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[ Concluded from page 99 . ] Not at all entering into Dr . Maltby ' s fears of the dangers of u the overcurious and restless spirit of research , " by which " points , long since admitted by the general consent of wise and good men , " are probed and tried ,
and being well assured with him that in the result , " the grounds of our belief will have been more completely sifted and more accurately understood ; that the substantial interests of truth will have been promoted , and the purity , as well as genuineness , of our sacred records , in the end established on a still more solid and durable foundation "—we proceed to notice the mode in which he has entered upon the controversy , the previous history ot which we have somewhat developed . He takes up the hypothesis of the author of
the Palseoromaica without any intimation of its previous history or existence . " The object , " he tells us , " of that paradoxical production , is to shew that almost the whole Christian world , from the time in which the Scriptures of the New Testament were composed , up to the present day , has been involved in one common and monstrous error respecting the language in which they were originally written;—and that the Latin was not only the more natural and proper language at that particular period for books designed for general instruction , but also the language in which they actually first appeared . "
The principal portion of Dr . Maltby ' s Sermon is directed to the denial and disproval of one of the leading propositions of the Palaeoromaica—" that it was natural and proper , and therefore probable , that the various books of the New Testament should be written in Latin , not in Greek . " After observing upon the objectionable nature of this species of argument founded on antecedent fitness against a supposed historical fact , Dr . M . proceeds to shew concisely , but by a most unanswerable chain of facts , the prevalence of
the Greek language among the Jews , and the absence of all proof of the use by them of the Latin in any single instance . Passing by the general and undoubted use of the Greek tongue throughout a large portion of Asia , which may , indeed , be c 6 nsidered as the cradle of its literature , he observes that , after the Macedonian conquest , Syria became , as it were , naturalized to the language of the conqueror ; and that all the country surrounding Palestine , every city to which the Jews were carried or which they inhabited ,
spoke a dialect of Greek more or less pure ; that every probability is in favour of their adoption of the language of the country where they resided , and that we know for an undoubted fact that they certainly did so at Alexandria ; that all history bears us out in asserting , that whatever knowledge was possessed by the Jews , besides the dialects of Hebrew , was decidedly Greek and Greek onl y ; nay , that the writers in Greek were more numerous , as well as distinguished , than those in Hebrew or Syro-Chaldaic . The
apocryphal books of the Old Testament , with few exceptions , were Greek , and a version of the Old Testament itself had been called into existence by its usefulness and , in fact , necessity . The same dialect became consecrated to the service of religion , and there is evidence that the law was read in it in the synagogues , and that the Jews studied it at home and were familiarized
with it in their communications abroad . One thing is certain , that there is no proof of any one work written by a Jew in Latin . Dr . Maltby then proceeds with a concise account of a series of Jewish writers using the Greek language . The names of Philo , Josephus , and Justin of Tiberias , satisfactorily close the list . The argument pn this head is thus summed up :
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OBSERVATIONS ON THE CONTROVERSY AS TO THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE OF THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1827, page 240, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1795/page/8/