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whatever is most remote and most uncommon, a rich vein of wit and humour, which, although very frequently suppressed, is, nevertheless, too apparent in all his writings, and which is invariably directed against the so-called Rationalists and SupraRationalists, such as Strauss, Paulus, and others. This the attentive reader will have occasion to observe throughout the present volume. With a mind rarely surpassed in multifarious reading, Dr Olshausen was thoroughly master of the ancient, and most of the modern languages, among which are also many eastern ones, in all of which he wrote with ease and much grace. I have spoken of Olshausen as a writer; I shall now endeavour to point out briefly his tendencies and views as a divine.
Christianity with him, it would appear, had obtained a welcome reception after a long internal experience. With Olshausen the knowledge of sin is the pivot round which moves all the rest; accordingly, a redemption from sin is necessary; but this cannot be obtained or earned by sinful man himself, nor in truth is it easily attained at all. Redemption, according to his views, comes from above, it is an act of divine grace, and may be recognised by the fruit it bears. Blessings from above, experienced inwardly, tend with him to confirm him more and more in his view of the great fact of redemption through divine mercy; and although the existence of phenomena, apparently inexplicable, would lead astray a feebler and stronger mind, yet, with him it tends not only not to turn him from his preconceived notions, but, on the contrary, to attract him towards the Redeemer, and to confirm him more and more in his real and absolute existence.
As far as his speculative views are concerned, we may safely say that Olshausen, viewing every system of philosophy as
Zeitsphilosophie," belongs to no school whatever; the only thing that might perhaps be said of him is, that he appropriated to himself from every school whatever appeared to him as being of use in an apologetic point of view. Like Tholuck, he admits, (although tacitly) that theology or Christian truth cannot well be separated from science, i.e. philosophy; but he admits, in like manner, that he considers speculative dogmatics a mere Stück
werk,” i.e. piece-meal work, whence he thinks himself justified to occupy opposite to science a free and independent position. Views such as these are impressed more or less on all his theological productions, and manifest themselves throughout the volume before us; and hence his declared aversion to all farfetched notions, especially to those of the writers above referred to.
I have said that Olshausen has attained a universal celebrity. This is owing, in a great measure, to his admirable work, the Biblical Commentary now before the reader. acuteness of mind, the author therein combines immense learning, archæological research, depth of thought, great command of language, and, to crown the whole, a pure and child-like belief in the redeeming principle-Christ. This has been admitted even by some of the best theological writers of this country; among others, by Archdeacon Hare, the Rev. Rich. Chev. Trench, and the learned Professor of Biblical criticism in the Lancashire Independent College, the Rev. Dr S. Davidson. The Archdeacon, speaking of Olshausen's Commentary, says: “It is an admirable Commentary on the New Testament, a translation of which, if executed with intelligence and judgment, would be an inestimable benefit to the English student, nay, to every thoughtful reader.
It would be useful to all who desire to apprehend the meaning and spirit of the New Tesment.
He has a deep intuition of spiritual truth, his mind being of the family of St Augustine’s.” Mr Trench, in his work on the Parables, calls this Commentary—“A most interesting and instructive work, to which he is very frequently indebted.” And Dr Davidson, in a very able article of his' in Kitto's Cyclopædia, expresses himself as follows:-“ The best example of commentary on the New Testament with which we are acquainted has been given by this writer. It is a model of exposition unrivalled in any language. Verbal criticism is but sparingly introduced, although even here the hand of a master is apparent. He is intent, however, on higher things. He in
1 S. Kitto's Cyclopædia, sub verb. Commentary.
vestigates the thoughts, traces the connection, puts himself in the same position as the writers, and views with philosophic ability the holy revelations of Christ in their comprehensive tendencies. The critical and the popular are admirably mingled.”
With regard to myself as the translator of this work, I have to make a remark or two concerning the plan I have adopted. In imitation of my learned and amiable friend, the Rev. Dr S. Davidson just mentioned, whom I am justified to pronounce one of the best German scholars in the land, I have endeavoured to adhere rigidly to the original text. I have had to struggle, no doubt, with almost insurmountable difficulties in rendering it intelligible to the English reader. For, besides the elaborate and abstruse character of the work itself, the language is so expressive, and yet so concise, its genius so utterly at variance with that of the English tongue, and finally, the phrases are in many instances so complicated, that it would have deterred any one but a native of Germany from entering upon the task of rendering it into another language. Besides, I have endeavoured to give a correct, though very frequently a literal translation of the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and other words and passages therein contained, and as the original is not free from errata, so I have also compared almost every author, chapter and verse therein referred to, whereby errors of no slight character have thus been obviated. And in order that the reader might not be at a loss to understand many obscure passages occurring in the texts, I have added Notes from time to time, which are the result partly of my own experience and observations, and partly of an extensive and careful reading. Thus great exertion has been made to render the whole acceptable to the reader, who will be able to judge best how far I have succeeded in my hard and laborious enterprise.
P.S. The translator's distance from the press will satisfact ily account for any typographical and other errors that may have crept in inadvertently.
MANCHESTER, December 1846.
THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE
THE plan and arrangement of this new edition of my Commentary are, notwithstanding numerous alterations and additions, essentially the same as those which pervaded the former, and thus I conceive I have hit the expedient best suited to our times. I consider
I consider my chief object to be (as on a former occasion I have said) to render prominent the internal unity of the whole New Testament, and of the Scriptures in general, and to present to the reader, by means of these expositions, the unity of that life and spirit which run through the sacred books. By a constant adherence to expositions emanating from other quarters, and also by a connection of polemics, having a tendency to, or being directed against, unchristian ends, is such an amalgamation with the spirit of the Bible as to be unbecoming and impracticable, since the current of the spirit thereby becomes exposed to constant interruptions. Expository lectures--for instance, such as expositions themselves, polemics, grammar, archæology, and history-are employed as subsidiary.
Hence it may naturally be supposed that I could take no notice, in this third edition, of such recent works as the “ Life of Christ," by Strauss, and the “ Commentary,"
by De Wette (who professes to agree in principle with the former, but who desires that the application of his principle should be more limited, which is manifestly inconsistent, as has been fairly proved by Strauss. Comp. the Berliner Jahrb. 1837, pag. 1, sqq.), inasmuch as there exists a difference of principle between me and these authors. In places, however, wherein the same formed no matter for discussion, I have not left unnoticed even these writings, but, on the contrary, have used them in
, the same manner as I have used all those works that have a greater claim on my attention, and among which particular mention must be made of Tholuck's exegetical master-work of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, in order thus most impartially to obtain the purest conception of the sense of the Word of God. The writings of Strauss and De Wette, however, have but rarely contributed to my obtaining a correct insight even into the externals of Scripture, whereas I am, in every respect, exceedingly indebted to the work of Tholuck.
Besides, since the notorious work of Strauss attacks my Commentary in a fierce polemical manner, I therefore avail myself of this opportunity to explain my reasons for having maintained a silence notwithstanding these attacks. I resolved from the beginning to write a separate work against the same; from the execution of this design, however, I was deterred by a protracted illness. In the meanwhile there appeared so many works of refutation directed against Strauss, that I was utterly unable to write down my own ideas, inasmuch as every moment brought with it a book or pamphlet, treating now of one thing, and then of another, all of which, however, I had intended to treat of myself. For Strauss, on the contrary, there appeared not