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and authorship of the remarkable work before him. Ascribing to the “Great Unknown," as he aptly styles the writer of the Book of Job, a rank among poets beyond comparison with any but the highest, he unfolds the argument of the book, and sees in it a purpose to "justify the ways of God to man's (p. ix). He vindicates at length the genuineness of those portions which some recent critics have considered as additions to the poem by a later hand. On the subject of the authorship of the book, while admitting the force of some considerations that suggest a more recent origin, he appears disposed to assign it to the period between the age of Solomon and the Captivity. Upon the question of nationality, he decides for the Hebrew origin of the book, in opposition to those who have supposed it to be a translation from the Arabic.
Next to our author's version of the Book of Job stands that of Ecclesiastes. This singular combination of religious wisdom and sceptical despondency the translator characterizes thus : “ Thoughts on the vanity of human life, interspersed with such maxims of prudence, virtue, and religion as will help a man to conduct himself in the best manner, and to obtain the greatest amount of happiness, in his journey through it” (p. 104). He explains the apparent self-contradictions and defective doctrine of the book, by remarking, that it does not aim at metaphysical accuracy, and that it does not stand alone in the seeming inconsistencies it presents. The statements made by the Preacher, he observes, are true, however they may be explained. The unequal distribution of good and evil in human life was a fact which the Preacher admitted; and he may have been the more embarrassed in his attempt to reconcile it with God's justice and goodness, as he did not believe in a future state of accountability. With a fine union of reverence and liberality of sentiment, Dr. Noyes defends the author of the book from the charges of fatalism, of scepticism, and of epicurism. He notices, in succession, some of the ingenious but indefensible theories advanced by eminent men regarding the purpose of the work; gives an analysis of its contents; and principally from the character
of the language, which is much more marked by the use of foreign and modern forms of speech than that of the Book of Proverbs, concludes that it was composed long after the time of Solomon, and probably not far from that of Alexander the Great. The author, then, employed the allowable fiction — not to deceive, but for the purpose of ornament and illustration - of writing in the character of Solomon, known alike as the richest and the wisest of the Jewish kings.
In his Introduction to the Canticles, Dr. Noyes meets conclusively, as appears to us, the arguments of those who advocate a mystical interpretation of this amatory poem; and appears as the vindicator of the reverence due to sacred things, in protesting against their unnatural union with sensual imagery. His opinion is, that the “Song of Songs" was the production, not of Solomon himself, but of some Jewish poet in his reign, or soon after it.
Dr. Noyes's Introduction to the Psalms includes a treatise on Hebrew Poetry, in which he has, with suitable acknowledgment, made extensive use of the labors of De Wette. While speaking with heartfelt appreciation of the beauty and sublimity of this unrivalled collection of sacred poetry, he dissents widely from those who, for the sake of consistency with their theory of inspiration, defend the strong expressions of the imprecatory psalms. "If,” he says, “the psalms in question are consistent with absolute rectitude, then our Saviour's precept to 'bless them that curse us, and to pray For them that despitefully use us,' cannot be.” (Psalms and Proverbs, p. 20.)
With respect to the authorship of the Psalms, he recognizes David as the writer " of most of those which are ascribed to him, and of some which have no title” (p. 22); and describes the characteristics of the royal minstrel in appropriate use of the language of other critics, in modest preference to his own. Of others, to whom particular psalms are ascribed in their titles, he is disposed to admit the claims, when not necessarily set aside by the admission involving an anachronism. To Asaph, the author at least of the fiftieth psalm, he awards high praise. This psalm, he says," is enough
to place him in the number of poets of the very first order. It is marked by a deeper vein of thought, and a loftier tone of sentiment, than any of the compositions of David. In Asaph, the poet and the philosopher are combined.” (p. 25.)
In successive sections, our translator treats of the Titles of the Psalms, their Collection and Division into Books, and the means of understanding them. Under the last head, he speaks of the characteristics of Hebrew Poetry; giving, from De Wette, a full account of Parallelism, which, to our modern ears, is its distinguishing mark.
Among the means of understanding the Psalms, and verifying the dates of their composition, we would refer, in passing, to that observation of the names which they respectively apply to the Supreme Being, of which Bishop Colenso has made such important use, in his work on “ The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua." The fact is certainly significant of the late introduction of the name “Jehovah” into general use, that, in the psalms composed in David's earlier life, the name " Elohim” occurs frequently, while that of “ Jehovah" is scarcely employed at all. (See Colenso, part ii. p. 168.)
While speaking of the authorship of the Psalms, we may be pardoned for an allusion to one recently deceased, to the grief of a wide circle of friends, who had given to this subject peculiar attention. The author of “Hebrew Lyrical History"* had devoted to the task which interested him so deeply an amount of labor of which few were aware. In a letter now before us, he says, “I studied German, and imported several volumes of the critics of that language, that I might have the benefit of their aid.” He adds, “ I was care. ful to keep my learning out of sight, and not one word of any foreign language deforms my page.” The article on the " Authorship of the Imprecatory Psalms,” in the number of this periodical for March, 1852, was another result of his labor on the same favorite task.
* Hebrew Lyrical History; or, Select Psalms, arranged in the Order of the Events to which they relate. With Introductions and Notes, by THOMAS BELFINCH. Boston: Walker, Wise, & Co. New York: C. S. Francis & Co. 1853.
Dr. Noyes's translation of the Proverbs is preceded by a brief Introduction, in which he compares the grounds for the opinions held by those who receive, and by those who deny, the claim of Solomon to be the principal author or compiler of the book; himself favoring the affirmative view. He repels the injurious inferences drawn from the Proverbs by Dr. G. L. Bauer, who represents them as inconsistent with pure morality, and with the character of God. The Introduction closes with some interesting remarks on the personification of Wisdom in chap. viii. and elsewhere.
We present a few instances taken from the Psalms, to show the light shed by the labors of Dr. Noyes upon portions of sacred poetry hitherto obscured.
PSALM XXII. 21.—.“ Save me from the lion's mouth : for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns." Dr. Noyes translates:
“Shield me from the horns of the buffaloes.” XLIX. 8. — “For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever." Dr. Noyes:
“ Too costly is the redemption of his life,
And he giveth it up for ever.” 18. — “ Though while he lived he blessed his soul (and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself).” Dr. Noyes :“ Though in his life he thought himself happy,
Though men praised thee, while thou wast in prosperity.” Lvii. 9. - "Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.” Dr. Noyes :
“ Before your pots feel the heat of the thorns,
Whether fresh or burning, may they be blown away!” Lxvi. 13. — “ Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”
“Truly ye may repose yourselves in the stalls,
Like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And her feathers with shining gold.” Cxli. 5,6. — “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness : and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall bear my words; for they are sweet.” Dr. Noyes translates this passage:"Let the righteous smite me,- it shall be a kindness;
Let him reprove me, and it shall be oil for my head ;
When their judges are hurled over the side of the rock,
They shall hear how pleasant are my words.” In the valuable remarks of Dr. Noyes on Hebrew Poetry, in his Introduction to the Psalms, while presenting fully the subject of Parallelism, he, like most of the writers on the same theme, takes little notice of rhyme and measure. These, however, if they existed, must have struck most forci. bly the attention of the greater part of listeners. In all other languages, so far as we are informed, the possession of one or both of these peculiarities is the primâ facie evidence of poetry; their absence, that of prose. The distinction may be merely superficial: so is that of texture and color in the human countenance; yet the latter has much to do with our recognition of beauty. If we take up a volume of Bohn's Library of the Classic Poets, we call it a prose translation ; and faithful as the rendering may be, and though it may retain every element of sublimity and tenderness in the original, a prose translation it is, because it does not possess poetic measure. If, then, measure exists in all other poetry, we should be slow to admit its absence in the Hebrew. Many of the psalms have, in their titles, words which appear to designate the tunes to which they were sung of old; and, at the present day, one who has heard them, as we have, sung to