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EDITED BY JOHN KITTO, D.D., F.S.A.
VOLUME I. ·
C. COX, 12, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND.
OLIVER AND BOYD, EDINBURGH; AND J. ROBERTSON,
GRAFTON STREET, DUBLIN.
No. I.-JANUARY, 1848.
BY THE EDITOR.
As it is on many accounts desirable to place on record in the pages of THE JOURNAL OF SACRED LITERATURE itself a statement of the path which its Founder intends to pursue, and of the objects which he desires and hopes to realize, it seems right to introduce here the substance of the Prospectus which has, in various editions, been some time before the public, but which will pass out of sight when the immediate object for which it was issued has been fulfilled.
'There are among us numerous Religious Periodicals, which, in various degrees of ability and usefulness, pursue the special objects and interests to which they are respectively devoted, and adequately represent the tenets and literature of the parties to which they belong. But there is an extensively recognised want of one which should become the organ and the exponent of that impulse which has of late years been imparted to all the studies connected with Sacred Literature. Much valuable matter, on subjects in which all Christians are equally interested, is lost to the general body of Biblical students and theological readers, by being locked up in the publications of the different religious bodies, which are little read but by the persons whose opinions they represent and much, very much, is more than equally lost in languages which few general readers and not many scholars understand. There is hence an undoubted want of a publication which, being established on a wider basis, should not be regarded as the organ of any one religious denomination, or of any one country, but should be the means of enabling different denominations and different countries to impart to one another whatever they know which is likely to advance the general interests of Biblical literature.
'It will also appear that the current theological literature of this country, and especially its religious periodical literature, is too exclusively formed out of materials arising among ourselves and in our own language. We have the Apostolical assurance that "they who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise." And yet for nearly two hundred years we have done little else. There were of old " giants" of Biblical literature in our land, who in their lifetime kept up a profitable intercourse with the scholars of the Continent, and whose names are even now cited with respect by eminent foreign writers who have but little acquaintance with our more modern labours in Sacred literature. We therefore want a publication which shall keep us acquainted with all that is sound and valuable in the labours of the Biblical scholars of the European continent and of North America, and in whose pages such of them as now live may interchange the results of their researches with our own writers.
'All these wants, and more than these, it is the object of the present publication to satisfy, and those who are apt to discern "the signs of the times" are strongly sensible that the time is come in which the demand for such a work is most urgent, and in which it may with the greatest advantage be produced.
'The Editor was induced to think of this publication by the frequent representations to the above effect which he has been in the habit of receiving from various quarters: and, already, the private notification of his intention to venture on the undertaking, has excited much interest both in this country and abroad. It is only, indeed, in consequence of the extensive literary co-operation which he was enabled to organize for the purposes of another publication (the Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature), that he has been induced to think seriously of this work in the form which it bears in the present Prospectus: but with the like, and even more extensive co-operation, applicable to the existing undertaking, he finds no reason to distrust his means of producing a publication adequate to the supply of the wants which have been indicated.
'The conductors of this undertaking entertain the strong and positive opinions of men earnest in their respective views of religious truth h; but in this work they will be content to merge their special differences for the sake of objects common and precious to them all. The different writers will here produce the results of their investigations, and offer the ripened fruits of their research and judgment. They will bring forth the products of their thought and toil out of the diverging valleys which they inhabit, into the bright day and bracing air of the pleasant uplands which are their common ground. It is on these general merits, and with these generally interesting and useful objects, that extensive support is expected for a publication which proposes to combine with the fulness of matter which characterizes continental investigations, that good sense and that reverence for sacred things by which the researches of British scholars are honourably distinguished.
"The following Conspectus will give some notion of the objects
which the plan of this work will embrace; and by which it is hoped to realize the expectations of producing a Theological Journal perfectly distinct from all existing publications, and in some degree supplementary to them all.
1. ORIGINAL ESSAYS ON BIBLICAL HISTORY, Geography, NaTURAL HISTORY, ANTIQUITIES, &c.—In all the departments embraced under this extensive head much has already been done in the collection of facts and illustrative details; but the induction of results and principles, the generalization which reduces a dispersed and complicated mass of materials into one congruous body, and holds it up to the light of day,—and the detection of the "reasons of things," by those plain rules of common sense which enable us to discover the springs of human action in things near and common to our nature, rather than in things afar off, exceptional, and distinctive;-these are points which have hitherto been much neglected in this country, but which will receive great attention in the present publication, and often, it is hoped, with results no less startling from their very simplicity than beautiful from their completeness.
2. BIOGRAPHY.-The department of Theological Biography, which has been much neglected among us, will receive particular attention in the present work. It will comprehend memoirs of men of all ages, countries, and opinions, who have rendered services in any branch of Biblical Literature, with complete lists of their works, the history of their production, and with critical estimates of such as are of real importance. This department of the work will be so conducted as to form in the course of years a complete history of Theological knowledge.
3. BIBLICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY.-It will be the great object of this department to make the reader acquainted with all that has been done or is doing in Sacred Literature. This will consist, 1. of Reviews of new books. Every important book in Biblical Literature published in this country, in America, or on the Continent, will be analyzed and discussed in such a manner as to give the reader a clear idea of the nature of the work, and of the real value of its contribution to the advancement of Sacred Literature. 2. Reviews and synoptical notices of books published abroad, which, although not recently produced, are but little known in this country and of books published in England which did not at the time of their publication obtain the attention which they deserved, or which have since fallen into unmerited neglect. 3. Accounts of manuscripts bearing on Biblical Literature which the authors left unfinished or were discouraged from publishing, and which exist in public libraries and family collections to an extent little imagined by the public at large. 4. Critical Notices of works on particular branches of Biblical inquiry, by which the Biblical student will be guided to the best sources of information, and will be enabled to distinguish, among the wilderness of books, the few by which his immediate studies may be assisted. 5. Quarterly Lists of British and Foreign Works in Sacred Literature; and at the end of each year a