« 上一页继续 »
an eye-witness, he would write the most regularly of all, however plausible in theory, is completely false in fact. Nor, indeed, is it difficult to retort the argument; for one, like St. Luke, or St. Mark, who, though not an eyewitness, yet proposed to write an account of the same things—it might naturally be supposed, even humanly speaking, would take so much the greater pains to remedy this very defect; both to acquire a perfect knowledge of his subject, and to verify, in every instance, the order of his facts. [How could he, thirty years after their occurrence, when most of the facts, before the last portion of the history, were necessarily so independent of each other? With respect to Luke and Mark, the order of information must, in some cases, have been solely that of place or of subject.] Meanwhile, if St. Matthew, in particular, though he must have written as an eye-witness, has yet written at all irregularly, this may be a good presumptive evidence that he must have written early, while the recollection of the facts was still unimpaired-and among, and for, eye-witnesses as well as himself, whose own knowledge, or possibilities of knowledge, would supply omissions, or rectify transpositions, for themselves. [This sentence has not been quoted by us, though it might have been, as a specimen of the confused and careless style of writing which pervades a great proportion of the work; but we cannot avoid leading our readers to notice the addition possibilities of knowledge,' which must have been inserted in the copy, currente calamo, and which gives us to understand that St. Matthew left such of his readers as were eye-witnesses, to rectify omissions by possibilities of knowledge. Well for the author that his anomalies are surrounded with the lustre of academic halls ! He concludes the paragraph thus.) Whether liis Gospel was written first or not, I think there can be little doubt; strue, for there is only one other supposition, which has not been advanced by any one-that it was written at the same time with the others;] but whether it was written all at once, or at different times, and in the order of the divisions pointed out, may very reasonably bear a question." -P. 186.
The suggestion in the last sentence would have been very reasonable, had it been applied to St John's Gospel; but St. Matthew's narrativehowever irregular the establishment of St. Mark's order would oblige us to consider it-bears clear indications of having been intended for a continuous
But we proceed with our outline of the contents. The Fourth Dissertation discusses the date of the Passover succeeding our Lord's Baptism (John i. 13); and Mr. Greswell maintains that the 20th verse means “ forty-six years bath it taken to build this temple, nor is it yet completed.” Following this interpretation, he fixes upon A. D. 27 for the year of that Passover. On the best consideration we can give the subject, we agree with Mr. C. Benson (Chronology, p. 232) in regarding the common version as perfectly exact—" Forty-six years was this temple in building;" which leaves the date of the Passover to be determined by other considerations, except that it must have been later than A. D. 26. Mr. Benson considers the tense and meaning of prodounity as “ directly adverse" to the interpretation which Mr. Greswell maintains; and we had come to the same conclusion independently of the opinion of that judicious critic. Mr. Greswell, according to his usual system, makes no reference to Mr. Benson's section on the subject.
To this Fourth Dissertation the author annexes three Appendixes. The first contains a detailed investigation to prove that Josephus, when he speaks of Herod's beginning to rebuild the Temple in the 18th year of his reign, dates from the time when he became sole king by the capture of Antigonus, A. D. 37, and not from his appointment, three years before, by the Roman Senale. If there had been any question, in the present day, respecting the
date of the commencement of Herod's reign, there might have been good reason for this investigation ; but even then the minute induction which he gives, would have been needless for the author's leading purpose ; and it has so much chaff in it, that it is extremely difficult to discern the grains that may be really productive. At the close he comes to a conclusion, as to the year of Herod's death, which we deem correct, but to which the previous reasonings did not seem to be pointing; and from this conclusion, as it seems, he draws an inference which Dr. Whately could not have taught him. The reader will judge:
« The result of all our reasonings, bitherto, si. e., in the thirty pages preceding, designed, as it appeared, to shew Josephus's computation of the date of Herod's accession to the throne,] is to this effect; that the death of Herod cannot be placed either earlier or later than the spring quarter of A.U. 751. [B. C. 3.] The building of the temple, therefore, which was begun in the eighteenth year, and, being completed in a year and six months afterwards, coincided with the annual recurrence of a feast of Tabernacles, must have been begun about the time of a feast of Passover. It was begun, then, about the tiine of the Passover in the eighteenth year of his reign," &c.
This series of inferences our readers will find in p. 223 of the first volume of Mr. Greswell's work. It is quite unnecessary to analyze it ; and we shall only add that it is but a specimen of a large class which might be selected from this production of the Clarendon Press.
Next follows an Appendix respecting “ the reigns and succession of the Maccabæan princes," which has the merit of being very short. For its insertion in this work we see no sufficient reason.
The Third Appendix is “ On the Time of ihe Deposal of Herod Antipas, AND on the Eclipse before the Death of Herod” (the great]. The first portion is introduced, because there is a coin of Herod Antipas, which, (the author argues,) if the time of his deposal could be ascertained, would be of use in fixing the year of his father's death. As this was done, by direct means, in the first Appendix, surely this disquisition of sixteen closelyprinted pages might have been dispensed with; but, it appears, after the close of the investigation, that the author's object must have been to parry an objection which might be derived from this coin against the date he has assigned to Herod's death, viz. A. U. 751, or B. C. 3.
" It is not, however, my intention," he says, (p. 245,) “ to reckon up all the objections which might be produced against this opinion, and to shew how insuperable they would be : I have noticed, or shall notice, only the two most plausible of the arguments in its favour—the testimony of the coin of Antipas, which we have hitherto been considering--and the supposed date of the eclipse, which Josephus proves she means the statements of Josephus prove) to have some time or other preceded the death of Herod.”
The attentive reader has presumed that the critic has misrepresented his author, and that “this opinion” refers not to 751 but to 750. In our vindication we must quote the preceding sentence. Mr. Greswell begins the paragraph with observing, that the opinions of the learned have not much fluctuated except between 750 and 751; and that some strong arguments which might be adduced for this latter date, he passes by for the present. Arguing summarily, he maintains, presuming the time of the Council of Berytus to be 749, that it is “ absolutely impossible that the death of Herod could have happened so soon after it, as at the Passover of A. U. 750 : it could not have happened before the Passover of A. U. 751, at the
earliest.” And he then proceeds with the passage above cited, which necessarily refers to the latter date, 751. We presume that he had first stopped at 750: but (with that tendency to the accumulation of reasoning, without regard to relevancy or force, which so much characterizes this work) be unfortunately added the succeeding clause which, as introduced, destroys the connexion.-But we must forbear noticing these things. If the reader will take half the trouble to find out false reasonings, incuriæ, needless accumulations, &c., that we have to discover what is really solid and useful in the work before us, he will require no vindication of our strictures. Few will give the tenth part of the labour we have to either; and yet if a person is investigating the same subject, Mr. Greswell's conjectures and errors may often aid him in discerning the truth; and while we censure his omissions of reference to those critics who have defended opinions which he opposes, we readily yield him the praise of the faithful and (we see no reason to doubt) accurate statement of a vast quantity of learned data, which may assist others in coming to sounder conclusions than his own often are.
The question discussed in the second part of this Appendix, on the Eclipse before the Death of Herod, is of real importance; but this we shall have occasion to notice hereafter.
The Fifth Dissertation presents useful calculations and data respecting the computation of the Jewish Passovers and other feasts. The Sixth enters upon the difficult question of the 15th year of Tiberius Cæsar. In this the author does not even notice the cautious, and by far more useful examination of the subject by Lardner; nor the valuable investigations of Mr. C. Benson, which may be referred to as a contrast with Mr. Greswell's. Lardner felt difficulties which Greswell seems never to have perceived; and Benson, while he appears fully satisfied in his own conclusions, is not so presumptuous as to say with the learned Dissertator, (p. 272,) that, if Tiberius were actually associated with Augustus in the administration of the empire, he knows not “ from what date but the date of this association, an evangelical historian could possibly have deduced the years of his reign.” Surely it was at least possible that he might date from the commencement of the sole sovereignty of Tiberius, after the death of Augustus ; especially as all the heathen historians and Josephus did so, and as there is found no clear instance in which the joint sovereignty of Tiberius with Augustus has furnished the era of computation. All that can reasonably be maintained in favour of this mode of computation is, that Luke might possibly have dated by it; and that from the circumstance that he wrote in the provinces, which Tiberius's tribunician power peculiarly respected, it is less improbable that he did so, than if he had written at Rome.
Mr. Greswell's Seventh Dissertation is “on the beginning of the Government of Pontius Pilate.” In the course of this, the author adduces some curious facts to shew that, according to the rate of travelling which prevailed in ancient times, a journey from Rome to Judæa would in summer occupy eight or ten weeks, and in winter much more. In reference to the latter period, he cites Nicias (in Thucydides vi. 21) as reminding the Athenians that it was a four months' voyage even from Sicily to Athens.
The Eighth Dissertation respects “the united, and the separate, duration of the ministry of John the Baptist, and of Jesus Christ ;” in which (p. 294) he maintains first, generally, that the true date of the commencement of the personal ministry of our Saviour is also the true date of the termination of the personal ministry of John the Baptist; and then qualifies a position which could not possibly be maintained without such qualification, by referring the termination of the latter to the commencement of our Lord's public preaching in Galilee, which every reader of the gospels knows was after John was put into prison. In this way Mr. G. often makes a startling position; and then qualifies it so as to deprive it of every need of proof.-In this Dissertation there are, however, some valuable observations on the twofold commencement of our Lord's ministry, first in Judæa, and secondly in Galilee ; and on the other hand, some specimens of the too frequent accumulation of vague and useless data. To it is subjoined an Appendix on the time of the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and of the marriage of Herod and Herodias.Here, and in various oiher parts, the discussions of Mr. Greswell more respect the accuracy of Josephus, than the Harmony of the Gospels; but in this case they are not irrelevant.
Dissertation the Ninth is si on the Age of our Lord at his Baptism;" and, paying no attention to the opinion of those critics who (in Luke iii. 23) interpret ap%94eYos on beginning bis ministıy, the author roundly asserts that “the genius and syntax of the original language, as well as the reason of the thing, will agree to no order of the terms, nor to any interpretation of the text but this—And Jesus himself was, as it were, beginning to be thirty years of age.” The reason of the thing is against such a construction, for surely SEK “ as it were" is useless with apzouevos; and there is nothing absurd in the rendering, “ Now Jesus was about thirty years of age on beginping:” and there is a presumption that it is not so very certain as Mr. Greswell represents it, that his is the only justifiable translation, when we see Grotius, Le Clerc, Rosenmüller, Schleusner, Griesbach, Paulus, Kuinoel, &c., as well as Petavius, Lamy, and Lardner,* adopting the reference of aoyueros to the ministry, not the age, of Christ. It has long appeared to us that this was the meaning of the sacred historian,
“ The time of the year when our Lord was born,” forms the subject of the Tenth Dissertation : and this the author argues was “about the vernal equinox," and thinks was “ in all likelihood-the 5th of April, and the 7th day of the week.”– We may fix upon this Dissertation, extending to fifty pages, as affording ample illustrations, and as we think a full justification, of all the strictures we have given on the author's characteristical faults and style of investigation. To it be subjoins an Appendix of forty pages “ on the date of the Exodus, and of the first Passover.”
“This Appendix,” says the Author in his Synopsis, p. xv., “ proceeds upon the following supposition; that our Lord was born in the fulness of time on the tenth of Nisan and the fifth of the Julian April, B. C. 4, because we intreat the reader to observe the reason-because in the year of the Exodus from Egypt, and at the time of the institution of the Passover, the tenth of Nisan and the fifth of the Julian April coincided not only with each other, but with the vernal equinox. The year of this coincidence was B. C. 1560 : the object of the Appendix is to prove that B. C. 1560 was actually the date of the Exodus.”
Supposing that the author's system of hypothetical chronology were as well established as to us it seems groundless, what has all this to do with the “ Principles and Arrangement of a Harmony of the Gospels,” which appears, in the title-page, as the subject of his Dissertations ?
The last three Dissertations in ihe first volume, the xith, xiith, and xiiith, are, “On the opinions of the most ancient Christians upon the preceding
* See Wolfii Curæ, in loco, and the very valuable Commentarius in Libr. Nov. Test. Hist. by Kuinoel: also Mr. Benson's Chronology of our Saviour's Life, p. 180.
topics. On the census of Cyrenius, or the meaning of Luke ïi. 2.- On the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, and the first part of the chronology (the chronology of the first part] of the Acts of the Apostles.” Some remarks on the Author's opinions in this portion of his work, may properly find a place hereafter.
The first Dissertation in the second volume continues the subject of the last Dissertation in the first volume; and with a view, as it seems by the title, to the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, gives the chronology of the second portion of the Acts, beginning at the 13th chapter. In this Dissertation, the Author gives us an investigation of the dates of the leading events in St. Paul's apostolical labours, and also of his Epistles, including that to ihe Hebrews, occupying the first hundred pages ;- forgetful, as it appears, of the judicious observation with which he cannot but be familiar, and which is alike applicable to works of philosophy and criticism, as to poetry:
Ordiuis hæc virtus erit et venus, aut ego fallor,
Pleraque differat, et presens in tempus omittat. We are of opinion that adherence to the Roman Poet's canon would have reduced this work to a single volume at most. But we ought to state, that in the Author's own judgment (Vol. I. p. xv.) the consideration of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks “necessarily involved the question of the chronology of the first twelve chapters of the Acts of the Apostles"; and that the first Dissertation in the second volume “is intended io shew that the chronology of the Acts from the 13th chapter forwards, is not inconsistent with the order and distribution of the twelve chapters immediately preceding, as already given.” We wish the Delegates of the Clarendon Press had kindly severed the spider-like threads with which the Author has joined many of his excursive discussions to the legitimate purpose of his work.
The remaining part of the second volume, together with a large portion of the third, is given to that purpose; and though we have continually to complain of the extreme diffuseness and immethodical excursiveness of the whole, and are of opinion that it is generally founded on erroneous positions, yet to the subject-matter we have no objection to make. Of this portion we will give the Author's own synopsis; both as a favourable specimen of the Author's power of methodizing, and an indication of the subjects which he brings forwards and the opinions he maintains; and also, we frankly confess, to prevent our occupying more room with those animadversions, which scarcely a few consecutive pages of this work present themselves without provoking.
“ It is the object of the second Dissertation to explain and reconcile the two genealogies, on the supposition that St. Matthew's is the genealogy of our Lord's reputed father, and St. Luke's the genealogy of his real mother.
“ It is the object of the third Dissertation to establish such a personal distinction between those who are called in common the Adendo. of Christ, as will reconcile the Evangelical accounts, and no longer leave any difficulty on this point.
“The fourth Dissertation, which treats of the visit of the Magi, endeavours to prove that the time of this visit was thirteen months posterior to the first appearance of the star, and four months posterior to the birth of Christ; and thence to infer that the star appeared twice, once at the Incarnation, and again at the Nativity.
“ It is the object of the fifth Dissertation to harmonize and arrange the particulars of the ministry of John : and, preliminary to this, to define the