Page:Commentaries on Genesis (Calvin) Vol 1.djvu/23

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xiii
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

tence a turn which might seem more agreeable to an English ear. He has occasionally softened an expression which appeared harsh in the original, and would appear harsher still in our own language and in our own times. But in such cases, he has generally placed the Latin expression before the reader in a note. He has done the same, when any sentence appeared capable of a different interpretation from that which is given in the translation. A few passages which justly offend against delicacy are left untranslated; and one it has been thought expedient entirely to omit. Some remarks are, however, made upon it in the proper place.

Clear as the Latin style of Calvin generally is, yet his sententious mode of expressing himself occasionally leaves some ambiguity in his expressions. Such difficulties, however, have generally been overcome by the aid of the valuable French Translation, published at Geneva in the year 1564,—the year of Calvin's death,—of which there is no reason to doubt that Calvin was the author. Frequent references to this translation in the notes will show to what extent assistance has been derived from it by the Editor.

An English translation of this Commentary on Genesis, by Thomas Tymme, in black letter, was printed in the year 1578. It is, upon the whole, fairly executed; but nearly every criticism on Hebrew words is entirely passed over; and where the Translator has not had the sagacity to omit the whole of any such passage, he has betrayed his own ignorance of the language, and obscured the meaning of his author. Tymme claims for Calvin the credit of being the first foreign Protestant Commentator on Genesis who was made to speak in the English language.[1]

  1. See page xlii.