BIBLE

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BIBLE ; a hook, from the Greek jStjSXoj, which signifies the soft bark of a tree, on which the ancients wrote. The collection of the Sacred Writings, or Holy Scriptures of the Christians, is called the Bible, or the Book, by way of excellence. Some of these writings, which are also received by the Jews as the records of their faith, are called the Old Testament, or writings of the old covenant, because the Jewish religion was represented as a compact or covenant between God and the Jews, and the Greek word for covenant {Siad^v) signifies also last will, or testament The same figure was applied to the Christian religion, which was considered as an extension of the old covenant, or a covenant between God and the whole human race. The sacred writings peculiar to the Christians are, therefore, called the scriptures of the New Testament. (See Testament.) The order of the books of the Old Testament, as they are arranged in the editions of the Latin version, called the Vulgate (q. v.), according to the decree of the council of Trent (sess. 4), is as follows:Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth ; I Samuel, or I Kings; II Samuel, or II Kings; I Kings, otherwise called III Kings; II Kings, otherwise called IV Kings; I Esdras (as it is called in the Septuagint (q. v.) and Vulgate), or Ezra; II Esdras, or (as we call it) Nehemiah; *Tobit, *Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, *The Book of Wisdom, *Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah and *Baruch; Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Nahum (which, in our editions, is placed after Micah and before Habakkuk), Jonah (which we place after Obadiah), Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, *I Maccabees and *II Maccabees. (Those to which an asterisk is prefixed are, by Protestants, considered apocryphal, q.v.) The books received by the Jews were divided by Ezra into three classes:1. The Law, contained in the Pentateuch, (q.v.) or five books of Moses. 2. The Prophets, comprising Joshua, Judges and Ruth, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, the 12 minor prophets, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. 3. The Cetubim, or Hagiographa, that is, holy writings, containing the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecelesiastes and the Song of Solomon. These books were written in the Hebrew language (q. v.), while those which are rejected from the canon as apocryphal by the Protestants, are found only in Greek or Latin. The books of Moses were deposited, according to the Bible, after his death, in the tabernacle, near the ark: the other sacred writings, it is further said, were successively deposited in the same place, as they were written. After the building of the temple, they were removed by Solomon to that edifice: on the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the autographs probably perished, but numerous copies were preserved, as is inferred from allusions in writers subsequent to the Babylonish captivity It is generally admitted, that the canon of the Old Testament was settled soon after the return from Babylon, and the reestablishment of the Jewish religion. This work was accomplished, according to the traditions of the Jews., by Ezra, with ths assistance of the great synagogue, who collected and compared as many copies as could be found. From this collation a correct edition of the whole was prepared, with the exception of the writings of Ezra, Malachi and Nehemiah, which were added by Simon the Just. When Judas Maccabseus repaired the temple, which had been destroyed by Antiochus Epiphanes, he placed in it a correct copy of the Hebrew Scriptures, whether the autograph of Ezra or not is not known. This copy was carried to Rome by Titus. The division into chapters and verses is of modern origin. Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro, who flourished in the 13th century, having divided the Vulgate into chapters, for convenience of reference, similar divisions were made in the Hebrew text by rabbi Mordecai Nathan, in the 15th century. The present division into verses was made by Athias, a Jew of Amsterdam, in his edition of 1661. The punctuation is also the work of modern scholars. Biblical critics divide the Scriptures of the Old Testament into the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses; the historical books, from Joshua to Esther inclusive ; the doctrinal or poetical books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon; the prophetical books.The most esteemed manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible are those of the Spanish Jews. The most ancient are not more than seven or eight centuries old: the famous manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch, in the possession of the Samaritans of Sichem, is only 500 years old: a manuscript in the Bodleian library is thought to be 700 years old: one in the Vatican is supposed to have been written in 973. In some manuscripts, the Masora (q. v.) is added.The printed editions of the Hebrew Bible are very numerous. The earliest were printed in Italy. The first edition of the entire Hebrew Bible was printed at Soncino, in 1488. The Brescian edition of 1494 was used by Luther, in making his German translation. The editions of Athias, a Jew of Amsterdam, 1661 and 1667, are much esteemed for their beauty and correctness. Van der Hooght followed the latter. Doctor Kennicott did more than any one of nis predecessors to settle the Hebrew text. His Hebrew Bible appeared at Oxford, in 1776-1780, 2 vols., folio. The text is from that of Van der Hooght, with which 630 MSS. were collated. Be Rossi, who published a supplement to Kennicott's edition (Parma, 1784-99, 5 vols., 4to.), collated 958 MSS. The German Orien talists, Gesenius, De Wette, &c, in recent times, have done very much towards correcting the Hebrew text. The earliest and most famous version of the Old Testament is the Septuagint, or Greek translation. The Syriac version, called the Peschito, was made early in the second century. It is celebrated for its fidelity. The Coptic version was made from the Septuagint, some time before the seventh century. The Gothic version, by Ulphilas, was also made from the Septuagint, in the fourth century. The most important Latin version is the Vulgate. (For an account of the principal polyglots, see Polyglot)The books of the New Testament were all written in Greek, unless it be true, as some critics suppose, that the Gospel of St. Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. Most of these writings have always been received as canonical; but the Epistle to the Hebrews, by an uncertain author, that of St. Jude, the second of Peter, the second and third of John, and the Apocalypse (q. v.) have been doubted. Eusebius distinguishes three sorts of books connected with the New Testament:1. those which have always been unanimously received, namely, the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, 13 Epistles of Paul, the first Epistle of Peter, and the first of John: 2. those which were not received, at first, by all the churches; of these, some which have been already mentioned, though at first rejected by some churches, have been since universally received; others, such as the Books of the Shepherd, the Letter of St. Barnabas, the two Epistles of St. Clement, have not been generally acknowledged as canonical: 3. books forged by heretics, to maintain their doctrines; such are the Gospels of St. Thomas, St. Peter, &c. The division of the text of the New Testament into chapters and verses was introduced earlier than that of the Old Testament; but it is not precisely known when, or by whom. (For the numerous translations of the Bible, in modern times, see the article Bible Societies, and the annual reports of these societies, particularly of the British and foreign Bible society.) In Biblical criticism, the Germans have, without doubt, done more than any other nation; and we should far exceed our limits, if we were to attempt an enumeration of their works in this department. (See Wette, Griesbach, Gesenius, Schleiermacher, Micliaelis, &c.)The whole Bible was translated into Saxon by Bede, in the beginning of the eighth century. The first English translation, by an unknown hand, is supposed to have been made Bear the end of the 13th century. Wickliffe's translation of the entire Bible from the Vulgate, 1380, was first printed 1731. The first printed edition of any part of the Scriptures in English was a translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, published by Tindal, 1526. The whole impression was bought up and burnt by the bishop of London. The authorized version now in use, in England and America, was made by the command of James I, and is commonly called king James's Bible. Fortyseven distinguished scholars were appointed for this purpose, and divided into six classes. Ten at Westminster were to translate to the end of II Kings; eight at Cambridge were to finish the remaining historical books and the H" giographa: at Oxford, seven were engaged on the Prophets: the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and Apocalypse were assigned to another company of eight at Oxford; and the Epistles were allotted to a company of seven at Westminster : the apocryphal books were to be translated by a company at Cambridge. Each individual translated all the books allotted to his class. The whole class then compared all the translations, and adopted the readings agreed on by the majority. The book, thus finished, was sent to each of the other classes. This translation occupied three years. Copies were then sent to London, one from each of the abovenamed places. Here a committee of six, one from each class, reviewed the whole, which was last of all revised by doctor Smith and doctor Bilson, bishop of Winchester. It was printed in 1611. The latest and most complete revision was made by doctor Blayney, Oxford, 1769. (For an account of the German translation, see Luther, and Reformation. As a general book of reference, relating to the literature of the Bible, Home's Introduction to the Study of the Scriptures may be consulted. See also Harris's Natural History of the Bible.) Bible, Geography of describes Palestine, and gives an account of the Asiatic countries bordering on Palestine, and of the provinces of the Roman empire into which Christianity was introduced, during the age of the apostles. The sources of this science are the Scriptures, the writings of Josephus, the geographical authors of antiquity,Strabo, Ptolemy and Pompeii ius Mela,and the Onomasticon Urbium et Locorum Scripturce Sacrce, written by Eusebius, bishop of Csesarea, in the fourth centary, in Greek, and translated by Je rome into Latin. Among the learned moderns who have cultivated this science, so important for the interpreter of the Holy Scriptures, are Bachiene, Wells, and the Dutchman Ysbrand of Hamelsfeld. (See Geography.)