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From the Rev. Joseph Emerson, Principal of the Female Seminary
at Wethersfield “During the last two years, I bave devoted a considerable portion of my time to studying and teaching Ecclesiastical History, while my estimation of this most noble branch of literature has been continually rising. I am therefore prepared most cordially to repeat my brother's recommendation, and could add much more.
“ The sweet simplicity, the classical neatness, the luminous perspicuity, the able arrangement, the distinct numerical statement of causes, in connection with the importanca of the matter, can hardly fail to render your work both interesting and profitable to all who may study it.
But probably the Questions are its most distinguishing excellence. May you long continue to be more and more use. ful, in your most difficult and momentous employment of composing books for the rising generation."
The above work has been introduced into several seminaries dur. ing the short period since its publication, and has in every instance afforded the utmost satisfaction in both teachers and pupils. Very flattering notices have been received by the Author from a large number of clergymen, and reviews commending the book bave appeared in the Spirit of the Pilgrims, Journal of Education, and most of the Religious weekly periodicals in this country.
From Professors Taylor and Fitch, of New-Haven. This work presents the outlines of Ecclesiastical History in a faithful and perspicuous manner. By arranging the principal events into distinct propositions, with comments and additional facts subjoined, in small letter, and by inserting questions upon the text at the foot of each page, the author has happily adapted the book to the capacities of the young and to exercises in our schools. And the impartiality of the narative renders it a useful class book to children universally, to whatever religious denomination they m: belong.
3. Remains of the Rev. Charles Wolfe, A.B. Curate of Donoughmore, Diocese of Armagh, with a brief memoir of his life, by the Rev. John A. Russel, M.A. with a fine Engraving of Mr Wolfe. In 1 Vol. 12mo.-Price $1,50.
4. Journal of a Residence during several months in London, together with Excursions through various parts of England; and a short tour in France and Scotland, in the Years 1823 and 1824. By Nathaniel S. Wheaton, A.M Rector of Christ Church, Hartford.
BIBLICAL REPERTORY AND THEOLOGICAL
FOR JULY 1830.
Essays and Dissertations in Biblical Literature. By a
Society of Clergymen. Vol. I. Containing chiefly translations of the works of German critics. New York. G. &. C. 4. H. Carvill, 1829. Pp. 567, 8vo.
The importance of biblical literature is gradually rising to its appropriate value in the estimation of many of our clergy men. To those whose acquirements and taste have led them to feel a deep interest in the progress of theological literature in our country, and whose biblical studies have made them sensible of the want of more ample means for extending their researches, the attention recently awakened to this subject cannot fail to be highly gratifying. For deep and original investigation in this productive field our country has hitherto laboured under peculiar disadvantages, which, although diminished by the productions of every passing year, must long continue to be felt. Our public libraries are not stored with ancient manuscripts, accumulated by the contributions and collections of successive centuries; our geographical location cuts us off from many important facilities of acquiring a radical knowledge of oriental languages, literature, and cus
toms; and our theological and literary institutions have not, until recently at least, afforded the requisite means and encouragements for profound research. Few men of talents possess the means of pursuing their studies beyond the narrow limits prescribed for admission to professional engagements, nor has the tone of public sentiment afforded adequate patronage to warrant the appropriation of much time and expenditure upon extensive investigation.
But in all these respects we are happy to perceive decisive indications of improvement. The gradual development of the treasures accumulated in the ancient libraries of Europe, by the publication, from time to time, of the most valuable articles in various forms and languages, is constantly rendering access to the originals less important. The printed copy of a useful document, if accurate, will be as valuable an assistant in our researches as the musty manuscript, and will in most cases afford the additional advantage of translation, collation, or commentary, which may essentially facilitate our labours. Thus the deficiencies of our libraries are in a course of supply from the overflowings of those of our more favoured neighbours, and the elements of profound investigation are accumulating around us without the wearisome process of ransacking dusty shelves and examining corroded masses of ancient manuscripts. The multiplication of clementary books, journals of travellers and missionaries, and increasing intercourse, are constantly rendering easier the acquisition of oriental literature. The political changes and revolutions in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean, and the interest felt in the efforts of missionaries, are directing the attention of the community so strongly to that quarter, as to create a popular sentiment in favour of any pursuits connected with the east, especially if designed to illustrate the scriptures. Nor is it among the least gratifying characteristics of the present age, that our theological seminaries of various denominations are making special efforts to give prominence to the claims of biblical literature, and to furnish increasing facilities to young men of promising talents to pursue their studies beyond the mere prescribed routine. And last, though not least among the cheering improvements of the day, we may name the improving character and increasing number of publications, both original and imported, on the various topics embraced in this branch of theological science.
We rejoice in this progress, not only because we consider the subject important in itself, but especially because we are
Essays and Dissertations in Biblical Literature. 323
persuaded that the assistance of this department of theology
But as our object in noticing the work before us is not to make it the text of an essay or dissertation of our own, but to give some account of its contents, to recommend it to the careful attention of our readers, and at the same time to express
our dissent from some of the positions maintained in it, we proceed to a detailed examination of the various discussions which fill its pages.
Seldom has a volume issued from the American press replete with such deep and varied learning, applied to its appropriate objects with so much judgment and taste. The general design of the work is “to advance the cause of biblical literature, principally by placing within the reach of students some treatises which are not now readily accessible.” The articles are all, with one exception, translated from the German or Latin works of Michaelis, Tittmann, Storr, Eichhorn, and Gesenius; names which no lover of German literature, or connoisseur in the higher walks of theological science, can pronounce without respect, although we regret that some of them
have been enlisted on the side of neology, or rationalism. Few traces of these erroneous opinions appear in the pieces introduced into this work; and when they do occur, the translators have omitted them, where it could be done without injury to the connexion, or accompanied them with cautionary notes. We deem this course on the whole judicious; for while we exceedingly dislike the practice of garbling the works of valuable writers, we consider it a far more serious evil to import foreign errors, or foreign arguments, in support of native error.
The volume opens with a “ History of Introductions to the Scriptures, by William Gesenius, translated from the German by Samuel H. Turner, D.D. Professor of Biblical Learning and Interpreter of Scripture in the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States." The article was written for the “General Encyclopædia of the Sciences and Arts, by Ersch and Gruber," and republished, with the other articles in that work referring to the Bible, in a separate volume, at Leipzig, in 1823.
This volume contains in a small compass much valuable information on the History, Criticism, Antiquities, Translations, &c. of the Bible, from the pens of De Wette, Niemeyer, and Gesenius. The essay before us is very brief, and consequently superficial and unsatisfactory. Several works, by no means unimportant, are entirely omitted, most of which however the translator has referred to in a note. The author sets out by defining the appropriate limits, and pointing out the proper subjects or materials of an Introduction to the Scriptures; and then mentions the principal works which have successively appeared bearing this title, or discussing the subjects which it indicates. This branch of theological science has