Neander’s Church History -- By: Sears

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 004:14 (May 1847)
Article: Neander’s Church History
Author: Sears


Neander’s Church History

Rev. Dr. Sears

At length a part of the long-expected translation of Neander’s church history by Professor Torrey has appeared. For ten long years, the theological student has been rejoicing, with some little abatement towards the end, in the near prospect of possessing this truly Christian and philosophical history of the church. The unskilful and repulsive translation of a part of the work by Rose, only increased the general desire for the expected American translation, which, it was believed, would be more worthy of the original. Indeed, it may be said that Professor Torrey, from his known scholarship and the force of peculiar circumstances, enjoyed a good reputation, as a translator of Neander, even before the work was executed. Winer has, for the same length of time,

been praised for his Lexicon of the New Testament, which no human being has yet, ever seen. These two works have, for sometime, been considered by the learned as indefinitely postponed. But here, as in most other cases, it turns out, that nothing takes place without a reason. At least, this is true in respect to the delay of Professor Torrey; and it is hinted, by the friends of Winer, that in consequence of some change in his views, occasioned by the recent investigations of other scholars, he has found it necessary to remodel his lexicon, which, according to promise, should have appeared in 1834.

When the recent splendid edition of Chrysostom’s works was nearly ready for delivery in Paris, the painful intelligence reached us that the whole edition was destroyed by fire. The great work of F. W. Schubert, entitled Staatskunde, giving a statistical view of the different countries of Europe, was arrested in 1839 by a fire which destroyed the manuscript of the volume relating to Prussia, then ready for the press. The announcement of its appearance in 1846, however gratifying to the public, brought with it the sad recollection of seven years of lost labor. A similar occurrence in respect to Niebuhr’s Roman History, is familiar to all. Professor Torrey’s misfortune, if we are rightly informed, for we have only the proof-sheets of his work without the preface before us, was somewhat different. Just as he was ready, after an immense amount of labor, to publish his translation, it was announced, that a new edition of the original, materially altered and improved, was already in progress. Had the translator, fatigued with his toil, and shrinking from a repetition of it, published at that time, what he had prepared, the public would have been deprived of the benefit of the author’s last revision. It was a manly resolution, to sit down to the task of a retranslation, for the sake of giving to the reader the improvement...

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