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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Memoirs of Edessa And Other Ancient Syriac Documents.: Part II

Early Church Fathers  Index     


(No verb is found in the lexicons, etc., note 3, p. 737.)

The study of Syriac is just beginning to be regarded as only less important to the theologian than that of the Hebrew.  The twain will be found a help, each to the other, if one pursues the study of the cognate languages together.  In fact, the Book of Daniel demands such a preparation for its enjoyment and adequate comprehension. 3525   Let me commend to every reader the p. 743 admirable example of Beveridge, who at eighteen years of age produced a grammar of the Syriac language, and also a Latin essay on the importance of cultivating this study, as that of the vernacular of our Lord Himself.  This little treatise is worthy of careful reading; and right worthy of note is the motto which he prefixed to it,—“Estote imitatores mei, sicut et ego sum Christi” (1 Cor. xi. 1).

When one thinks of the difficulties even yet to be overcome in mastering the language,—the want of a complete lexicon, etc., 3526 —it is surprising to think of Beveridge’s pioneer labours in extreme youth.  Gutbir’s Lexicon Syriacum had not yet appeared, nor his edition of the Peshito, which preceded it, though Brian Walton’s great name and labours were his noble stimulants.  Nobody can read the touching account which Gutbir 3527 gives of his own enthusiastic and self-sacrificing work, without feeling ashamed of the slow progress of Oriental studies in the course of two centuries since the illustrious Pocock gave his grand example to English scholarship.  All honour to our countryman Dr. Murdock, who late in life entered upon this charming pursuit, and called on others to follow him. 3528   May I not venture to hope that even these specimens of what may be reaped from the field of Aramaic literature may inspire my young countrymen to take the lead in elucidating the Holy Scriptures from this almost unopened storehouse of “treasures new and old”?



It must not be inferred that I speak as a Syriac scholar.  I have laboured unsuccessfully, and late in life, to repair my sad neglect at an earlier period; and I can speak only as a penitent.


Dean Payne Smith has assumed the unfinished task of Bernstein.


See his Preface to the Testament, published at Hamburg a.d. 1664.  He had the type cut at his personal expense, and set up the press and lodged the printers in his own house.


See his translation of the Peshito Syriac version, Stanford & Swords (Bishop Hobart’s publishers), New York, 1855.

Next: Remains of the Second and Third Centuries.

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