greek of the common people in Judea and Galilee. As the apostles wrote and spoke to be understood by all, their language must have corresponded with the latter rather than with the former. Undoubtedly their language was correct, but it was so only in relation to their own minds, and the minds of those whom they immediately addressed. It was good Greek to the ear and to the judgment of a Jew, but certainly would not have been so regarded by an Athenian.

For many years it was most earnestly discussed, whether the sacred writers of the New Testament spoke pure Greek or not. This question has been settled in the estimation of all learned men.

What a consideration of the circumstances of the Jewish nation would render probable, an examination of the language of the New Testament makes certain ; and it is now indisputable, that several words are used in the New Testament which are not to be found in classic Greek, that

many words are used in what was rarely the classical signification, and that many are used with significations which they never bear in any

Grecian writers. Campbell states, that the New Testament Greek “is with the greatest justice denominated a peculiar idiom, being not only Hebrew and Chaldaic phrases put in Greek words, but even single Greek words used in senses in which they never occur in the writings of profane authors, and which can be learnt only from the extent of signification given to some Hebrew or Chaldaic words corresponding to the Greek in its primitive and most ordinary sense.”* "We unhesitatingly deny that the style of the New Testament is pure Greek; on the contrary, we maintain that it imitates the Hebrew, not merely in single words, phrases, and figures of speech, but also in the general texture of the style.”+ Planck, in his Sacred Philology, says, “It is well known, that the Greek of the New Testament is very widely different from the actual language of ancient Greece and its national writers. There were formerly, indeed, a class of theologians, who were ready to charge a man with heresy if he only intimated that the apostles had not written pure Greek, but they are now entirely extinct; and at present it is universally acknowledged, that the dialect of the New Testament contains a multitude of peculiarities which are as foreign to the true Greek idiom, as their occurrence in the language of the apostles is natural.”*

Ernesti says,

* Diss. I. p. 19.

+ Inst. cap. iii. p. 7.

N. S. VOL. V.

Winer, in his grammar of the New Testament, part i. p. 3, says, “ The popular Greek dialect was not spoken or written by the Jews without foreign intermixtures. Their Greek style took the general complexion of their mother tongue. Hence originated a Jewish Greek, which native Greeks generally did not understand, and therefore despised.” In a previous section he says, “The style of the New Testament, as its authors were not so well acquainted with Greek literature as Philo and Josephus, and did not aim (as they did) at a correct Greek diction, acquired a Hebrew-Aramean colouring. A native Greek would either not understand many particulars at all, or misunderstand them.” To these testimonies we add a few instances, which may be verified by a reference to the lexicons of Wahl, Bretchneider, and Robinson. The radical signification, and the common classical meaning, are given in connexion with a scriptural signification of the word. It will hence appear how utterly impossible it is to determine, with the absolute certainty which some have assumed, what must be the meaning of a word in Hebraistic Greek, either from its radical or common classic sense. 'Ayallíaw, rad. to leap much ; it is not found in the classics ; scrip. to rejoice. "Ayyedos, rad. one who announces any thing; class. a messenger in general; scrip. a good or bad spirit. 'Ayrášw, rad. to revere ; class. to make sacred; scrip. to make morally good. 'Ayopáśw, rad. to market ; class. to frequent the market; scrip. to obtain or receive, without reference to market or purchase. 'Adiákpiros, rad. not separated; class. confused; scrip. impartial. Aipetikos, rad. one who choses; it is not found in the classics ; scrip. factious. 'Acuv, rad. ever being; class. time, age; scrip. the earth, mankind. 'Aandela, rad. not concealed ; class. truth ; scrip. rectitude. 'Avádema, rad. what is put up; class. a sacred offering; scrip. what is accursed or excommunicated. 'AvTITUTOS, rad. what strikes again; class. what is hard and resisting ; scrip. a pattern, or copy. 'Aranyéw, rad. to be without pain; class. to be without feeling; scrip. to be without shame. 'Afrokpivopai, rad. to separate from ; class. to answer; scrip. to speak, though not in reply. Aaipovíw8ns, rad. demon aspect; class. divine ; scrip. devilish. Alkalów, rad. to do what is fixed; class. to act rightly, sometimes, to condemn; scrip. to acquit. sóta, rad. what appears; class. an opinion ; scrip. brightness, glory. Eußpyáopai, rad. to roar at; class. to be in a passion ; scrip. to enjoin. 'Econoloyéw, rad. to speak out; class. to confess ; scrip. to praise. Evdaßńs, rad. good hold; class. cautious, fearful; scrip. devout. Eidoyéw, rad. to speak well; class. to commend ; scrip. to make happy. "Evoplayxvos, rad. having good bowels; class. courageous; scrip. merciful. Kowów, rad. to make common; class. to share in society; scrip. to render or esteem impure. Koráfw, rad. to cut; class. to toil, to be weary; scrip. to cease, to be calm. Aarpeów, rad. to hire ; class. to do hired service; scrip. to worship. 'Opyń, rad. a stretching ; class. anger; scrip. punishment. 'Opeinua, rad. what is owing; class. a debt; scrip. a sin. Ilapakahéw, rad. to call to; class. to exhort; scrip. to comfort. Ilverwagtirós, class. breathing, windy; scrip. spiritual. 'Pavrijw, class. to sprinkle; scrip. to purify. 'Pộua, class. a word; scrip. a thing. Súpể, class. flesh of the body; scrip. that which is evil in the mind. "Tlaparoń, rad. mishearing; it is not found in the classics ; scrip. disobedience. 'Ywmiáo, rad. to give a blow under the eye; class. to strike and bruise ; scrip. to repress. Other significations besides those here given may belong to these words, but they never have in classic Greek the significations which, more or less frequently, they have in the New Testament. Additional instances might be brought forward ; these are, however, quite sufficient to show, that it is most wrong to conclude, that, because a word has one sense in classic Greek, that therefore it must have the same sense in the holy Scriptures. If passages were to be adduced a hundred or a thousand fold, to show from the classics the meaning of a Greek word, it would not be possible thus to prove that this was its signification in Hebraistic Greek writings. We cannot be sure of this until we have seen that reasons similar to those which prove it to be the sense in the former, prove it also to be the sense in the latter. It aught to have the same suitability in both, if equally true for both. As the context, &c. has established one meaning in the works of heathen writers, so with equal or greater certainty may the context, &c. establish another meaning in the pages of the sacred writers.

* Bib. Cab. p. 20.

III. It may be imagined, however, that there is something in Battico which makes it less proper to pursue this course in reference to it, than in respect to other terms. There might be reasons for giving unusual deference to the radical signification, and to classical usage, in its case ; we can conceive of such reasons as these. It would be proper if, while the word occurred frequently in the classics, and with a context that threw a clear and strong light on its signification there, it was rarely used in the New Testament, and without any indications of its meaning there ; or if the objects to which it referred in the Scriptures, and the circumstances in which it was employed, were exactly or to a greater extent than usual similar to those presented in the classics, then also the probability of change in signification would be diminished; or, Jastly, the word may belong to a class which has rarely or never been

known to vary in its meaning. If these things could be established, then, though other words might deviate in their sense from classic Greek, we should conclude that Barriów did not, and while we searched the Scriptures to know what the apostles meant at other times, we might be content to receive a heathen interpretation of this word. The reverse of all these suppositions is, however, the fact. For, 1. Bartíšw is not a word of frequent occurrence in the classics, while in the New Testament, with its derivatives, it occurs more than a hundred times, and in connexions as favourable for ascertaining its meaning there, as those from which its signification is deduced in heathen writers.

2. This word is acknowledged to be used, with few if any exceptions, in reference to religious objects, generally in reference to a rite and doctrine peculiar to Christianity, which had no parallel to them in heathen countries. In the classics the word is never used in reference to what is sacred, but always in reference to what is common. In the New Testament it is never used in relation to what is common, but only in relation to what is sacred. Such terms are those most likely to change, and a reference to the instances given before will show, that terms applied to religious objects have changed most frequently. And, 3, Bantiso has changed its meaning; it has shown no peculiar tenacity of its primitive signification—it denotes to overwhelm, as well as to dip--and it belongs to a class of words remarkable for the changes of meaning which they have undergone. This is a point of great importance. Words denoting the mode of an action very frequently lose all reference to this mode, and then denote merely the end. Bárto is acknowledged to signify both to dip, and to die without dipping; λούω, νίπτω, πλύνω, all denote to wash, and have lost every reference to the manner of washing, if that were ever expressed by them. Tingo signifies to dip, and also to moisten and stain without dipping. It is, however, of more importance to look to the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac languages, since Hebraistic Greek is more likely to imitate the modes of transition common to those languages, and to borrow its significations from them. If in either of them we find a word corresponding to Bantibw, changing its signification of mode for one of end, then, instead of being improbable, it will be probable that Bantito has also assumed the latter signification, and expresses the design of an action, and not its manner. For the proof of the following statements reference must be made to the lexicons of Buxtorf, Castell, Gesenius, and Schaaf. In Hebrew, the following words denote primarily a mode of action, then cleansing or purifying, without any relation to mode. 777, to separate ; 997, to thrust away; 097, to tread under feet; 7, to melt; 99, to inundate, overwhelm. In Chaldee, similar changes have taken place in these words : *7, to rub; xņo, to swim ; 1?, to cast upon ; 99, to overwhelm ; 920, to dip; vay, to dip. All these also denote to wash or purify, without reference to mode. So also in Syriac, loco, to swim; 1.2., to scrape ; and Ves, to dip, all denote to purify or to wash, without any reference to mode. It cannot be deemed improbable, that Barricw should have undergone a change similar to that which is known to have taken place in the meaning of similar words in languages familiar to those who used the Hebraistic Greek, in which it occurs. The same modes of thought would naturally affect its significations. Moreover, Barticw would be put for 99* in Hebrew, for et sat vzi's in Chaldee, and for bros | in Syriac. As these all denote not only to dip, or overwhelm, but also to wash or purify without dipping, or overwhelming, it is a natural, if not a necessary consequence, that Bantico also should on some occasions lose its reference to mode of action, and signify only the design. It is on this ground alone highly probable that it means to purify without dipping. According to the principle stated by Dr. Campbell in the passage quoted, we are to expect that the Greek word should borrow its signification from these words.

From all these various considerations it appears, that the principle assumed by those who assert that Barriţw in the New Testament must mean to dip, is without any sufficient proof. We have seen that there is nothing in language in general, nothing in New Testament Greek, nothing in the term itself, to make a change of signification improbable. On the contrary, as so many other words have in the New Testament a peculiar signification, as Barricw (whether regarded as applied to the objects of religion, or as originally expressing mode) belongs to a class much given to change, it is very likely that its signification in payan writers is not its signification in the Bible. If we had no reason to expect any difference, we ought to search for its signification in the many passages where it occurs in the Septuagint and the New Testament, rather than in the less numerous passages where it is found in other books. Much more are we bound to look primarily and principally to this source of evidence, when we have so much reason to expect a change. From the pagan poets, historians, philosophers, and physicians, who have been improperly adduced to decide the meaning and the mode of Christian baptism, we appeal to the remains of Hebraistic Greek, and especially to the writings of the Apostles--the pages of Holy Writ,

* Inundavit, abluit aliquid.-Gesenius.

† Inundavit, immersit, immergendo lavit, abluit, eluit.-Buxtorf. Immersit, lavit, abluit.- Castell,

Immersit, lavit se, abluit aliquid in aqua.—Buxtorf et Castell.

Tinxit, intinxit, immersit, lavit, abluit.—Buxtorf. fil. | Tinxit, intinxit, intingendo lavit, lavit, abluit.—Buxtorf, fil. et Schaaf.

« AnteriorContinuar »