This small volume is made up of two lectures Moulton gave to students at Cambridge on August 19th and 20th in 1902. At the time of his lectures, there was no introductory volume in linguistics available in English, and so Moulton presented these essays to Cambridge University Press for publication to help fill that gap. The goal of the lectures was to rouse the audience's interest in the study of language and encourage further reading in the field.
While much has changed and developed in linguistics since Moulton's day, the study of historical linguistics, of which Moulton's comparative philology was a part, continues to use the same basic methodologies as Moulton himself used. This fact, combined with the reality that linguistic study still struggles to make inroads into biblical scholarship, makes Moulton's small volume particularly valuable.
Wait! you can purchase this volume together with the rest of the James Hope Moulton Greek Studies Collection at a discount!
[T]he mass of illustration gleaned from the papyri and the later inscriptions serves . . . to bring [the Greek New Testament] into direct connection with the contemporary vernacular. This result, and other conclusions of great importance for all who are engaged in the study of the New Testament, will be found succinctly and graphically stated by [Moulton] in his lecture on The Science of Language and the Study of the New Testament.
—George Milligan, Journal of Theological Studies,
James Hope Moulton was born in 1863. The son of Dr. William F. Moulton, he followed in his father's footsteps as a scholar of Ancient Greek. Moulton attended King's College at Cambridge before becoming a tutor at the Wesleyan College in Didsbury, Manchester in 1902. As his renown grew as a linguist and scholar, he was appointed as the Greenwood Professor of Hellenistic Greek and Indo-European Philology at Manchester University in 1908. During the academic lull caused by World War I, Moulton traveled to India as a missionary in October, 1915. It was on his return home that the ship they were traveling on was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Gulf of Lion south of France. James Hope Moulton died at sea after three days in a lifeboat on April 9th, 1917. On hearing of the tragedy, Adolf Deissmann wrote to Moulton's brother William, "I received the sad news of the sudden tragic death of your brother, my most intimate friend in England and my deserving colleague."