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ART. II.-1. De Pentateuchi Samaritani Origine, Indole, et
Auctoritate, Commentatio Philologico-critica. Scripsit GuliELMUS GESENIUS, Theologiæ Doctor, et in Universitate Literarum Fridericianâ Professor Ordinarius. Halæ, impen
sis Librariæ Rengerianæ, 1815. 2. Jesu Christi Natalitia piè celebranda, Academia Frideri
ciana Halensis et Vitebergensis consociate Civibus indicunt Prorector et Senatus. Inest Guliel. GESENII, Theol. D. et P. P. O. de Samaritarum Theologia er Fontibus ineditis
Commentatio. Halæ, in Librariâ Rengerianâ. 3. Anecdota Orientalia, edidit et illustravit GULIEL. GESE
NIUS, Philosophiæ et Theologiæ Doctor, hujusque in Academiâ Fridericianâ Halensi Professor publicus ordinarius, Societatum Asiaticæ Parisiensis et Philosophicæ Cantabrigiensis Socius. Fasciculus primus, Carmina Samaritana complectens. Lipsiæ, 1824. Impensis Typisque Fr. Chr. Guil. Vogelii.
[Also entitled] Carmina Samaritana e Codicibus Londinensibus et Gothanis, edidit et Interpretatione Latinâ cum Commentario illustravit GULIEL. GESENIUS &c. Cum Tabulâ lapidi inscriptâ. Lipsiæ, 1824. The existence of the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses, among the Samaritans, written in the peculiar alphabetic character which they employed, and which differed much from the Hebrew square character, was known in very ancient times to such of the Fathers, as were acquainted with the Hebrew language. Origen, in commenting upon Numbers xiii. 1, says, και τουτών μνημονεύει Μωϋσής έν τους πρώτους του Δευτερονομίου, αν και αυτά έκ τού τών Σαμαρειτών Εβραϊκού μεταβάλομεν, and these things Moses makes meniwn of in the first part of Deuteronomy, which we have also transferred from the Hebrew copy of the Samaritans. Again, on Numbers xxi. 13, he says, xì toutāv pigernsun Μωϋσής εν Δευτερονομίω, δέν μόνοις τών Σαμαρειτών εύρομεν, these things Moses meruions in tile vouk of Deuteronomy, which we found only in the Samaritan copy. Jerome, in his prologue to the book of Kings, says, Samaritani etiam Pentateuchum Mosis totidem literis scriptitant, figuris tantum et apicibus discrepantes. By totidem literis, he means as many letters as the Hebrews and Chaldeans used, that is, twentytwo; although the forms of the
Samaritan letters differed from those which the Jews employed. Again, in his Questiones in Genesin, on chap. iv. 8, he says, Quam ob causam, Samaritanorum Hebræa volumina relegens, inveni &c.
These, with one or two more references of a similar nature in Origen and Jerome, constitute the evidence which we have that the Samaritan Pentateuch was known, in very ancient times, to such of the Fathers as devoted themselves to the crititical study of the Hebrew Scriptures. From the time of Jerome down to the first quarter of the seventeenth century, no traces appear,
in the history of criticism and sacred literature, of any knowledge among Christians, whether the Samaritan copy of the law of Moses was still in existence. In the year 1616, Petrus à Valle bought of the Samaritans, at Damascus, a complete copy; which was sent, in 1623, by A. H. de Sancy to the library of the Oratory at Paris. J. Morin briefly described this copy, not long afterwards, in the preface to his edition of the Septuagint, A. D. 1628. Soon after this he published his Exercitationes Ecclesiasticæ in utrumque Samaritanorum Pentateuchum; in which he extols very highly the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch, preferring it above the common Hebrew text. About the same time, from the copy purchased by à Valle, Morin printed the Samaritan text of the Paris Polyglott, and from this Walton printed the Samaritan text in the London Polyglott, with very
few corrections. In the mean time, between the years 1620 and 1630, archbishop Usher, so distinguished for his zeal in the cause of sacred literature, and for the knowledge of it which he himself acquired, had succeeded by persevering efforts in obtaining six additional copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch from the East, some of which were complete, and others incomplete. Five of these are still in England, deposited in different libraries; and one, which the archbishop presented to Ludovicus de Dieu, appears to have been lost.
In 1621, another copy was sent to Italy, which is now in the Ambrosian library at Milan. About the same time, Peiresc procured three copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch; two of which are in the royal library at Paris, and one in that of Barberini at Rome.
To these copies others have since been added ; so that Kennicott was able to extend the comparison of Samaritan manuscripts, for his critical collection of various readings, to the number of sixteen. Most of them, however, were more or less defective, in regard to parts of the Pentateuch.
The external appearance of these manuscripts, in some respects, agrees with that of the synagogue rolls of the Hebrews; but in many others it differs. All the Samaritan copies in Europe are in the form of books, either folio, quarto, or still smaller; although the Samaritans in their synagogues make use of rolls, as the Jews also do. The letters in the Samaritan copies are simple, exhibiting nothing like the litera majuscula, minuscula, inversa, suspensæ &c. of the Hebrews. They are entirely destitute of vowel points, accents, or diacritical signs, such as are found in Hebrew and Chaldee. Each word is separated from the one which follows it, by a point placed between them; parts of sentences are distinguished by two points ; and periods and paragraphs by short lines, or lines and points. The manuscripts differ, however, in regard to some things of this nature. Words of doubtful construction are sometimes marked by a small line over one of the letters. The margin is empty, unless, as is sometimes the case, the Samaritan or Arabic version is placed by the side of the original text. The whole Pentateuch, like the Jewish copy, is divided into paragraphs, which they call 1'$7; Katsin. But while the Jews make only fiftytwo or fiftyfour divisions (one to be read each Sabbath in the year), the Samaritans make nine hundred and sixtysix.
The age of some of the Samaritan copies is determined by the date, which accompanies the name of the copyist; in others it is not. Kennicott has endeavored to ascertain the date of all the Samaritan manuscripts, which he compared. But he resorts to conjecture in order to effect this ; conjecture supported by no well grounded rules of judging. The Codex Oratorii, used by Morin, he supposes to have been copied in the eleventh century; while all the others, except one, are conceded to be of more recent origin. One he assigns to the eighth century. On what uncertain grounds the reasoning of Kennicott and De Rossi about the age of Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts rests, need not be told to any one acquainted with the present state of Hebrew literature.
The materials, on which the Samaritan manuscripts are written, are either parchment or silk paper. Ordinary paper has been used, in recent times, only to supply some of the defects in them.
The Christian world, before Morin published his famous Erercitationes Ecclesiastice in utrumque Samaritanorum Pentateuchum, (1631,) had been accustomed to resort only to the Jewish Hebrew Scriptures, as exhibiting the well authenticated and established text of the Mosaic law. From this remark may be excepted the few, who attached a high value to the Septuagint version, and preferred many of its readings to those, which are found in the Jewish Scriptures. But the publication of Morin soon excited a controversy, which, even at the present hour, has not wholly subsided. As the Samaritan copy of the law, in a multitude of places, agreed with the version of the Seventy, Morin maintained that the authority of the Samaritan, particularly when supported by the Septuagint, was paramount to that of the Jewish text. He labored, moreover, to show, that in a multitude of passages, which in that text as it now stands are obscure and difficult, or unharmonious, the Samaritan offers the better reading; that the Jews have corrupted their Scriptures by negligence, or ignorance, or superstition; and that the safe and only way of purifying them is, to correct them from the Samaritan in connexion with the Septuagint.
The signal was now given for the great contest, which ensued. Cappell, in his Critica Sacra, followed in the steps of Morin; but De Muis, Hottinger, Stephen Morin, Buxtorf, Fuller, Leusden, A. Pfeiffer, each in separate works published within the seventeenth century, attacked the positions of Morin and Cappell
. Their principal aim was to overthrow his positions, rather than to examine the subject before them in a critical and thorough manner.
Much less like disputants, and more like impartial critics, did Father Simon, Walton in his Prolegomena, and Le Clerc conduct themselves, relative to the question about the value and authority of the Samaritan Pentateuch. In particular, Simon has thrown out suggestions, which imply for substance the same opinions on many controverted points, that the latest and best critics, after all the discussion which has taken place, have adopted.
But during the latter part of the last century, when the fierceness of controversy seemed to have abated, Houbigant, treading in the steps of J. Morin, renewed it, in the Prolegomena to his Bible. With him other controvertists united. Kennicott, in various works, A. S. Aquilino, Lobstein, and Alexander Geddes, have all contended for the equal or superior authority of the Samaritan Codex. Houbigant was answered, in a masterly way, by S. Ravius, in his Exercitationes Philologica, VOL. XXII. NO. 51.
1761. Recently, Michaelis, Eichhorn, Bertholdt, Bauer, and Jahn, have discussed the subject in question with a good degree of moderation and acuteness. But they have all inclined to attach considerable value to many of the Samaritan readings ; although most of them consider the Samaritan Pentateuch, on the whole, as of inferior authority, compared with the Hebrew.
Thus the matter stood, when Gesenius entered upon the discussion of it in the treatise which is first named at the head of this article. The great extent of critical and philological knowledge which he had acquired, fitted him in a peculiar manner for the difficult task which he undertook; for difficult it would seem to be, to settle a question that had been so long disputed by the master critics, and still not brought to a termination. What those who best knew the talents of this eminent writer would naturally expect, has, for the most part, been accomplished. He has settled the question, it would seem forever settled it,) about the authority of the Samaritan Pentateuch compared with that of the Hebrew; or rather, he has shown, as we shall see by and by, the nature of the various readings exhibited by the Samaritan Pentateuch to be such, that we can place no critical reliance at all
them. They are all, or nearly all, most evidently the effect of design, or of want of grammatical, exegetical, or critical knowledge ; or of studious conformity to the Samaritan dialect; or of effort to remove supposed obscurities, or to restore harmony to passages apparently discrepant. On this part of the subject there can be little or no doubt left, hereafter, in the mind of any sober critic,
Gesenius has divided the various readings, which the Samaritan Pentateuch exhibits, into eight different classes, for the sake of more orderly and exact description. The first class consists of such as exhibit corrections merely of a grammatical nature. For example, in orthography the matres lectionis are supplied ; in respect to pronouns, the usual forms are substituted for the unusual ones; the full forms of verbs are substituted for the apocopated forms; the paragogic letters affixed to nouns and participles are omitted, so as to reduce them to usual forms; words of common gender are corrected so as to make the form either masculine or feminine, where the word admits of it, (for example, WI is always written any, when it is feminine); and the infinitive absolute is often reduced to the form of a finite verb.
The second class of various readings consists of glosses received into the text. For the most part these exhibit the true