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BENGAZI—BENGEL

Language (Sibsagar, 1855), partly reprinted in the Indian Antiquary, vol. xxv. (1896), pp. 57 ff.  (G. A. Gr.) 


BENGAZI (anc. Hesperides-Berenice), a seaport on the north coast of Africa, capital of the sanjak of Bengazi or Barca, formerly in the vilayet of Tripoli, but, since 1875, dependent directly on the ministry of the interior at Constantinople. It is situated on a narrow strip of land between the Gulf of Sidra and a salt marsh, in 30° 7′ N. lat. and 20° 3′ E. long. Though for the most part poorly built, it has one or two buildings of some pretension—an ancient castle, a mosque, a Franciscan monastery, government buildings and barracks. Senussi influence is strong and there is a large zawia (convent). The harbour is half silted up with sand and the ruins of fortifications and is accessible only to vessels of light draught. A lighthouse has been erected at the entrance, but reefs render approach difficult, and the outer anchorage is fully exposed to west and north and not good holding. The export trade is largely in barley, shipped to British and other maltsters. The Sudan produce (ivory, ostrich feathers, &c.) formerly brought to Bengazi by caravan, has now been almost wholly diverted to Tripoli, the eastern tracks from Wadai and Borku by way of Kufra to Aujila having become so unsafe that their natural difficulties are no longer worth braving. Consular vigilance has also killed the once considerable slave trade. Trade in other commodities, however, is on the increase, exports now amounting to nearly half a million sterling and imports to half that figure. The neighbouring coast is frequented by Greek and Italian sponge-fishers, the industry being a valuable one. The province of Bengazi, being still without telegraphs or roads, is one of the most backward in the Ottoman empire.

Founded by the Greeks of Cyrenaica under the name Hesperides, the town received from Ptolemy III. the name of Berenice in compliment to his wife. The ruins of the ancient town, which superseded Cyrene and Barca as chief place in the province after the 3rd century A.D., are now nearly buried in the sand. The modern town lies south-west of the original site. Certain large natural pits which are found in the plain behind, and have luxuriant gardens at the bottom, are supposed to have originated the myth of the Gardens of the Hesperides. Ancient tombs are found, which in 1882 yielded fine Greek vases to G. Dennis, then British vice-consul. The present name is derived from that of a Moslem saint whose tomb, near the sea-coast, is an object of veneration. The population, amounting to about 25,000, is greatly mixed. Levantines, Maltese, Greeks and Jews form the trading community, but since 1895, when a branch of the Agenzia Italiana Commerciale was established at Bengazi, Italians have exercised an increasing influence on Cyrenaic commerce. Turks, Arabs and Berbers are the ruling castes, and negroes act as labourers and domestics. Many of these found their way to Crete, and becoming porters, &c. in Canea and Candia, were notorious for turbulence and fanaticism. In 1897 and 1898 the European admirals forcibly deported consignments of the worst characters back to Bengazi. In 1858 and again in 1874 the town was devastated by plague (see also Tripoli and Cyrenaica).  (D. G. H.) 


BENGEL, JOHANN ALBRECHT (1687–1752), Lutheran divine and scholar, was born at Winnenden in Württemberg, on the 24th of June 1687. His father died in 1693, and Bengel was educated by a friend, who became a master in the gymnasium at Stuttgart. In 1703 Bengel left Stuttgart and entered the university of Tübingen, where, in his spare time, he devoted himself specially to the works of Aristotle and Spinoza, and in theology to those of Philipp Spener, Johann Arndt and August Franke. His knowledge of the metaphysics of Spinoza was such that he was selected by one of the professors to prepare materials for a treatise De Spinosismo, which was afterwards published. After taking his degree, Bengel devoted himself to theology. Even at this time he had religious doubts; it is interesting in view of his later work that one cause of his perplexities was the difficulty of ascertaining the true reading of certain passages in the Greek New Testament. In 1707 Bengel entered the ministry and was appointed to the parochial charge of Metzingen-unter-Urach. In the following year he was recalled to Tübingen to undertake the office of Repetent or theological tutor. Here he remained till 1713, when he was appointed head of a seminary recently established at Denkendorf as a preparatory school of theology. Before entering on his new duties he travelled through the greater part of Germany, studying the systems of education which were in use, and visiting the seminaries of the Jesuits as well as those of the Lutheran and Reformed churches. Among other places he went to Heidelberg and Halle, and had his attention directed at Heidelberg to the canons of scripture criticism published by Gerhard von Mästricht, and at Halle to C. Vitringa’s Anacrisis ad Apocalypsin. The influence exerted by these upon his theological studies is manifest in some of his works. For twenty-eight years—from 1713 to 1741—he was master (Klosterpräceptor) of the Klosterschule at Denkendorf, a seminary for candidates for the ministry established in a former monastery of the canons of the Holy Sepulchre. To these years, the period of his greatest intellectual activity, belong many of his chief works. In 1741 he was appointed prelate (i.e. General Superintendent) at Herbrechtingen, where he remained till 1749, when he was raised to the dignity of consistorial counsellor and prelate of Alpirspach, with a residence in Stuttgart. He now devoted himself to the discharge of his duties as a member of the consistory. A question of considerable difficulty was at that time occupying the attention of the church courts, viz. the manner in which those who separated themselves from the church were to be dealt with, and the amount of toleration which should be accorded to meetings held in private houses for the purpose of religious edification. The civil power (the duke of Württemberg was a Roman Catholic) was disposed to have recourse to measures of repression, while the members of the consistory, recognizing the good effects of such meetings, were inclined to concede considerable liberty. Bengel exerted himself on the side of the members of the consistory. In 1751 the university of Tübingen conferred upon him the degree of doctor of divinity. He died after a short illness, in 1752.

The works on which Bengel’s reputation rests as a Biblical scholar and critic are his edition of the Greek New Testament, and his Gnomon or Exegetical Commentary on the same.

(A.) His edition of the Greek Testament was published at Tübingen in 1734, and at Stuttgart in the same year, but without the critical apparatus. So early as 1725, in an addition to his edition of Chrysostom’s De Sacerdotio, he had given an account in his Prodromus Novi Testamenti Graeci recte cauteque adornandi of the principles on which his intended edition was to be based. In preparation for his work Bengel was able to avail himself of the collations of upwards of twenty MSS., none of them, however, of great importance, twelve of which had been collated by himself. In constituting the text, he imposed upon himself the singular restriction of not inserting any various reading which had not already been printed in some preceding edition of the Greek text. From this rule, however, he deviated in the case of the Apocalypse, where, owing to the corrupt state of the text, he felt himself at liberty to introduce certain readings on manuscript authority. In the lower margin of the page he inserted a selection of various readings, the relative importance of which he denoted by the first five letters of the Greek alphabet in the following manner:—α was employed to denote the reading which in his judgment was the true one, although he did not venture to place it in the text; β, a reading better than that in the text; γ, one equal to the textual reading; δ and ε, readings inferior to those in the text. R. Étienne’s division into verses was retained in the inner margin, but the text was divided into paragraphs. The text was followed by a critical apparatus, the first part of which consisted of an introduction to the criticism of the New Testament, in the thirty-fourth section of which he laid down and explained his celebrated canon, “Proclivi scriptioni praestat ardua” (“The difficult reading is to be preferred to that which is easy”), the soundness of which, as a general principle, has been recognized by succeeding critics. The second part of the critical apparatus was devoted to a consideration of the various readings, and here Bengel adopted the plan of stating the evidence both against and in favour of a particular reading, thus placing before the reader the materials for forming a judgment. Bengel was the first definitely to propound the theory of families or recensions of MSS. His investigations had led him to see that a certain affinity or resemblance existed amongst many of the authorities for the Greek text—MSS., versions, and ecclesiastical writers; that if a peculiar reading, e.g., was found in one of these, it was generally found also in the other members of the same class; and this general relationship seemed to point ultimately to a common origin for all the authorities which presented such peculiarities. Although