Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/229

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n s. XL MA*, is, 1915.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


JJotes 0n


The Gospel of Nicodemus and Kindred Documents. Translated, with an Introduction, by Arthur Westcott. (Heath, Cranton & Co., 3s. 6d. net.)

THIS does not profess, the writer says, to be a " scholarly treatise," having been kept within the scope of the general reader by the omission of notes and references, and the restriction of the Introduction to a simple outline of necessary matters. It is difficult when reading it not to wish for something fuller, though we are inclined to think that Mr. Westcott has hit the mark he proposed to himself better than he would have done if he had left us nothing to desire. For it is certainly a good thing to familiarize that large public which loves reading, but is impatient of the detail of scholarship, with one of the most im- portant sources of our forefathers' living beliefs. Joseph of Arimathea, Longinus, Veronica, Dismas, and Gesmas (or Gestas, as he is called in this Gospel) must have puzzled many a tolerably well- informed person as to whence their names and histories are derived ; and those in particular who have dipped into Celtic legends and lite- rature must have found such vagueness incon- .venient. This little book will remedy that. Besides treating of ' The Acts of Pilate ' and ' The Descent into Hell ' ' The Harrowing of Hell ' is its old and more expressive name which together form the Gospel of Nicodemus, it gives in the Introduction sections devoted to the legends that can be traced back to this source, and, among the translations, renderings of half a dozen other ancient Christian documents of legendary interest, the best known being the group con- nected with the fate of Pilate.

In all this little collection there is nothing of value purely as literature. Much of it is made up of quotations from the canonical Scripture. On the other hand, it is not difficult to see that the makers of mysteries, and also the makers of pictures, found the Gospel of Nicodemus itself fruitful in suggestion. Perhaps we may say that it is not unlike the text of a popular lan- tern - lecture an accompaniment and record rather than the essence of the lecture. The com- parison has been suggested by observing how infinitely greater in its effect on the imagination is the photograph from Fra Angelico's fresco at St. Mark, which Mr. Westcott has put at the beginning of his book, than the description of the

  • Descent into Hell ' in the Gospel.

Mr. Westcott hazards the conjecture that the names Leucius and Karinus, given to the two men raised from the dead at the time of the Crucifixion, who simultaneously write down the ' Harrowing of Hell,' veil the name of the real author, Leucius Charinus, a second-century writer, well known, but of heretical tendencies.

THE March Cornhill is so good a number that it seems worth while to go straight through it. It begins with the third instalment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ' Western Wanderings,' where we find him amid the problems of the Prairie. Next comes ' Behind the Mask,' a poem by C. L. G., the character -sketch of a hero at " Wipers, ' witty, polished, and tender, and none the less poignant in its brilliancy from the fact that the hero, ultra-modern in type as he is, also recalls


Ouida. ' Through the Eyes of Private Peckham,' by Major R.A.M.C., tells the story of a badly wounded man brought into a church converted into a clearing hospital. The subject is not without its perils, but they are avoided by directness and reserve. Judge Parry's sketch, ' Mauleiana : a Study in Judicial Irony.' is pleasant reading,, and better than collections of legal or judicial! bons mots commonly are. We have often observed! that no jokes or ironies are so hopelessly im- poverished by removal from their native surround- ings as the legal variety. There follows one of the most delightful portraits that have recently appeared in The Cornhill 'A Village Post- mistress,' by Mr. Charles S. Earle. Some details of the portrait are hard to believe in, but it is; drawn with skill and humour; it abounds in entertainment ; is not lacking, either, in well- subordinated pathos ; and stays in one's memory. ' A Newspaper in Time of War,' by " An Editor,"' is full of good things. Lieut.-Col. G. F. Mac- Munn's ' Zip-Zap-Zeppelin ' perhaps a thought too self-congratulatory, for we are not without our internal difficulties to tackle is all the same- picturesque reading, and heartening too, for after all, as far as it goes, its truth is gloriously undeniable. Mr. Arthur C'. Benson contributes a dialogue on ' The New Poets,' which comes- suavely to a very just and prettily stated con- clusion along a line of argument which, if not new,, is newly and pleasingly decorated for the occasion^ We are bound to confess that we did not find it possible to " creep " over Mr. Douglas G. Bro wne's; ' The Root of the Oak.' Archdeacon Hutton- conjures up cleverly in ' Shakespeare's Grand- daughter ' a charming dream of Elizabeth Barnard, Shakespeare's last descendant, weaving into it all the too scanty information we have about her.. Mr. B. Paul Neuman has a short story, ' The Son who said " I Go Not," ' which, perhaps, is rather too much of an abbreviated long story. Next comes, under the title ' A Cavalryman at the- Front,' one of the best things in the number the diary from 15 Aug. last to 1 Oct. of Capt. Herbert Maddick of the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers with the Expeditionary Force. It is hardly necessary to attempt to praise it. Excisions by the Censor render it chiefly an account of personal experience vividly and well put to a degree surprising when the circumstances are taken into account. We notice that Mrs. Ritchie's ' Two Sinners/ which comes last, concludes next month.

The Burlington Magazine for March opens with a note on an important painting by Pieter de- Hooch which has recently come to light, and is illustrated in a full-page photogravure. Mr. Martin S. Briggs concludes his article on the genius of Bernini with some remarks on his architectural works. In the preceding number the ' Philip II.*" now in the National Portrait Gallery was identified as by Sofonisba Anguissola. Some further pictures by this gifted lady are now re- produced and discussed by Mr. Herbert Cook, and include two charming self-portraits which are in private collections in this country. Mr. Cook establishes the date of Sofonisba's birth as 1528, and that of her death as 1625. Sir Martin Conway deals with a picture by an unnamed early Netherlands painter, ' The Mass of St. Giles,' a wing of a lost triptych, the pendant to which is in the National Gallery, and which illustrates the golden altar-frontal presented by Charles the-