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Maurer's Commentary.

e. g. the Hebrew idea of the soul, the nature of God's moral government as exhibited to the Hebrews, the nature of prophecy, etc. In other words, the theological element is nearly wanting in his writings. Consequently, the exposition of the profounder and more spiritual portions of the Old Testament are superficial and unsatisfactory. He is, indeed, more sober and evangelical, e. g. in his Messianic interpretations, than many of his countrymen; yet, it is to be feared, that he had but little congeniality of spirit with the truths which he attempted to illustrate. Still, his Compend will doubtless, for a long time, retain much of its value. It contains an excellent summary or condensed report of a vast amount of reading. The style of the work is worthy of high commendation. For further remarks on Rosenmüller, see Bibl. Repos. III. p. 151, and Bib. Sacra, I. p. 361.

2. Commentary of Maurer. This commentary, as that of Rosenmüller, is in Latin. The full title is: "Commentarius grammaticus criticus in Vetus Testamentum in usum maxime Gymnasiorum et Academiarum, Lips. F. Volckmar." Vol. I. contains all the historical books from Genesis to Job, and also Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, 8vo. 708, and was published in 1833. Vol. II., including the remainder of the prophets, Ezekiel-Malachi, was published in 1838-40, pp. 745. Vol. III., embracing the Psalms and Proverbs, pp. 530, was published in 183841. Vol. IV. Section I., containing Job, pp. 288, was published in 1847. Section II., completing the Old Testament, i. e. Ecclesiastes and Canticles, was printed in 1848. Maurer is a Leipsic scholar, and is known by his " Practischer Cursus über die Formenlehre d. Hebraisch. Sprache," 1837. The last volume of the commentary is by Augustus Hiligstedt, a pupil of Profs. Tuch and Fleischer of Leipsic, Maurer having been unable to complete the work, on account of some private reasons. The fourth volume, if it does not exhibit equal tact and ability, is constructed on the same plan, and carried through in the same spirit with the volumes by Maurer. This commentary has the advantage over Rosenmiller's Compend in the following particulars; 1st. It embraces the entire Old Testament; 2d. The latter part is brought down almost to the present time, and avails itself of recent investigations; 3d. In exact grammatical knowledge. Perhaps this is its most marked characteristic, and it greatly adds to its utility, not only for the beginner, but for the advanced student. All true interpretation is founded on grammar, and the genuine scholar delights to see these numerous syntactical references to Gesenius and Ewald; 4th. greater independence of judgment, less reliance on his predecessors, and more exact weighing of evidence, adducing the results rather than the process of inquiry. In this last particular, he followed the rule of G. Hermann: "Quid prodest enim enu


merare quae tu quidem pervestigare debueris, sed pervestigata cognoveris ad propositum inutilia esse;" 5th in price. The whole sett costs in Germany from five to six dollars. Unhappily the book is less evangelical than that of Rosenmüller. We oftener meet with statements, which we are compelled to reject. No one would look to Maurer for exposition in its practical and profounder sense. Baur on Amos, p. 162, commends Maurer, as having exhibited in his comments on that prophet, grammatical accuracy and clear exhibition of the sense of the words, though he neglects the critical element, and sometime makes the explication of difficult passages too easy. It should also be said that the commentary on the historical books from Genesis to Esther, is far too brief to be satisfactory, the whole being embraced in 250 pages.

3. The Condensed Commentary. This is in German, and the full title is "Kurzgefasste Exegetisches Handbuch zum Alten Testament." The following have appeared; vol. I, containing the Twelve Minor Prophets, 1838, by F. Hitzig, professor in Zurich: II. Job, 1839, by L. Hirzel, formerly professor in Zurich; II. Jeremiah by Hitzig, 1841; IV. Books of Samuel 1842, by Otto Thenius, Diaconus in Dresden; V. Isaiah, 1843, by A. Knobel, professor in Giessen; VI. Judges and Ruth, 1845, by E. Bertheau, professor in Göttingen; VII. Proverbs by Bertheau, Ecclesiastes by Hitzig, 1847; VIII, Ezekiel by Hitzig, 1847; IX. Books of Kings by Thenius, now in press. The retail price in Germany is about 11 Thaler for the nine volumes. The customary discount being deducted, the cost in Germany would be about $7. Five or six additional volumes will probably complete the Old Testament. Coming from a variety of sources, this work is of course characterized by various degrees of merit. Knobel's Isaiah, so far as philology is concerned, is probably the most thorough and satisfactory of the many works which we have on that prophet. Hitzig remarks that he has earnestly sought to give an objective exposition. To that end he has kept his eye, before all things else, on the usage of the language, without becoming a slave to it, and has consulted etymology only when without its aid he could not expound the meaning. The main characteristics of this series may be stated as follows; 1, Exact historical knowledge or a reproduction of preceding scenes and events bearing on the topics in hand. "I have taken earnest pains," says Hitzig, "to make myself at home in the circumstances and views of a world lying far back and from these, in accordance with a moral analogy, to seize on the author's mode of thinking, and then to search out, exhibit and estimate the value of his words." Of the same tenor are the remarks of Bertheau, Knobel and Thenius. 2. A careful attention to the state of the text; this is particularly true of that of Jeremiah and of the books of Samuel. Thenius speaks of having compared the Masoretic text of Samuel four


Ewald's Commentaries.

times, word for word, with that of the Seventy. 3, A careful exhibition of the argument or general course of thought, the mutual relations of the parts, etc. This is a marked characteristic of Knobel. 4. Sound lexicographic and grammatical knowledge. Special pains are taken to investigate the meaning of particular difficult words and phrases. The authors were thoroughly trained in the best critical schools of Germany. There is, however, so much effort at condensation that we are sometimes left in doubt in regard to the author's meaning. This exceeding brevity tends also to make the style hard and repulsive. If the compressing process is carried too far, the book becomes a dry skeleton, fit only for a syllabus or text-book for the teacher. We think too, that none but Germans would print the details of various readings, and discussions on text-criticism in the body of a commentary. They would be reserved for a special work or for an appendix. We need hardly say that these commentators, though professing independence, are more or less infected with the critical tastes and opinions which characterize many of their countrymen. They are advocates, more or less, of the theories in regard to the origin of the sacred books, their inspiration, etc., which, we think, all men of sober views and of true science will regard as rather specious than solid. Sometimes, however, they allow the spiritual and Messianic element, and even vindicate it with ability; e. g. Hitzig on Micah 5: 1, remarks, "Though Micah gives expression to obscure, and mysterious matters, yet by She that is to bear,' he can only mean the mother of the Messiah." 4. The Commentaries of Ewald. Die Poetischen Bücher des Alten Bundes, are in four volumes, Göttingen, 1836-40. Vol. I. embraces a treatise on Hebrew Poetry, and remarks on the Psalms; II. a translation of the Psalms with notes; III, the book of Job; IV. Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Die Propheten des Alten Bundes, are in two volumes, and include the Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.


It is hardly necessary to characterize the works of Ewald, as they are ill fitted for popular use, having had but a small sale even in Germany. No one will deny that he has a profound acquaintance with the Hebrew language, large stores of oriental knowledge, much experience as a biblical critic, power of original investigation, a better taste and a more appreciating imagination than many of his countrymen. He is less skeptical too, than some of the recent critics. Baur on Amos, p. 162, commends Ewald for his "vivid representation of the prophets in their entire, manifold nature and works and by the clear exhibition of the whole organism of their writings." We must, however, add that, to a foreigner at least his style is very involved and difficult. Many of his theories are more remarkable for acuteness than solid judgment; his method of dislocating and rearranging many portions of the Old Testament seem to us to be


violent and eminently unscientific. His self-reliance and contemptuous treatment of almost all other biblical philologists are proverbial.

Commentaries on single books.

1. Tuch on Genesis. The author is professor of theology in the university of Leipsic, and has the reputation, as we learn from a friend who attended his instructions, of being a very accurate and accomplished Hebrew scholar. Ewald speaks of him as "possessing learning in the Old Testament sciences in the highest degree fundamental and independent.” His commentary on Genesis, so far as philology, antiquities, etc., are concerned, is perhaps the best which we have on the book. His theology, general principles of criticism, etc. would find few advocates in this country.

2. Hengstenberg's Contributions. Beiträge zur Einleitung ins A. Test., Vol. I. on the Genuineness of Daniel and the Integrity of Zechariah; II. and III. on the Authenticity of the Pent. This work is one of the ablest and most important which has ever appeared on the authenticity of parts of the Old Test. They are about to be translated and printed at Edinburgh, in Clark's Foreign Theological Library. The substance of his treatise on the Prophecies of Balaam, may be found in the B. Sacra III. pp. 347, 669. These works are largely of an apologetic and polemic character, a vigorous protest against rationalism and, for the most part, successful vindication of the divine authority of the portions of Scripture in question. Hengstenberg has not that candor and fairness towards opponents which the reader desires. His arguments sometimes have more of acuteness and a lawyer-like dexterity than of solidity and force.

3. Keil on Joshua. Commentar über das Buch Josua, von K. F. Keil, Erlangen, 1847, 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 411. The author is professor of Exegesis and Oriental Languages at the imperial university at Dorpat in Finland. His general principles may be learned from the following extract from his Preface: "The historical books of the Old Test. in general have been unhappily too much neglected, so that every effort in this field must first and specially contend with false and perverted views, which are directly at variance with the spirit of the biblical revelation, must clear away the many errors widely spread in consequence of the spiritless handling of the Old Test. history; and hence can but pave the way for a theological and practical interpretation, rather than furnish a complete one. With the rejection of the revelation of the Old Test., rationalism has been compelled also to reject its history, since this history is, and declares itself to be, nothing else than the narrative of the Divine Revelation unfolding itself in the course of ages. To the rationalist, the historical books of the Old Test., as writings which lay claim to historical truth, have lost all value, all signifi


Hengstenberg and Hävernick.


cance, so that now only criticism can busy itself with them and resolve their historical contents into myths and sagas. In this process, a small residuum of inorganic historical material remains as a muddy sediment, which cannot be removed, but defies all attempts to construe from it a connected history of the Israelites, and at best allows only of a fancy picture, without truth and life, as the last of these attempts, undertaken by Ewald, strikingly shows." "To break up the reign of rationalism in the Old Test., to confute the wide-extended prejudices which have become formal articles of faith, and to help to promote the true understanding — quickened by faith of the Old Test. is, accordingly, the aim and design of this commentary, as it was of my earlier one on the Books of the Kings, which shall be followed, God willing, by a similar work on the remaining historical books of the Old Test." The commentary on Joshua is prepared with much care, and with the advantage of the latest geographical and other helps on Palestine, and is highly commended by competent judges, as an able and satisfactory book.

4. Hengstenberg on the Psalms. This work is contained in five volumes, in the original German; price for the whole, about $7,00; and in three thick octavo volumes in the English translation, published in Clark's Foreign Theological Library, price about $8. The characteristics of this writer are well known to our readers. His commentary on the Psalms is one of the latest, and is doubtless the best which has ever appeared on this portion of the Bible. If any proof of this were needed, it may be found in the fact that Lengerke of Königsberg, a distinguished rationalist scholar, in his Commentary on the Psalms, is largely indebted to, and in not a few places has almost servilely copied, Hengstenberg. The greatest fault of the author is his prolixity. The commentary might have been included in two, or at the most in three volumes. Much of this copiousness is caused by large quotations from Luther, Calvin, and other well known authors. We understand that it is the intention of two American scholars to condense the substance of Hengstenberg's commentary and publish it in one volume, adding such philological and exegetical notes as may be desirable. In making this abridgement, they will use the new German edition, the first volume of which has just appeared. Thus the results of the latest philological inquiries on this most interesting part of the Bible will be laid before the public in connection with a commentary which is eminently in keeping with the spirit of the original.

5. Hävernick on Ezekiel. This is in German, and comprised in one volume, pp. 757, price, $2. Prof. Tholuck mentioned to the writer that he considered it the best commentary which we have on this difficult prophet. Hävernick was one of the most eminent men of the evangelical school in Germany, and spent many years in an earnest and successful VOL. VII. No. 26. 33

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