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CRITICAL NOTICES 749
poets can say very foolish things. Corroborative testimony, to some,
extent, is furnished by In Memoriam, CXX, where, after expressing
the opinion, " I think we are not wholly brain," the poet in the next
stanza proceeds : —
"Not only cunning casts in clay:
Let Science prove we are, and then
What matters Science unto men,
At least to me? I would not stay."
The last words evidently express a conditional purpose to commit
suicide. And suicide, from one point of view, would be regarded, no
doubt, as shaking one's fist in the face of the Eternal.
But, with respect to the genuineness of the closing verses of
Ecclesiastes, Maurice was undoubtedly right. It has been justly said
that, without these verses, the book must be regarded as aimless.
Ecclesiastes; or the Preacher. Explained by Annesley W. Streane,
D.D. (Methuen & Co.)
This commentary forms part of a series entitled "The Church-
man's Bible," and designed, it would appear, to include eventually
the whole of the Biblical books. The General Preface informs us
that, " while taking into account the latest results of critical research,"
it " is intended to be of service to the general reader in the practical
and devotional study of Holy Scripture." The design thus set forth
we need not discuss, nor is it necessary to express an opinion as to
whether additional commentaries conducted in accordance therewith
are really wanted. This is a matter for the authors, the general
editor, and the publishers. We are here concerned with Dr. Streane's
Commentary on Ecclesiastes as giving " results of critical research."
In answer to the question which is likely to be first suggested. What
opinion does he express with regard to the date of Ecclesiastes ? the
following quotations may be made : —
" The tone of the book and the character of its teaching not only
suggest the period when the Persian Empire had been overthrown,
and Alexander the Great's successors had established Greek culture
throughout the civilized world, but also bear distinct traces of Stoic
and Epicurean philosophy, ... in particular, of Epicurean philosophy,
750 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
and thus they tend to detennine a date not earlier than the Greek
" It is difficult to go further than this with any certainty. It would
seem probable, however, that the writer of the apocryphal book
Ecclesiasticus, the composition of which may be placed with con-
fidence circ. 1 80 B.C., was acquainted with the book Koheleth.
Various parallelisms between the two have been noted, and it
appears from internal evidence that the borrowing was on the part
of Ecclesiasticus, rather than the converse."
It is not unlikely that the reader is acquainted with the argument
employed for the first time by the writer of this notice to determine
approximately the date of Ecclesiastes, in a pamphlet entitled Some
New Evidence as to the Date of Ecclesiastes (1872), and subsequently
in the Introduction to his Commentary on Ecclesiastes (of which
a new edition has lately appeared). The argument was derived, on
the one hand, from the indications of Stoic and Epicurean philosophy in
the book, and, on the other, from the apparent use of Ecclesiastes by the
author of Ecclesiasticus. Dr. Streane, I find, makes no acknowledg-
ment of his indebtedness to what I had written, though there is evidence
which could be adduced, if it were worth while, sufficient to show that
his knowledge was obtained directly and not at second hand. He
makes, indeed, not infrequent reference to other writers, when, in
some cases, there would seem to be little, if any, necessity for such
reference. The translation of Ecclesiastes which is given is that of
the Authorized Version, with foot-notes containing " such corrections
as are deemed necessary to bring out the sense." A few verses
may be given, incorporating the " corrections " : —
" [There is] '■ no man that hath power over the wind to retain the
wind ; neither is there a ruler in the day of death : and [there is] no
discharge in [that] war ; neither shall wickedness deliver its masters ''
"And so I have seen the wicked buried, and they went their way,
and men have departed from the holy place, and they were forgotten
in the city where they had lived righteously " (viii. 10) ^.
' To avoid misunderstanding square brackets are used instead of the
italics of A. V.
' It is, however, fair to Dr. Streane to give an explanation which he
adds : " Both honour and oblivion have been misplaced. Evil men have
received a stately burial, and been gathered to their fathers with all due
observances. On the contrary, men who had lived virtuously have been
dishonoured, expelled from the Temple and the Holy City, and dismissed
from the minds even of those among whom their good deeds have been
CRITICAL NOTICES 75X
" Death-carrying flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send
forth a stinking savour : heavier than wisdom [and] honour is a little
" Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment ; and there
is no profit in a master of tongue" (x. II).
The absurdities in the verses thus translated need not be specially
pointed out. No doubt many absurdities have been previously
perpetrated in connexion with Ecclesiastes ; but it is easy to believe
that these " corrections," as well as some others, are in general really
and truly Dr. Streane's own, ceria domini signata figura.
DE PAVLY'S "BABYLONIAN TALMUD."
Le Talmud de Bdbylone, texte complet conforme & la premiire idition
de Daniel Bomberg [Venise 1520) . . . accompagnd des principaux
commentaires et st/nthetiquement traduit par Jean de Pavly,
Docteur-es-lettres, Ancien Professeur a I'ecole du Sacre-Coeur
This is one of the books against which it seems to be one's duty
to protest. On examining it for the Bodleian Library I was struck
by the evident disagreement between its contents and the promise
apparently held out by the title, if words mean anything. What
is meant by "synthetically translated?" The editor says in his
preface : " Quant a la traduction fran^aise dont je fais accompagner
la presente edition, sans aspirer au titre de parfaite, elle pent, sans
conteste, revendiquer celui de premiere et de complete." After this
one is more than mildly surprised to find what is the actual state of
the case. There is, as a matter of fact, no translation, as people
ordinarily understand the term, but a more or less thorough analysis
in French prefixed to some of the tractates. This is fairly full for
Berakhoth and Shabbath, less so for Erubhin, Pesahim, and Sheqalim,
while the " translations " of Babha Qama and B. Bathra occupy less
than two pages each, that of 'Abhodah Zarah less than a page, and
there is nonie at all for Zebhahim, Menahoth, Hullin, Bekhoroth,
'Arakhin, Temurah, Kerithoth, Me'ilah, Tamid, nor for the smaller
tractates. Moreover, the text is not "complete," for the Mishna
tractates which have no Gemara are altogether omitted. The
done." Whether this explanation suiBces to remove absurdity from the
translation the reader can decide for himself.