23 FEBRUARY 1901, Page 22


Moder this heading we notice such rooks of the week a hare no been reserved for review in other forms.] TaeoLooe.—Two Lectures on the Gospels. By F. Crawford Bnrkitt, M.A. (Macmillan and Co. 2s. 6d. net.)—Mr. Burkitt gives us in these lectures (delivered at the Summer University Extension Meeting at Cambridge, 1900) a very lucid summary of the results of New Testament criticism. We cannot pretend to summarise his argument. His concInsionin Lecture I. is that there was a collected book of th-o Four Gospels by the middle of the second century. Certain important interpolations--e.g., the Pericope de Adultera—can be traced back to something like this time, and these interpolations postulate a document to be inter- polated. As separate writings, the Gospels, he thinks, were older. So much, indeed, the existence of the fourfold volume may be taken to prove. Passing to the relation between the Synoptists, he sees the common document in Mark. This is, perhaps, the most definitely accepted conclusion of criticism. And, curiously enough, fifty years ago not one student in a hundred (at least in England) doubted that Mark was an abbreviation of Matthew. As to the Fourth Go.-_,),31, Mr. Burkitt is inclined to the view of Matthew Arnold, holding that it was written by a disciple of the Apostle, largely at his dictation. Mr. Burkitt holds that Christ and His Apostles spoke in Aramaic. "Thoroughly to understand our Lord's sayings we ought to be able to retranslate them into the original Aramaic." But the diffi- culty of recovering the ipsissinia verbs can hardly be overcome. --The Historical New Testament : a New Translation with Prolegomena, 4-c. By James Moffatt, B.D. (T. and T. Clark. 16s.)—If we give but a brief notice to this work, it must not be supposed that we have formed a low estimate of its value. Anything like an adequate review is impossible ; for what does - the volume contain? A new translation, to begin with, a critical examination of the sources, authorship, character, and purpose of each of the New Testament books, and a very serious and well- considered effort to exhibit in a series of tables their correlation and order of time. Mr. Moffatt possesses, in a high degree, the gift of lucid exposition. No one can mistake his meaning. His conclusions are decided, and he sets them forth very clearly. Passing over some tables which are intended as a general intro- duction to the special activities of the Christian era, we find the "Letters of Paul" coming first in chronological order of the New Testament writings. These, again, are placed in the following order : 1, 2 Thessalonians; Galatians (Mr. Moffatt favours, we see, the "South Galatian" theory); 1 Corinthians ; an "Intermediate Letter" (found in 2 Corinthians x.-xiii. 10) ; 2 Corinthians ; Colos- sians ; Philemon ; Ephesians (our author is doubtful, but on the whole thinks that it is Pauline, an encyclical addressed to churches of the Lycns valley); Philippians; 1 Peter ; Mark; Matthew ; Hebrews ; Luke ; Acts (showing no definite traces of the Pauline letters, and so naturally falling within the first century) ; the Apocalypse ; Fourth Gospel; 1, 2, 3 John; 1, 2 Timothy and Titus (pronounced, with decision, not to be of Pauline authorship, though containing Pauline matter,—the order of the three is conjectured as 2 Timothy, Titus, 1 Timothy) ; James; Jude; 2 Peter ("the composition of this writing during the course of the second century, and probably in its flrst,half, cannot be regarded any longer as one of the open questions in New Testament criticism"). This order, of course, is open to considerable objection. On the late date assigned to James we are distinctly opposed to Mr. Moffatt. The Pastoral Epistles are a very doubtful subject. On 2 Peter it is only a somewhat reac- tionary criticism that would abide by the traditional view. An appendix discusses at more detail various questions raised in the body of the work,--e.g., interpolation. In conclusion, we would express warm gratitude to Mr. Moffatt for a very valuable addition to Biblical study.—We may describe as a com- plementary volume to the above an Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament, by Eberhard Nestle, Ph.D., translated by W. Edie, B.D., edited by Allan Menzies, D.D. (Williams and Norgate, 10s. 6d.) This, too, is so full of detail that any adequate criticism would have to occupy much space. We may say, generally, that it is written in a very attractive way, and that the testimony which the editor bears to its lucidity is fully justified. Nothing could be better than Dr. Nestle's account of the materials which New Testament textual criticism has to deal with, the MSS., versions, &o., their date, origin, external and internal characteristics, and other cognate matters. These things form the subject of the second chapter, the first having been given to the history of the printed text. It is when we come to chap. 3, "Theory and Praxis of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament," that we find ourselves occasionally unable to follow Dr. Nestle's lead. We hold by the long-accepted maxim that conjectural emendation is, as a rule, out of place in dealing with the New Testament text. Our author, while indisposed to go to such lengths as Lech- mann (who conjectured wc7dLoi akeelon for woA.a.al asEcificaaoi in James iii. 1), "sees no objection on principle to the method of conjecture." To say that "it is only to be resorted to as the ultimo, ratio regis," is to use a truism. That is a universal rule. The point is,—Is the New Testament text to be treated as that of lEschylus or Thucydides ? We object also to Dr. Nestle's charm pionship of the Codex Bette. " I have not the slightest doubt," he writes (p. 192), "that the Gospel was originally narrated in a mach more vivacious style," that this has been toned down by a mistaken feeling of reverence. This vivacity he finds in the Codex Bens. He instances its reading of- wpb roil' 10444 TD evoea for TA ;roil Leas airicrat allror (Matthew vi. 8). He is quite wrong in saying that "our commentators have not a single syllable about it." If he had looked at ilford's edition he would have found that it gives all the Bessie readings, and Alford's is certainly the most popular edition. But this assumption of an original "more vivacious style" seems to us nothing less than audacious. As for the Codex Beres, it is unquestionably most interesting, but a most unsafe guide. Such a-reading as that in Luke xxiii. 55, "He put a stone on the tomb such as twenty men hardly rolled" (eleyir dkoei itcLA.Loe) makes the whole most suspicious.