cimp. I"' we can'ied our boxes, paper, and string, and packed them all. Another Before ten in the morning they were on their wav to

Group Ot . . , . , .

Arcu*oi.o- Alexandria. But, as will be seen in the sequel, the monks Explored. were too crafty for Mr. Tattam to cope with. TiscHEN- I» 1S44, Tiscuendorp visited the monasteries already Uvhl"1* expl°red by Cuuzon and Tattam. His account reproduces the old characteristics :—' Manuscripts heaped indiscriminately together, lying on the ground, or thrown

into large baskets, beneath masses of dust The

excessive suspicion of these monks renders it extremely difficult to induce them to produce their MSS., in spite of the

extreme penury which surrounds them But much

might yet be found to reward the labour of the searcher.'

In truth, the monks, poor and simple as they sometimes seemed to be, had taken very sufficient care to keep enough of literary treasures in their hands to reward 'further researches.' Nearly half of their collection seems to have been withheld.

Pacho-r \ certain clever Mr. Pacho now entered on the scene as


Tion For a negotiator for the obtainment or recovery of the missing Tmvofthi 'treasures of the tombs.' They had been virtually purchased HeldBythe before, but the Lords of the Treasury very wisely re-opened St ""r" Puouc Vmse> an(i at length secured for the Nation an Deipara. inestimable possession. The new accession completed, or went far towards completing, many MSS. which before fa'thaT m' were tantalizingly imperfect. It supplied a second ancient chapter. copy of the famous Ignatian Epistles {to St. Polycarp, to the Ephesians, and to the Romans); many fragments of palimpsest manuscripts of great antiquity, and among them the greater part of St. Luke's Gospel in Greek; and about four thousand lines of the Iliad, written in a fine square uncial letter, apparently net later than the sixth century. The total number of volumes thus added to the previous Nitrian Collections were calculated, roundly, to be Bookiii. from a huudred and forty to a hundred and fifty. Aboth«

Group Of

That the rich accession t© our sacred literature, thus Gists A»d made amidst many obstacles, should be turned speedily to Wl M public advantage, two conditions had to be fulfilled, Cdrktom Skilful labour had first to be employed in the arrangement LABOURS IN of a mass of fragments. Scholars competently prepared, Lit"r"tu'ri. by previous studies in Oriental literature and more especially in Syriac, must then get to work on their transcription, their gloss, and their publication. It could scarcely have been expected, beforehand, that any one man would be able to undertake both tasks, and to keep them, for some years to come, well abreast. The fact, however, proved to be so. The right man was already in the right place for the work that was to be done.

The late William Cureton had entered the service of the Trustees of the British Museum in ] 837, at the age of twenty-nine, when he had been already for about eight years in holy orders. He was a native of Westbury, in Shropshire. His education, begun at Newport School, had been matured at Christ-Church, Oxford. He had been just about to enter himself at Christ-Church in the ordinary way, when his father died, suddenly, leaving the family fortunes under considerable embarrassment. Cureton, and a brother of his, showed the metal they were both made of, by instantly changing their youthful plans. That the whole of the diminished patrimony might be at their mother's sole disposal, William Cureton went to Oxford as a servitor. His brother, instead of waiting for his expected commission in the Army, enlisted as a private dragoon. And certainly, in the issue, neither of these young men lost any 'dignity'—in any sense of that word— Gists And Explorers.

Book in, 011 account of the step so unselfishly taken at their start in

Chap. IV. 1 J

Another 1116.

Aechiolo- William Cureton began his literary labours as a Coadjutor-Under-Librarian in old Bodley. Dr. Gaisford introduced him to Dr. Bandinel, in 1834, with the words: —' I bring you a good son. He will make a good librarian.' It was at Oxford that he laid the substantial foundation of his Oriental studies. After three years, he followed the fashion already set him by some of the best and ablest officers the Bodleian has ever had—Ellis, Baber, and H. O. Coxe, for example—by transferring, for a time, his services from the great Library of Oxford to ciRKTON-s tnat 0f London. His first (or nearly his first) Museum


Into The task was to set to work on the cataloguing of the Arabic Muieuh. an d Persian MSS. In 1842, he began his earliest Oriental publication (undertaken for the 'Oriental Text Society,' to be mentioned presently), namely, Al Sharastani's 'Book of Religious and of Philosophical Sects.'

At the British Museum, he became quite as notable for the amiability of his character, and the genial frankness of his manners, as for his scholarly attainments and his power of authorship. I have a vivid recollection of my own introduction to him, in the February of 1839, and of the impression made on me by his kindly and cordial greeting. When I noted that pleasant face, which beamed with good nature as well as with intellect, I instantly appreciated the force of the words used by my introducer: 'Let me make you known,' said he, ' to my father-confessor.' I thought the choice to be obviously a felicitous one. Not less vivid is my memory of the delight Mr. Cureton manifested on receiving, within the Museum vaults, the first importation from the Nitrian Desert. The sight of such a mass of torn, disorderly, and dirty fragments, would have appalled many

men not commonly afraid of labour, but to William Bookih, Cureton the scholarly ardour of discovery made the task, Anothib from the first, a pleasure. When successive fresh arrivals 4*°,"* °'Q. save new hone that many gaps in the manuscripts of 0,ST1, ^ earliest importation would, in course of time, be filled up, the laborious pleasure ripened into joy.

The collection, obtained by the long succession of labours already narrated, reached the British Museum on the first of May, 1843. When the cases were opened, very few indeed of the MSS. were perfect. Nearly two Feaqmenhundred volumes had been torn into separate leaves, and ""ohof then mixed up together, by blind chance and human stu- ^8TMAC pidity. It was a perplexing sight. But the eyes that looked *TMTED TM on it belonged to a seeing head. Even into a little chaos like this, almost hopeless as at the first glance it seemed, the learning, assiduity, and patience of Mr. Churton gradually brought order. Of necessity, the task took a long time. First came the separation of the fragments of different works, and then the arrangement of the leaves into volumes, with no aid to pagination or catchwords. With translations of extant Greek works, the collection of their originals gave, of course, great help. But in a multitude of cases every leaf had to be read and closely studied.

Within about eighteen months of the reception of the MSS., Mr. Cureton had ascertained the number of volumes —reckoning books made up of fragments, as well as complete works—to amount to three hundred and seventeen, of which two hundred and forty-six were on vellum, and seventy on paper ;°all in Syriac or Aramaic, except one volume of Coptic fragments. With the forty-nine volumes previously acquired, an addition was thus made to the MS. Department of the National Library of three hundred and sixty-six volumes. Many of these volumes contain two, Book in, three, or four distinct works, of different dates, bound to

Anothke gether, so that probably, in the whole, there were of mann

A»ch*o'o scripts and parts of manuscripts, upwards of one thousand,

Gists *»d written in all parts of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Egypt, and


at periods which range from the year 411 to the year 1292. Of the specific character and contents of some of the choicest of these MSS., mention will be made hereafter. Db Cure- y0T severf,i years, the labour on the Svriac fragments did

TON 8 PUB- J' mi O

Licatioks VjUt alternate with that on the larger bodv of the Arabic


And Hi MSS., a classed catalogue of which Mr. Cureton pubLitkbatuke. lished in 1846,—only a month or two after he had contributed to the Quarterly Ttevieio a deeply interesting and masterly article on the Syriac discoveries. This paper was quickly followed by his first edition of the Three Epistles of St. Ignatius (I, to Polycarp; II, to the Ephesians; III, to the Romans). In an able preface, he contended that, of these genuine Epistles, all previous recensions were, to a considerable extent, interpolated, garbled, and spurious; and also that the other Ignatian Epistles, so-called, are entirely supposititious. In the year 1S70 it need hardly be said either that this publication excited much controversy, or that competent opinion is still divided on some parts of the subject. But on two points there has never been any controversy whatever:—As an editor, William Cureton displayed brilliant ability; as a student of theology, he was no less distinguished by a single-minded search after truth. He was never one of those noisy controversialists of whom Walter LANDORonce said, so incisively,* that they were less angry with their opponents for withstanding the truth, than for doubting their own claims to be the channels and the

* In—unless a memory more than thirty years old deceive me—that noble masterpiece of English prose, the 'Citation of Slialcespearc for Deer-stealing (1835).

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