Page images

Arabic, in eighty-two; the Vulgate or Latin Version, in eighty-eight; and the Chaldee Paraphrase, in forty-two : it also agrees with the Samaritan Pentateuch, against the printed Hebrew, in seven hundred instances. What renders this manuscript the more valuable is, that it preserves a word of great importance for understanding 2 Sam. xxii. 3—7., which word is confirmed by the Greek Version, and thus recovers to us a prophecy of the Messiah."

2. The Codex CARLSRUHENSIS 1, (No. 154 of Dr. Kennicott's list of manuscripts,) formerly belonged to the celebrated and learned Reuchlin, whose efforts contributed so much towards the revival of literature in the fifteenth century. This manuscript is now preserved in the public library at Carlsruhe, and is the oldest that has a certain date. It is in square folio, and was written in the year of the world 4866, corresponding with 1106 of our æra. It contains the Prophets with the Targum.

3. The Codex VIENNÆ (No. 590 of Kennicott) contains the Prophet's and Hagiographa. It is written on vellum in folio, and if the date in its subscription be correct, (1. p. 1018 or 1019) it is more antient than the preceding. Bruns collected two hundred important various readings from this manuscript. The points have been added by a later hand. According to Adler's enumeration, it consists of four hundred and seventy-one leaves, and two columns, each column containing twenty-one lines.

4. The Codex CÆSENÆ, in the Malatesta Library at Bologna, (No. 536 of Kennicott,) is a folio manuscript written on vellum, in the German character, towards the end of the eleventh century. It contains the Pentateuch, the Haphtaroth or sections of the Prophetical Books, and the Megilloth or five Books of Canticles, or the Song of Solomon, Ruth, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. De Rossi pronounces it to be a most antient and valuable manuscript, and states that in its margin are inserted some various readings of still more antient manuscripts.?

5. The Codex FlorentinUS 2, (No. 162 of Kennicott,) is written on vellum, in quarto, in a square Spanish character, with points, towards the end of the eleventh, or at the latest, in the beginning of the twelfth century. It contains the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel. Very many of the letters, which were obliterated by time, have been renewed by a later hand.

6. The Codex MEDIOLANENSIS 9, (193 of Kennicott,) is written on vellum, in octavo, in the German character, towards the close of the twelfth century. It has neither the points nor the Masora. This manuscript comprises the Pentateuch ; the beginning of the book of Genesis, and the end of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, have been written by a later hand. Both erasures and alterations occur in this manuscript ; and sometimes a worse reading is substituted in place of one that is preferable. Nevertheless it contains many good various readings.

7. The Codex NORIMBERGENSIS 4, (201 of Kennicott,) is a folio manuscript, written on thin vellum, in the German character, and

1 Kennicott, Dissert. I. pp.315-319. Dissert. II. pp.533, 534. Biblia Hebraica, tom. ü. Dissert.. Generalis, pp. 70, 71. De Rossi, Variæ Lectiones, tom. i. Proleg. p. Lil

2 De Rossi, tom. i. Proleg. p. LxxxvII.

containing the Prophets and Hagiographa. It is mutilated in varis ous parts. It is of great antiquity, and from the similarity of its character to that of the Codex Carlsruhensis, both Dr. Kennicott and M. de Rossi assign it to the beginning of the twelfth century.

8. The Codex PARISIENSIS 27, (Regius 29, 210 of Kennicott,) is a quarto manuscript of the entire Bible, written on vellum, in an elegant Italic character. The initial words are, with few exceptions, of the same size as the rest. The Masora and Keri are both want. ing; and the Megilloth precede the books of Chronicles. It is highly valued by Kennicott and De Rossi, who refer it also to the beginning of the twelfth century.

9. Coeval with the preceding is the Codex RegioMONTANUS 2, (224 of Kennicott,) written in the Italic character, in small folio. This manuscript contains the Prophets and the Hagiographa, but it is mutilated in various places. The initial letters are larger than the others, and three of the poetical books are written in hemistichs.

10. To the beginning of the twelfth century likewise is to be referred the Codex PARISIENSIS 84, (San-Germanensis 2, No. 366 of Kennicott): it is written on vellum, in large quarto. It is imperfect from Jer. xxix. 19. to xxxviii. 2. ; and from Hosea iv. 4. to Amos vi. 12. Isaiah follows Ezekiel according to the Talmudical Canon.]

The following are among the most antient of the manuscripts in the possession of the late M. De Rossi, and collated by him, viz.

1. The Codex, by him numbered 634, which is in quarto. It contains a fragment of the books of Leviticus and Numbers, from Levit. xxi. 19. to Numb. i. 50.; and exhibits every mark of the remotest antiquity. The vellum on which it is written is decayed by age ; the character is intermediate, or Italic, - approaching to that of the German manuscripts. The letters are all of an uniform size ; there is no trace of the Masora, or of any Masoretic notes, nor is any space left before the larger sections ; though sometimes, as in other very antient manuscripts, a few points are inserted between the words. M. De Rossi assigns this manyscript to the eighth century.

2. A manuscript of the Pentateuch (No. 503), in quarto and on vellum, containing from Gen. xii. 41. to Deut. xv. 12. It is composed of leaves of various ages, the most antient of which are the ninth or tenth century. The character is semi-rabbinical, rude, and confessedly very antient. Points occur, in some of the more antient leaves, in the writing of the original copyist, but sometimes they are wanting. There are no traces of the Masora or of the Masoretic notes, and sometimes no space at all before the larger sections. It frequently agrees with the Samaritan text and antient versions.

3. A manuscript of the Pentateuch (No. 10), with the Targum and Megilloth. It is written in the German character, on vellum and in quarto, towards the end of the eleventh or in the beginning of the twelfth century. The Masora is absent. The character, which is defaced by time, is rudely formed, and the initial letters are larger than the rest. Coeval with this manuscript is,

4. A manuscript of the book of Job, in quarto, also on vellum, and in the German character. It is one of the most valuable ma

1 Kennicott, Dissertatio Generalis, pp. 85. 87, 88, 89.98. 104.


nuscripts of that book. The pages are divided into two columns, the lines being of unequal length.

5. A manuscript of the Hagiographa (No. 379), the size, character, and date of which correspond with the preceding. It begins with Psal. xlix. 15. and ends with Neh. xl. 4. The Masora and Keri are absent ; and the poetical books are divided into hemistichs.

6. A manuscript of the Pentateuch, (No. 611), on vellum, in octavo, and written in the German character, approaching somewhat to the Spanish, towards the close of the eleventh or in the commencement of the twelfth century. The ink is frequently faded by age; there are no traces of the Masora ; the Keri are very rarely to be seen, and the initial letters are larger than the others. There are frequent omissions in the text, which are supplied in the margin.!

Dr. Kennicott states that almost all the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament, at present known to be extant, were written between the years 1000 and 1457, whence he infers that all the manuscripts written before the years 700 or 800 were destroyed by some decree of the Jewish senate, on account of their many differences from the copies then declared genuine. This circumstance is also alleged by Bishop Walton as the reason why we have so few examplers of the age of 600 years, and why even the copies of 700 or 800 years are very rare.

IX. It was long a desideratum with biblical scholars to obtain the Hebrew Scriptures from the Jews who are settled in India and other parts of the East. It was reasonably supposed, that, as these Jews had been for so many ages separated from their brethren in the west, their manuscripts might contain a text derived from the autographs of the sacred writers, by a channel independent of that through which the texts of our printed Bibles has been transmitted to us. Dr. Kennicott was very anxious to obtain a copy, or at least a collation of a manuscript from India or China, for his edition of the Hebrew Bible, in the expectation that it would exhibit important variations from the Masoretic editions; but he was unsuccessful in his endeavours to procure it', and the honour of first bringing an Indian manuscript of the Hebrew Scriptures into Europe was reserved for the late Rev. Dr. Buchanan.

Among the biblical manuscripts brought from India by this learned and pious divine, and which are now deposited in the public library at Cambridge, there is a roll of the Pentateuch, which he procured

1 De Rossi, Var. Lect. tom. i. Proleg. pp. CXVI. CXII. XCVIII. CVII. cvi.

2 According to the information collected from various sources, by Professor Bauer, it does not appear that the manuscripts of the Chinese Jews are of any remote antiquity, or are calculated to afford any assistance to biblical critics. Although Jews have resided in China for many centuries, yet they have no antient manu. scripts, those now in use being subsequent to the fifteenth century. Critica Sacra, pp. 105–407. See an account of the Hebræo-Chinese manuscripts in Koegler's Notitia S. S. Bibliorum Judæorum in Imperio Sinensi. Edit. 2. 8vo. Halæ ad Salam, 1805. Brotier, in his edition of Tacitus, (vol. iii. pp. 567, et seq.) has given the best account that is extant of the Jews in China, a colony of whom settled in that country in the first century of the Christian æra. The reader will find an abridginent of it in Mr. Townley's Illustrations of Biblical Literature, vol. i. pp. 83

from the black Jews in Malabar', who, (there is strong reason to believe) are a part of the remains of the first dispersion of that nation by Nebuchadnezzar. The date of this manuscript cannot now be ascertained; but its text is supposed to be derived from those copies which their ancestors brought with them into India. Those Jews, on being interrogated, could give no precise account of it: some replied, that it came originally from Senna in Arabia ; others of them said, it was brought from Cashmir. The Cabul Jews, who travel annually into the interior of China, remarked, that in some synagogues the Law is still found written on a roll of leather ; not on vellum, but on a soft fexible leather, made of goat-skins, and dyed red. It is evident that the Jews, in the time of Moses, had the art of preparing and dying skins; for rams' skins dyed red, made a part of the covering for the tabernacle; (Exod. xxvi. 14.); and it is not improbable, that the very autography of the Law, written by the hand of Moses, was written on skins so prepared. The antient rules prescribed to the Jewish scribes direct, that the Law be so written, provided it be done on the skins of clean animals, such as sheep, goat, or calf-skins : therefore this MS. and many others in the hands of the Jews, agree in the same as an antient practice. The Cabul Jews, above noticed, shew that copies of the Law, written

on leather skins, are to be found among their people in India and China ; and hence we have no doubt, that such are copies of very antient MSS. The Cambridge Roll

, or Indian copy of the Pentateuch, which may also be denominated Malabaric, is written on a roll of goat-skins dyed red, and was discovered by Dr. Buchanan in the record chest of a synagogue of the black Jews, in the interior of Malayala, in the year 1806. It measures forty-eight feet in length, and in breadth about twenty-two inches, or a Jewish cubit. The book of Leviticus and the greater part of the book of Deuteronomy are wanting. It appears, from calculation, that the original length of the roll was not less than ninety English feet. In its present condition it consists of thirty-seven skins ; contains one hundred and seventeen columns of writing perfectly clear and legible; and exhibits (as the subjoined fac-simile of Deut. iv. 1, 2. will shew) a noble specimen of the manner and form of the most antient Hebrew manuscripts among the Jews.

See an account of these Jews in Dr. Buchanan's "Christian Researches,” pp. 24. et seq. 4th edit.

2 Dr. Kennicott quotes from Wolfius, that a certain Jew, named Moses Fereyra, affirmed, he had found MS. copies of the Hebrew text in Malabar ; for that the Jews, having escaped froin Titus, betook themselves through Persia to the Malabar coast, and arrived there safe in number about eighty persons. Whence Wolfius concludes, that great fidelity is to be attached to the Malabar MSS. The Buchanan MS. may fairly be denominated a Malabar copy, as having been brought from those parts. “ Refert Moses Pereyra, se invenisse Manuscripta Exemplaria (Hebræi Textus) Malabarica. Tradit Judæos, a Tito fugientes, per Persiam se adoras Malabaricas contulisse, ibique cum octoginta animis salvos advenisse. Unde constat, MStis Malabaricis multum fidei tribuendum esse." Wolf. 4, 97. See Dr. Kennicott's Dissertation the Second, p. 532. Oxford, 1759.


ועלישלאל שמעאלותקיסואללמעפטיס אשראנכימלכודאתכס לעשות למעןתחיל ובאתם וירשת את הארץ אשר יהוה אלהי אכתילס נתן לכס לא תקפו על הלכלאשר אנלי מצוה אתכם ולא תגרעוממנולשמר

The columns are a palm or four inches in breadth, and contain from forty to fifty lines each, which are written without vowel points, and in all other respects according to the rules prescribed to the Jewish scribes or copyists. As some of the skins appear more decayed than others, and the text is evidently not all written by the same hand, Mr. Yeates (from whose collation of this MS. the present account is abridged, and to whom the author is indebted for the preceding fac-simile,) is of opinion, that the roll itself comprises the fragments of at least three different rolls, of one common material, viz. dyed goat-skin, and exhibits three different specimens of writing. The old skins have been strengthened by patches of parchment on the back; and in one place four words have been renewed by the same supply. The text is written in the square character, and without the vowel points and accents; and the margin of the columns is every where plain, and free from writing of any sort. He has diligently examined and collated this manuscript with the printed text of Vander Hooght's edition of the Hebrew Bible: and the result of his investigation is, that the amount of variations in the whole does not exceed forty, and that none of them are found to differ from the common reading as to the sense and interpretation of the text, but are merely additions or omissions of a jod or vau letter, expressing such words full or deficient, according to the known usage of the Hebrew tongue. But even this small number of readings was considerably reduced, when compared with the text of Athias's edition, printed at Amsterdam in 1661 ; so that the integrity of the Hebrew text is confirmed by this valuable manuscript so far as it goes, and its testimony is unquestionably important. Four readings are peculiar to this copy, which are not to be found in Dr. Kennicott's edition of the Hebrew Bible; and many minute Masoretical distinctions, chiefly relative to the formation of the letters in certain words, show that the Masora of the eastern Jews has its peculiarities not common with that of the western Jews :

« PreviousContinue »