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able. Those who have attended to the progress of knowledge in Great-Britain during the last age, have probably been able to trace very distinctly the influence of this visionary philosophy in producing the effect which has been stated.
Of the great number of Hebrew grammars which have been published since the revival of letters, that of BUXTORF, till near the close of the seventeenth century, had received by far the largest share of public approbation. And though it was dry, complicated, tedious, and of course difficult to be acquired; yet as it was on the whole well constructed, and contained an excellent body of masoretical rules, it continued long to be the reigning favourite among the teachers of this language. CAPELLUS seems to have been the first who made a successful attempt to divest Hebrew grammar of its superfluous precepts, and perplexing append. ages. Since his time the system of simplification has been carried still further by Mascles, and many others, bote the advocates and opposers of
At an early period of the century, Professor Danz, of Germany, published a Hebrew and Chaldeac Grammar, in which he almost entirely departed from the methods before in use. Instead of perplexing the learner with numberless minutia, which are apt at the beginning to disgust and discourage, he presented the elements of the language in a simple, easy, and attractive form. The Danzian method soon became general, was adopted as the ground work in innumerable subsequent grammars, and is yet the prevailing one in the schools and universities of Germany. The Hebrew grammars produced in Great-Britain, during the last age, were numerous, and a few of them highly valuable. Out of a long list which might be made, those of PARKHURST, ROBERTSON, GRAY,
Wilson, and FITZGERALD, are entitled to particular distinction!
In the eighteenth century, for the first time, grammars, dictionaries, and other books, for teaching the elements of the Hebrew language, were presented to the public in English. Before this period, all such works were in the Latin language, and of course the acquisition of this language, at least, was necessary before any thing could be done towards acquiring the Hebrew. In the last age this difficulty was removed. Those who are acquainted with no other than their native tongue are now furnished with books, by means of which they may be conveniently initiated into the knowledge of Hebrew literature, so far as is necessary for enabling them to peruse the sacred scriptures. Mr. PARKHURST, it is believed, first obliged the public with a work of this nature. His example was followed by his countryman, Mr. BATE; since which time the same means for rendering Hebrew literature more accessible, have been adopted by Professor Wilson, Professor FITZGERALD, and several others.
Those who studied the Hebrew language in the eighteenth century derived an advantage from the circumstance of the other oriental dialects, the Syriac, Chaldeac, Arabic, and even the Coptic and Æthiopic, being more and better cultivated during this time than in any former period. The aid furnished to the student of Hebrew by the knowledge of these dialects, will be readily un
f In the formation of some of these grammars the Points and Accents are employed; in others they are rejected; while, in a third clase, a middle course is pursued between a total rejection and an unlimited admission of them. The last is particularly the case with the grammar of Dr. FitzGERALD, Professor of Hebrew in the University of Dublin, published in 1799. He retains the vowel points, and such of the accents as are most distinguishable and useful. All the other accents, of which the number is şonsiderable, he has discarded.
derstood and appreciated by those who have any knowledge of the subject. The labours of ReLAND and SCHULTENS, in Holland; of REINECCEIUS, the MICHAELISES, (especially the last of that name) Srock, EICHORN, BODE, STORR, and AdLER, in Germany; of LA Croze, in France; of De Rossi, in Italy; and of. DURELL, RIDLEY, Woide, and WHITE, in Great-Britain, to illustrate these auxiliary languages and dialects, or to present the public with various readings, and versions from them, are well known, and have often been the subjects of high praise.
The collection and collation of ancient Hebrew Manuscripts, which were pursued in the eighteenth century to an extent greatly beyond any former example, may be considered as among the distinguishing honours of the age. In 1707 Dr. JOHN Mill, a learned English divine, published an edition of the New Testament, with the various readings, collected from many different manuscripts, to which he had devoted the unwearied labour of thirty years. In 1752 the celebrated WETSTEIN, of Germany, whose talents and erudition are well known, published a work on the same plan, but, as many suppose, executed with greater judgment. He, like his predecessor, expended much time and labour in his work, and travelled into foreign countries to examine all the manuscripts that could be procured." These pub
g In 1762 that illustrious orientalist, John David MICHAELIS, published a number of curious and interesting questions, relating to Arabic literature, which he had directed to a number of learned men, sent by the King of Denmark into Arabia, and to which he desired their attention. These queries not only led to much inquiry, and produced much informa, tion, from the persons to whom they were immediately addressed; but they also led to a more general study of the Arabic language, as an auxiliary to the Hebrew, than had before taken place in the colleges and universities of Germany.
b The collations and various readings of MILL, KUSTER, WETSTEIN, Greisbach, Matthæi, and others, will be noticed more particularly when the Literature of the Christian Churcb shall come under consideration, in the fourth and last part of this work.
lications, together with a conviction of its utility and importance, animated Dr. BENJAMIN KENNICOT, of the University of Oxford, to engage in a similar undertaking with respect to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. As early as 1753, by a dissertation on the state of the common printed text, he called the attention of the religious world to his design, and laid the foundation of his great work. His plan was no sooner announced than he found ample support both of a pecuniary and literary kind. He collated more than 700 manuscripts, obtained from different countries, besides many printed copies; and was enabled from these sources, to present a very curious and instructive amount of various readings. In 1776 the first volume of his work appeared, and in 1780 the second, which completed his plan, was laid before the world. Every lover of oriental literature must feel himself under deep obligations to this great collator, not only for the light which his indefatigable labour threw on the sacred Scriptures, but also for that taste and zeal in Hebrew literature, and particularly in biblical criticism, which his example evidently and remarkably revived in Great-Britain. When Dr. KENNICOT began his celebrated work, he entertained an opinion decidedly opposed to the integrity of the common Hebrew text of the Bible. But, though there is no reason to suppose that he altered his opinion afterwards; yet his labours certainly produced a conviction in the minds of discerning and impartial men, entirely contrary to what he expected. They confirmed rather than destroyed the general confidence in the masoretical reading; and instead of subserving the cause of infidelity, or heresy, by unsettling the sacred text, as the Hutchinsonians and some others had predicted, their influence was directly of an opposite kind.
i The literary aid rendered to Dr. Kennicot, was received from almost every part of the Christian world, particularly from Great-Britain, Germany and France. The pecuniary aid with which he was favoured, for the prosecution of his plan, was derived chiefly from his own country, in which there was raised, by subscription, for this purpose, the sum of £36,000 sterling, or upwards of 160,000 dollars. A degree of liberality, which reflects the highest honour on Great-Britain and the age.
į Among the great number of manuscripts examined by Dr. KeNNIcor, there was one from America. This belonged to the family of the late Mr. Solomon Simson, of the city of New-York, who sent it to the learned collator in 1771, and had it returned in 1772. This manuscript is the 144th in Dr. Kennicot's list, under the title of “ Codex Americanus. Neo Eboracensis."
k Vetus Testamentum Hebraicum cum variis Lectionibus. Edidit Benį. KennicoT, S. T. P. Oxonii. 1776, 1780, 2 vols. folio.
! It is certain, that since the publication of Kennicot's work, the study of Hebrew has remarkably revived in Great-Britain. At the close of the eighteenth century it is probable there was a greater number of Hebrew scholars in that country than at any former period within an hupdred years, , perhaps than ever before.
Encouraged by the success of Dr. KENNICOT, and influenced, also, by the circumstance of his having a convenient and easy access to the Ambrosian Library of Milan, John BERNARD DE Rossi, Professor of Oriental Languages in the University of Parma, undertook a similar work, which he completed, and laid before the world in 1786."" He collated many manuscripts which KENNICOT had never seen, and added many important readings to the former treasure. His work may,
therefore, be considered a very useful supplement to that of his laborious predecessor. The same effect resulted from this publication as from that of KenNICOT. It tended to confirm the masoretical text, and disappointed the hopes of those who wished to unsettle or dishonour it.” Drs. DoEDERLEIN and
m Varie Lectiones Veteris Testamenti, ex immensa MSS. editorumque Codie tum congerie bausta, et ad Samar. Textum ad vetustiss. versiones, ad accuratiores S. Criticæ fontes ac leges examinata, opere ac studio Jouan. Bern. de Rossi, S. T. P. et in R. Parmensi Acad. Ling. Ori. Prof. tom iv. The author speaks thus of his work, “ Producuntur
bic variæ Lectiones V. T. ex immense MSS. editorumque codicum congerie, id est, ex mille quadringentis septuaginta et amplius sacri Textus codicibus,"
n It is well known that in the common Hebrew Bibles there are remarks, or various readings in the margin, called Keri, to distinguish them fronz she reading in the text, called Ghetib. The latter is, in many places, obe