Lightfoot's Horæ Hebraicæ et Talmudicæ were originally written in Latin, and the several portions were published at intervals between 1658 and 1674. With the exception of those on the Acts and Romans, they appeared during his lifetime. These last were printed after his death by Richard Kidder, afterwards bishop of Bath and Wells.
They were reprinted on the Continent by Carpzov, (Lips. 1675,) and in the Editions of his collected works by Texelius, (fol. Rotterdam, 1686,) and by Leusden, (fol. Franequer. 1699).
They appeared for the first time in English in 1684, when Lightfoot's entire works came out in two volumes, folio (London); the first volume, "revised and corrected by George Bright, D. D.," the second "published by the care and industry of John Strype, M.A."
It is not know by whom the translation was made. Strype in his Preface mentions "the translators," but as at the same time he speaks of "our pains," he seems to have had some share in it. The translation on the whole is carefully done, and deserves the praise he bestows upon it.
This most valuable portion of Lightfoot's writings was included in the new edition of his works (13 vols., 8vo. London, 1822-5), superintended by the Rev. John Rogers Pitman, M.A. That edition has now become scarce and expensive; and besides, contains much matter less interesting to modern readers. It seemed therefore desirable that the Horæ Hebraicæ, should be rendered accessible to theological students by being published alone.
The present edition has been printed from Mr. Ptiman's; but wherever a passage seemed obscure, not only the folio edition, but the original Latin also has been consulted. Thus the text has been carefully revised throughout, and alterations made in many places. Upon the Hebrew quotations much attention has been bestowed. Very many corrections were required here, and though from the similarity of some Hebrew letters, and other causes, the Editor can hardly hope that he has overlooked no errors, yet he can say that he has spared no pains to secure accuracy.
Lightfoot's references have generally been found to be very carefully made. Where they were imperfect, what was wanting has been supplied, and the additions indicated by brackets.
Notes have occasionally been added, where the text seemed to require explanation. And the Reader has often been referred, for further information, to that great storehouse of Rabbinical learningthe result of thirty years' assiduous labourBuxtorf's Talmudical and Rabbinical Lexicon.
May these works of Lightfoot, written under many disadvantages, the fruit of untiring industry, and deep veneration for Holy Scripture, encourage and aid those who by devout and patient study endeavour to understand the words of our Divine Master, and the inspired writings of His Evangelists and Apostles!
April 1, 1859
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