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red according to Act of Congress in the year 1835,
By William D. TICKNOR, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
All that the Editor knows of either the Author or the Translator of the following work, is ascera tained from the title-page: “ Translated from the German of Frederick Strauss." With the work itself he is familiar, having done what he believes to be uncommon in the case of fictitious narrative read it the third and even the fourth time with increasing interest. Of this fact no Christian reader will require an explanation.
The design of the work is to exhibit “ a picture of the Jewish people, in which their ecclesiastical and civil constitution, their social and domestic life are represented, as they existed at the time when the advent of the Messiah was near at hand.”
The plan may be best described in the author's own words:
“ A young Jew, who had been enamoured of the prevailing Grecian philosophy, has returned to the observance of the law of his fathers, at one of those important crises in life which decide the character of succeeding periods. Bent on the fulfilment of the law, which he believes it impossible to accomplish any where but in
the place where the altar of Jehovah is fixed, he makes a journey from Alexandria, were he had been brought up, accompanied by his uncle, to Jerusalem, in the spring of the
year 109 before the birth of Christ; remains there during the half year which included the principal religious festivals ; becomes a priest ; enters into the married state ; and by the guidance of Providence, and varied experience, attains to the conviction, that peace of mind is only to be found in believing in him who has been promised for the consolation of Israel.
“ The plan now traced, while it offered an opportunity of delineating the progress of an interesting change in the sentiments of Helon himself, seemed also to present the means of combining with this a living picture of the customs, opinions, and laws of the Jewish people. No period of their history seemed so well adapted to the design of this work, as that of John Hyrcanus. It is about this time that the books of the Maccabees close ; it is the last era of the freedom and independence of the people, whose character and institutions at the same time were so nearly developed and fixed, that very little change took place between this and the time of our Saviour. It was possible, therefore, to give a picture which, as far as relates to usages and manners, should be applicable to the times of the New Testament.
"It was in the last years of the long reign of Hyrcanus that the opposing sects of Sadducees and Pharisees first became conspicuous, and the one hundred and ninth year
before the Christian Era is the date of the destruction of Samaria. In the description of the temple, however, I have allowed myself to anticipate a little, in order to describe its magnificence in the days of Herod, whose temple was that to which our
Saviour resorted. In the description of the customs of sacrifice and prayer, I have ventured to use, but with moderation, the accounts of later times.
“ It is well known that the want of a lively and distinct picture of those local and national peculiarities which are presented in the Bible, revolts many from the perusal of it, and exposes others to very erroneous conceptions. It is the author's prayer to him, from whom these precious records have proceeded, that the present work may serve, under his blessing, to make the perusal of the Scriptures more attractive and edifying; and he hopes those who shall drink with pleasure from his humble rill, will not be satisfied without going to the fountain of living waters."
A conviction that the work is adapted to accomplish the end thus fervently desired by the author, has induced the Editor to comply with the solicitation of the enterprising publisher by preparing for the public a revised edition. The former edition was published ten years since, in two volumes, and enjoyed with the lovers of novelty its ephemeral popularity, and then was thrown aside into the common oblivion of fictitious productions. But though cast among the perishing, it did not perish, for it had merits, not possessed by its fellow-reprobates merits which some of its readers had appreciated, and could not forget. These merits consisted, not in the skilful arrangement or the bewitching attractiveness of the fiction for the story is peculiarly simple and artless — but rather in those accurate and vivid representations of Judaism which admirably