Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/63

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remains of his teachings, and the setting in which they have been preserved, may be explained by supposing that he himself did not commit his discourses to writing, but that a friend or a disciple, who had treasured his most striking or important utterances, soon after his death[1] put them into nearly the shape in which they have been preserved. It is necessary to use some such qualifying term as nearly in any statement with reference to the book, because, although, as has been shown, its unity as a literary production is perfectly defensible, there can be no doubt that, like other parts of the Old Testament, it has suffered more or less in the course of the centuries at the hands of careless or ignorant readers or transcribers. Some of the resulting additions, omissions, and corruptions can easily be detected and remedied. In other cases changes that have taken place reveal themselves only to the trained critic, and by signs that will not always convince the layman, especially if he is interested in a diverse opinion. This, however, is not the place for a further discussion of the subject. It belongs in the exegetical, but more especially in the critical, notes, where the renderings of the great Versions, as well as the readings of the Hebrew manuscripts and editions, will be cited and compared and the conjectures of the leading biblical scholars, past and present, considered. The most that can be done in this connection is to present in tabular form the results reached in the notes for the purpose of indicating the condition of the Hebrew text. In the first column of the following tables are noted the additions that seem to have been made to the book since it was written, in the second the words and phrases, so far as they can be recovered, that appear to have been omitted, and in the third the cases in which the original has been wittingly or unwittingly distorted in the course of transmission.

  1. The fact that all the prophecies are carefully and, so far as can be determined, correctly dated indicates that the book was compiled within a few years at the longest, after they were delivered.