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MEISSNER, of Germany, by selecting and publishing, in a cheap and convenient form, the most important and useful of the various readings exhibited by. Kennicot and De Rossi, produced a work which does honour to themselves, and deserves to be mentioned as one of the ornaments of the age.
Many other publications were made, during the eighteenth century, which facilitated and promoted the study of the Hebrew language. Among these the Critica Sacra of EDWARD Leigh, an English divine, and the Clavis Lingua Suncte of CHRISTIAN Stock, a learned German, are worthy of high praise. As the seventeenth century was adorned by the Buxtorfs, of Switzerland, and the study of the oriental languages greatly promoted by their example and their labours, so the eighteenth was rendered remarkable by the wonderful oriental learning, and the numerous publications on this branch of literature, by the MiCHAELISES, of Germany. There were three in succession of this name, who all hold high and honourable places in the list of modern scholars, viz. JOHN HENRY, CHRISTIAN BENEDICT, and John DAVID. The last, who was the son of JOHN HENRY, and who was nearly half a century engaged in promoting oriental literature, exceeded both his father and uncle in this species of erudition, and, indeed, might probably with truth be pronounced the greatest orientalist that the western world ever beheld. His Oriental and Exegetical
scure and difficult of construction. The Keri is the Masoretical emendation, or different reading; and of these there are in the Bible about one thousand. It is remarkable that, of this number, nine hundred and eighty-six have been found in the texts of different manuscripts by the industry of Kennicot and De Rossi. A result so honourable to the Masorites could scarcely have been expected.
o Biblia Hebraica, olim à CHRISTIANO REINECCIO edita, nunc denuo cum variis lectionibus, ex ingenti codicum copia, á B. KENNICOTTO et JOHAN. Bern. De Ros31, &c. ediderunt J. C. DOEDERLEIN, J. H. MEISSNER, 8vo. Leips. 1793. VOL. II.
Library, and his numerous detached treatises, may be said to have formed a new epoch in Hebrew literature in Germany. Another work of great importance, which deserves to be mentioned, and which certainly contributed to keep alive and extend the zeal for this branch of literature which had been before excited, was a periodical publication, entitled the Universal Library of Biblical Literature, printed at Leipsic, from the year 1777 to 1786, in eighteen volumes. This publication was conducted by Professor Eichhorn, of Jena, and is full of masterly criticism, and most valuable information for the orientalist. To these may be added the Oriental Library of Professor Hirt; the Apparatus Criticus of the learned BENGEL; the great Hebrew Lericon of CALMET, a stupendous monument of erudition; and the various publications of Drs. HUNT, SHARPE, Lowth, and many others, in Great-Britain, and on the continent of Europe.
The study of the Hebrew language in America has long been at a low ebb. At the close of the seventeeth century much knowledge of this language appears to have existed among those venerable Divines who planted and ministered to the churches in New-England. Indeed, at that period
This is a periodical publication, begun in 1971, and concluded in 1783, and consists of 23 volumes, besides the general index. It was renewed in 1786, under the title of Neue Orientalische Bibliothek, and continued for a number of years, in which time there were at least 8 volumes more published.
2. In this rich treasure of oriental learning are found valuable treatises not only from the pen of the immediate conductor, but also many from Professor BRUNS, Professor Tychsen, and others, whose names are a sufficient pledge for the display of great erudition and talents in oriental literature.
✓ For a more particular notice of several publications since those of Dr. Lowth, more particularly by Drs. Newcomb, BLANEY, Wintle, HODGson, and a long catalogue of Hebrew translators and critics, the reader is referred to the fourth part of this work, under the head of Biblical Literan
this kind of knowledge was possessed by very few
other part of our country. Accordingly the colleges of Harvard, in Massachusetts, and of Yale, in Connecticut, it is believed, are the only seminaries of learning in the United States in which the Hebrew language has been, for any considerable portion of time, regularly taught; and at the present period they are the only American seminaries in which there are regular oriental instructors.' A few of those destined for the clerical profession in our country, make themselves acquainted, to a small extent, with this language, so inestimably important to every biblical critic; but the acquisitions of such are generally made by their own unassisted industry, or by means of private tuition.
In 1779 the office of instruction in the Hebrew language was added to a professorship, then held in the University of Pennsylvania, by the Rev. Dr. KUNZE; but few availed themselves of the
s If the author does not mistake, the Hebrew language has been taught in Harvard College for nearly a century, and during the greater part of that time by a professor regularly appointed for the purpose. In Yale Col: lege, there has been, for many years, more or less attention devoted to Hebrew literature; but it was not until the autumn of 1802 that a professor for this branch of instruction was appointed. The gentleman selected to fill this office is the Rev. Ebenezer G. MARSH, who has the character of an excellent Hebrew scholar.
* About the year 1760 the Rev. J. G. Kals, a German clergyman, who had an uncommon stock of Hebrew learning, came to America. Anticipating the want of Hebrew types in this country, he brought with him a large edition of a voluminous Hebrew grammar, which he had composed, and some time before published; and many copies of a dictionary, also his own production, together with many other books of a similar kind. He expected, by the sale of these works, and by the encouragement which he should meet with as an instructor of this language, to gain an ample support. But he soon found that Hebrew literature was not a very saleable article in America; and that all his zeal was not sufficient to inspire even his clerical brethren with a general taste for its cultivation. Being present at a meeting of the clergy, when some candidates for the gospel ministry were examined, and finding that ignorance of this language was not considered as a disqualification for the sacred office, he rose and made a speech, filled with reproaches, in which he denounced his brethren as a generation of vipers," and left chem with disgust. When the members of the same ecclesiastical body afterwards heard of his being in distress, and made a liberal collection for his relief, he received it with this sarcastic remark, "I am Elijah; the ravens must feed me.”
opportunity thus afforded for gaining a knowledge of this ancient tongue; and the professorship was continued only for a short time. In 1784 Professor KUNZE removed to the city of New York, and was soon appointed to a station in Columbia College, similar to that which he had held in the University of Pennsylvania.". This professorship had a slender support afforded to it, by an annual allowance from the legislature of New-York, for five years;
but at the end of this time, the allowance being withdrawn, the department of oriental instruction was discontinued. This is one among the several instances of disreputable literary retrocession, by which the United States were distinguished at the close of the eighteenth century.
Some small publications for promoting Hebrew literature were made in America during the century under review, Among these a Hebrew Grammar, by JUDAH Monis, many years ago a teacher of this language in the University of Cambridge, in Massachusetts; a grammar, by STEPHEN Sewall, also some time since an Hebrew instructor in the same institution; and a work of a similar nature by Dr. Johnson, formerly President of King's College, in the city of New York, may be reckoned the most considerable." They are only mentioned in this place as evidences that there has been some taste for Hebrew literature in America; and especially that a few individuals have displayed some zeal for its promotion, which only required public patronage to have been more successful.
v Professor Kunze, soon after receiving this appointment in Columbia College, entered on the duties of his office with an enlightened and ardent zeal. That he might be more extensively useful, he took the earliest opportunity of sending to Europe for a number of curious and voluminous works, in oriental literature; and resolved by this means not only to furnish himself with the best publications for teaching the Hebrew language in the most profitable manner, but also for initiating his, pupils into the knowledge of the Arabic and Syriac dialects, for which he was abundantly qualified. But all his exertions were rendered abortive by the unreasonable and misplaced economy of our Legislators, who have not infrequently acted as if they considered the interests of literature among the most unimportant objects of their attention.
u Professor Kunze also composed a Hebrew grammar on an improved plan, for the use of his pupils, which he designs to publish as soon as a prospect of sufficient encouragement appears.
Though something was said in the preceding section of the Hebrew language having been more successfully studied in modern times, on account of the increased knowledge of Arabic literature; yet the subject is worthy of more particular notice.
Scarcely any oriental language was so well understood in Europe, at the close of the seventeenth century, as the Arabic. The excellent publications of ERPENIUS and Golius, of Holland, for facilitating and recommending this branch of eastern literature, had been then laid before the world, and were of so superior a character, that, by means of these helps, Sir WilLIAM Jones assures us, we may understand the learned Arabic better than the deepest scholar at Constantinople, or at Mecca.w The Bibliotheque Orientale of M. D'HerBELOT, a very learned and entertaining work, may also be mentioned among those aids which had been furnished in the preceding century, for the attainment of the same object. Since that time further light has been thrown on the literature of Arabia, by the observations of several travellers, and by the labours of various learned men.
Early in the century ADRIAN RELAND, of Holland, and John Hudson, and Mr. LE ROQUE,* of
w See Sir William Jones's Works, vol. i. p. 39.
* Translation of ABULFEDA's Arabia. Izmo. Lond. 1718. And also his Account of Arabian Customs and Manners. 12mo. Lond. 1732.