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Dysotia. Enotia, Otagra Otalgia. Otitis. Otirrhæa.
Otitis. Vog. Ear.
TRANSLATION OF THE BOOK OF JOB.
It is a striking fact in the history of letters, that the most ancient book is also one of the most sublime. “The whole book of JOB, (says Mr. Pope*) with regard both to sublimity of thought, and morality, exceeds, beyond all comparison, the most noble parts of Homer.” And Dr. Good, in a eulogy on this noble composition, as just as it is elegant, says, “ Nothing can be purer than its morality; nothing sublimer than its philosophy; nothing more majestic than its creed. It is full of elevation and grandeur; daring in its conceptions; splendid and forcible in its images; abrupt in its transitions; and, at the same time, occasionally interspersed with touches of the most exquisite and overwhelming tenderness.”
This was denominated by Gregory Nazianzen, one of the five metrical books, and, as such, it is placed in our Bibles, with the other four, namely, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Canticles, between the historical and the prophetical books. Biblical critics, and others, have collected and contributed a large store towards the illustration of this valuable portion of Scripture : yet, notwithstanding, many questions may be raised, relative to the reality of Job's person, the time and region in which he lived, the author of the book, its precise object, &c.; to all of which it is not easy to furnish decisive replies. If, as has been often imagined, the narrative part of this book is comprehended in the first two chapters, and
* Pope's translation of the Olyssey, book xvi. the last note.
the last eleven verses of the concluding chapter, while all the rest is devoted to the poem, then we may notice this curious fact, that in the said narrative portion, the word JEHOVAH, THE LORD, occurs twenty-six times, while in the poem itself, we find it only in chap. xii. 9; xxxviii. 1; xl. 1, 3, 6; and chap. xlii. 1. Why is it, that this sacred name is so frequently employed in the narrative, and so sparingly introduced in the dialogue? This, however, though a curious question, is one of minor importance, unless, which I am incompetent to say, its full discussion should tend to throw some light upon the object and structure of the entire composition.
Dr. Good, who through the greater part of his life paid a very marked attention to “ the five metrical books,” and has, indeed, given several spirited translations from them in the notes to his Lucretius, devoted portions of the Sunday mornings and evenings, for some years, to a translation of the Book of Job; which he published in 1812, with an introductory dissertation and numerous notes, constituting together a thick octavo volume.
The preliminary dissertation is divided into five sections, in which the author inquires successively into the scene of the poem, its scope, subject, arrangement, language, author, æra, and the doctrines which it is intended to teach. In the course of these inquiries, he assigns the principal reasons from which he infers that Job was a real person, a chieftain of great power and influence, dwelling in Idumea, Ausitis, or Uz, and that all the other persons named, Eliphaz, Bildad, &c. were Idumæans, or, in other words, Edomite Arabs, chieftains or governors of the respective
cities or districts to which their names are prefixed. From the peculiarities of the style of this sublime composition, from its author's extensive acquaintance with the astronomy, natural history, and general science of the age, and from other circumstances specified in the dissertation, Dr. Good concludes that the author must have been a Hebrew by birth and native language, an Arabian by long residence and local study, and must have lived subsequently to Abraham, but before the Israelitish Exodus from Egypt: in short, that he could have been no other than Moses, and that he composed it during some part of his forty years' residence in Midian. Dr. Good aims farther to prove that the poem is a regular Hebrew epic, founded upon facts which occurred long before; and that, besides the instructive lessons derivable from the character, prosperity, trial, afflictions, and restoration of Job, the book was also intended to teach us the patriarchal religion, as it existed before the introduction of the Mosaic institutions.*
Some of these positions have been controverted by other Biblical critics. Yet, on the whole, the opinion
* Dr. J. P. Smith, a writer alike distinguished for his erudition and his candour, speaking of Dr. Good's Introductory Dissertation, says, “The verity of the history, the patriarchal antiquity of the poem, and its high rank' in the series of the divine dispensations, are here, in my opinion, established with much sobriety of criticism, and with solidity and copiousness of proof.” Smith's Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, vol. i. p. 209. In a preceding passage, he mentions the “happy and next to demonstrable emendation," by which Dr. Good has restored perspicuity to a hitherto inextricable clause in chap. xix. 26.
Dr. Adam Clarke, also, in his Commentary on the Book of Job, frequently mentions Dr. Good's work, and uniformly with high respect. “Mr. Good (says he) is a gentleman of great knowledge, great learning, and correct thinking; and whatever he says or writes is entitled to respect If he have data, his conclusions are most generally consecutive and solid.”
that the book of Job is an epic poem, founded upon previous facts,t and written by Moses, is at least as tenable as any which has been advanced. The objections to a later author than the great Jewish legislator, appear to me, I confess, insurmountable. And, if the author preceded Moses, who was he? If the author was not an Hebrew and a reputed prophet, how came the book to be received into the canon of the Jewish Scriptures ? Nothing is less probable than that a nation so jealous of their religious privileges as the Jews, should have enrolled in their depository of sacred books, a poem written in reference to a foreigner by a foreigner.
Dr. Good, guided in this respect, if I do not mistake, principally by the suggestions of Schultens and Grey, supposes the book to be divided into six parts. These he sketches with considerable vivacity and ability, in his Introductory Dissertation; from which, as it serves to throw new light upon a book, which by many is very imperfectly understood, I shall present a copious extract.
“The natural division, and that which was questionably intended by its author, is into six parts or books; for in this order it still continues to run, notwithstanding all the confusion it has encountered by sub-arrangements. These six parts are, an opening or exordium, containing the introductory history and decree concerning Job-three distinct series of arguments, in each of which the speakers are regularly allotted their respective turns-the summing up of
+ Dr. Hales fixes the time of Job's trial, at about 184 years before the birth of Abraham, and 689 before the Exodus from Egypt.