The undersigned propose to publish a work under the above title, which will be principally devoted the interpretation of the Bible. They do not mean by this that the pieces which the work shall contain, will all be merely exegetical. Whatever may contribute directly to furnish the Biblical student with the means of exegesis, it will be a leading design of the proposed work to exhibit.
It is well known to everyone who has any considerable acquaintance with Sacred Literature, that there is extant a great number of essays, critical, philological, hermeneutical, geographical, chronological, historical, etc. in respect, to the Scriptures, which lie dispersed in numerous volumes and tracts, published as different periods, and by many different authors. Collections of these essays, more or less extensive, have not unfrequently been made and published on the continent of Europe. But most of these comprise a great deal which is not superfluous, inasmuch as it has been superseded by the labours of recent critics, who have been more thoroughly versed in Sacred Literature. The republication, therefore, of any collection of essays such as are not spoken of, which was made some time since, probably would not meet with sufficient encouragement, at the present time, to remunerate the expense. Nor would it effect all the good which is desirable.
There are, however, in most of the critical collections to which a reference has now been made, some pieces that will merit a republication, and which would be very useful to every student of the Bible. If these could be selected, and embodied in a convenient work of a modern press, they would furnish an important apparatus for sacred study and save the trouble and expense of procuring a great number of volumes, not a few of which are not only costly, but exceedingly difficult to be obtained.
One object of the Biblical Inquirer, is, the publication of such a selection. But this is not the only one. It is designed that every number shall contain one or more original pieces; and these will usually be on topics connected with the interpretation of the Scriptures, or else consist of direct explanations of the Scriptures themselves. Experiment has often shown that the more republication of pieces, however striking or useful they may in themselves be, will not create sufficient interest in the public mind to sustain such an undertaking. Original matter, therefore, will be a prominent object, in respect for every number of the proposed work.
The field of Biblical investigation is boundless; and there never can be a want of interesting matter for publication. Whether the editors of the present work will be able to supply, in any way, that which will be interesting and satisfy the Biblical students of our country, remains to be proved by experiment. They can only promise to spare no efforts in their power in order to accomplish this object.
selections are republished, if the originals are German, French, Greek, Hebrew, Syrian or Arabic, they still will be uniformly translated. Such pieces also as are written in Latin, which is full of modern idiom, and is difficult to read, unless by the more experienced philologist, will be translated. But where the Latin is easy, the original itself will occasionally be published, unless it should appear from experiment that the Biblical students of our country would prefer another method of publication.
But where the editors select any piece whatever, it is not their intention merely to republish it, whether translated or not. Most pieces published abroad, need some adaptation to our own country and the present times. Some pieces, very valuable in most respects, contain sentiments, now and then which need correction, or explanation, or additional support. It is intended that they shall be always adapted for American readers, by additions of such a nature as shall be needed; which, however, will be carefully distinguished from the originals.
It may be proper to add, that although the work is designed principally for the use of such as devote some portion of their studies to the critical investigation of the Scriptures, it is not intended that it should be exclusively devoted to their purpose. Occasional essays of a Doctrinal nature, and also on subjects pertaining to Ecclesiastical History and Sacred Rhetoric, will be inserted, in order to give variety and interest for the whole.
The work is not designed to be of an ephemeral character. The editors aim at comprising in all, what will be useful at any future period as well as the present. Of course, they do not wish the public to understand, that the Biblical Inquirer is to take the form of a Review. Interviews of books will be a subordinate object with them and will be attended to more in the way of brief critical notices, than other. When the principles of books become matters of discussion, then, a review of them may be deemed expedient or necessary.
At the close of every number, will be added a list of any new and interesting works on criticism or theology, published in Europe or elsewhere, with a brief designation of their character, when it is known, and in order that every Biblical student may be acquainted with what is doing among critics and theologians, with respect to the interests of sacred learning.
Every essay will have the name of the writer or translator affixed to it. In this way, the public will know on whom to fix the responsibility of any erroneous sentiments of adventurous opinions. The editors do not intend to be responsible for the correctness of all that is published; and they expressly reserve to themselves the liberty of adding notes or comments on any sentiment or affirmation, which they may think to be erroneous, or not well supported.
It is obvious, that the kind of printing which such a work will demand, must be far more expensive and troublesome than an ordinary English page. It will be impossible therefore, with any rational prospect of even a very moderate remuneration, to make the work as cheap as a mere English work of the same extent might be afforded. The sale of the work, even if it should succeed well, cannot be expected, at the most, to be more than very limited. It is not proposed, as a matter of gain, but as a help to the student of the Bible, which may be of some utility in promoting the important objects which he has in view.
Andover Theol. Sem. Aug. 18, 1829
2. (sic) The work will be published quarterly, each number to contain, on an average, about 250 pages.
2. For convenience sake, the form will be in duodecimo, like that of the most popular critical works on the continent of Europe.
3. The price to subscribers will be one dollar for each number, payable always when the same is delivered.
4. The publication will commence, as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers is procured to afford a prospect of remunerating the expenses.
Communications respecting this work may be addressed (postage paid) to FLAGG and GOULD, Andover, Ms.