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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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The application of the word text to the Word of God is derived from the Latin. From the similarity between spinning and weaving, and the art of composition, both in prose and verse, the Latin authors applied to the latter several expressions proper to the former. Horace says, "Tenui deducta pematafilo;" and Cicero uses the terms texere orationem and contexere carmen. Among later Roman writers, textus occurs often in the sense of a piece or composition; and, by excellence, came to denote the Word of God, just as the word Scriptura did. The meaning of the words text and gloss may be ascertained from the method of writing the Scriptures before the art of printing was invented. The following may be taken as a specimen: (Matthew 7:23.) Et tunc colifitebor illis quia Non novit lux in nulla approbavi, sed reprobavi qui operamini, tenebras non dicit, qui aspicit, quas si nunqui lnu novi vos. disoperati estis, aspiceret, tene ne- tollat penibre non essent. tentiam, sed binonesset cedite a me omnes qui opera qui injudici quia licet non hanon hos novit, ergo eos, qui mandata beatis facultaejus custodiunt tom peccandi tamen habetis mini iniquitatem. affectum. The sentences at the sides are the gloss; the middle, which is in larger type, is the text; and between the lines of that is put the interlinear gloss, in which place a translation, or version, in some ancient manuscripts in the Cottonian and other libraries, is sometimes inserted. The text here means the Word of God, as opposed to the gloss; and because the text was usually written in a large and strong hand, hence such writing was called text-hand. By gloss was generally meant a commentary or exposition taken out of the Latin fathers; but afterwards it came to signify any exposition or larger commentary. Hence our English phrase, to put a gloss on anything, that is, a favorable construction; gloss, a shining outside; and to gloze, to flatter.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Text'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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