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FOR JANUARY, 1833.
Art. I. 1. Harmonia Evangelica, sive Quatuor Evangelia Græce pro Temporis et Rerum Serie in Partes Quinque Distributa. Edidit Edvardus Greswell, A.M. Coll. C. C. Apud Oxon. Socius. 8vo. pp. 418. Oxon. 1830.
2. Dissertations upon the Principles and Arrangement of a Harmony of the Gospels. By the Rev. Edward Greswell, M.A., Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In three Volumes. pp. xxx., 598; x. 574; vi. 354. Oxford, 1830.
WE are not entirely responsible for the delay in noticing this erudite and valuable performance, which, though it has for so long a time passed the press, will probably be new to the greater part of our readers. The volumes issue from the University press; much to the honour of the learned Delegates, to whose readiness in undertaking the publication the Author acknowledges his obligations. But, notwithstanding the high auspices under which they appear, we cannot learn that they have hitherto obtained the share of attention from the public, to which they are intrinsically entitled; owing, perhaps, to their not having been made known by the usual expedients adopted by London publishers.
The "Harmonia Evangelica" and the three volumes of Preliminary Dissertations, compose one connected work. In the former, the evangelical history is distributed into five parts, comprising as many chronological divisions: these are subdivided into sections, the text of the Evangelists being arranged in two or more parallel columns. The Dissertations are fifty in number, to which are added some supplementary disquisitions and notes, in eight appendices. Of the object and purpose of these dissertations, which form a connected series, we shall first give an account, taken from the Author's own synopsis.
The first volume comprises thirteen principal Dissertations.
The first three are intended to expound and establish the fundamental principle of the Harmony, which the Author rests upon the truth of the following propositions: 1. That the last three Gospels are regular compositions; 2. That St. Matthew's Gospel is partly regular and partly irregular; 3. That each Gospel was written in the order in which it stands; and 4. That each of the later three was immediately supplementary to the prior one. It is the object of the first Dissertation, to confirm these propositions by a mode of reasoning which assumes nothing but the existence of the Gospels themselves: it is entitled, Ön the regularity of the Gospels, and on their supplemental relations to 'each other. The Second Dissertation is an historical investigation of the times and the order of the first three Gospels; and the Third treats of the Irregularities of St. Matthew's Gospel, comparing its details with the accounts given in the three others. The Fourth Dissertation is devoted to ascertaining the true date of the Passover mentioned John ii. 13, the most car'dinal date in the whole of the Gospel history', by ascertaining the sense of John ii. 20. The verification of this date gives occasion for three distinct supplementary dissertations, which are styled Appendices: No. I. is intended to ascertain the rule by which Josephus invariably computes the reign of Herod; No. II., to confirm the statement which respects the length of the Maccabean dynasty; and No. III., to shew, that neither the evidence of the coin of Herod Antipas, nor the supposed time of the eclipse before the death of Herod, is inconsistent with the true date of that death as established in No. I. This is followed by a Computation and Table of Jewish Passovers and other feasts, in Diss. V. Diss. VI. and VII. have for their object, respectively, to reconcile the testimony of St. Luke, as regards the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, and the beginning of the government of Pontius Pilate, with the cardinal date established in Diss. IV. The next determines the interval between the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist and the close of the ministry of Jesus Christ; or the whole length of time embraced by them in conjunction, and the duration assignable to each.' (A dissertation supplemental to this, proves that the time of the Baptist's imprisonment is not at variance with the history of the marriage of Herod and Herodias. The Ninth Dissertation proposes to determine the true age of Our Lord at his baptism, by ascertaining the exact import of Luke iii. 23; and the following one is intended to establish the high probability that the day of the Nativity was the tenth of the Hebrew month Nisan, corresponding to the fifth of the Julian April, B.c. 4. An Appendix to this Dissertation has for its object to prove, that the institution of the Passover took place B.c. 1560, when, in like manner, the 10th of Nisan and the 5th of April coincided both with
each other, and with the vernal equinox. In the Eleventh Dissertation, the opinions of the earliest Christian writers upon the preceding topics are examined. Dissert. XII. examines the true sense of Luke ii. 2, in reference to the census of Cyrenius. The last dissertation in the first volume treats of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, and the first part of the chronology of the Acts of the Apostles; having for its object, to complete the argument in Diss. VIII. This subject is pursued in Diss. I. of the second volume, which is occupied with an examination of the chronology of the Acts from the x111th chapter forwards, and belongs to the first Series.
The second volume contains twenty-two principal Dissertations. The subject of the first has been mentioned: those of the five following may be briefly stated. II. On the Two Genealogies. III. Upon the Question, Who are intended by the 'AdExpo of Christ. IV. On the date of the Visit of the Magi. V. True Nature and Design of the Ministry of the Baptist. VI. On the Order of the Temptations. The Seventh is entitled: "On the hiatus in the first three Gospels, between the time of "the Baptism of Our Saviour and the commencement of his mi'nistry in Galilee, and on its supplement by the Gospel of St. 'John.' The object of this disquisition is to shew, that, beginning his narrative precisely where the other evangelists had left off, St. John conducts it regularly down to the point of time where St. Luke had begun again. To this is subjoined an appendix, involving the question of the Computation of Sabbatic Years, one of which is shewn to have actually coincided with the first year of Our Saviour's Ministry. The Eighth Dissertation, which is divided into four parts, is designed to give a general preliminary view of Our Lord's ministry down to the middle of the third year. The next six Dissertations (IX.-XIV.) are devoted to the discussion of particular questions relating to supposed trajections or anticipations in the several narratives. The next two, in continuation of the subject of Diss. VIII., illustrate the supplementary relation of John vii.-xi. 54, to the first three Gospels; and of Luke ix. 51.-xviii. 14, to those of Matthew and Mark. The subjects of the remaining Dissertations in this volume are: XVII. On the village of Martha and Mary. XVIII. On the two Dispossessions recorded, Matt. xii. and Luke xi. XIX. On the notices of time supplied in Luke xii. XX. On the occurrence relating to the Galileans, Luke xiii. 1-9. XXI. On the question concerning Divorce, Matt. xix. 3-12; Mark x. 2-12. XXII. On the Miracles performed at Jericho.
The object of the six consecutive Dissertations contained in the third volume, is, to harmonize the several accounts in the four Gospels, from the time of Our Lord's arrival at Bethany before the last Passover, to the day of the Ascension. The re