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and Syria successively to take it from the Jews, most certainly could not remain a stranger to the same influence. Under the reign of Herod the Great, Palestine became still more decidedly Greek. That prince and his sons erected several cities in honour of the Casars. The most remarkable of these, Cæsarea, (which was the second city in his kingdom) was chiefly peopled by Greeks; who after Herod's death, under the protection of Nero, expelled the Jews who dwelt there with them. 3 The Jews revenged the affront, which they had received at Cæsarea, on Gadara, Hippos, Scythopolis, Askalon, and Gaza, a further proof that the Greeks inhabited those cities jointly with the Jews. After the death of Pompey, the Greeks being liberated from all the restraints which had been imposed on them, made great progress in Palestine under the protection of Herod; who by no means concealed his partiality to them, and lavished immense sums of money for the express purpose of naturalising their language and manners among the Jews. With this view he built a theatre and amphitheatre at Cæsarea; at Jericho an amphitheatre, and a stadium; he erected similar edifices at the very gates of the holy city, Jerusalem, and he even proceeded to build a theatre within its walls. 8
3. The Roman government was rather favourable than adverse to the extension of the Greek language in Palestine, in consequence of Greek being the official language of the procurators, when administering justice, and speaking to the people. Under the earlier emperors, the Romans were accustomed frequently to make use of Greek, even at Rome, when the affairs of the provinces were under consideration. 9 If Greek were thus used at Rome, we may reasonably conclude that it would be still more frequently spoken in Greece and in Asia. In Palestine in particular, we do not perceive any vestige of the official use of the Latin language by the procurators. We do not find a single instance, either in the books of the New Testament or in Josephus, in which the Roman governors made use of interpreters and while use and the affairs of life accustomed the common people to that language, the higher classes of society would on many accounts be obliged to make use of it.
4. So far were the religious authorities of the Jews from opposing the introduction of Greek, that they appear rather to have favoured the use of that language: they employed it, habitually, in profane works,
1 Diod. Sic. lib. xix. c. 59. 93. 1 Macc. x. 75. xii. 33, 34. xiii. 11. xiv. 34. 2 Macc. iii. 3. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiii. c. 9. § 2. and lib. xiv. c. 10. § 22.
2 Josephus, de Bell. Jud. lib. iii. c. 9. compared with lib. ii. c. 13. § 7.
5 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xix. c. 7. § 5.
Idem. lib. xv. c. 9. compared with lib. xvi. c. 5.
7 Bell. Jud. lib. i. c. 33. § 6, 8. Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. 6.
8 Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 9. §3. Ant. Jud. lib. xv. c. 8. Θεατρον εν Ιεροσολύμοις ώκοδοety. Compare Eichhorn de Judæorum Re Scenica in Comment. Soc. Reg. Scient. Gotting. Vol. II. Class. Antiq. pp. 10-13.
9 This will account for the Jewish king, Herod Agrippa, and his brother being permitted by the emperor Claudius to be present in the senate, and to address that assembly in Greek. Dion. Hist. lib. lx. c. 8.
and admitted it into official acts. An article of the Mischna prohibits the Jews from writing books in another language. Such a prohibition would not have been given if they had not been accustomed to write in a foreign language. The act or instrument of divorce might, indifferently, be written and signed in Greek and Hebrew. 2 During the siege of Jerusalem for the first time, some opposition was made to the use of the Greek language, when brides were forbidden to wear a nuptial crown, at the same time that fathers were prohibited from teaching their children Greek. This circumstance will enable us readily to understand why Josephus, when sent by Titus to address his besieged countrymen, spoke to them ßpawn, that is, in the Hebrew dialect, and tn лargo y2woon, in his native tongue it was not that he might be better heard, but that he might make himself known to them as their fellow countryman and brother.
5. The Greek language was spread through various classes of the Jewish nation by usage and the intercourse of life. The people, with but few exceptions, generally understood it, although they continued to be always more attached to their native tongue. There were at Jerusalem religious communities, wholly composed of Jews who spoke Greek, and of these Jews, as well as of Greek proselytes, the Christian church at Jerusalem appears in the first instance to have been formed. An examination of the acts of the apostles will confirm these assertions. Thus, in Acts xxi. 40. and xxii. 2. when Paul, after a tumult, addressed the populace in Hebrew, they kept the more silence. They expected that he would have spoken to them in another language, which they would have comprehended,5 though they heard him much better in Hebrew, which they preferred. In Acts vi. 9. and ix. 29. we read that there were at Jerusalem whole synagogues of Hellenist Jews, under the name of Cyrenians, Alexandrians, &c. And in Acts vi. 1. we find that these very Hellenists formed a considerable portion of the church in that city. 6.
6. Further, there are extant Greek epitaphs and inscriptions which were erected in Palestine and the neighbouring countries," as well as antient coins which were struck in the cities of Palestine, and also in the various cities of Asia Minor. What
1 Mischna, Tract. Megill. c. 1. §8.
2 If the book of divorce be written in Hebrew, and the names of the witnesses in Greek, or vice versa; or the name of one witness be in Hebrew and the other in Greek; if a scribe and witness wrote it, it is lawful. - Ibid. Tract. Gitin. c. 9. § 8.
3 Ibid. Tract. Jotah. c. 9. § 14.
4 Bell. Jud. lib. v. c. 9. § 2. lib. vi. c. 2. § 1.
5 In like manner, it is well known, there are many hundred thousand natives of Ireland who can understand what is said to them in English, which language they will tolerate; but they LOVE their native Irish dialect, and will listen with profound attention to any one who kindly addresses them in it.
6 Essai d'une Introduction Critique au Nouveau Testament, par J. E. Cellérier, fils, pp. 242-248. Genève, 1823. 8vo.
7 Antonii Jos. Binterim, Propempticum ad Molkenbuhrii Problema Criticum, Sacra Scriptura Novi Testamenti in quo idiomate originaliter ab apostolis edita fuit? pp. 37-40. (Moguntiæ, 1822. 8vo.) 8 Ibid, pp. 40--44.
it answer, to erect the one or to execute the other, in the Greek language, if that language had not been familiar indeed vernacular to the inhabitants of Palestine and the neighbouring countries? There is then every reasonable evidence, amounting to demonstration, that Greek did prevail universally throughout the Roman empire; and that the common people of Judæa were acquainted with it, and understood it.
Convincing as we apprehend the preceding facts and evidence will be found to the unprejudiced inquirer, two or three objections have been raised against them, which it may not be irrelevant here briefly to notice.
1. It is objected that, during the siege of Jerusalem, when Titus granted a truce to the factious Jews just before he commenced his last assault, he advanced towards them accompanied by an interpreter:1 but the Jewish historian, Josephus, evidently means that the Roman general, confident of victory, from a sense of dignity, spoke first and in his own maternal language, which we know was Latin. The interpreter therefore did not attend him in order to translate Greek words into Hebrew, but for the purpose of rendering into Hebrew or Greek the discourse which Titus pronounced in Latin.
2 It has also been urged as a strong objection to the Greek original of the gospels, that Jesus Christ spoke in Hebrew; because Hebrew words occur in Mark v. 41. (Talitha cumi), vii. 34. (Ephphatha), Matt. xxvii. 46. (Eli, Eli! Lama sabachthani), and Mark xv. 34. But to this affirmation we may reply, that on this occasion the evangelists have noticed and transcribed these expressions in the original, because Jesus did not ordinarily and habitually speak Hebrew. But admitting it to be more probable, that the Redeemer did ordinarily speak Hebrew to the Jews, who were most partial to their native tongue, which they heard him speak with delight, we may ask — in what language but Greek did he address the multitudes, when they were composed of a mixture of persons of different countries and nations selytes to the Jewish religion, as well as heathen gentiles? For instance, the Gadarenes (Matt. viii. 28-34. Mark v. 1. Luke viii. 26.); the inhabitants of the borders of Tyre and Sidon (Mark vii. 24.); the inhabitants of the Decapolis; the Syrophoenician woman who is expressly termed a Greek, n yuvn Eiλnvis, in Mark vii. 26. ; and the Greeks, Elinves, who were desirous of seeing Jesus at the passover. (John xii. 20.)2
3. Lastly, it has been objected that, as the Christian churches were in many countries composed chiefly of the common people, they did not and could not understand Greek. But not to insist on the evidence already adduced for the universality of the Greek language, we may reply that" in every church there were numbers of persons endowed with the gifts of tongues, and of the interpretation of tongues; who could readily turn the apostles' Greek epistles into the language of the church to which they were sent. In particular, the president, or the
1 Josephus, de Bell. Jud. lib. vi. c. 6.
2 Cellérier, Essai. p. 249.
spiritual man, who read the apostle's Greek letter to the Hebrews in their public assemblies, could, without any hesitation read it in the Hebrew language, for the edification of those who did not understand Greek. And with respect to the Jews in the provinces, Greek being the native language of most of them, this epistle was much better calculated for their use, written in the Greek language, than if it had been written in the Hebrew, which few of them understood." Further, "it was proper that all the apostolical epistles should be written in the Greek language; because the different doctrines of the Gospel being delivered and explained in them, the explanation of these doctrines could, with more advantage, be compared so as to be better understood, being expressed in one language, than if, in the different epistles they had been expressed in the language of the churches and persons to whom they were sent. Now, what should that one language be, in which it was proper to write the Christian Revelation, but the Greek, which was then generally understood, and in which there were many books extant, that treated of all kinds of literature, and on that account were likely to be preserved, and by the reading of which Christians, in after ages, would be enabled to understand the Greek of the New Testament? This advantage none of the provincial dialects used in the apostles' days could pretend to. Being limited to particular countries, they were soon to be disused: and few (if any) books being written in them which merited to be preserved, the meaning of such of the apostles' letters as were composed in the provincial languages could not easily have been ascertained."1
III. The style of the New Testament has a considerable affinity with that of the Septuagint version, which was executed at Alexandria, although it approaches somewhat nearer to the idiom of the Greek language; but the peculiarities of the Hebrew phraseology are discernible throughout the language of the New Testament being formed by a mixture of oriental idioms and expressions with those which are properly Greek. Hence it has by some philologers been termed Hebraic-Greek, and (from the Jews having acquired the Greek language, rather by practice than by grammar, among the Greeks, in whose countries they resided in large communities) Hellenistic-Greek. The propriety of this appellation was severely contested towards the close of the seventeenth and in the early part of the eighteenth century and numerous publications were written on both sides of the question, with considerable asperity, which, together with the controversy, are now almost forgotten. The dispute, however interesting to the philological antiquarian, is after all a mere strife of words;'
1 Dr. Macknight on the Epistles, Pref. to Hebrews, sect. ii. § 3. vol. iv. p. 336. 4to. edit.
2 Michaelis has devoted an entire section to show that the language of the New Testament has a tincture of the Alexandrian idiom. Vol. i. p. 143. et seg.
3 Michaelis ascribes the disputes above noticed either to "a want of sufficient knowledge of the Greek, the prejudices of pedantry and school orthodoxy, or the injudicious custom of choosing the Greek Testament as the first book to be read by learners of that language; by which means they are so accustomed to its singular style, that in a more advanced age they are incapable of perceiving its deviation from the language of the classics." (Bp. Marsh's Michaelis, vol. i. p. 211.)
and as the appellation of Hellenistic or Hebraic Greek is sufficiently correct for the purpose of characterising the language of the New Testament, it is now generally adopted.1
Of this Hebraic style, the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark exhibit strong vestiges: the former presents harsher Hebraisms than the latter and the Gospel of St. Mark abounds with still more striking Hebraisms. "The epistles of St. James and Jude are somewhat better, but even these are full of Hebraisms, and betray in other respects a certain Hebrew tone. St. Luke has, in several passages, written pure and classic Greek, of which the four first verses of his Gospel may be given as an instance: in the sequel, where he describes the actions of Christ, he has very harsh Hebraisms, yet the style is more agreeable than that of St. Matthew or St. Mark. In the Acts of the Apostles he is not free from Hebraisms, which he seems to have never studiously avoided; but his periods are more classically turned, and sometimes possess beauty devoid of art. St. John has numerous, though not uncouth, Hebraisms both in his Gospel and epistles: but he has written in a smooth and flowing language, and surpasses all the Jewish writers in the excellence of narrative. St. Paul again is entirely different from them all: his style is indeed neglected and full of Hebraisms, but he has avoided the concise and verse-like construction of the Hebrew language, and has, upon the whole, a considerable share of the roundness of Grecian composition. It is evident that he was perfectly acquainted with the Greek manner of expression as with the Hebrew; and he has introduced them alternately, as either the one or the other suggested itself the first, or was the best approved." 2
This diversity of style and idiom in the sacred writers of the New Testament, affords an intrinsic and irresistible evidence for the authenticity of the books which pass under their names. If their style had been uniformly the same, there would be good reason for suspecting that they had all combined together when they wrote; or, else, that having previously concerted what they should teach, one of them had committed to writing their system of doctrine. In ordinary cases, when there is a difference of style in a work professing to be the production of one author, we have reason to believe that it was written by several persons. In like manner, and for the very same reason, when books, which pass under the names of several authors, are written in differ
1 Schaeferi Institutiones Scripturistica, pars i. pp. 137-141. Prof. Morus has given a long review (too long to admit of abridgment) of the arguments advanced for and against the purity of the language of the New Testament, in his Acroases, (vol. i. pp. 202-233.); in which he has enumerated the principal writers on each side of the question. A similar list has been given by Beck (Monogrammata Hermeneutices Novi Testamenti, part i. pp. 28-32), by Rumpus (Isagoge ad Lectionem N. T. pp. 33. et seq.) and by Rambach (Instit. Herm. Sacr. pp. 23. 399.) Dr. Campbell has treated the subject very ably in the first of his Preliminary Dissertations, prefixed to his version of the four gospels; and Wetstein (Libelli ad Crisin atque Interpretationem N. T. pp. 48-60.) has given some interesting extracts from Origen, Chrysostom, and other fathers, who were of opinion that the language of the New Testament was not pure Greek. Other writers might be mentioned, who have treated bibliographically on this topic: but the preceding foreign critics only are specified, as their works may be easily procured from the continent.
2 Michaelis, vol. i. p. 112.