The Genius Of Hebrew And Of Roman Learning -- By: P. B. Spear

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 011:43 (Jul 1854)
Article: The Genius Of Hebrew And Of Roman Learning
Author: P. B. Spear


The Genius Of Hebrew And Of Roman Learning1

P. B. Spear

The claims of sacred and classical learning as an essential part of a sound and liberal education, have been so able advocated by scholars and divines, and so fully acknowledged in our college halls and churches, both in this country and in Europe, that little additional argument is necessary. Viewed mentally

or morally, practically or theoretically, whether for the preacher, teacher or advocate, for the judge, statesman or diplomatist, it is granted by men best qualified to judge, that that education is not complete, however extensive, in which Hebrew, Greek and Latin studies have not constituted to some extent an elemental part. Regarding these claims, then, as well established, we shall aim, not so much by close argumentation, as by the simpler process of comparison, to develop something of the genius of Hebrew and of Roman learning, whether this learning be considered subjectively, as to the respective nation that furnishes it, or objectively, as to the scholar who acquires it. Our subject, as we view it, resolves itself into two parts: Hebrew and Roman learning treated, first, comparatively with the Greek; secondly, comparatively with each other. We design so to treat these divisions that the genius of the two departments of learning, which we represent, shall appear by the successive impressions made upon the mind of the hearer, rather than by distinct and formal inferences drawn by the speaker.

I. Hebrew And Roman Learning Treated Comparatively With The Greek

The Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, as the grand trio among the languages of antiquity, as the sacred three in the inscription on the cross, have so long been associated in the minds of men of letters, and so intimately inwrought into the soundest scholarship, that we may be allowed to some extent to view them together. In doing this, we observe, in the first place, that the Greek is intermediate, both as to the period to which it belongs and as to its general character, and, therefore, may properly be used by comparison to fix more definitely the relative position and character of the Hebrew and Latin. Secondly, that the Hebrew, in one aspect, is above all comparison. It is the language of Divine inspiration. It is the vehicle of God’s word to man. Do not, therefore, understand that we bring this language down to a level with Latin and Greek, or with any merely human language.

The names of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome have, to the Christian and scholar, a sort of talismanic power to call up the mantled shades of generations of men, reaching, in a long line, far back into a gray antiquity....

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