Chapter II:33: Chaldean Versions: The Targums

Famous, thus proceeds Our AUTHOR, also are the Targumim or Chaldean Paraphrases, especially of Onkelos and Jonathan.  To the Chaldeans, a תַּרְגּוּם/Targum or תַּרְגּוּמָא/Targumah is a translation, or an explication, in which the words of the other are rendered and explained either through another, more familiar language, or in the same language through more and clearer words; it is from the quadrilateral root תִּרְגֵּם or תַּרְגֵּם, to interpret, to explain.  Nevertheless, usage thus obtained that the word Targum be used in a somewhat more restricted sense, and be assigned to indicate synecdochically the Chaldean Paraphrases of the Bible, which the Jews ordinarily understand when they cite a Targum in an absolute manner, while they call other Versions in other languages הַעֲתָקוֹת/translations, from עָתַק, to translate.  Moreover, DRUSIUS advises that Targum, as it is also with Talmud,[1] is not quite used correctly by Christians in the neuter gender, since a book is understood, which nevertheless is not regarded as applicable in all places.  The origin of the Targumim is commonly found in a custom, which had come on with the vernacular dialect of the Jews having changed by degrees, namely, that in the Synagogues, after a section of the Hebrew text was read aloud by the reader, the same was then translated in Chaldean or Syriac for the use of the ignorant by an interpreter:  which is thought to have furnished an occasion to Onkelos and Jonathan, so that these might consign to writing the translation, the former of the Law, the latter of the Prophets.  Our AUTHOR also reviews these two Targums as more celebrated in reputation than the others.

[1] תַּלְמוּד/Talmud signifies instruction, from למד, to teach or study.

Chapter II:33: Greek Versions: Origen

But thus divine Providence took care that, besides the ancient Greek Version prepared by the Jews, three others were additionally were supplied by Apostates or Infidels of the Church. But these four Greek Versions formerly made up the Tetrapla of ORIGEN, which in four columns was exhibiting the Version, 1.  of Aquila, 2.  of Symmachus, 3.  of the Septuagint, 4.  Of Theodotion.  Unto which, in the Hexapla prepared by the same Church Father, were added in a first and second column the Hebrew Text written in the Hebrew box-script, and the same Text expressed in Greek characters.  In addition, in the Octapla of the same Origen were exstant two ἀνώνυμοι/anonymous Greek Versions of uncertain authorship, on called Hierichuntine,[1] because in the Third Century under Emperor Antonius Caracalla[2] it was discovered at Jericho, stored in earthenware vessels, together with other Hebrew and Greek books.  Whence Athanasius conjectures that it was composed by one that was without devotion to Jerusalem.  The other is called Nicopolitan, which was similarly found in earthenware vessels on the Actian shore of Nicopolis[3] not very long after the former, with Alexander Severus reigning.[4]  Now, which Version was first gathered in Origen’s Octapla, whether the Hierichuntine according to Epiphanius and others, as it is commonly thought; or whether the Nicopolitan is to be set before the Hierichuntine, which indeed CARPZOV concludes to be preferable, CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter III, page 572, out of Jerome; in this matter there is certainly too little evidence:  since those quadru-, sextu-, octuple Codices have lamentably perished, except for some fragments of this work beyond the Septuagint Version remaining to the present day, published by MONTFAUCON in 2 folio tomes, Paris, 1713.  But, the greater the labor ORIGEN had devoted to an accurate emendation of the Septuagint Version, the greater the loss the destruction of this work of Origen has brought upon the Church; since he, reviewing the text of the Septuagint, added, 1. Asterisks (*) to words that were wanting in the Greek, but supplied by himself out of the Hebrew:  2. Obelisks (ǂ or ҂) to words, added beyond the Hebrew text in the Greek Version, as if fixed with a nail: 3. Lemnisci (÷), where readings may vary, but the superior number of exemplars may prevail: 4. Hypolemnisci (˗), where there is at least a pair of exemplars agreeing, or, according to Epiphanius, one of the thirty-six pairs of Interpreters or Translators; the distinct exemplars, thirty-six in number, of all which, exhibiting various readings here and there, Epiphanius believes, foolishly enough, to have survived unto the time of Origen. But thus of the Lemnisci and the Hypolemnisci, as we have just now related, judge MASIUS, VALESIUS, HUETIUS, and SPANHEIM, in his Historia Ecclesiastica, Century III, chapter X, columns 774-776.

Indeed, we hardly doubt that today’s editions of the Septuagint Version also have much from the emendation of Origen: nevertheless, the value of the work would have been to distinguish for the eye his corrections, enclosed with the signs just now mentioned at the beginning and two points at the end.

Concerning the comparison and joint exhibition of the Greek Versions of the Old Testament and Origen’s work on the same, see the discussions of, among others, JOHANN ALBERT FABRICIUS, Bibliotheca Græca, book III, chapter XII, volume 2, pages 315-360; PRIDEAUX, An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, part II, book I, columns 765-770; BUDDEUS, Isagoge ad Theologiam universam, book II, chapter VIII, § 5, tome 2, pages 1525-1528a, § 8, pages 1585-1587; JOHANN GOTTLOB CARPZOV, Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter III, pages 552-585, and the many more whom he commends.  Concerning the exemplar of the Septuagint Version, of which Origen made use, and which he inserted in his Hexapla, see in addition CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part III, chapter IX, § 3, pages 955, 970-972.

[1] That is, of Jericho.

[2] Caracalla reigned from 198 to 217.

[3] On the western coast of Greece.

[4] Alexander Severus reigned from 222 to 235.

Chapter II:33: Greek Versions: Symmachus

Of Symmachus the Samaritan and Ebionite, under Verus or Severus.[1]  Not very long after Theodotion Symmachus also translated the Old Testament into the Greek language; EPIPHANIUS expressly relates that this happened under Severus.  EUSEBIUS makes him an Ebionite.  JEROME calls him at one time a Jew, at another time a Judaizing heretic, and elsewhere expressly an Ebionite.  Nevertheless, EPIPHANIUS, the Author of the Athanasian Synopsis, and others, describe Symmachus as a Samaritan, who, led by ambition (as EPIPHANIUS relates), did not have his wish answered among his people, and, becoming angry with his people, passed over to the Jews, and, putting his name among the proselytes, was circumcised a second time, with his foreskin previously restored by medical arts.  That the Scope/Goal of Symmachus in his translation was to subvert the Versions that were received among the Samaritans, EPIPHANIUS relates:  πρὸς διαστροφὴν τῶν παρὰ Σαμαρείταις ἐρμηνειῶν ἐρμηνεύσας, τὴν τρίτην ἐξέδωκεν ἐρμηνείαν, translating in order to pervert the translations current among the Samaritans, he published the third translation.  Nevertheless, that does not appear likely to FABRICIUS in his Bibliotheca Græca, unless perhaps it might therefore be said that, because the Pentateuch alone was admitted by the Samaritans, Symmachus translated the remaining Prophetic Books also.  He thinks that it is rather to be observed that Christian writers, just as they generally indicate Aquila when they appeal to the Hebrew, so when the cite the Σαμαρειτικὸν/Samaritan, have regard unto this Version of the Samaritan Symmachus, by whom this learned Man persuades himself the Pentateuch was translated out of the Samaritan.  Yet, with CARPZOV in his Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter III, page 568, as judged, this erudite observation of Fabricius does not at all prevent Symmachus from being able to undertake and prepare a Version out of hatred for his fellow tribesmen; although perhaps the Fathers call or hold that as Samaritan, not from the opinion of the Samaritan here overlaid, but from the author, first arising from the Samaritans:  compare § 11; CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter III, § 4, pages 566-571; PRIDEAUX’S An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, part II, book I, columns 763-765.

[1] Septimius Severus reigned from 193 to 211.

Chapter II:33: Greek Versions: Aquila and Theodotion

Then our AUTHOR adds Greek Translations:

Of Aquila Ponticus, under Hadrian.  Initially he was a Greek with respect to religion, then at Jerusalem he embraced the faith of Christ and was baptized:  afterwards he was ejected from the communion of the Church, because he was so addicted to Judicial Astrology;[1] at which time he was made a proselyte:  and when with great labor he had learned the Hebrew language, he translated the speech of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, especially (as it is evident) so that he might annoy the Christians, and corrupt the oracles prophesying concerning Christ; and that under the Emperor Hadrian before the middle of the Second Century.  For, as the Septuagint Version had already been prepared before the birth of Christ, so the remaining Greek Versions mentioned here were completed only after the Christ:  see CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter III, § 2, pages 553-560; PRIDEAUX’S An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, part II, book I, columns 762-764.

Of Theodotion of Ephesus, under Commodus.[2]  Epiphanius calls him Ponticus also, but according to Irenæus and the Synopsis of Athanasius he is believed to have been an Ephesian.  Although the Ancients relate various things concerning his religion, perhaps they were able to be reconciled in this way; if you say that he was first a Marcionite, then an Ebionite, and finally a proselyte.  Having been made a proselyte and circumcised, he prepared a new Greek Version, generally following the footsteps of the Septuagint Translators.  The Church was always wont to read Daniel out of the translation of Theodotion, as JEROME testifies, preface on Daniel, opera, tome 3, page 27.  This his work is referred to the rule of Commodus after the middle of the Second Century by Epiphanius and others, although there are those that think that it is to be referred to a time shortly before Lucius Aurelius Commodus:  see CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra Veteris Testamenti, part II, chapter III, § 3, pages 560-566; PRIDEAUX’S An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments, part II, book I, columns 763-765.

[1] “Judicial Astrology” is a term encompassing a family of astrological techniques for forcasting the future.  The term is used to distinguish these techniques from “Medical” and “Meteorological” Astrology.

[2] Commodus reigned as Roman Emperor from 180 to 192.

Chapter II:33: Greek Versions: The Septuagint

There are also the Greek translations of the Septuagint, so called after the Seventy Elders, the most ancient of all, concerning which previously:  That is, to the extent deemed sufficient we disputed concerning this Version on § 11, where we at the same time admonished, lest anyone should declaim on behalf of preaching from the Version of the Seventy Interpreters, or from the Seventy Greek Interpreters, since that entire narration concerning the Seventy-two Interpreters is either uncertain or fabulous.

Our AUTHOR, with the whole chorus of Theologians and Philologists, calls this Version the most ancient of all:  from whom whether the Most Illustrious HOTTINGER has sufficiently weighty reasons to dissent, when he maintains that before this Greek Version, even from the times of Ezra, there was a Chaldean paraphrase of most of the books of the Old Testament, and also thinks that some Greek Version of the Pentateuch of the Samaritans surpasses the antiquity of the Septuagint—Viralis, is able to be doubted, if one is pleased to call his reasons set forth in Thesauro Philologico, pages 282-285, in for examination, and to compare with those what things were taught in § 11, both concerning the Greek Version of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and cnoncerning the antiquity of the Septuagint—Viralis Version.

Chapter II:33: The Latin Versions

We shall discharge the few things that are able to make for the illustration of our AUTHOR.

Our AUTHOR says, From the beginning Latin Versions were multiplied:  thus, of course, AUGUSTINE testifies, in book II, de Doctrina Christiana, chapter XI, opera, tome 3, part I, column 19, “If the infinite variety of Latin translators produces any doubt.”  And a little afterwards:  “For those that translated the Scriptures from the Hebrew language into the Greek are able to be enumerated, but not the Latin Translators.  For, as the Greek codex came into the hands of each in the first ages of the faith, and he appeared to himself to have a little ability in both languages, he ventured to translate.”

Among which was celebrated of old that which is called the Itala or Common, some parts of which they desire the Vulgate yet to retain.  Thus again AUGUSTINE, book II de Doctrina Christiana, chapter XV, column 21, “Now, among those translations let the Itala be preferred to the others:  for it holds more tenaciously to the words with perspicuity of meaning.”  Moreover, concerning this Version, and what today’s Vulgate is judged to retain from the same, see what things we said on § 10.

Chapter II:33: The Propriety and Necessity of Bible Translation, Part 2

γ. From the gift of Tongues soon granted with the extension of the Church to the Nations, so that each nation τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ, in its own language, might be able to hear τὰ μεγαλεῖα τοῦ Θεοῦ, the wonderful works of God, as in Acts 2:6, 8, 11; so that what was written might be fulfilled, πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ Θεῷ, every tongue shall confess to God, according to Romans 14:11.[1]  But, if therefore God Himself miraculously granted the gift of Tongues to the Apostles and first Teachers of the New Testament, so that they might proclaim the Gospel in the Vernacular Tongue to each nation; the duty is incumbent upon faithful overseers of the Church, that to the Church they deliver the Gospel, which Men of God, as universal Teachers, wrote in the most common Language of the time, translated together with the Books of the Old Testament into the Vernacular Tongue of each nation, for the purposes of reading.

δ. From this necessity and utility of Versions of the Scripture, acknowledged already from the infancy of the Church, which brought it to pass that the Sacred Books were soon enough read by many nations in the Vernacular Tongue, with the benevolent Providence of God smiling upon this pious undertaking of the Chuch in the translation of the Original text.  Hence CHRYSOSTOM, homily II, or I, on John, opera, tome 8, page 10, says of the Gospel of John:  καὶ Σύροι, καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι, καὶ Ἰνδοὶ, καὶ Πέρσαι, καὶ Αἰθίοπες, καὶ μυρία ἕτερα ἔθνη, εἰς τὴν αὐτῶν μεταβαλόντες γλῶτταν τὰ παρὰ τούτου δόγματα εἰσαχθέντα, ἔμαθον ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι φιλοσοφεῖν, Syrians, and Egyptians, and Indians, and Persians, and Ethiopians, and countless other nations, translating into their own tongues the doctrines introduced by him, although barbarians, have learned to philosophize.  THEODORET also, in Curatione Græcarum affectionum, book V, opera, tome 4, pages 555, 556, affirms that the Hebrew books or speech of the Hebrews was not only translated into Greek idiom, but also in the Roman Language, and Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Armenian, Scythian, and Sarmatian; and quickly into all Languages, of which the nations were making use unto that day:  Ἡμεῖς δὲ, τῶν ἀποστολικῶν καὶ προφητικῶν δογμάτων τὸ κράτος ἐναργῶς ἐπιδείκνυμεν· πᾶσα γὰρ ἡ ὑφήλιος τῶν δε τῶν λόγων ἀνάπλεως· καὶ ἡ Ἑβραίων φωνὴ οὐ μόνον εἰς Ἑλλήνων μετεβλήθη, ἀλλὰ καὶ εἰς τὴν Ῥωμαίων καὶ Αἰγυπτίων καὶ Περσῶν καὶ Ἰνδῶν καὶ Ἀρμενίων καὶ Σκυθῶν καὶ Σαυροματῶν, καὶ συλλήβδην εἰπεῖν, εἰς πάσας τὰς γλώττας αἷς ἅπαντα τὰ ἔθνη κεχρημένα διατελεῖ, but we visibly display the power of the apostolic and prophetic doctrines: for every language under the sun has full need of the words:  and the Hebrew language was translated, not only into that of the Greeks, but also into that of the Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Armenians, Scythians, and Samartians, and, to say it in brief, into all the languages of which at this day all the nations make use.  And speaking of Lucian and Hesychius publishing a corrected Version of the Old Testament, JEROME in his preface to the Gospels, opera, tome 3, page 30, writes, that the Scripture had already previously been translated into the languages of many nations.  It does not belong to this Compendium to speak on behalf of the worth of the various Versions reviewed by our AUTHOR, and the great many others that could be enumerated in addition.  This requires a whole and proper Commentary.  Concerning these Ecclesiastical History is to be consulted; and BRIAN WALTON’S Apparatus Biblicus; HOTTINGER’S Thesaurus Philologicus; LEUSDEN’S Philologi; CARPZOV’S Critica Sacra in Vetus Testamentum; RUMPÆUS’ Commentatio Critica ad Novi Testamenti Libros, § L, pages 344-443; BINGMAN’S Origines Ecclesiasticæ, book XIV, chapter III, § 17, volume 6, pages 97-104, in which there is a brief narration of the Versions of Scripture used in the ancient Church.

We shall discharge the few things that are able to make for the illustration of our AUTHOR.

[1] See also Isaiah 45:23.

Chapter II:33: The Propriety and Necessity of Bible Translation, Part 1

We prove the Propriety and Necessity of Versions:

α. From the Canonical Use of Scripture just now asserted in § 32, which is not applicable without the Translation of Scripture.  For, if the Scripture is going to be a norm of faith and manners for me, I must have the same for continual reading, meditation, and the turning of its pages day and night:  which, after the preaching of the Gospel among nations of all Languages, cannot be done by the faithful as individuals without a Translation of the Bible; while not even to a hundredth part among the members of the Church is the way open to the two Original Languages.

β. From the First Writing, made in the language, not peculiar to some learned men, but most Common under the Old and New Testaments.  For the Hebrew Tongue during the time of the writing of the Old Testament for the use of the Jews was the Vernacular of that people.  Greek at the time that the New Testament was set down was especially common, sufficiently familiar to the Jews themselves, whence both Philo and Josephus, both being Jews, wrote in Greek.  But, if it was so dangerous to open the way for any Laics to consult the Sacred Codices, God Himself had provided for the Church in a manner not quite proper.  Contrariwise, we follow His example without any risk, when we exhibit the Bible to be read to each Church in its Vernacular Language, so that God might reach the goal of providing a norm, which He proposed to Himself in delivering the Scripture to the Churches.

Chapter II:33: Controversy over the Translation of the Scripture

After indicating this End of the writing of Scripture, our AUTHOR relates the Means tending toward this End, which are the Translation, Reading, Understanding, and Interpretation of the Scripture.

With respect to the Versions of the Bible there is a controversy with the Papists concerning the Propriety and Necessity of them.  The more sober of them do indeed acknowledge the Necessity and Utility of the Versions, for which reason they also adorn various Versions in various Tongues.  BARONIUS, in his Annalibus Ecclesiasticis, tome 2, on AD 231, § 17 and 18, asserts, “By a divine and wonderful counsel the first and foremost Version of the Septuagint Translators was painstakingly made:”  see GERHARD’S Confessionem catholicam, tome II, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, thesis VII, pages 174b-180.  Nevertheless, other writers of this sect, not a few, condemn the Translations of the Bible into the Vernacular Languages as harmful and dangerous:  thus Arboreus[1] Theosophiæ, book VIII, chapter XI:  “There is one origin of heresies, the translation of the Sacred books into the vulgar tongue.”  With whom agree Azor,[2] Harding, Baylius, and a great many Jesuits, who “are wont to criticize” the translation of Scripture “as the curious εὕρημα/invention of heretics, exiled from orthodox religion, and hence useless to the Churches, and devised to sow heresies:”  consult GERHARD’S Confessionem catholicam, tome II, book II, specialis, partem I, article I, chapter II, thesis VII, pages 171-173.

The Scope/Goal/End cannot be obscure, namely, that which our AUTHOR observes, that they might more easily exercise tyranny over consciences.

[1] Alabri, writing under the pseudonym Johannes Arboreus, published his multi-volume work, Theosophy, from 1540-1553.  However, sidestepping the esoteric elements, his definition of theosophy is roughly equivalent to theology.

[2] Juan Azor (1535-1603) was a Spanish Jesuit philosopher and theologian.  He is remembered for his three volume Institutionibus Moralibus.

Chapter II:32: Answering Objections to Scripture as the Sole Rule, Part 2

γ. It is also mere quibbling that the Scripture was not written systematically.  The argument is obviously structured in this way:

Those that professedly deliver the norm of religion ought to write Catechism or System:

The Apostles did not write Catechism or System; but they wrote either history or Epistles, in which disputations concerning dogmas are delivered only by the way: Therefore.  See Bellarmine, book IV de Verbo Dei, chapter IV, column 212.

Responses: 1.  The method of writing was founded in the will of God.  2.  Not without good reason did He choose such, which is especially able to furnish occasion for the exercise of industry.  3.  Apart from the fact that the Holy Men are to be said to have also delivered professedly a System of religion, both with greater abundance, as in the Epistle to the Romans, and more concisely, in surveys of the great heads of religion, Hebrews 6:1, 2; Mark 1:15; etc.  Indeed, in the histories and Epistles disputations concerning dogmas are not delivered by the way, but professedly, for example, in the Gospel of John, in the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews.  In like manner, the Naturalists, caviling at the authority of the Sacred Codex, are refuted by STAPFER, in his Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 2, chapter X, § 477-481, pages 1173-1175.

δ. Finally, they do not gain much by this argument:

A rule of faith ought to be adequate for the thing ruled, that is, to contain all and only those things that pertain to faith. But Sacred Scripture does not contain all things necessary to be believed, nor those alone, as it appears from the many histories of both Testaments, and also from the salutations of Paul.

Responses: The Minor, 1.  with respect to the former member is altogether denied, from the Perfection of Scripture demonstrated in § 27 and following.  2.  If with respect to the latter member we concede that some things occur in Sacred Scripture, even without which its Perfection as a Canon of faith and manners could appear to stand firm, in this the divine goodness, providing more abundantly for us, is to be acknowledged.  At the same time it is to be said that nothing in Sacred Scripture superabounds as completely superfluous, since whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, Romans 15:4, and all Scripture is profitable πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, for doctrine, etc., 2 Timothy 3:16.  Therefore, the histories, salutations, and whatever other things could appear to be of lesser moment, are comprehended in the circle of this Canon and Rule; as each thing to the little measure of human capacity in a variety of ways in Scripture is set forth, absolutely and with limitation, in thesis and hypothesis, in the theory of precepts and praxis of examples.