Page images

Dewi Synachus Epiphanes fore Chrik 1977?, bring "Lo Holy Scriptur

"cited." And is ninety an improbable Age for a Man to live ? Must not a Man be at a Lols for Argument that uses such a one as this Who has lived in the World that has not seen or heard of a Man ninety Years old, or more? The 188th Year of the Era of Contracts, the Dean tells us, was 152 Years after the Version of the LXX was? made. Ariftobulus was then ninety Years old, consequently born about fixty-two Years after that Version was made ; and as Greck was his : Mother-Tongue, and he a Yaw, bred to the Reading of the Scriptures, he must know by the Time he was ten or twelve Years old, whether the Jews had all the Scriptures in the Greek Language or not; and before he was twenty, might have Opportunity to see that'Copy which was reposited in the Mufæum. This will make but about eighty Years from the Time of making the Translation of this LXX. . Now the Dean places the making the Translation to the eighth Year of Philadelphus, 277 before Chrif. Ariftobulus was capable of examining this Translation so far as to know what Books were translated within eighty Years after, and he tells us they were all the Holy Scriptures: These eighty Years fubtracted from 277, bring down Ariftobulus's Testimony to the Year before Christ 197. This was at least ten Years before Antiochus Epiphanes prohibited the reading of the Law in the Jewish Synagogues, which brought them to the Custom of reading the Prophets in their Synagogues of Judea. From whence the Dean Supposes the Alexandrian Jews took up that Custom also; and then, and not till then, translated the Rest of the Scriptures inte. Greek, . har ing only a Translation of the Law until that Time. But the positive Testimony of Ariftobulus fully refutes the Conjecture. undi

But another Objection, is, 6 If he had been Præceptor to: Ptolemy " Pbyscon, how came it to pass, that he should dedicate his Book of “ Commentaries on the Law of Mofes to. Ptolemy : Philometer, who “ reigned before Physcon ?" If we could give no Reason for this, it is certainly a very weak Argument to prove a Book to be spurious, bea cause the Author has dedicated it to one Man, and we think be should rather bare dedicated it to another.. Do we know what private Rea. fons an Author has to choose one Man for his Patron, rather than another? And suppose we could not at this Diftance of 2000 Years tell why Ariftobulus dedicated his Book to Philometer rather than to Pby/con, would that be any Reason to reject it as fpurious ? A Man must be at a great Loss for Arguments, who uses so weak a one as thiş - Yet even at this Distance Reasons may be given why Ariftobulus chose to dedicate to: Philometer rather than to Phyfcon, notwithstanding Phyfcon had been his Pupil. For, in the first Place, it is moft reasonable to believe that Ariflobulus, wrote his Book before he was seventy Years of Age, until which Time Physcon reigned only in Lybia and Cyrene, and Philometer reigned in Egypt, where Ariftobulus lived : And it is more likely that a Man would choose to dedicate to his own King, than to a King of another Nation. And in the next Place, though Physcon had been Pupil to Ariftobulus, yet he proved such a cruel and vicious Tyrant, that Ariftobulus might very well have more Respect for his Brother than for him. , , . ; Another Objection is, “ As to what he is said to have written in B 4


o those Commentaries, of there being a Greek Version of the Law be. u fore that of the LXX, and that the Greek Philosophers borrowed « inany Things from thence, it looks all like Fi&tion.” I grant it to have been a mistaken Conjecture. Aristobulus in reading the Greek Philosophers, particularly Pythagoras, who lived before the Rise of the Persian Empire, and Plato, who lived before Alexander the Great, had said many Things which, he conceived, they could learn only from the Holy Scriptures; this induced him to think that some Parts of the Scriptures must have been translated into Greek before their Time : But considering, as the learned Dean rightly observes, that 6 The « Light of Reason, or else Tradition, might have led them to the fay« ing of many Things, especially in moral Matters, which accord 6 with what is found in the Writings of Mofes; and if not, yet there " were other Ways of coming at them without such a Version. Con« verse with the Jews, might fuffice for it, and particular Instruction os might be had from some of their learned Men for this purpose : 66 And such, Clearchus tells us, Aristotle had from a learned few in the « Lower Asia.Ariftobulus thought not of these Reasons, and from thence was drawn into a groundless Conjecture. But because a wrong Argument, and from thence a wrong Conclusion, appears in a Book, does it therefore follow that it must be spurious, and not belong to the Author whose Name it bears? If this be an Argument to reject a Book, and condemn it as spurious, what human Writing can escape ? But though Ariftobulus has made such a Mistake in what he has written concerning ancient Times, he has given us no Reason to question the Truth in Matters wherein he could not be mistaken. He could not but know whether all the Scriptures of the Old Testament were translated into Greek before he was born: And as he was born but fixty Years after the LXX Translation was made, the Tradition concerning that Translation was of so short a. Date, that no Man bred to Learning, as he was, could be imposed upon, and made believe, that the LXX did translate the whole Scriptures, if they had translated the Law only. As soon as he could read, he saw the whole Scriptures written in Greek; when he was admitted into the Museum, he faw them in the Library, and was informed by his Tutors who they were that tranflated them. They, queftionless, were some of them old Men, who if they were not theinselves of an Age to remember the Making of phe Verfion, yet might be just born at the Time it was made: And therefore as foon as they could read, could not but know whether they had only the Law in Greek. And if they had the rest of the Scriptures also, no Doubt but the LXX translated the Whole. These Men could not be deceived in the Matter, and from them Ario Pobulus had his Information.

I know the learned Dean and others suppuse Ariftobulus to have taken his Account of this Matter from Aristeas; That Book, it feems, says he, having been forged before his Time. Now that the Book which bears the Name of Aristeas was forged by an Hellenistical Jew, I do not dispute : But that it was forged before the Time of Ariftobulus, I deny. For Men dare not offer luch Forgeries to the World while there are living Witnesses to contradict them ; and there were certainly many such

that Tranhe was, come Whole Script is he saw the mouse

Law on in Go Library. The t'theinte be juild ready if the

living at Alexandria, 'as were above eighty Years of Age when Aristobulus was born. But where does it appear that Ariftobulus has followed the counterfeit Arifteas? He only tells us, as Aristeas also does, that this Version was made at the Command of Ptolemy Philadelphus, under the Care and Direction of Demetrius Phalereus ; that is, he has only told a Truth, to which the preteaded Arifleas and several others afterwards added many fabulous Circumstances. For Du Pin, no Friend to the general ancient Opinion of the Jews and Christians concerning the LXX, yet says, “ There must be some Truth that has given Rife to “ the Fable of Aristeas, and that Ptolemy Philadelphus did in Effect de“ mand, and cause to be made, a Greek Version of the Law.” How then does it appear that he took his Account from Aristeas ? He had certainly Opportunity of being truly informed of the whole Matter, and we have no.Ground to belicve that any of the fabulous Stories concerning it were invented, at least not published in Writing before his Time. But Ariftobulus speaks of the Version being made not only by the Command of Philadelphus, but also under the Direction of Des meirius Phalereus. But we are told this could not be, for Philadelphus, as soon as he came to the Crown, committed Phalereus to Prison, because he had endeavoured to persuade Ptolemy Lagus, the Father of Philadelphus, to settle the Succession to the Crown on one of his Sons by Eurydice, and not upon him; and that soon after his Imprisonment he was bit by an Alp, and died: Therefore he could have no Concern in a Translation made in the Reign of Philadelphus. This Story Dios genes Laertius tells from one Hermippus. But the fame Diogenes also rells us that Sotion, in his Epitome of Successions, says Demetrius only counselled Lagus 'not to make any Son King so long as he lived; saying, "Ay óra w dose où óx ittig. Which Counsel, as it expressed no ill Will to Philadelphus, could not be greatly resented by him, at least no more than might easily be reconciled during the two Years Ptolemy Lagus lived afterwards : Or which Philadelphus, out of his great Love to Literature, might easily forgive : Since there was no Man so well qualified as Demetrius (the greatest Grammarian, Orator and Philosopher of his Age) to furnith his Library with Books. And as Hermippus gave a wrong Account of the Counfel given by Demetrius in the former Part of the Story, it is reasonable to believe his Account may be wrong as to the latter Part. And we have no Reason upon so weak an Authority to reject the Testimony of so many Jewish and Christian Writers, who speak of Demetrius Phalereus as having the Care and Direction of this Verfion in the Reign of Philadelphus.

But says the learned Dean, “ Clemens Alexandrinus is the first Author es that mentions him. But if there had been any such Commentaries, " Philo and Yosephus could not have escaped making Use of them." But why not? Ariftobulus was a Peripatetic Philosopher, and Philo was a Platonijt : Their Notions were therefore different, and for that Reason Pbilo might not make Use of him. Josephus was an Historian, whose Business was to relate Matters of Fact. And he had no Occasion to meddle with Commentaries on the Law, except when Matters of Fact might happen to be related in it. And though Ariftobulus does speak of the Translation of the LXX, yet as Josephus supposed Arifteds to be


por me ipeak of Demetrieign of Philaclemens Alex

ons te of him. Ies And he has Matters of

[ocr errors]

hey had

lis Deng Phili: Tometerlookinse King, Anately the

genuine, and as he was, upon that Suppofition, the eldest and the most authentick, and had' most fully written the History of that Verfion, he took what he thought proper to say from him, and so had no Occasion to inention Ariftobulus.

He then objects the different Times in which both Clemens and Eusebius say Ariftobulus lived. For, says he, « Soinetimes they tell us "he dedicated his Book to Ptolemy Philometer, at other Times to Pto

lemy Philadelphus and his Father together. Sometimes they will have « it, that he is the fame who is mentioned 2 Maccab. i. 10. And " sometimes they make him one of the feventy-two Interpreters 152 cc Years before." It is very difficult to account how Authors fall into Such Contrarieties in their Works, and even in historica! Matters say in one Book the contrary to what they have wrote in another. The most probable Account I can think of, is, that sometimes they write by Memory, without consulting the Author they received their Information from, and their Memory fails them. Thus Clemens and Eufebius, when they had Arifobulus before them, and read how he addressed himself to the King in his Dedication, saying, The whole Interpretation of the Law was made under King Philadelphus your Anceffor, they rightly {poke of the Book as dedicated to Philometer. At another Time, have ing Occafion to mention Ariftobulus, and not looking on the Dedication, but trusting to their Memory, they mistook the King to whom the Dedication was made, and called him Philadelphus ; and Anatolius finding him spoken of as living in the Reign of Philadelphus, might suppose him to be one of the seventy-two interpreters: But Clemens and Eufebius, knowing that he lived in the Time of Philometer, might very well think him the same with the Ariftobulus, spoken of 2 Maccab. 1. 10.

There is no Mistake therefore made by Clemens and Eufebius, when they speak of Arijicbulus as living under, and dedicating his Commentary to, Ptolemy Philometer, as appears by the Words of Ariftobulus himself, which Eusebius cites froin him : And therefore their putting him down under Ptolemy Philadelphus must be looked upon as such a Mistake as a Man may easily commit in a large Work. But I must observe that Clemens does not say (whatever Eufebius inay have done, whose Book De Præparatione I have not to consult) that Aristobulus de dicated his Book to Philadelphus and his Father, as the Dean represents him to have done. His Words are, 'Açusofourgo di gū xalà Titoramación yiyovéto zer donadeapov, that is, Ariftobulus, who was at, in, or with Prolery Philadelphus,' or who lived in his Time. And so it is interpreted by the Latin Translator of Clemens,, who renders it, Ab Ariftobulo autem qui fuit tempore Ptolemæi Philadelphi ; And then adds, that he is, mentipned by him who epitomized, the Acts of the Maccabees. However, the Mistake here might easily proceed from the Carelesness of a Transcriber, who might casily write Philadelphus for Philometer, the three firft Letters being alike, and having perhaps Philadelphus in his Thought. Or if it was thus written by Clemens himlelf, then, as I observed before, the Mistake might proceed from a Failure in his Memory: For he here quotes nothing particularly from Ariftobulus; only says, in general, that he wrote several Books to show that the Peripatetic Philofophy was taken

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Nobulus intrbulus in the copean's Opithe Commentari long

from the Law of Moses, and other Prophets. And whereas the learned Dean further urges, that the two first Chapters of the second Book of Maccabees, where Ariftobulus is mentioned, are all Fable and Fi&tion; yet the Author of that Fable and Fiction would hardly have put the Name of Ariftobulus into his Fable, if there had never been such an eminent Jew as Ariftobulus in the Court of Philometer and Phyfcon: I caonor therefore be of the learned Dean's Opinion, that all these Things put together create a just Suspicion, that the Commentaries of Ariftobulus were forged under his Name by some Hellenistical jew long after the Date they bear; Consequently he is a good Witness of the Translation of the whole Old Testament out of Hebrew into Greck by seyenty-two Interpreters in the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, which was the unanimous Belief of Jews and Christians for more than 1500 Years, a few Talmudical Jews only excepted; and was never called in Question until within 200 Years past : St. Jerom himself, though no Friend to the Translation, making no Question about it. .

There is no Reason why we should not believe that these seventytwo Interpreters had a most correct Copy of the Hebrew Bible, from whence they might make their Translation. The Original, written by Ezra, an inspired Writer, which was afterwards destroyed by Antiochus Epiphanes, remained then in the Temple, from which they might, and no Doubt did, take a most correct Copy, which Arifteas (if he may be believed in any Particular) assures us they did. And therefore we have no Reason to question but they made a faithful Translation, though not perfectly literal ; for po Language will always bear a direct literal Translation from another. And had we this Trant. lation now as faithfully delivered to us by Tranícribers, as it was made by the Interpreters, we might certainly prefer iç to the present Hebrew Copies, as pointed by the Maforites. It was very highly esteemed about 400 Years by the Jews first, and afterwards by Christians. It was read in all the Synagogues of the Jews in all those Parts of the World where the Greeks and Macedonians had spread their Language; even in Judea and Jerusalem itself the Scriptures were read in diverse Synagogues, not in the Hebrew, but in the Translation of the LXX: Our Saviour and his Apostles, as appears from the New Testament, made use of it, the Citations there from the Old Testament being frequently made according to this Version. And it was in high Efteen in the Christian Church during that and the following Age: And feveral Translations into other Languages were made immediately from it, the Original Hebrew not being consulted..

The Jews were the first who funk the Reputation of the LXX, through their Hatred of the Christians, and the Christian Religion. This appears, I. From the Author of a New Version of the Old Telta. ment into Greek A little before the Middle of the second Century,

Aquila, who had been a Chriftian, but cast out of the Church for some Miideineanor, became a Jewih Profelyte, and was circumcised. And having then learned the Hebrew Tongue, he made a New Translation of the Old Testament into Greek, in Opposition to the LXX, transa lating many passages concerning the Mellinh otherwise than they had been rendered by the LXX, that they might not be applied to the Holy


world with a dea and in the Heffles, as for the nd it was Age

« PreviousContinue »