that they do a piece of manual labour, are apt to suppose he has nothing to do but to travel on from word to word, and that it amounts at last to scarcely more than a transcription of what is already written in his own mind. In the estimate which is thus made, there is little credit given, for the necessary adaptation of the style and phraseology to that of the original. No allowance for that degree of judgment, which the interpreter must constantly exercise in order to make his version tell what its original says. And yet, with all this, there is generally discrimination enough to mark what may be happily expressed; but by a singular perversion, such merit is sure to be assigned to the original work, whilst the defects are generally charged to the account of the translator. Some, ignorant of the limits of the translator's office, even expect him to give perfection to his author's deficiencies, and if he fails in this, he is in danger of having them heaped upon himself.
To preclude any unwarrantable expectations, the translator does not pretend to more in the present work, than to give a faithful transcript of the sense of his author. Occasionally, he thinks he has expressed that sense with more perspicuity than his original, and wherever the ambiguity seemed to justify it, it has been done, not with a view to improve his author, but to prevent mistaking his meaning.
The present version is from the accurate Greek text published by Valesius, a learned civilian of the Galican church. The most noted Latin versions besides that of Valesius, are those of Rufinus, Musculus, Christophorson, and Grinæus. Curterius also published a translation, but it is rather a revision of Christophorson.
Stroth among the Germans, and Cousin among the French, appear to be the latest that have given versions in the modern languages. The first translation in English was made by Hanmer, 1584, which passed through five editions. A translation by T. Shorting was published more than a century afterwards, and
- The best edition of Valesius is that published at Cambridge by Reading — the edition used in the present work.
- There is also an abridged translation in German, in Rœsler's Bibliothek der Kirchenvæter.