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Addresses on the Revised Version of Holy Scripture

To the reverential uniformity of our Authorised Version


first particular is the important question of the rendering of the word "JEHOVAH." Here the Revisers have thought it advisable to follow the usage of the Authorised Version, and not to insert the word uniformly in place of "LORD" or "GOD," which words when printed in small capitals represent the words substituted by Jewish custom for the ineffable Name according to the vowel points by which it is distinguished. To this usage the Revisers have steadily adhered with the exception of a very few passages in which the introduction of a proper name seemed to be required. In this grave matter, as we all probably know, the American Company has expressed its dissent from the decision of the English Company, and has adopted the proper name wherever it occurs in the Hebrew text for "the LORD" and "GOD." Most English readers will agree with our Revisers. It may indeed be said, now that we can read the American text continuously, that there certainly are many passages in which the proper name seems to come upon eye or ear with a serious and appropriate force; still the reverence with which we are accustomed to treat what the Revisers speak of as "the ineffable Name" will lead most of us to sacrifice the passages, where the blessed name may have an impressive force, to the reverential uniformity of our Authorised Version, and to the latent fear that frequent iteration might derogate from the solemnity with which we instinctively clothe the ever-blessed name of Almighty God.

justify;">The next particular relates to terms of natural history. Here changes have only been made where it was certain that the Authorised Version was incorrect, and highly probable that the word substituted was right. Where doubt existed, the text was left unchanged, but the alternative word was placed in the margin. In regard of other terms, of which the old rendering was certainly wrong, as in the case of the Hebrew term _Asherah_ (probably the wooden symbol of a goddess), the Revisers have used the word, whether in the singular or plural, as a proper name. In the case of the Hebrew term "Sheol" (corresponding to the Greek term "Hades"), variously rendered in the Authorised Version by the words "grave," "pit," and "hell," the Revisers have adopted in the historical books the first or second words with a marginal note, "Heb. _Sheol_," but in the poetical books they have reversed this arrangement. The American Revisers, on the contrary, specify that in all cases where the word occurs in the Hebrew text they place it unchanged in the English text, and without any margin. The case is a difficult one, but the English arrangement is to be preferred, as the reader would not so plainly need a preliminary explanation.

The last case that it here seems necessary to allude to is the change everywhere of the words "the tabernacle of the congregation" into "the tent of meeting," as the former words convey an entirely wrong sense. These and the use of several other terms are carefully noted and explained by the Revisers, and will, I hope, induce every careful reader of their revision to make it his duty to study their prefatory words. The almost unavoidable differences between them and the American Revisers, as to our own language, are alluded to by them in terms both friendly and wise, and may be considered fully to express the sentiments of the New Testament Company, by whom the subject is less precisely alluded to.

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