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• The prosopopæia may be readily allowed to be beautiful; but I very much question whether the writer of the Pentateuch ever dreamed of it. I wish to divest myself of prejudices, as much as this essayist, whoever he be; and, although I cannot altogether forget what I learned in my years of pupillage, I have been long accuftomed to think for myself, on every subject that has come before me. On the present lubject, which I have studied with great attention, my opinion is, that there are only two admissible modes of interpretation : either to allegorize the whole, with Philo; or tenaciously to adhere to the letter, in every respect. That the latter, only, was in the writer's view, I have not the smallest doubt: but I doubt, whether his relation were founded upon real facts; or imagined, to account for known phenomena. Why might not the Hebrews have their mythology, as well as other nations and why might not their mythologists contrive or improve a system of cosmogony, as well as those of Chaldæa, or Egypt, or Greece, or Italy, or Persia, or Hindoftan? - If we may suppose, then, that the Hebrew historiographer invented his Hexahemeron, or fix days creation, to inforce more ítrongly the observance of the Sabbath; which I think much more than probable; may we not, in like manner, consider his history of the Fall as an excellent mythologue, to account for the origin of human evil, and of man's antipathy to the reptile race? Regarded in this light, it will require no ftraining effort to explain it: it will be perfectly coherent in all its parts: it will be attended with no absurd consequence: it will give no handle to the enemies of religion to turn it into ridicule. The serpent will then be a real mythological serpent; will speak, like the beasts and birds in Pilpay or Efop; will be a most crafty envious animal, that seduces the woman from her allegiance to God; will be punished, accordingly, with degradation from his original state ; and an everlasting enmity establithed between him and the woman's feed. -- The rei ective punishments of the woman and of the man, will be, in the same sense, real; and the whole chapter an incomparable example of oriental mythology: Reader! dost thou diflike this mode of interpretation? Embrace any other that pleases thee better. Be only pleased to observe, that the authority of Scripture is by no means weakened by this interpretation, as will be fully proved in its proper place.'
The doctor now proceeds with an historical summary from the espulsion of mankind out of Paradise to the time of Abraham, whose birth is placed by the Hebrew copies in the 2920 year after the deluge; but, by the Samaritan copy and the Greek version, in the 949th. This he confders as the beginning of the Hebrew history, and, after defending the genuineness of it, by various arguments, adverts to the system of the He. brew legiflation.
K 4 :
o The speculative part of the Mosaic divinity is extremely concite; and sumined up in the belief of One supreme God, the creator and governor of the heavens and the earth, and of subordinate beings, called his angels of mefiengers. His absolute attributes are omnipotence and onnijcience. He is also represented as jusi, benevolent, longSuffering, and merciful; but these qualities are clothed in colours that inspire rather fear than lovę : the empire of this latter was, long after, to be establithed, by a greater lawgiver than Moses. The God of Moses is 12 jealores God, who prenijieth the iniquity of fathers in their children, unto the third or fourth generation; an irascible and avenging God, who conjumeih like a dezouring fire; who maketh his arrowus drunk with the blood of his enemies, and his fzuord satiated with their fiel. He is even said to harden, sometimes, the hearts of wicked men, that he may take more flagrant vengeance of them. Indeed, the whole tenor of the Pentateuch convinces me, that the more ancient Hebrews were real anthropomorphites; and to this alone, I think, we are to afcribe all those expressions concerning the Deity, that seemingly degrade the Deity. At any rate, all such xpressions must be considered as metaphorical imagery, adapted to he ideas of a stupid, carnal propie; if we would lupport the geneal credit of Hebrew scripture, on rational principles.-:Of God's angels, we learn nothing, but that they always appeared in a hunan form, and spoke the language of man. -- Of bad angels, I find no menţion made in the whole Pentateuch; unless it be supposed that they are alluded to in Levit. xvii. 7. and Deut. xxxii. 17. which the reader may turn to, and examine, together with my remarks on þoth passages.'
The practical theology, it is obferved by Dr. Geddes, is of much greater extent; and may be divided into the moral and the ritual. The former, as contained in the decalogue, and reducible to the love of God, and the love of our neighbour; the latter as confifting of various ceremonies, which though at first light, to thoughtless and superficial readers, appearing trivial, will upon a deeper inlight be found to have been compiled with great judgment, and a more than ordinary know ledge of the human heart. This, the doctor proceeds to evince, by brief but luminous illustrations of its several objects, and concludes his sketch of the Pentateuch, by inferring, that, whether it be considered as a body of history, or as a fyítem af jurisprudence, it will not appear to shrink from a comparison with any piece of ancient writing, even when divered of every privilege it might claim from revelation.'
The next consideration that occurs is: who was the author of jo admirabie a work??--In reply, the doctor obferves : ! There was a time, when this wouid have been deemed an im fortinent, nay an impiolis query: for who, it was said, could be
the author of the books of Mofes, but Nicíes himself? Yet this query an ears to me to have never been sufficiently answered, unless ille jurious language may be called an answer. As the subject will neceliarily occupy a considerable place in my. General Preface, I thall now content myself with giving, in very few words, the result of my own inveftigation, -- It has been well observed by Michaelis, that all external teltimony is here of little avail: it is from intrinsic evidence only, that we must derive our procfs. Now, from intrin, fic evidence, three things to me seem indubitable. ift. The Pen: tateuch, in its present iom, was not written by Moses. 2dly. It was written in the land of Chanaan, and :nost probably at Jerufa. lein. 3diy. It could not be written before the reign of David, nor after that of Hezekiah. The long pacific reign of Solomon (the Auguftan age of Judæa) is the period to which I would refer it: yet, I confefs, there are some marks of a posterior date, or at least of pofterior interpolation.
But although I am inclined to believe that the Tentateuch was seduced into its present form in the reign of Solomon, I am fully persuaded that it was compiled from ancient documents, some of which were coeyal with Mofes, and some even anterior to Noles. Wirther all these were written records, or many of them only oral traditions, it would be rash to determine. It is my opinion, that the Hebrews had no writäen documents before the days of Moles; and that all their history, prior to that period, is derived from morumrental indexes, or traditional tales. Some remarkable tree, under which a patriarch had retidied; some pillar, which he had erected; some heap, which he had raised; some ford, which he had crofied; some spot, where he had encamped; some field, which he had purchared; the tomb in wbich he had been laid- all ibete served as so many links to hand his fiory down to posterity; and corroborated the oral teftimony transmitted, from gencration to generation, in simple narratives, cr ruitic forgs. That the marvellous would ionietimes creep into these, we inay early conceive: but still the efiince, or at least the kelcior, o hikiory, was preserved.
From the innert Mores, there can be no doubt, I think, of their having writen records. Moses, who liad been tunelit all die q'ijdom of the 12% +10s, rroft probably wis the first Hebrow writer, or the first who applied writing to biliorical compofition. From his journals, a great part of the l'entateuch feinis to have been compiled. Whether he were also the ouçinal author of the Hebrew colmoçony, and of the story prior to his own days, I would r.si. ther confidently afert, rør fclitively deny. Le critainly noy have been the original avtor or compiler; and may have drawn the whole or a part of tis cofnogony and generai bifury, both befcre and after the ctige, from the archives of Egypt: and ilosc origi. nal materials. Ccilefied first luy Moles, may have been worked in ínto the's prebintigam is the cuirpiker of the Tentaleyin, in the
reign of Solomon. But it is also poslible, and I think more proó bable, that the latter was the first collector; and collected from such documents as he could find, either among his own people, or among the neighbouring nations.
• Same modern writers, indeed, allowing Moses to be the author of the Pentateuch, maintain, that he composed ihe Book of Genefis from two different written documents; which they have attempt. ed to distinguish by respective characteristics. Although I really look upon this as the work of fancy, and will elsewhere endeavour to prove it to be so; I am not so self-sufficient as to imagine that I may not be in the wrong, or that they may not be in the right. The reader who wishes to see the arguments on which they ground their affertion, may consult Astruc or Eichhorn. As the latter has ventured to give a more minute discrimination than the former, I shall here insert it. ** According to him, the first document is to be found in Gen. i. and ii. 1-3; v. 1—28, 30-32; vi. 1, 2, 4, 9–22; vii. 11-16 (except the last three words), 18 (perhaps 19), 20-22, 24; viii. 1.- 19; ix. 14-17, 28, 29; xi. 10—26, 27-32 ; xvii, 1–27; xix. 29–38; XX. I—-17; xxi. 2—32 ; xxii. 1—10, 20--24; xxiii. 1—20; xxv. 7-11, 19, 20; xxvi. 34, 35; xxviii. 1-9, 12, 17, 18, part of 22; xxx. 1-13, 17, 19, half of 20, 21—24 to the middle; xxxi. 2, 4–48, 50—54; xxxii. 1–33; xxxiii. 1–18; xxxiv. 31; xxxv, 1—29; xxxvii. 1–36; xl. xli. xlii. xliii. xliv. xlv. xlvi. xlvii. 1-27; xlviii. 1—22; xlix. 29–33; I. 12, 13, 15–26.
• The second document is discovered by him in iv. 1—26; v. 29; vi. 3, 5–8; vii. 1-9, the three last words of 16, 10, 17, perhaps 19, 23; viii. 20--22; ix. 18—27; X. 1----32 ; xi. 1-9; xii. xiii. 18; xv. xvi. xviii, xix. 1—28; xx. 18; xxi. 1, 33, 34; xxii. 11-19; xxiv. vxv. 1-7, 12-18, 21—34; xxvi. 1-33 ; xxvii. xxviii. 10–32; xxix. xxx. 14—16, half of 20, and the end of 24 ; xxxi. 1, 3, 49 ; xxxviii. 1----30; xxxix. 1-23; xlvii. 28-31; xlix. 1---28; 1. 1–12, 14.—Beside these two documents, he finds a third one incorporated, which he ranks under the name of Interpolations; namely, ii. 4–25; iii. xiv. perhaps xxxiii. 18. to xxxiv. 31; xxxvi. perhaps xlix. 1—27.
- But though the Pentateuch-from whatever documents, at whatever period, and by whatsoever writer compiled-has not come down to us in its full integrity; yet the advantages for restoring it are infinitely superior to those that are incident to any other work. What these are, Dr. Geddes' judiciously staies; and after giving his reason for joining the book of Joshuah to the Pentateuch, concludes his Preface with notices and explanations. In respect to the Version itself, the doctor remarks :
I could have often made it more clear, and, I believe, more elegant; if I had not, with some reluctance, adhered too strictly to the rigid rules of verbal tranilation : for which, however, many of my readers will, probably, be more thankful, than if I had, like my fel. low-renderers on the Continent, taken a freer range. The fetters of long usage are not easily broken, even when that usage is tyrannical. But the day may come, when the translator of the Bible will be as little thackled as the translator of any other apcient book,'
On the last observation we cannot help adding, that we greatly prefer the mode of translation Dr. Geddes hath adopted, to that which he here appears to prefer. In our judgment, the notion of an unshackled translation' is a contradiction in terms, it being the proper object of every one, who translates, to give as strictly as poflible the sense of his originai *.
In what manner the doctor hath acquitted himself, the fpecimens annexed may help to exhibit, 25 “They now nade ready the present against Joseph should come
home at noon; for they had heard that they were to dine there, 26 So when Joseph came home, they brought the present, which
they had, into the house; and bowed themselves to him, to the 27 ground. And he asked them of their welfare, and faid: “ Is
your father well, the old man of whom ye spoke? Is he still 28 alive?” They answered : “ Thy servant our father is well : he
is still alive.” “ The blefiing of God be on the man!" said he. 29 Again they bowed down their heads and made obeisance. Then,
raiting his eyes, and seeing his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son, he said : “ This is your youngest brother, of whom
ye spoke to me?" and added : “ God be gracious to thee, my 30 fon!” Joseph now made hafte (for his bowels yearned towards
his brother) and fought where to weep. And he went into his 31 chamber, and wept there. He then washed his face, and came 32 out; and, refraining himself, said: “ Serve up dinner.” And
they served up for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who ate with him, by themselves; for the
Egyptians might not eat a meal with Hebrew's: that would be 33 an abomination to Egyptians. Now his brothers sat before him,
the elder according to his seniority, and the younger according 34 to his youth; so that they marvelled, one at another. And fo
seph sent messes to them from what was before himself; but the mess of Benjamin was five times as much as any of their messes.
But when they had drunken with him, until they were mer. ry; he commanded his fteward, saying: “ Fill the men's sacks
• We do not remember to have seen the true principles of translation any where fo justly laid down than in an anonymous pamphlce not long since publifhed, under the title of An Eljav toward a New Edition and Translation of Tibul***, printed for Johnson,