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Dr Symonds being judge, the words, “as for,” had better have been omitted, one might infer that he would have been glad to have them marked, as not existing in the Original.—But to proceed : The learned Professor then mentions “the amazing increase of words printed in Italics, and the unwarrantable freedom taken with them." Soon afterwards, he observes : “ Now as all the Italics in the first copy of that [King James's] Bible were, justly speaking, the comments of the Translators upon the text, so all the additional Italics in the modern Bibles may be called with equal propriety the comments of the printers or editors." In these notions, again, there is a degree of confusion, which is quite extraordinary.
66 The Italics,” says Dr Symonds, “are comments.” Now, what is the meaning of this assertion ? Do the Italic characters constitute the comment, or do the supplementary words themselves constitute the comment ? In fact, there are two things which this Critic could not, if he had well considered the subject, have brought himself to believe: 1. He could not have believed that the supplementary words would have been less a comment, if they had not appeared in Italics; 2. He could not have believed that scholars, subsequent to the Translators, were not as able, to distinguish what were supplementary words, as the Translators themselves :and with his notions on the subject, he must have seen that the supplementary words ought to be pointed out with scrupulous exactness—in order that the comment, if it be a comment, may be distinguished from the text..... The case
seems to have been, that Dr Symonds had taken such a dislike to every thing connected with our Authorized Version, that he scarcely
ever permitted his judgement to interfere, in that matter, with his determination to find fault.*
The third opponent of Italics, whom I have to mention, is the late Dr Geddes; whose practice, however, may in some measure be set in opposition to his opinion—inasmuch as, in his Version of the Old Testament, he has used marks (not Italics) to warn the reader, of such additions as his mode of translating required. After mentioning some of the most ordinary cases of words supplied, for the purpose of preserving the grammatical construction, he thus proceeds: “Italics are not only often unnecessary, but sometimes degrade the text. When Achish, for example (1 Sam. xxi. 15), is made to say, Shall this fellow come into my house ?' the word fellow is here worse than superfluous. It presents to the reader an idea that is not in the Original; and is, besides, a term not only low and vulgar, but also, if we attend to its etymology, improperly applied.”—Now however much “worse than superfluous” the word be—however “low and vulgar," and etymologically incorrect—it is quite impossible that any blame can be attached to the Italics, on those grounds. Dr Geddes might have seen that, if the word really was liable to all these objections, the Italics (which are those of 1611) made some amends, by indicating that it was not in the Original. But not only in his mode of argument, but also in his determination to find fault, is Dr Geddes a formidable rival to Dr Symonds. The Roman Catholic
* The passages just observed upon are derived from Dr Symonds’ ‘Observations on the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles,' pp. 174, 175. The work was published in 1789.
Divine objects to the Authorized Version of Gen. xlii. 30. “ The man who is the lord of the land;"_which, he says, is “at the expence of introducing two words (who is) that are not in the Original.” He adds, in a note : According to their (the Translators') scrupulous system, “who is” should have been in Italics.” The fact is, that in the Edition of 1611, and all other editions that I have ever seen, the words, “who is," are in Italics....I need not be any longer detained by Dr Geddes.t
The last adversary to Italics, whom I shall have occasion to mention, is the late Dr Campbell ; a very different person from either of the Critics whose notions I have just considered—for he is sensible, acute, wary.
He is, indeed, an adversary, not to marks of distinction in all cases, but to marks applied to such small insertions, as the grammatical structure of the sentence may demand. . In the more important cases, he himself uses such marks, as a Translator of the Gospels. Of King James's Translators, he writes:-“ Though I approve their motives in using this
I method, as they are strong indications of fairness and accuracy, I cannot help thinking that, in the execution, they have sometimes carried it to excess.”
He particularly mentions his being, when a youth, much at a loss for a reason why the word “
(Matt. xxiv. 41. see p. 27) should be printed in Italics. He at last reasoned very justly on the subject; as will be seen from considering the entire passage.
+ The passages here discussed are taken from Dr Geddes' Letter to Bishop Louth, pp. 26–35.
Τότε δύο έσονται εν τω αγρω· ο εις παραλαμβάνεται, και ο εις αφίεται.
Δύο άλήθουσαι εν τω μύλωνι" μία παραλαμβάνεται, και μία αφίεται.
If our Translators had rendered these two verses, as they have subsequently been rendered by Dr Daniel Scott and others :
“ Then two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left:"
“ Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left:”. that is, if the word “men” had been introduced (as it really might have been) in the former verse, to correspond to “women” in the latter :—the difficulty from the Italics would scarcely have been felt.* In fact, it appears that Campbell's perplexity arose quite as much from the omission of "men,
in the former versefrom the word “women” in Italics, in the latter. His reflections on the subject are well worth reading : “ What then appeared to me unaccountable in the Translators was, first their putting the word women in Italics, since, though it had not a particular word corresponding to it, it was clearly comprehended in the other words of the passage ; and secondly, their not adding men in the fortieth verse, because by these two successive verses, the one in the masculine, the other in the feminine gender, it appeared the manifest intention of the author to acquaint us, that both sexes would be involved in the calamities of the time spoken of.”.... Dr
It may be observed that in the corresponding passage in St Luke the word “men” is introduced ; and this is one of the few instances I have observed, in which the edition of 1638 agrees with the Text of 1611, in preserving the ordinary character, while the modern editions give Italics.
Campbell was not aware that the word was not in Italics in the Text of 1611; nor was he aware of the same fact with regard to a passage, respecting which I shall now transcribe his sentiments. “Sometimes,” he writes, “the word in Italics is a mere intruder, to which there is not any thing in the import of the original, any more than in the expression, either explicitly, or implicitly, corresponding; the sense, which in effect it alters, being both clear and complete without it. For an example of this, I shall recur to a passage on which I had occasion formerly to remark: The just shall live by faith ; but if
any man draw back —where any man is foisted into the text, in violation of the rules of interpreting, which compel us to admit the third personal pronoun, "he,' as clearly, though virtually, expressed by the verb.”... Thus Dr Campbell wrote, on the supposition that the Translators had themselves indicated, by the usual character, the insertion they had ventured upon. What would he have said if he had known that the words, “any man,” had, to use his own expression, been “foisted into the text,” without the slightest intimation of what had been done?_In fine, Dr Campbell's instances, of what he deemed unnecessary Italics, are found in the Text of 1611, as well as in the modern text. Of the Italics of the modern text I have, in the course of this work, said enough; and the Italics of the Text of 1611 do not, for the most part, need vindication.+
+ It is almost needless to state that the preceding remarks of Dr Campbell are taken from the Preliminary Dissertations to his Translation of the Gospels. Diss. XII. Part iv. Sect. 8, 9. See also Diss. X. Part v. Sect. 10, for some additional remarks on Heb. x. 38. “if any man draw back.” In the Disserta. tion last referred to, some circumstances are mentioned which bear hard upon Beza's integrity as a Translator ; and I fear there is too much justice in them.