Another passage on the “Sinaitic legal covenant” that perhaps could be a little clearer in Giger’s translation.
This is paragraph 24, the penultimate paragraph in the section.
First, here is Giger:
“The promise of the land of Canaan given to the people was not primary and principal, but only secondary and less principal (add by way of proposition [prothekes]; of addition to the primary concerning God about to be their God and indeed as a pledge and symbol of the heavenly Canaan [of which it was a type, Heb. 4], to which the fathers looked [Heb. 11:15, 16]). Therefore, a specific diversity of covenant cannot (except falsely) be inferred from the diversity of that promise from the one given to us in the gospel. Rather only a diversity of dispensation may be inferred which even the other differences between the Old and New Testaments here adduced concerning the spirit of bondage (of which we have spoken before) imply.”
Now, the Latin:
Cum Promissio terrae Canaan data Populo non fuerit primaria et principalis, sed tantum secundaria et minus praecipua, addita per modum προθήκης; accessionis ad primariam de Deo futuro ipsius Deo, et quidem in pignus et symbolum Canaanis Coeliestis, cujus erat typus, Heb. iv., ad quam Patres respiciebant, Heb. xi. 15, 16; Non potest nisi perperam ex diversitate istius promissionis ab ea, quae nobis datur in Evangelio, colligi diversitas specifica foederis, sed tantum diversitas dispensationis, quam inferunt etiam alia discrimina, V. et N.T. quae hic afferuntur de Spiritu servitutis, &c. de quibus supra dictum est.
Now, a revised translation with notes that I hope will make the sense clearer, even if more of syntactical complexity has been retained:
“Since the promise of the land of Canaan was given to the people not as the primary and principal [promise], but only as a secondary [promise] and not the chief one 1, added in the manner of a prefix–[that is, in the manner] of an addition to the primary promise concerning God–that He would be the God of [the people] itself; 2 and [it was added] also for the purpose of a pledge 3 and symbol of the heavenly Canaan–of which [the earthly Canaan] was a type (Heb. 4)–to which 4 the Fathers were looking (Heb. 11:15-16): [since all of that is the case], 5 it is not possible that, from the difference of that promise 6 from the one that is given to us in the Gospel, a difference of covenant as to species 7 be inferred, except erroneously, but only a difference of dispensation 8–[a difference] that is also introduced by other distinctions that are adduced here between the Old and New Testaments concerning the spirit of slavery, etc. About these things I have spoken above.”
E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
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