"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 10, Number 8, July 2008

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”

Job 32:17-21

 

“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”

Earl of Kent

Shakespeare’s King Lear

Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34

 

[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org]

----------

 

Henry and Spurgeon on Death-bed Repentance

 

"Though it is certain that true repentance is never too late, it is as certain that late repentance is seldom true."

Matthew Henry

Commentary on the Whole Bible

On Luke 23:39-42

Vol. V., p. 827

(Fleming H. Revell edition, n.d.)

 

“Ah, dear friends, it has been my lot to stand by many a death-bed, and to see many such a repentance as this; I have seen the man, when worn to a skeleton, sustained by pillows in his bed; and he has said, when I have talked to him of judgment to come, ‘Sir, I feel I have been guilty, but Christ is good; I trust him.’  And I have said within myself, ‘I believe the man’s soul is safe.’  But I have always come away with the melancholy reflection that I had no proof of it, beyond his own words; for it needs proof in acts and in future life, in order to sustain any firm conviction of a man’s salvation.

 

You know the great fact, that a physician once kept a record of a thousand persons who thought they were dying, and whom he thought were penitents; he wrote their names down in a book as those who, if they had died, would go to heaven; they did not die, they lived; and he says that out of the whole thousand he had not three persons who turned out well afterwards, but they returned to their sins again, and were as bad as ever.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

New Park Street Pulpit,

vol. 3 (1857), pp. 53-4

 

"The Lord will accept all who repent; but how do you know that you will repent [on your death-bed]?  It is true that one thief was saved--but the other thief was lost.  One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume." 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit,

 vol. 36 (1889), p. 189

 

[The last sentence of this final quote is virtually verbatim identical to comments on this text in J. C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke at Luke 23:39-43, which was printed more than a decade before Spurgeon delivered this sermon.  It is possible that Spurgeon drew--consciously or unconsciously--these unascribed words from Ryle (being as he was thoroughly familiar with Ryle’s writings), or both he and Ryle drew them from an earlier source--almost surely the case.  Indeed, I find just now in Alexander MacLaren’s sermon on this passage [Expositions of Holy Scripture, vol. 9, p. 318 (Baker, 1974)]: “ ‘One was saved upon the Cross’ as the old divines used to tell us [emphasis added], ‘that none might despair; and only one, that none might presume.’ “  MacLaren does not say who these “old divines” were, though I suspect he means Puritans--surely he cannot mean his contemporaries Ryle or Spurgeon!  And I find further in Albert Barnes’ (d. 1870) famous Notes (published 1832-1853), the comment on Luke 23:42: “And it has been remarked that one was brought to repentance there, to show that no one should despair on a dying bed; and but one, that none should be presumptuous, and delay repentance to that awful moment” (italics in original).  Certainly, Barnes’ Notes predate MacLaren, Spurgeon and Ryle, and he confesses the quote precedes him.  If only he had said who it was that had made this remark!  If any reader is aware of an earlier source than Barnes for the phrase “One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume,” please drop me a note--editor]

----------

 

“Jesus” Misplaced!

 

I was surprised to discover recently that Jesus has been misplaced--“They have taken away the Lord. . . and we know not where they have laid him.”  The perpetrators of this mishap were the “learned men”--the translators of the KJV--, and the location of the offense is Matthew 9:10.

 

That verse in the KJV reads: “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners sat down with him and his disciples.” [spelling modernized from original 1611 orthography].  The matter at issue becomes evident when this English is compared with the original Greek. 

 

In the original Greek text on the matter herein discussed, the texts of Stephanus [1550] (the standard edition of the so-called textus receptus in England), Elzevir [1624] (the standard edition of the so-called textus receptus on the continent of Europe), Westcott & Hort [1881], Scrivener [1881], Burgon’s provisional text [1899], the Hodges-Farstad “majority text” [1985], and the Nestle-Aland 27th edition [1993]--in short, the whole spectrum of Greek NT editions--all read precisely alike, so there is not a shred of dispute as to what Matthew’s original Greek read.

 

In the original Greek, where the KJV has the proper name “Jesus,” the Greek has a personal pronoun “he” [lit. “of him,” but, as the subject of a temporal clause--a so-called “genitive absolute” in Greek,--the proper English equivalent is “he”]; and where the KJV has “him” in the last clause of the verse, the inspired Greek has “Jesus.”  In other words, the KJV has taken the liberty of substituting a proper name for an original pronoun, and substituting a pronoun for an original proper name.  Had they precisely followed the Greek instead, the KJV would have read: “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners sat down with Jesus and his disciples.” [boldface added]   

 

Now, let it be noted that it is within the bounds of proper Bible translation technique to substitute a proper name for a pronoun (we should not forget that pronouns are by their very nature themselves substitutes for common or proper nouns), especially if the antecedent may appear ambiguous--the NIV does this, for example, in John 12:41, reading “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ [lit. his] glory and spoke about him.”  The antecedent of “him” in this verse might appear ambiguous, the choices being either God the Father or Jesus.  Since the latter is the correct referent, the NIV legitimately substituted the proper name “Jesus” for the pronoun “him,” (and note this irrefutable proof text identifying Jesus as the Yahweh of Isaiah’s vision!) and we do not fault the KJV in Matthew 10:9a for substituting “Jesus” for the literal “he.”

 

However, in the final clause, why the KJV removed “Jesus” from the verse, and substituted “him” instead is hard to explain.  It was certainly not influenced by any earlier version that I can locate.  The Old Latin versions, the Latin Vulgate (which had a pervasive influence on the KJV from beginning to end) and the Peshitta Syriac (to note but some of the ancient versions), all follow the Greek.  Of non-English versions, Luther’s German (1534, 1545) and the Reina-Valera Spanish (1602)--both known to and used by the KJV translators--follow the Greek.  Of English versions antecedent to the KJV (“with former translations diligently compared and revised”), Wycliffe (ca. 1380), Tyndale (1534, 1536), and Rheims (1582) all follow the Greek, having “him . . . Jesus.”

 

Tyndale (1525 fragmentary edition; 1526), Cranmer (1539); Geneva (1557, 1560, 1602); and Bishops’ (1568) read “Jesus . . . Jesus,” substituting the proper name “Jesus” for the pronoun “him” in the first clause, but retaining the “Jesus” of the original Greek in the final clause.

 

So, the KJV’s “Jesus . . . him”--particularly kicking “Jesus” out of the final clause and substituting instead the pronoun “him”--is an innovation, an alteration, a change unprecedented among its English and other antecedents; not a passive acquiescence in precedent, but a deliberate alteration.  In short, for whatever reason, the KJV translators took it upon themselves to insert “Jesus” in the English where he is not in the Greek, and omit “Jesus” from the text where he most assuredly is in the Greek.

 

The only defense I can imagine for the KJV’s loose treatment of the Greek is a stylistic one--not wanting to repeat the name “Jesus” too often in the text (though that didn’t seem a problem to Tyndale, the Geneva, and others).  But why not simply put “Jesus” in where it is in the Greek, and put “him” in the text, where it is in the Greek?  In the preceding verse (Matthew 9:9), this is exactly what the KJV did: “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said to him, Follow me.  And he arose and followed him.” [the words in question in boldface].  Where the Greek has “Jesus” in verse 9, the KJV has “Jesus”; where the Greek has the pronoun meaning “him,” the KJV has “him.”  Yet, in the very next verse, they throw this practice to the wind, and depart at will from the Greek.

 

And from the centuries since the KJV was made, English versions that adhere to the original Greek more closely and faithfully than the KJV at this point include the ERV (1881), ASV (1901), the NASB and even the RSV (1952) and the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, all of which translate “him . . . Jesus. “  Those more recent versions which follow the “Jesus . . . Jesus” precedent of Tyndale et al. include the NASB, revised.  Remarkably, the only modern English versions I could find that followed the KJV in departing from the Greek were the NEB (1961), a notoriously paraphrastic and loose version, and the NIV, so much hated and anathematized by the KJVO sect!

 

Of course, this departure of the KJV from the Greek is a theologically insignificant fault and defect in the KJV, but it is a fault and defect, an error, if we accept the Greek as final authority.  Let KJVOnly partisans be honest enough to admit that here, yes, the KJV did not get it quite right, while other versions before and after it did.  Or shall we revise the Greek to conform to the KJV English?

---Doug Kutilek

----------

 

Daniel 8:25--How Should it Be Translated?

 

“Dear Mr. Kutilek,

I wanted to consult you as to why the KJV is the only version I can find that uses the term ‘peace’ in rendering Dan. 8:25, “he . . . by peace shall destroy many . . .”  This verse is frequently quoted by ‘newspaper eschatologists’ seeking to prove the fulfillment of this prophecy.

Here are some differing translations:

--My Catholic Douay-Rheims version: “there shall arise a king of a shameless face, and understanding dark sentences . . . in the abundance of all things he shall kill many” (Dan. 8:23b-25).
--NKJV: “He shall destroy many in their prosperity . . .”
--NASB: “he will destroy many while [they are] at ease . . .”
--Complete Jewish Bible: “He will . . . destroy many people just when they feel the most secure . . .”
--NIV: “When they feel secure, he will destroy many . . .”
--RSV: “Without warning he shall destroy many . . .”

Aside from this issue, I reject the neo-porphyrian, modernist interpretations of the book of Daniel (cf. Birch, Daniel, Trial, Tribulation & Triumph).

Sincerely,

J--- L----,

parishioner of St. Vincent De Paul Church, Kansas City, MO”

---

 

Dear J---:

 

In the Hebrew of Daniel 8:25, the Hebrew word in question is “shalvah.  Of course, this is not the common Hebrew word for peace, which is “shalom,” nor etymologically related to it.  In Dan. 8:25, the word is part of a prepositional phrase, “beshalvah” (identically so in Dan. 11:21, 24; and similarly, Jer. 22:21).  It occurs 8 times in the OT, and is rendered variously by the KJV: Ps. 122:7, “prosperity”; Prov. 1:32 “prosperity,” (margin, “ease”); 17:1, “quietness”; Jer. 22:21, “prosperity”; Ezek. 16:49, “abundance”; Daniel 8:25, “peace” (but in the margin, “prosperity”); 11:21, “peaceably”; 11:24, “peaceably.”  The related Aramaic, “shelevah” in Daniel 4:27 is translated “tranquility” (but in the margin, “error”).

 

The KJV, then, gives a variety of renderings for “shalvah” in the various occurrences: “prosperity,” “quietness,” “ease” and “abundance” besides “peace(ably).”

 

Standard lexicons define and explain the word thus--

 

Tregelles’ edition of Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (1846) gives “security” as well as “carelessness, impiety”, with this particular passage and idiom, “beshalvah” explained as: “in (the midst of) security, . . . i.e., unexpectedly, suddenly, like the Chald[ee] and Syriac, min shilyah, beshilyah.”

 

The later revision of this lexicon by Brown, Driver, and Briggs (1903), has: “quietness, ease,” in general, while on Dan. 8:25; 11:21, 24, they have more specifically: “in (time of) security (of sudden attack), if not unawares.”  Like Tregelles’ Gesenius, they note the Aramaic/ Syriac idiom “men shelya’, lit. out of quiet, i.e., suddenly, unawares.”

 

Holladay in A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (based on Koehler-Baumgartner), gives, “ease, unconcern,” with the phrase in Dan. 8:25 (and 11:21, 24) as “while they are relaxed.”

 

The sense seems to me to be here, “suddenly, unexpectedly,” paralleling the idiom in Aramaic noted by the lexicons, the victims of this aggression being at ease, unconcerned, lulled into complacency.  It is more a passive state of indifference (as America before Pearl Harbor), rather than one in which they positively and actively entered (as Neville Chamberlain’s “I believe we have peace in our time”).

 

As for whether the KJV stands alone in giving “peace” for this word--I haven’t checked contemporary versions, but I discovered that “peace” is how Calvin rendered the word in his Latin translation of Daniel, and his translation is followed in the Geneva English version (1560) as well as the Reina-Valera Spanish version (1602), both of which, the former especially, show strong general influence from Calvin in their interpretation and translation of texts; both of these Calvin-influenced versions were known to and used by the KJV translators.  John Gill (d. 1771) in his commentary notes Vatablus (RC Hebraist; d. 1547) as also rendering the word “peace” (though noting also that other 16th century Hebraists Montanus, Junius, Tremellius, and Piscator have “tranquility”), while Gill ultimately explains it himself in accordance with the Aramaic idiom, i.e., unexpectedly, unawares.

 

The two ancient Greek versions of Daniel (Septuagint and Theodotion) both have “by deception” or “deceit” while the Latin Vulgate has “the abundance of all things.”  The Syriac closely reproduces the Hebrew, “in quietness,” an idiom meaning “suddenly,” as noted above, so the KJV rendering did not come from any of the ancient versions.  Calvin is therefore the likely ultimate source, via the Geneva Bible, of the KJV’s translation at this point.

 

Doug Kutilek”

----------

 

Spurgeon on Wine in the Bible

 

“The Wines of the Bible: an Examination and Refutation of the Unfermented Wine Theory.  By the Rev. A. M. Wilson. Hamilton, Adams & Co.

 

’UNFERMENTED wine’ is a non-existent liquid.  Mr. Wilson has so fully proved this that it will require considerable hardihood to attempt a reply.  The best of it is that he is a teetotaler of more than thirty years’ standing, and has reluctantly been driven ‘to conclude that, so far as the wines of the ancients are concerned, unfermented wine is a myth.’  While total abstainers are content to make no assault upon the cup used at the Lord’s table, they work harmoniously with all who seek the welfare of their fellow men; but when they commence warfare upon that point they usually become more factious than useful: everything is then made subordinate to their one idea, and the peace of the church is disregarded.  It is well, therefore, that one of themselves should protest against carrying a principle to extremes, and best of all that he should do so by showing that the theories which have been advanced are utterly untenable.  We wish the utmost success to the abstinence cause, and, therefore, trust that there will be no pressing of the question of unfermented wine at the Communion, for it will not promote the cause, and will create much heartburning, and, worst of all, it will be contrary to the Divine precedent.  The question is not necessary to the temperance movement, and we wish it had never been raised.  Mr. Wilson has written the thick volume now before us to settle the matter, and we believe that he establishes beyond reasonable debate that the wines of the Bible were intoxicating, and that our Lord did not ordain jelly or syrup, or cherry juice to be the emblem of his sacrifice.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The Sword and the Trowel, 1877, p. 437

---

“Unfermented Communion Wine

 

A question having been raised, in The Christian Commonwealth, as to the wine used at the communion services at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Mr. Spurgeon wrote to the Editor as follows:--

 

Dear Sir,

 

We use Frank Wright’s unfermented wine at the Tabernacle, and have never used any other unfermented wine.  I am given to understand that some of the so-called unfermented wine has in it a considerable amount of alcohol; but Mr. Wright’s is the pure juice of the grape.  One person advertised his wine as used at the Tabernacle though we had never used it even on one occasion.  So far as we are concerned, we use no wine but that produced by Messrs. Frank Wright, Mundy, and Co.

 

Yours truly,

C. H. Spurgeon”

 

C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, IV, p. 135

London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1900

 (also reprinted in facsimile by Pilgrim Publications)

---

 

“Certain neighbours of mine laugh at me for being a teetotaler, and I might well laugh at them for being drunk, only I feel more inclined to cry that they should be such fools.”

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon,

Writing in the guise of his character “John Ploughman”

John Ploughman’s Pictures, pp. 41-2

Pilgrim Publications (Pasadena, Tex.) reprint, 1974

 

[For the best account known to me of Spurgeon’s reported ale- and wine-drinking in his younger days, and his adoption of total abstinence, see C. H. Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore (Moody Press, 1984), pp. 181-3.  For the best recent article on wine and alcoholic beverages in the Bible, see Norman Geisler, “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking,” Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 139, no. 553, January-March 1982, pp. 46-56--editor]

----------

 

BOOK REVIEWS

 

Reminiscences of an Octogenarian by Bruce Manning Metzger.  Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1997.  242 pp., hardback.

 

Now that Dr. Bruce Metzger is dead (his demise at age 92 occurred earlier this year), I finally got around to reading his decade-old autobiography--and wish I had read it sooner, since I have some questions I would now like to ask him!  Metzger was a long-time professor of NT at Princeton Seminary (46 years in all!--the same length as A. T. Robertson’s tenure at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville), and rightly attained the reputation as a pre-eminent scholar in his area of specialization.  Of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage (and apparently a conservative theological background--apparently, I say, since he never so much as hints one way or the other about it), he had almost the perfect educational background for his vocation--4 years of high school Latin, followed by college Latin and Classical Greek (extensive classical training likewise equipped William M. Ramsay and F. F. Bruce, to mention but two, for their authoritative NT careers), German, French, followed later by Hebrew, Syriac, Coptic and more. 

 

Nearing completion of his college course, Metzger originally intended to study Greek under A. T. Robertson in Louisville, but Robertson died before Metzger formally enrolled, and so he went off to Princeton Seminary, where he was exposed to a mixed bag of conservative and liberal professors (the Princeton split of 1929 had resulted in numerous conservative professors departing to form Westminster Seminary).  Never once, however, does Metzger ever characterize a single professor, author, scholar or writer mentioned in the book (and there are many, many of these in the narrative) as theologically conservative, moderate, liberal or radical (the most he does is call someone’s views “eccentric”).  Indeed, Metzger never once indicates where his own beliefs lie on any theological point.  I understand from conversations with those familiar with the matter, and from reading some early (1950s and earlier) writings by Metzger, that he originally was a theological conservative, accepting the Divine inspiration of Scripture, the Trinity, the full Deity of Christ, and more.  Whether he retained any of these viewpoints in mid- and later life is not discoverable from this book.  The only conversion account in the book is that contained in a prison in-mate’s letter to Metzger which is reproduced there.  Very strange, indeed.  Metzger was obviously very much a committed ecumenist in practice.

 

As Metzger recounts his teaching, visiting lectureships, far-flung world-wide travels, leadership of learned societies, very extensive writing for publication, correspondence, and more, it becomes evident that he was an exceedingly diligent and thoroughly occupied individual.  Such commitment to task is commendable, and I am frankly envious of his efficiency and productivity.

 

As a researcher and writer--as a scholar--Metzger’s work can be characterized as thorough, meticulous, careful, and precise.  His writings on the textual criticism of the NT--The Text of the New Testament (1st ed., 1964; 4th ed., with Bart Ehrman, 2005); A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (1st ed.,1971; 2nd, 1994); and The Early Versions of the New Testament (1977) are deservedly considered standard works.  His other book-length writings, I am not so pleased with, betraying as they often do non-conservative/ non-Biblical presuppositions concerning the date, origin and canonization of NT books.  Metzger’s leadership in the production of the Reader’s Digest Bible (1982) and the New Revised Standard Version (1989; very negatively reviewed by me in The Biblical Evangelist, August 1, 1991), for which he was highly commended in ecumenical and liberal circles, are among his more blameworthy acts in my view.

 

The book is not particularly even in its presentation, and seems to have been in part cobbled together from separately and independently produced parts, some of which were not expressly written as autobiographical.  The last chapter is “Interesting People I Have Known,” rather than some account of Metzger’s then-current status, interests, and eternal prospects.  The “Postscript” consists of some 30 or so notable quotations, gleaned from among nearly 20,000 that Metzger extracted from a lifetime of reading.

 

Personally, I had occasional correspondence with Dr. Metzger in the 1990s.  He had written circa 1952 a booklet defending the orthodox doctrine of the Deity of Christ and expressly refuting the Arian error of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Since the JWs were (and are) numerous and aggressive in Romania, I wrote for Metzger’s permission to have the booklet translated into Romanian, slightly revised and updated statistically, with a brief supplement by me, and published.  He immediately granted this permission, requesting only that a copy of the translated work be sent to him, which of course was done.  Others I know--“nobodies” like myself in the scholarly world--who wrote to Metzger with a question or comment were always given a cordial and immediate reply.  That a man so thoroughly occupied with other matters would take the time to answer letters from unknown correspondents is commendable.

--Doug Kutilek

 

[For a recent account giving greater insights into Metzger’s personal theological views--one that concludes credibly that he certainly was a truly born-again individual--, see Robert L. Sumner, The Biblical Evangelist, vol. 38, no. 3, May-June 2007, p. 10]

----------

 

BOSWELL’S JOURNAL of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D., Now First Published from the Original Manuscript, prepared for the press by Frederick A. Pottle and Charles H. Bennett.  New York: The Literary Guild, Inc., 1936.  Hardback.

 

James Boswell (1740-1795) is justly famous as the pre-eminent biographer of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), author, English dictionary writer, conversationalist, and quintessential curmudgeon (see our review of Adam Sisman’s account of the writing of Johnson’s life, Boswell’s Presumptuous Task, in AISI 8:3).  Boswell, a native Scot, met Johnson when he, Boswell was but 22 and Johnson was 54.  A most unlikely friendship developed (Boswell the profligate and dissolute Scot, and Johnson, the moral conscience of England). 

 

Early on, Boswell determined to write Johnson’s life, and began keeping detailed and extensive journals of Johnson’s actions and especially his conversation.  Boswell usually had to “share” Johnson with his extensive circle of educated and notable friends in London, but hoped to persuade Johnson to accompany him on a tour of Scotland, particular the rugged, wind-swept and primitive western islands, the Hebrides, a thing Johnson early on expressed an interest in doing.  Boswell thereby hoped to have opportunity to present Scotland to Johnson (who professed a lifelong disdain for nearly everything Scottish) and to present Johnson to Scotland, naturally to Boswell’s own advantage, he being the friend of so eminent a man as Johnson.

 

At age 64, Johnson agreed to go, and endured remarkably well the rough travel--some by coach, much more on horseback, afoot and in small craft on turbulent and troubled seas--, poor accommodations, often meager food, and frequent drenchings by cold rains.  Boswell had Johnson to himself for more than a hundred days (from mid-August to late November, 1773).  Frankly, Johnson does not appear to greatest advantage in this account, compared with Boswell’s Life of Johnson, chiefly because Johnson did not often have (outside of Edinburgh and Aberdeen) the highly educated and quick-witted company such as he regularly had in London to draw him out in conversation and stimulate his mind.  The number of “Johnsonisms” generated in these 100 consecutive days are relatively few and feeble, compared with what Boswell witnessed and recorded in Johnson’s London conversations, in truth not greatly exceeding the 100 days in Scotland, though scattered over two decades.  At times in the journal, there is for my tastes too much dull description of the countryside, too much of Boswell and too little of Johnson. 

 

Both Johnson and Boswell kept accounts of this tour (Johnson in letters sent to Mrs. Thrale from which he later fleshed-out his account); Johnson’s was published first in 1775, while Boswell’s did not appear until 1786, after Johnson’s death.  Boswell’s account of the tour was as it were a trial balloon for his long-planned and in-progress biography of Johnson.  Three editions appeared during Boswell’s life.

 

It was long thought that all of Boswell’s papers were lost, and indeed some doubted that such a one as Boswell could even have written, or written with credible authority and accuracy, the accounts of Johnson which bore his name.  Yet, in the first part of the 20th century, two massive troves of Boswell’s writings--letters, personal journals, and the manuscripts of the Tour (missing a few dozen of the more than 600 pages) and the Life were discovered and published.  The Tour manuscript, compared with the published edition, enabled scholars to study Boswell the author and editor (the latter work in conjunction with assistance from Edmund Malone, apart from whose constant urging and help Boswell would never have published the Tour or the biography), and laid to rest most doubts about the trustworthiness of his accounts of Johnson.

 

This edition, based on the manuscript journal, compares it with the account as published, noting additions, deletions, and other such minutiae which are of interest to the committed Johnsonian (or Boswellian), and supplemented with many explanatory footnotes regarding persons and places introduced into the account.  In as much as this volume appeared before the whole of Boswell’s papers had been recovered and published, I wonder if any of the missing manuscript pages later turned up as well.

---Doug Kutilek

---

Some quotes--

 

JOHNSON: “A man may write at any time if he will set himself doggedly to it.” (p. 23)

 

JOHNSON: “I myself have composed about forty sermons [for various clergymen].  I have begun a sermon after dinner and sent it off by the post that night.  I wrote forty-eight of the printed octavo pages of the Life of Savage at a sitting, but then I sat up all night.” (p. 45)

 

“He [Johnson] mentioned (I think) Tillotson’s argument against transubstantiation: ‘That we are as sure we see bread and wine only as that we read in the Bible the text on which that false doctrine is founded.  We have only the evidence of our sense for both.’  ‘If,’ he added, ‘GOD had never spoken figuratively, we might hold that he speaks literally when he says, “This is my body.” ‘  BOSWELL.  “But what do you say, sir, to the ancient and continued tradition of the Church upon this point?’  JOHNSON.  ‘Tradition, sir, has no place where the Scriptures are plain; and tradition cannot persuade a man into a belief of transubstantiation.  Able men, indeed, have said they believed it.’ “ (p. 48)

 

JOHNSON: “”No wise man will be contented to die if he thinks he is to go into a state of punishment.  Nay, no wise man will be contented to die if he thinks he is to fall into annihilation.  For however bad any man’s existence may be, every man would rather have it than not exist at all.  No, there is no rational principle by which a man can be contented, but a trust in the mercy of GOD, through the merits of Jesus Christ.” (p. 155)

 

JOHNSON: “No man practises so well as he writes.  I have, all my life long, been lying till noon.  Yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good.” (p. 169)

 

BOSWELL: “If a man would keep an exact account of everything he reads, it would much illustrate the history of his mind.  I would have every minute circumstance marked: what a man reads, how much, at what times and how often the same things.” (p. 237)

 

“Mr. Johnson told me that from twenty-one to fifty-six, he had read no Greek; at least not above five chapters of the New Testament.  He saw Xenophon’s Cyropaedia in Mr. Thrale’s library, and took it down; and he was not sensible that he had lost anything of it.  He read all the New Testament that year, and has since read a good deal of Greek.” (p. 237)

 

JOHNSON: “Are you so ignorant of human nature, sir, as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles, without having good practice?” (p. 357)

 

---Doug Kutilek

----------