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A critical and historical introduction to the canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament

Theodore Parker A critical and historical introduction to the canonical Scriptures of the Old TestamentTheodore Parker

A critical and historical introduction to the canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament

Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1843.



Author's preface to first edition

Thanslator's preface


Object of an Introduction to the Bible, 1

Its Contents, 2

Divisions of the Subject, 3

Its scientific Character, 4

Its Utility, 5

Its History and Literature, 6

Of the Bible-collection in general

Book I.
Name, constituent portions, order and division of the Bible

Names of the Bible, 7

Constituent Portions of the First and Second Part, 8

Constituent Portions of the Third Part, 9

Order and Division of the Old Testament, 10

Order and Division of the New Testament, 11


Book II.
History of the origin of the Collection of scripture; or, history of the Canon.

Chapter I.
History of the origin of the Old Testament Collection; or, history of the Jewish Canon.

Importance and Value of the Hebrew Literature, 12, a

Origin and Progress of Hebrew Literature till the Exile, 12, b

Progressive Formation and Completion of the Old Testament Collection
after the exile, 13

Pretended Authors of the Collection of the Old Testament, 14

Time of finishing the Old Testament, 15

Grounds of Reception into the Old Testament Collection, 16

Samaritan Canon, 17, a

Canon of the Sadducees, 17, aa

The pretended Alexandrian Canon, 17, b

Chapter II.
History of the origin of the Collection of the New Testament, and the Bible in general; or, a history of the Christian Canon

Earliest Traces of the Use of the Books of the New Testament, by the apostolic Fathers, 18

Traces of the Use of the New Testament in the early Writers of the Church, 19

Earliest Traces of a Collection of the Writing s of the New Testament 20

Two Collections of the Books of the New Testament, 21

Grounds on which these Books were received, 22

The Canon of Origen, 23

The Canon of Eusebius, 24

Use and Canon of the Old Testament among the Christians of the First Centuries, 25

Canon of the Greek Church in the Fourth Century, 26

Canon of the Latin Church in the Fourth Century, 27

Canon of the Protestants and modern Catholics, 28

Results of the History of the Canon in Respect to Criticism, 29


General introduction to the canonical books of the Old Testament

Book I.
On the original language of the Old Testament

Name, Country, and Origin, of the Hebrew Language, 30

Its Relation to the other Shemitish Languages, 31

The Aramaean Language, 32

The Arabic Language, 33

Formation and Extinction of the Hebrew Language, 34

Means of learning the extinct Hebrew, 35-38

    I. Historical Materials, 35, 36

        1. The Tradition of learned Jews, 35

        2. The old Versions, 36

    II. Philological Materials, 37

        1. Etymology. 2. Comparison of the Dialects, 37

    III. Context and parallel Passages, 38


Book II.
On the versions of the Old Testament

Value of the Versions, 39, a

Classification and Literature of the Versions, 39, b

The various Classes of the Versions, 39, c

Chapter I.
The Greek versions

1. The Alexandrian Version. Its Origin, 40

    Alexandrian Version continued, 41

    Character of the Alexandrian Version, 42

    Importance and Use of this Version, 43

II. The other Greek Versions

    Aquila's Version, 44, a

    Theodotion's Version, 44, b

    Version of Symmachus, 44, c

    The three anonymous Versions, &c, 44, d

III. Critical History of the Alexandrian Version

    Origen's Hexapla, 45, a

    Further Corruption of the Alexandrian Version, 45, b

    Other critical Recensions, 46

    Manuscripts and Editions, 47

IV. The Descendants of the Alexandrian Version

    1. The old Latin Version, and Jerome's Recension of it, 48

    2. The Versions indirectly made into Syriac, 49

    3. The AEthiopian Version, 50

    4. The AEgyptian Version, 51

    5.The Armenian Version, 52

    6. The Georgian or Grusinian Version, 53

    7. The Sclavic or Sclavonic Version, 54

    8. Several Arabic Versions, 55

V. The Venetian Version, 56

Chapter II.
Direct Oriental versions.

L The Chaldee Paraphrases, or Targums

    Origin of the Chaldee Paraphrases, 57

        1. The Targum of Onkelos, 58

        2. Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, 59

        3. Targum of the pseudo Jonathan on the Pentateuch, 60

        4. The Jerusalem Targum on the Pentateuch, 61

        5. The other Targums, 62

II. The Samaritan Version of the Pentateuch, 63

III. The Syriac Peshito, 64

IV. Descendants of the Peshito

    Arabic Versions from the Syriac, 65

V. Arabic Version

        1. From the Jewish-Hebrew Text, 66

        2, The Samaritan-Arabic Version of Abu-Said, 67

VI Persian Version of the Pentateuch, 68

Chapter III.
The present Latin Vulgate.

I. Jerome's Version from the Hebrew, 69

    The Reception of this Version, and Corruption of its Text. Origin of the new Vulgate, 70

    Critical Attempts to correct this Version, 71

    History of the printed Text of the Vulgate, 72

II. Descendants of the Vulgate

        1. Anglo-Saxon Version, 73

        2. Arabic and Persian Translations of the Vulgate, 74


Book III.
On the Criticism of the text.

General View of the Subject of this Book, 75

Division I.
History of the text.

Chapter I.
History of the external form of the text.

Preliminary Remarks on Hebrew Palaeography, 76

Division of the Text

    1. Division into larger and smaller Passages, 77

        The same Subject continued, 78

    2. The Division into Stichs or Verses, 79

        The same Subject continued, 80, a

        The same Subject concluded, 80, b

Chapter II.
History of the text itself

Corruption of the Text of the Old Testament, 81

Probability that Errors would be introduced into the Text, 82

Origin of erroneous Readings

    1. By Accident, 83

    2. Falsification by Design, 84

Fate of the Text before the Canon was closed, 85

Origin of the Samaritan-Alexandrian Recension of the Pentateuch, 86

Critical Value of this Recension, 87

The Fate of the Jewish Text till the Composition of the Talmud, 88

Traces of a critical Care for the Text in the Talmud, 89

The Masora, 90

The Labors of the Masorites, and Contents of the Masora, 91

Eastern and Western Readings, 92

Completion of the Punctuation of the Text Readings of Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, 93

History of the Text until the Invention of Printing, 94

The printed Text Principal Editions or Recensions, 95

Critical Apparatus, 96

Results of the History of the Text, 97

Various critical Systems, 98

Division II.
Theory of the Criticism of the Hebrew Text

Object of the Criticism of the Old Testament, 99

General Theory of the Office of Criticism, 100

Chapter I.
The documentary means to aid in the Criticism of the Old Testament.

General View and Division of the Subject, 101

I. Means of ascertaining the Text before closing the Canon, 102

II. Means of ascertaining the Text before the Time of the Masorites

    1. The Versions, 103

        Utility of the different Versions, 104

    2. Quotations from the Bible by the Talmud and Rabbins, 105

    3. The Masora, 106

III. Means of ascertaining the Samaritan Text, 107

IV. Means of ascertaining the Masoretic Text

    1. The Manuscripts, 108

        A. Rolls of the Synagogue, 109

        B. Private Manuscripts in the Chaldee Square Letter. Description of them, 110

            The Writing Character used in the Manuscripts, 111

            Subscriptions and other Marks of the Antiquity of Manuscripts, 112

            The Writers of the Manuscripts, 113

        C. Private Manuscripts in the Rabbinical Character, 114, a

            Manuscripts of the Chinese Jews, 114, b

            The Manuscripts of the Malabar Jews, 114, c

    2. Original Editions, 115

Chapter II.
Critical Maxims.

False Maxims, 116

The most important Maxims in Respect to the Originality of the Reading, 117

I. Exegetico-Critical Grounds of Originality

    1. Considerations drawn from the General Laws of the Mind

        A. Logical Grounds of Originality, 118

        B. Grammatical Grounds of Originality, 119

        C. Rhetorical Grounds of Originality, 120

    2. Considerations drawn from the peculiar Character of the Writer, 121

II. Historico-Critical Grounds of Originality, 122

    Judgment of the Critical Witnesses as a Whole, 123

    Critical Conjecture, 124



A. Catalogue of Books cited in tlie Old Testament, but now lost

B. Meaning of the Words Canon and Apocrypha

C. Canon of the Old Testament, according to several ancient Authorities, before the Fifth Century A. C.

D. History of the Hebrew Language to the Time of its Extinction

E. History of the Hebrew Writing Character

F. Origin and History of the Hebrew Vowels, Accents, &c,

G. Specimens of the Kind of Difference between the two Papal Editions of the Vulgate

H. Parallel Passages in the Old Testament

I. The Samaritan Pentateuch

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