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Australia, are in the main restricted to New Guinea and its islands. (3) By the presence in New Guinea of a few forms characteristic of the adjacent oriental region, which embraces Southern Asia and the great Sunda Islands.30 These may be looked upon, like Sus among mammals, as recent intruders from the north. An examination of other groups of Papuan animals, so far as they are known to us, will only serve to strengthen the conclusions already pointed to, which may be shortly summarised as follows:

1. New Guinea belongs essentially to the Australian region of the world's surface.

2. New Guinea has nevertheless certain types peculiar to itself or feebly represented in Australia.

3. New Guinea has also a slight but appreciable oriental element in its fauna.

It follows that New Guinea and the adjacent islands may be considered as constituting a particular subdivision of the primary Australian Region, characterised by the possession of certain special forms, and a slight mixture of oriental elements, which may be appropriately called the 'Papuan Sub-region.'

30 Such as Buceros, Eupetes, and Gracula.

P. L. SCLATER.

REVISION OF THE BIBLE.

The honourable and arduous task undertaken by the Old Testament Revision Company' has been long in hand-necessarily so, it may be, partly from the often minute and difficult character of the work, but more perhaps from the number of persons engaged upon it. For although in the multitude of counsellors' there is sometimes safety,' there is also very often too much of hindrance, through differences of opinion and frequent discussions leading to nothing, or to worse. The work, however, has been completed at last; and in one respect it is more fortunate than its predecessor of the New Testament. It has been received with something more of welcome, or at least with fewer hard words, than were often dealt to the latter. This indeed is a point on which it may as yet be premature to speak positively. It is true that no such vehement onslaught has been hitherto made upon the new text as that which, from different sides, awaited the companion work. But this may be only because the attack is not yet ready to deliver. Even a Dean or a Baronet who may be eager for the fight, however much at home he may be in the Greek Testament, may deem it expedient to take time to prepare his weapons for the less familiar field of Hebrew criticism. This knotty point will no doubt be speedily settled. Meanwhile, and failing objections of a weightier kind than have yet appeared, the ordinary reader may be satisfied that the Revised Version, as now before us, is really deserving of the moderate amount of praise which has thus far been bestowed upon it, although it is by no means all that it might have been.'

The reader's first impressions as to the general character of the result must, we apprehend, be wholly favourable. Yet, to those who are able to look below the surface, such impressions will hardly fail to be somewhat disturbed by a little continuous examination. This, however, is said with the utmost respect for the Revisers, whose collective wisdom ought certainly to outweigh the judgment of any single individual. Nevertheless, truth has been found to lie even

It is proper to mention that the present paper was written before the publication of the article on the subject in a recent Quarterly Review. That article, as was to be expected, is severely hostile to the new version ; but its peculiar animus is such as goes far to deprive it of value as a critical judgment,

with a minority of one! But, not to presume upon this, every thing advanced in the present paper is offered with all due submission —and it will no doubt be received, by those who may favour it with their notice for no more than it is worth.

However this may be, it is allowable to point out that a large proportion of the changes contained in the revised pages were simply matters of course, and could not have been missed by any competent hand. In no small degree they have, in substance, been anticipated by previous revisers of whom the world has beard but little. A great merit of the Revision is that it bas usually left unspoiled the style and rhythm of the venerable Authorised. There are indeed instances to the contrary, which the reader may find in familiar passages in the Psalms for example, but such cases are not numerous any more than are those in which change may be said to have been made for mere changing's sake. Too many instances, however, occur in which a close adherence to the Hebrew idiom has injured the English, and even left the sense obscure; and places are also met with in which archaic or obsolete words have been retained—words which, in accordance with American suggestions, had better have been allowed quietly to drop into disuse.

On such points as these, much has been written by others, and it is not requisite here to enter into details respecting them. Making due allowance for such instances, it remains substantially true that the revised text as a whole, not only reads well, but also forms for those who read it a more faithful representative of the original than that which has hitherto commonly been in their hands. The faults of the Revised largely consist of faults retained from the Authorised. In regard to these it is no worse than the Authorised, while in innumerable cases it is better, as of course it ought to be.

One who judges thus should not forget to allow something for the difficulties under which the Revisers may be said to have worked. In this remark we refer to the Rules prescribed to them by Convocation as well as to the regard which, avowedly or not, had naturally to be paid to the received theologies of the day. What more precisely is intended by these observations will be seen as we proceed-and, in the first place, may be noticed several of the points to which attention is especially invited by the Revisers in their Preface.

(1) The Hebrew Text adopted as the basis of the Revision is, we are told, the Masoretic; the text, that is, which was in the keeping of the Rabbins of the early Christian centuries, and which had been handed down to them (as the term Masoretic implies) from still earlier ages. This text of the original, carefully preserved and no doubt corrected from time to time, where thought defective, was at length in the sixteenth century committed to the press, and since that time has existed in a tolerably fixed and unvaried form. We may be reasonably certain that, allowing for accidental and unimportant variations, we have now in our hands the sacred text much as it was in the New Testament times. At any rate, we have no other, so it may be as well to speak kindly of what we possess. An extreme regard for the letter has characterised Hebrew copyists and commentators in all ages. Hence the result, that a remarkable uniformity runs through all existing texts of the Hebrew, both manuscript and printed, attesting the care with which the books have been kept--the Rabbins even painfully counting, as they did, paragraphs and words and even letters. Hence too it is that no critical scholar would now think of correcting the Hebrew at all extensively, so as to bring it into agreement either with the Septuagint or with any other textual authority—such, for example, as the Greek of Venice, or the Samaritan Pentateuch.

The ordinary, received, or Masoretic text, then, as found in the printed editions, was used by the Revisers as the basis of their work. Only, as they inform us, 'in some few instances of extreme difficulty' they have adopted a reading on the authority of the ancient versions, recording in the margin this departure from their standard. In other instances, variations possessed of a certain probability have been placed in the margin, and the reader will often find that these are not without interest, though but rarely of any substantial importance.

In thus adhering to a definite form of text already established, the Revisers would find their work much simplified, as compared with the laborious task which the Greek revisers undertook, of forming (virtually) a new text for themselves. In truth no other course was open to the 0. T. Company. The materials for the formation of a new Hebrew text hardly exist, at least in any available form; or, again, so far as they exist, they would, if applied, scarcely yield results worth the labour that would be required for utilising them. Any one may see this, who will compare the collection of Hebrew readings formed long ago, with wonderful pains and industry, by Kennicott, or the much more recent small collection by Dr. S. Davidson. Some Hebrew manuscripts of much earlier date than any previously known are stated to have been recently brought to light in Egypt. We are not aware that these have as yet been carefully examined, or whether even these oldest of Hebrew manuscripts are likely to afford new readings of any importance. The recent and important · Masorah' of Dr. Ginsburg ought not to be overlooked in this connection, although the writer has had no opportunity of consulting it.

(2) The Revisers proceed to say how they have borne in mind the duty not to make a new translation, but only to revise one already in existence, which has held the position of a classic in the language for more than two centuries. No doubt it was well to keep this carefully in view; but opinions will differ as to whether the Rule may not have been at times too strictly and even unwarrantably adhered to.

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Many renderings of importance in which the Authorised has been allowed to stand, out of deference it may be presumed to this rule, are extremely doubtful, to say the least, and to some of them a marginal note has not been added, as it ought to have been, to apprise the reader as to the uncertainty attending the words. For example, in the word "son,' in Psalm ii. 12; here, indeed, the margin states that some ancient versions render Lay hold of (or Receive) instruction, others Worship in purity': but it does not state that the rendering 'son' is altogether doubtful, or more than doubtful. The Hebrew word bar in the sense of son is an Aramaic word of late use. It occurs in the Chaldee of Ezra and Daniel, but only in one place in the Hebrew books, namely Proverbs xxxi. 2, where it may be taken as indicative of the comparatively late composition of this part of that book. On the other hand, the word (that is, the consonants br) occurs several times in the older Hebrew in the sense of clear, pure; as in Psalm xxiv. 4, 'pure of heart.' It may be used in Psalm ii. 12, in the adverbial sense of purely, that is, sincerely, or with reverence. The meaning therefore may be, Kiss, pay the homage expressed by kissing the garment of Jehovah's anointed king, purely, sincerely, with the reverence due. Against the rendering the son,' is the conclusive objection that the original has no Article, which, with such a signification, could not have been absent. Hence the rendering

son ’is inadmissible, or at best extremely doubtful, and this ought at any rate to have been noted. But then this Psalm is usually considered a Messianic Psalm, and very probably it is thought by most readers to refer to Christ, and taken to be a very definite and particular prophecy of Him that was to be Son in the later Christian sense. Nothing can be more ingenious, or more fallacious, than these dogmatic interpretations often are; and it must be added, there are too many of them, even in this revised Old Testament.

Another such case, and one which has probably been determined under a similar influence, may be found in Genesis xlix. 10, until Shiloh come. Here either the first or the second margin is far more probable than the words kept in the text. The words should read therefore, until he come to Shiloh,' or else, until that which is his shall come.' If, however, the rendering given is to stand, and if Shiloh denotes the Messiah, how strange that the word is never used again throughout the Bible ; and that there is nowhere in the New Testament, with all its references to the Old, any allusion to this verse as a prophecy of Christ. Moreover, the prediction, if it be one, is absolutely untrue, and was falsified by the whole later course of Jewish history. The sceptre and the ruler's staff had passed from Judah generations or centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth ; so that from every point of view the rendering which bas been allowed to stand was, and is, inadmissible.

A third case of this kind may be found in Proverbs viii. 22, The

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