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JOHN PETER LANGE, D.D.,
PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BONN,
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, AND EDITED, WITH ADDITIONS,
PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D.,
VOL. IX. OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: CONTAINING THE BOOK OF
Rev. CHARLES A. BRIGGS, REV. JOHN FORSYTH, D.D., REV. JAMES B.
HAMMOND, Rev. J. FRED. MCCURDY;
A NEW VERSION OF THE PSALMS
REV. THOMAS J. CONANT, D.D.
PREFACE BY THE GENERAL EDITOR.
Dr. Moll's Commentary on the PSALTER appeared, in two separate parts, in 1869 and 1870. It was concluded during the stirring events of the Franco-German war. It is regarded as one of the best parts in LANGE's Biblework, especially in the Doctrinal and Ethical sections. Dr. MOLL was formerly Professor of Theology in Halle, and is now General Superintendent of the Evangelical Church in the Province of Prussia. We insert the author's Preface to Part II., dated November, 1870:
“The mighty convulsions of the present war, while they have cast down a glittering throne from its proud elevation, have buried, too, much unobtrusive and quiet happiness, and have opened wounds that must long keep bleeding. Yet, from out of desolation and tears, does the goodness of the Eternal evoke renewed safety and a joyful future for a people tried and purified in the fire of affliction. Nor can we fail to discern in the events of those days a visitation of God. Many an ear, which has long been accustomed to other sounds, has heard the footsteps of the Almighty as He marches through the world in judgment, and has been inclined to listen to the word of the only true and living God. And many a hand, too, will be stretched out, with special eagerness, for the Book of Psalms, full as it is of those poems, of which such a poet as Byron said, that they are as losty as heaven and deeper than the ocean. From such fulness as this has the Church ever drawn, and it affords instruction as well as delight, to trace through the course of the ages its inexhaustible adaptation to the needs of the people of God, to the varying tastes of different periods, and to the progress of the science of interpretation. May its own teachings and the accompanying remarks and suggestions realize the aim of the Bibelwerk, and afford spiritual aid to the brethren in the ministry.
In the department of Practical Exposition we have now further to note: Der Psalter, erklärt von L. Harms, weil. Pastor in Hermannsburg, 1869 (The Psalter explained by L. Harms, late Pastor in Hermansburg, 1869). CASPARI, Des Gottesfürchtigen Freud und Leid, Wochenpredigten über den Psalter (The Joy and Sorrow of those who fear God; Weekly Sermons on the Psalter), with a preface by DELITZSCH, 1870. W. STERN, Fünfzehn Messianische Psulmen, für Verständniss, Belehrung und Erbauung der Freunde des göttlichen Wortes erklärt, 1870 (Fifteen Messianic Psalms, explained for the enlightenment, instruction, and edification of the friends of the Divine Word).
In the department of Textual Criticism we have to mention that the Monumenta Sacra Inedita, published by Const. TISCHENDORF, contain in Vol. IV. of the Nova Collectio, 1869, the Psalterium Turicense, important for the criticism of the Text of the Septuagint. It was written upon purple parchment, in silver and gold, about the 7th century. It consists of 223 leaves, and comprises 118 Psalms, together with 9 Biblical Hymns and 1 Church Hymn. Its readings show more agreement with the Cod. Alex. than with the Cod. Vat., and often confirm those of the Aldine and Complutensian texts. The relation which it exhibits to one of the correctors of the Cod. Sinait. is worthy of special attention. The insertion, in elegant red letters, of the first word of each verse in Latin from the Vulgate of JEROME, by the side of the Greek Text, goes to show that it was executed in the West."
I had a strong desire to prepare the Commentary on the Psalier myself, but could not command time. To avoid delay, I divided the work among several scholars, as follows:
The Introduction was prepared by the Rev. JAMES B. HAMMOND, with additional Notes by the Rev. CHARLES A. BRIGGS.
Psalms 1-XLI., and LI.-LXXII., by the Rev. CHARLES A. BRIGGS, Pastor at Roselle, New Jersey.
Psalms XLII.-L., by the Rev. JOHN FORSYTH, D. D., Chaplain and Professor of Ethics in the National Military Academy at West Point, New York. Dr. F. had assumed the entire second Book, but could not finish his task in time, on account of his removal to West Point.
Psalms LXXIII.-CL., by the Rev. J. FRED. MOCURDY, of Princeton, New Jersey. In this last part, Dr. GREEN, Professor of Hebrew and 0. T. Exegesis in the Princeton Theological Seminary, has taken special interest, and aided his friend, Mr. MCCURDY, with linguistical and exegetical helps from his own library and other sources.
The contributors were instructed carefully to consult the well-known German Commentaries of Hupfeld, Ewald, Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, as well as the English and American works of Perowne, Wordsworth, Alexander, Barnes, and others. The Homiletical department has been condensed to make room for extracts from English sources, including Spurgeon's Treasury of David, as far as published.
As to the text, I have given the reader the benefit of two translations. The Authorized Version has been retained as the basis of the Commentary, but arranged according to the laws of Hebrew parallelism and the stanza divisions of MOLL.
The New Version of the Psalms, with brief philological notes, which follows the Commentary of Moll, is the work of the veteran Hebrew scholar, Dr. CONANT, of Brooklyn. It is substantially the same with that originally prepared by the author for the “American Bible Union,” but differs from it by numerous corrections in the renderings, suggested by further comparison of the Hebrew text, and certain changes in form, and additional matter, to adapt it to the present work; namely, the use of the termination th for the 3d pers. sing. of the verb, and of a small initial letter in lines continuing a sentence; and the addition of critical and philological notes, at the end of each Psalm, on points of more special interest and difficulty.
A revision of the English Scriptures intended for public and devotional use should, in my opinion, retain the idiom of our Authorized Version, and depart from its grammar and vocabulary as rarely and as little as is consistent with the true meaning of the original and the present state of the English language. But the merits of a version which forms part of a critical commentary, must be measured by the degree of its fidelity to the original Hebrew, and not to King James' or any other translation. Judged by this standard, Dr. CONANT'S version and notes will be found a very valuable addition to this commentary.
By these numerous additions the volume on the Psalms exceeds both Parts of the German original by 264 pages, and is much larger than any other volume of the English edition of Lange. Nevertheless, the price is the same.
The Psalter is the first Hymn-Book of the Church, and will outlive all other hymnbooks. Its treasury of pious experience and spiritual comfort will never be exhausted. And as it will continue to be used in public worship, and for private devotion everywhere, so commentary will follow commentary to the end of time. May this volume contribute its share towards a fuller understanding and application of the Psalms.
40 Bible House, New YORK, Sept. 23, 1872.