disposed at first to divide the various documents into three classes, he finally adopted a classification into two—the African or older family of documents, and the Asiatic, or more recent class, to which he attached only a subordinate value. The theory was afterwards adopted by J. S. Semler and J. J. Griesbach, and worked up into an elaborate system by the latter critic. Bengel’s labours on the text of the Greek Testament were received with great disfavour in many quarters. Like Brian Walton and John Mill before him, he had to encounter the opposition of those who believed that the certainty of the word of God was endangered by the importance attached to the various readings. J. J. Wetstein, on the other hand, accused him of excessive caution in not making freer use of his critical materials. In answer to these strictures, Bengel published a Defence of the Greek Text of His New Testament, which he prefixed to his Harmony of the Four Gospels, published in 1736, and which contained a sufficient answer to the complaints, especially of Wetstein, which had been made against him from so many different quarters. The text of Bengel long enjoyed a high reputation among scholars, and was frequently reprinted. An enlarged edition of the critical apparatus was published by Philip David Burk in 1763.
(B.) The other great work of Bengel, and that on which his reputation as an exegete is mainly based, is his Gnomon Novi Testamenti, or Exegetical Annotations on the New Testament, published in 1742. It was the fruit of twenty years’ labour, and exhibits with a brevity of expression, which, it has been said, “condenses more matter into a line than can be extracted from pages of other writers,” the results of his study. He modestly entitled his work a Gnomon or index, his object being rather to guide the reader to ascertain the meaning for himself, than to save him from the trouble of personal investigation. The principles of interpretation on which he proceeded were, to import nothing into Scripture, but to draw out of it everything that it really contained, in conformity with grammatico-historical rules; not to be hampered by dogmatical considerations; and not to be influenced by the symbolical books. Bengel’s hope that the Gnomon would help to rekindle a fresh interest in the study of the New Testament was fully realized. It has passed through many editions, has been translated into German and into English, and is still one of the books most valued by expositors of the New Testament. John Wesley made great use of it in compiling his Expository Notes upon the New Testament (1755).
Besides the two works already described, Bengel was the editor or author of many others, classical, patristic, ecclesiastical and expository. The more important are: Ordo Temporum, a treatise on the chronology of Scripture, in which he enters upon speculations regarding the end of the world, and an Exposition of the Apocalypse which enjoyed for a time great popularity in Germany, and was translated into several languages.
Authorities.—For full details regarding Bengel the reader is referred to Oskar Wächter’s J. A. Bengels Lebensabriss and to the Memoir of His Life and Writings (J. A. Bengels Leben und Wirken), by J. C. F. Burk, translated into English by Rev. R. F. Walker (London, 1837); see also Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie, and E. Nestle, Bengel als Gelehrter (1893).
BENGUELLA (São Felipe de Benguella), a town of Portuguese West Africa, capital of Benguella district, on a bay of the same name, in 12° 33′ S., 13° 25′ E. Benguella was founded in 1617 by the Portuguese under Manoel Cerveira Pereira. It was long the centre of an important trade, especially in slaves to Brazil and Cuba, but has now greatly declined. The anchorage, about a mile from the town, in 4 to 6 fathoms, is nothing but an open roadstead. Besides the churches of S. Felipe and S. Antonio, the hospital, and the fortress, there are only a few stone-built houses. The white population numbers about 1500. A short way beyond Benguella is Bahia Tarta, where salt is manufactured and sulphur excavated.
About 20 m. north of Benguella is Lobito Bay, a natural harbour chosen (1903) as the starting-point of a railway to Katanga. At Lobito steamers can come close inshore and discharge cargo direct. Lobito is connected with Benguella by a railway which passes about midway through Katumbella, a town at the mouth of the river of the same name, and the sea terminus of an ancient route from the heart of Central Africa through Bihe. Old Benguella is a small town about 120 m. north of Lobito Bay.
BENÍ, a river of Bolivia, a tributary of the Madeira, rising in the elevated Cordilleras near the city of La Paz and at first known as the Rio de La Paz, and flowing east, and north-east, to a junction with the Mamoré at 10° 20′ S. lat. to form the Madeira. Fully one-half of its length is through the mountainous districts of central Bolivia, where it is fed by a large number of rivers and streams from the snowclad peaks, and may be described as a raging torrent. Below Reyes its course is through the forest-covered hills and open plains of northern Bolivia, where some of the old Indian missions were located. The lower river is navigable for 217 m. from Reyes to the Esperanza rapids, 18 m. above its confluence with the Mamoré, where a fall of 20 ft. in a distance of 330 yds. obstructs free navigation. Its principal affluent is the Madre de Dios, or Mayu-tata, which rises in the eastern Cordilleras about 35 m. east of Cuzco, and flows in an east and north-east direction through northern Bolivia to a junction with the Bení 120 m. above its mouth. The principal tributaries of the Madre de Dios are the Inambari and Paucartambo, both large rivers, and the Chandless, Marcapata, and Tambopata. In length and size of its tributaries the Madre de Dios is a more important river than the Bení itself, and is navigable during the wet season to the foot of the Andes, 180 m. from Cuzco.
BENÍ (El Bení), a department of north-eastern Bolivia, bounded N. and E. by Brazil, S. by the departments of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, and W. by La Paz and the national territory contiguous to Peru and Brazil. Pop. (est., 1900) 32,180, including 6000 wild Indians; area (est., probably too high) 102,111 sq. m. The “Llanos de Mojos,” famous for their flourishing Jesuit mission settlements of the 17th and 18th centuries, occupy the eastern part of this department and are still inhabited by an industrious peaceful native population, devoted to cattle raising and primitive methods of agriculture. Cattle and forest products, including rubber and coca, are exported to a limited extent. The capital, Trinidad (pop. 2556), is situated on the Mamoré river in an open fertile country, and was once a flourishing Jesuit mission.
BENI-AMER (Amir), a tribe of African “Arabs” of Hamitic stock, ethnologically intermediate between Abyssinians and Nubians. They are of the Beja family, and occupy the coast of the Red Sea south of Suakin and portions of the adjacent coast-country of Eritrea, north of Abyssinia. They are of very mixed Beja and Abyssinian blood, and speak a dialect half Beja and half Tigré, locally known as Hassa. They marry the women of the Bogos and other mountain tribes; but are too proud to let their daughters marry Abyssinians.
See Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, ed. Count Gleichen (London, 1905); A. H. Keane, Ethnology of Egyptian Sudan (1884); G. Sergi, Africa: Antropologia della Stirpe Camitica (Turin, 1897).
BENI-ISRAEL (“Sons of Israel”), a colony of Jews settled on the Malabar coast in Kolaba district, Bombay presidency, chiefly centring in the native state of Janjira. With the Jews of Cochin, they represent a very ancient Judaic invasion of India, and are to be entirely distinguished from those Jews who have come to India in modern days for purposes of trade. Some authorities believe that the Beni-Israel settled in Kolaba in the 15th century, but they themselves have traditions which indicate a far longer connexion with India (see Jews: § 3).
BENIN, the name of a country, city and river of British West Africa, west of the main channel of the Niger, forming part of the protectorate of Southern Nigeria. The name was formerly applied to the coast from the Volta, in 0° 40′ E., to the Rio del Rey, in 8° 40′ E., and included the Slave Coast, the whole delta of the Niger and a small portion of the country to the eastward. Some trace of this earlier application remains in the name “Bight of Benin,” still given to that part of the sea which washes the Slave Coast, whilst up to 1894 “Benin” was used to designate the French possessions on the coast now included in Dahomey.
In its restricted sense Benin is the country formerly ruled by the king of Benin city. This area, at one time very extensive, gradually contracted as subject tribes and towns acquired independence. It may be described as bounded W. by Lagos, S. by the territory of the Jakri and other tribes of the Niger delta, E. by the Niger river, and N. by Yorubaland. The coast-line held by Benin had passed out of its sovereignty by the middle of the 19th century. In physical characteristics, climate, flora and fauna, Benin in no way differs from the rest of the southern portion of Nigeria (q.v.). The coast is low, intersected by creeks, and forms one huge mangrove swamp; on the rising ground inland are dense forests in which the cotton and mahogany trees are conspicuous.