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son of the largeness of the sums. One of them is represented as owing to the king one million eight hundred seventy-five thousand pounds, and his fellow-servant as indebted to him three pounds two shillings and sixpence. There is some importance in the comparative value of the denarius and the talent,
appears evidently one purpose of our Lord, in this parable, to show how insignificant the greatest claims we can make on our fellow-creatures are, compared with those which divine justice can make on us. And, though this be strongly marked when the two sums are reduced to one denomination, this advantage does not counterbalance the badness of the expression, so grossly unnatural, unscriptural, and, in every sense, improper. In conveying reli.. gious and moral instruction, to embarrass à reader or hearer with fractions and complex numbers, is in a spirit and manner completely the reverse of our. Lords.
9.8. I will not further try the patience of my
I WILL readers with what has been proposed in the same taste, with respect to the measures, both liquid and dry, mentioned in Scripture, in the exhibition of their respective capacities by the number of eggs they could contain. I am afraid I have descended into too many particulars already, and shall therefore only add in general that, in this way, the beautiful and perspicuous simplicity of holy writ, is exchanged for a frivolous minuteness, which descends to the lowest denomination of parts, more in the style of. a penurious money-broker, than in that of a judi. cious moralist, not to say, a divine teacher. Perspi. cuity is therefore injured, not promoted, by it, and to those important lessons, an appearance, or rather a disguise, is given, which seems calculated to ruin their effect. The author has never reflected on what I think sufficiently obvious, that when a piece of money is named, the name is understood to denote something more than the weight of the silver or the gold. In the earliest ages, when it was only by weight that the money of the same metal was distinguished, if the weight was the same, or nearly so, the names used in different languages served equally well. It was therefore both natural and proper in the Seventy to render the Hebrew 703 checher, in Greek ταλαντον, and per shekel, διδραχμα. For the Alexandrian Sidpaxua, which was double the Attic referred to in the New Testament, was half an ounce. But though such terms might, with propriety, be used promiscuously, when the different denominations of money expressed solely their different weights, as was the case in the earlier ages of the Jewish commonwealth, it is not so now. The name signifies a coin of a particular form and size, stamp, and inscription. The Hebrew shekel, the Greek stater, and the British half-crown, being each about half an ounce of silver, are nearly equivalent. But the names are not synonymous. If one had promised to show you a stater, or a shekel, would you think he had discharged his promise by producing half-a-crown?
§ 9. WORDS therefore which are by use exclusively appropriated to the coins and measures of modern nations, can never be used with propriety in the translation of an ancient author. I have mentioned three ways which a translator may take, and pointed out the different circumstances by which the preference among those methods
instance, be determined. When the sense of the pas- . sage does, in any degree, depend on the value of the coin, or the capacity of the measure, the original term ought to be retained, and if needful, explained, in a note. This is the way constantly used in the translation of books where mention is made of foreign coins or measures. What is more common than to find mention made, in such works, of Dutch guilders, French livres, or Portuguese moidores ? I acknowledge, at the same time, the inconveniency of loading a version of Scripture with strange and uncouth names. But still this is preferable to expressions, which how smooth soever they be, do, in any respect, misrepresent the author, and mislead the reader. Our ears are accustomed to the foreign names which are found in the common version of the Old Testament, such as shekel, bath, ephah : though, where the same coins and measures are evi. dently spoken of in the New, our translators have not liked to introduce them, and have sometimes, less properly, employed modern names which do not correspond in meaning.
§ 10. We have, besides, in the New Testament, the names of some Greek and Roman coins and mea. sures not mentioned in the Old. Now, where the words are the same, or, in common use, coincident with those used by the Seventy in translating the Hebrew names above mentioned, I have thought it better to retain the Hebrew words, to which our ears are familiarized, by the translation of the Old, than to adopt new terms for expressing the same things. We ought not surely to make an apparent difference by means of the language, where we have reason to believe, that the things meant were the same. When the word, therefore, in the New Testament, is the name of either measure or coin peculiar to Greeks or Romans, it ought to be retained ; but when it is merely the term by which a Hebrew word, occuring in the Old Testament, has sometimes been rendered by the Seventy ; the Hebrew name, to which the common version of the Old Testament has accustomed us, ought to be preferred. For this reason, I have, in such cases, employed them in the version of the Gospels. Apyvplov I have rendered shekel, when used for money. This was the standard coin of the Jews; and when the Hebrew word for silver occurs in a plural signification, as must be the case when joined with a numeral adjective, it is evidently this that is meant. It is commonly in the Septuagint rendered apyypia, and in one place, in the common translation, silverlings 12. In Hebrew 703 cheseph and Spv shekel
, are often used indiscri12 Isaiah, vii. 23.
minately, and both are sometimes rendered by the same Greek word. Though talent is not a word of Hebrew extraction, the Greek Tanavtov is so constantly employed by the Seventy in rendering the Hebrew 7 checher, and is so perfectly familiar to us, as the name of an ancient coin of the highest value, that there can be no doubt of the propriety of retaining it. As to the word pound, in Greek uva, and in Hebrew 709 maneh, as the sense of the only passage wherein it occurs in the Gospel, could hardly, in any degree, be said to depend on the value of the coin mentioned, I have also thought pro. per to retain the name which had been employed by the English translators. Though pound is the name of a particular denomination of our own money, we all know that it admits also of an indefinite application to that of other nations. This is so well understood, that where there is any risk of mistaking, we distinguish our own by the addition of sterling. The Greek word and the English are also analogous in this respect, that they are names both of money and of weight. Both also admit some latitude, in the application to the moneys and weights of different countries, whose standards do not entirely coincide.
In regard to some other words, though penny is often used indefinitely, the common meaning differs so much from that of dnvaplov in Scripture, and the plural pence is so rarely used with that latitude, that I thought it better to retain the Latin word. I have reserved the word penny as a more proper translation of acoapov, between which and a penny sterling,