The Bible in its Ancient and English lien.
sinus. Edited by II. Wheeler Robinson, M.A., D.D. (Oxford, the Clarendon Press. 12s. 6d.).
Reviewed by C. LATTEY, S.J.
"BOOKS about the Bible," remarks the Editor, " have Legion for their name (and sortie of them deserve a Gadarene destiny.") As a general proposition the statement is incontrovertible, though a selection of the victims would doubtless occasion some dispute, The ideal book would be perfect alike in its doctrine end in its scholarship ; and most would be prepared to add literary distinction and charm as at least a highly desirable adjunct.
The pervading scholarship of the present work is not likely to be seriously called in question ; it is the fruit of competent and conscientious labours. Nor is any biblical student likely to deny the need and value of the book; speaking generally, the information here offered is up-to-date, and not easily to be procured elsewhere. In some casts, indeed, it would be very difficult to find such an adequate Ireatnient; in most cases it would not be presented in such a compact and easily mastered form.
THE plan is a simple one: the. Hebrew, Greek, 'Syriac and Latin Bibles are each treated in turn, and are followed by four chapters condaining the history of the English versions; the Editor contributes a final chapter upon " The Bible as the Word of God." In all but the last chapter the treatment is mainly historical, so that questions of doctrine hardly arise; and the work as a whole will be found quite readable, all the more so because upon its material side it fully responds to the high standards of the Clarendon Press. But it is to be regretted that the last chapter contains some highly controversial matter, which must necessarily alienate Catholics, and others who think to some extent with them, In Record and Revelation, likewise edited by him for the Clarendon Press (1938), the Editor has bad a fairly full say upon matters dogmatic, which he might have been better advised to leave alone in the present volume, so that it might meet with a welcome more or less universal.
It is impossible to discuss the chapters in any detail. Some will doubt whether the Editor in his treatment of the Hebrew text has allowed quite enough for the closer attention now being paid to the versions and poetical metres and cognate languages. It is surprising, too, to have a Jewish origin suggested as possible both for the Syriac and Latin Old Testaments; the Jewish demand for translations into these languages cannot have had anything like the force of the demand for 'a Greek version, and St. Jerome himself shows how strong Jewish influence could be even upon Christians.
MUCH is said in praise of the Authorised and revised Versions, but the chief objections to them needed to be brought out likewise; the former was made at a time when scientific textual criticism can hardly be said to have existed, and in the New Testament the Revisers followed rather pedantically rules which the discovery of the Egyptian papyri proved soon afterwards to be quite. out of place.
However, when all is said and done, this is a book for which biblical students have strong reasons to be grateful.