Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/314

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

This sacred theory entered the seventeenth century in full force, and seems to have swept everything before it. The great commentators, Catholic and Protestant, accepted and developed it. Great prelates, Catholic and Protestant, stood guard over it, favoring those who supported it, doing their best to destroy those who would modify it.

In 1606 Stephen Guichard built new buttresses for it in Catholic France. He explains in his preface that his intention is "to make the reader see in the Hebrew word not only the Greek and Latin, but also the Italian, the Spanish, the French, the German, the Fleming, the English, and many others from all languages." As the merest tyro in philology can now see, the great difficulty that Guichard encounters is in getting from the Hebrew to the Aryan group of languages. How he meets this difficulty may be imagined from his statement, as follows: "As for the derivation of words by addition, subtraction, and inversion of the letters, it is certain that this can and ought thus to be done, if we would find etymologies—a thing which becomes very credible when we consider that the Hebrews wrote from right to left and the Greeks and others from left to right. All the learned recognize such derivations as necessary; . . . and . . . certainly otherwise one could scarcely trace any etymology back to Hebrew."

Of course, by this method of philological juggling, anything could be proved which the author thought necessary to maintain his pious theory.

Two years later, Andrew Willett published at London his Hexapla, or Six-fold Commentary upon Genesis. In this he insists that the one language of all mankind in the beginning "was the Hebrew tongue preserved still in Heber's family." He also takes pains to say that the Tower of Babel "was not so called of Belus, as some have imagined, but of confusion, for so the Hebrew word ballal signifieth"; and he quotes from St. Chrysostom to strengthen his position.

In 1627 Dr. Constantine l'Empereur was inducted into the chair of Philosophy of the Sacred Language in the University of

    Hebrew letters were invented by Adam. On Luther's view of the words "God said," see Farrar, Language and Languages. For a most valuable statement regarding the clashing opinions at the Reformation, see Max Müller, as above, lecture iv, p. 1 32. Both Miiller and Benfey note, as especially important, the difference between the Church view and the ancient heathen view regarding "barbarians." See Müller, as above, lecture iv, p. 127, and Benfey, as above, p. 170 et scq. For a very remarkable list of Bibles printed at an early period, see Benfey, p. 569. For quotation beginning with the words Dictionaries of Latin and English, see Sayce. For Gesner, see his Mithridates (de differcntiis linguarum), Zurich, 1555. For a similar attempt to prove that Italian was also derived from Hebrew, see Giambullari, cited in Garlanda, p. 174. For Fulke, see the Parker Society's publications, 1818, p. 224. For Whitaker, see reprint in the Parker Society's publications for 1849, pp. 112-114.