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motive is also here more conspicuous, and the corrupters, from their knowledge of the sciences, more likely to act on it, than in the case of the Seventy Jewish interpreters; who, however, were not backward in following the example thus set them, and in improving on the system of corruptions there adopted.
It seems clear from the above coincidence, that the Babylonian inhabitants of Samaria made free use of their observations as far back as the diluvian æra; but that, having none of an earlier date, they contracted the antediluvian period, so far as the omission of the centenaries of the generations rendered possible, to compensate in some degree for their postdiluvian 'additions. Thence, as before observed, the æra of the deluge is the time of observation by which all these corruptions were regulated. The diluvian æra of the Septuagint, in consequence of the 130 years' interpolation of the second Cainan, exceeds that of the Samaritan by just as many years as the Samaritan corruption preceded that of the Seventy. Forty years of this difference is accounted for by the additional error arising from the erroneous precession of one deg. in 100 years, produced in the time between both compilations; because this increasing error would add nearly 30 years to the date of every observation in each succeeding century. The rest of Cainan's generation may be referred to the difference between the Chaldean account of observations used by the Samaritans, and the Egyptian account used by the Seventy; or to the difference in the Chaldean and Egyptian estimate of precession; for the latter was, critically speaking, one deg. in about 101) years; the Egyptian zodiacal period being 36,500 fixed Sethoic years, or the Sethoic period of 1460 multiplied by the lunar cycle of 25. This exceeding the true precession, of 714 years to a degree, by 30 years, would occasion that error in every century; while the Chaldean error would be 100–71)=283 years: the zodiacal revolution of the Chaldeans being 36,000 years, or the embolismal periods of 144 x 25. Hence the precession, from the Hebrew date of the flood to the eighth of Ptolemy, 1070 years= 28 deg. 57 min. 4 sec., would, at 1011 years to a degree, produce 2938 years; 24 years only short of the Greek period 2962. We may therefore suppose the Seventy inserted 130 years instead of 108, to make Cainan's interpolated generation harmonize in duration with the others from the deluge to Abraham ; or the difference may arise from a trifling error in our estimate of equinoctial precession.
Thus it appears, that, the longitude of the stars having increased 27 deg. from the observations made about the time of the introduction of the Law among the Samaritans, B. c. 409, the Babylonian associates of Manasseh increased the true Hebrew period, 1940 years, to 2700, computing 100 years to each
degree ; while, the longitude having further increased to 29 deg. when the Seventy began their translation, B. c. 277, they further increased the true Hebrew period, 2070 years, to 2962, computing 1011 years to each degree, according to the Egyptian astronomy; and enlarged the antediluvian period in about the same proportion. Hence both these versions exhibit astronomical characters in critical agreement with their respective dates and histories; which, if not accidental, amount to demonstration that the present Hebrew numbers are the original whence the others were altered, and that the corruptions originated with the first Samaritan version. If one of these coincidences might be accidental, the chances against both being so are great indeed. The systematic principles on which the corruptions proceeded are evident from the fact that the differences of computation in each version will divide by the septenary cycle; an important character in sacred chronology, thus preserved by all the corrupters.
It has been observed, that the Samaritans curtailed the antediluvian reckoning, by way of compensation for raising the æra of the flood; while, on the other hand, the Seventy increased that period in the same proportion with their postdiluvian chronology. This appears also by calculation. First, of the Seventy. The Greek æra of the deluge precedes the 8th of Ptolemy by 2962 years, arising from the 29 degs. of equinoctial precession during the true period of 2070 ; the difference being 892
years. The interpreters, however, added but 780 to the Hebrew generations, having computed the time of the Exode 112 years too high, by adding the servitudes to the 480 years of 1 Kings vi. 1. Hence they estimated the period elapsed according to the Hebrew at 2182 years, 112 years too much. But if this period was increased by 780 years, then the original antediluvian reckoning would in the same proportion be lengthened 592 years; that is, from 1656 to 2248; differing but 14 years from the 2262 of the Alexandrine codex, 6 years from the 2242 of the Roman, and 8 from the 2256 of Josephus. This result is therefore a wonderfully close approximation to the reckoning of the Seventy. It would almost seem to be alluded to by Clemens, when he states the antediluvian period at 2148 years. Thus we have a numerical test of the corruption, its nature, and æra, altogether independent of the astronomical test before mentioned.
The Samaritan æra of the flood precedes the flight of Manasseh by 2700 years, arising from the 27 degs. of precession during the true period of 1938; the difference being 762. The Samaritans, however, added but 590 years to the Hebrew generations; 650 between the times of Shem and Terah, less 60, VOL. II.NO. IV.
(which they took from the life of Terah, who died when Abraham was 75, aged 205, according to the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Josephus; but 145 only, according to the Samaritan). It follows, that these compilers estimated the time elapsed according to the Hebrew at 2700-590=2110 years; being 152 above the truth. But having raised this period 590 years, and their object being to diminish the original antediluvian computation in the proportion that their diluvian æra exceeded the Hebrew, it is evident that the 1656 years of the latter would be lessened by 362; the difference, 1-294, being 13 less than the Samaritan period of 1307. This, therefore, is as near an approach to certainty as in the case of the Septuagint; and, the Samaritan antediluvian account altogether depending on the time elapsed between the deluge and the date of the version, it is evident that we have here also a numerical test of the corruption, its nature, and æra, independent of the astronomical criterion. These latter results prove indisputably that the diluvian æra is the point which governs all the chronological corruptions, as before inferred. Conclusive, however, as the foregoing results appear, they ought not to be insisted on unless it can be proved from internal Scriptural evidence that the present Hebrew numbers are the original; and unless every alleged objection, whether on historical or physical grounds, can be answered.
Admitting the postdiluvian periods of the Greek and Samaritan accounts to have been constructed from the observed quantity of equinoctial precession, between the diluvian æra and the date of each corruption, at the rate of 100 years to a degree; and the original antediluvian period to have been prolonged by the Greek, and reduced by the Samaritan corrupters, in the ratio of the postdiluvian increase ; then, as we are in possession of the antediluvian periods so produced, as well as of the antediluvian and postdiluvian differences, it follows, that as the excess of the Greek above the original antediluvian period is to the increased antediluvian period, so is the Greek postdiluvian excess to the increased period from the deluge to the date of corruption; and as the deficiency of the Samaritan below the original antediluvian period is to the original antediluvian period, so is the Samaritan postdiluvian excess to the increased period from the deluge to the date of corruption. The æras of corruption thus obtained in the Greek and Samaritan years of the flood reduced to equinoctial precession at the rate of a degree in 100 years; and the precession thus obtained reduced back into true time at a degree in 714 years; the latter must of necessity furnish the true dates of the respective corruptions in the years of the original Hebrew diluvian æra, and the corresponding years before Christ; as will appear by the annexed table, in which the numbers of the Roman Codex of the Septuagint and of Josephus are included.
Here the date of the Roman Codex of the LXX comes out B.C. 296, the tenth of Ptol. Lagus, according to the Ptolemaic canon ; and that of the Alex. Cod. B. c. 265, the twentieth of Ptol. Phil.: the mean, B.c. 281, or 280, being the fourth or fifth of Ptol. Phil., differs three or four years only from the commencement of the labours of the LXX in his eighth year. This is exactness itself. The date of the Samaritan version comes out B.C. 345, the fourteenth of Artax. Ochus, sixty-four years after the flight of Manasseh and the introduction of the Law amongst the Samaritans, according to Prideaux. Manasseh lived till the reign of the last Darius, according to Josephus, But, be this as it may, we know not how soon the version was corrupted, and the date is sufficiently near the building of the Samaritan temple to be true. Josephus makes the erection of this temple coeval with the overthrow of the Persian empire, The æra of Josephus's numbers comes out B. c. 465, the twenty-first of Xerxes, and eight years before Ezra’s mission, Josephus's numbers are obviously a distinct corruption from those of the Seventy; differing from the original Hebrew by just thirteen centenary additions; and the above would suppose a Greek translation older than either the Seventy, or Samaritan, or Ezra's Hebrew edition. Accordingly, we learn, from the Commentary on the Pentateuch dedicated by Aristobulus the Jewish Peripatetic philosopher to Ptolemy Philometer, and cited by Clemens and Eusebius, that there was an imperfect Greek translation made before the time of Alexander, whence Pythagoras and Plato bad their philosophy. The above date falls about midway between the times of these philosophers, and would therefore exclude the former; but the agreement with the age of Plato is infinitely the most important. This æra agrees with the times of Herodotus, Xenophon, and Ctesias, who all visited the Persian empire, and whose harmony with sacred history, as well as that of Berosus after them, is truly surprising. Might not Herodotus have taken his account of Sennacherib from th translation ? It is certain that the Jews at this time in the Persian empire must have often come in contact with the travelling philosophers and historians of Greece; and the idea of a translation into Greek, in which the sacred numbers were altered according to the Chaldean astronomical observations and standard of precession, is by no means incongruous. If so, this was the first corruption of the sacred numbers, and set the example to the Samaritan and Seventy. It is no valid objection to this, that it preceded the æra of Ezra's edition of the Law; for it is enough that the principles whereby this first æra of corruption is obtained, demonstrate the Greek to have been the corrupted and the Hebrew the true version of the numbers.
In this last calculation the Samaritan and Greek æras of the deluge come out a little different from the former supposed dates : but in such matters it is only by a number of processes that we can approximate to truth; and the result is here so critically exact in regard to the Seventy, that it seems hard to question the validity of the whole.
It will be seen by the annexed tables *, how, as the astronomical error increased by the lapse of years, the sacred epochs became progressively raised, at the rate of 28} years to each degree of precession, and 40 years in each successive century ;a ratio that will be found exact in the variations from the original diluvian æra (the root of all the computations), so long as the estimate of precession continued at 100 years to a degree; for several stages of corruption are introduced in the tables in addition to those already mentioned. As these æras of corruption are not adventitious dates, but all come out historically right, so far as their historical elements have been preserved, it will be also seen that the scriptural epochs and periods, resulting from the several æras of corruption, are not adventitious, but uniformly come out critically exact. Thus, the whole calculation depending on the respective patriarchal periods, these are of course fixed and invariable, while the scriptural period from the call of Abraham to the Exode, 430 years, is recognised in all the versions. But the interval thence to the foundation of the temple in the fourth of Solomon comes out 590 years, not only according to the first Jewish corruption used by Josephus, but also according to both computations of the Seventy : while the period during which the first temple stood comes out critically right, according to both the first corruption and the Alexandrine numbers of the Seventy, 424or 425 years : but according to the Roman numbers of the Seventy 443 years; which is the interval of Eusebius, whose copy added ten years to the times of the kings of Judah in the reign of Ammon, which, added to the sum of the current years of the reigns, 233 (as that chronographer reckoned them), make the 443 years required ; and it is evident that Eusebius adopted the numbers of the Roman copy from
* There may be the occasional difference of a year in the dates of these Tables ; sometimes unavoidable in chronological calculations; but never more.