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it as “ a kind of standard in sacred criticism *.” It was the original in-' tention of Wetstein to have printed his text from the Alexandrine manuscript; but the high estimation in which he at first held this manuscript being abated, he abandoned this design. He afterwards proposed to have published a new and improved text; but being dissuaded by his friends, lest it should excite the clamour of bigots, he at last determined to adhere to the Received Text, that is, to the Elzevir edition of 1624.

Immediately below his text he has placed those readings which he regards as genuine, and which in his judgement ought to be introduced into the text. Below these are arranged his collection of various read. ings with their respective authorities. In this respect, it is allowed that he has done more than all his predecessors together. He has collected most of the readings which had been published before, and has corrected many of the errors of Mill. To these he has added a great number of original readings from manuscripts and versions col. lated either by himself or by his friends. He was the first who collated the Philoxenian Syriac version from the manuscript at Oxford, and he examined with the most persevering assiduity the Ephrem manuscript in the Imperial Library at Paris. He has also introduced into his various readings the critical conjectures of others, but has added none of his own. Some inaccuracies have been detected in these collations, which in a work of such great extent it was impossible to avoid. But upon the whole Wetstein is entitled to the character of a laborious, sagacious, and faithful critic. A. D. 1763, an edition of the Greek Testament in quarto was published in London by Bowyer, the learned printer, in which those alterations are introduced into the text which were proposed by Wetstein as the true readings.

Underneath the various readings in Wetstein's edition are printed I

his notes. These are numerous and invaluable. They are philological, critical, and explanatory. They contain a great number of parallel passages from the classics, and of quotations from the Talmudists, which tend to elucidate the idioms of the language or the customs of the Jews. They are accompanied with many judicious observations, and supply an inexhaustible fund of theological and critical information. It is computed that the quotations in Wetstein's volumes amount to upwards of a million.

The Prolegomena are prefixed to the first volume. They are learned, copious, and judicious; but they are deficient in urbanity, and discover too much of an angry and contemptuous spirit towards his opponents. He first gives an interesting account of ancient manuscripts in general, and of the condition in which they are commonly found. After which he proceeds to describe briefly, but correctly, the manuscripts which have been collated to correct the text

Michaelis, vol. ii. ch. xii. p. 470. Marsh's Notes, p. 859.

of the New Testament, distinguishing those which are written in uncial or capital letters, by the great letters of the alphabet, viz. A. for the Alexandrine, B. for the Vatican manuscript, &c. and marking the manuscripts which are in small letters by numeral characters. He then gives some account of ancient versions, and of the ecclesiastical writers of whose quotations from the New Testament critics have availed themselves. After which follows a detailed description of former editions of the New Testament; and the whole concludes with an account of his own undertaking, and a defence of his character. These Prolegomena have been republished by Dr. Semler in an octavo volume, augmented with Notes by the learned editor.

5. Between A. D. 1782 and A. D. 1788, Christian Frederic Matthaï, formerly professor in Moscow, and afterwards in Wittenburg in Saxony, published an edition of the Greek Testament in twelve volumes octavo, with various readings from Moscow manuscripts, which had not been before collated: to which he has added critical remarks, and a copy of the Vulgate from a Demidovian manuscript. Some of these manuscripts are of considerable antiquity ; they have been collated with great care, and contain some curious and important various readings *.

6. A. D. 1786—1787, Professor Alter of Vienna published a critical edition of the Greek Testament in two volumes octavo. The text of this edition is the Vienna manuscript, which is preserved in the Imperial Library: it contains the whole of the Old and New Testament, and is a manuscript of considerable reputation, though it is suspected of having been altered from the Latin copies. Where the text of this manuscript is evidently erroneous, the professor has corrected it from Stephens's edition of 1546. And four chasms in the Book of Revelations he has supplied from another manuscript. He has collated this with others in the Imperial Library, and has noted their various readings, together with those of the Coptic, Slavonian, and Latin versions +.

7. A. D. 1788, Professor Birch of Copenhagen published a splendid edition of the four Gospels, in Greek, in folio and quarto. The text of this edition is taken from the third of R. Stephens, A. D. 1550, and the various readings were collected from a considerable number of manuscripts in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, by Professors Birch, Adler, and Moldenhawer, who travelled for this purpose at the expense of the king of Denmark. It is a truly magnificent work, and of the highest importance to Scripture criticism. Its chief value con. sists in the copious extracts which it contains from the celebrated Vatican manuscript, which had never before been thoroughly ex. amined, but which was now completely and very carefully collated

Marsh's Michaelis, vol. ii. ch. xii. p. 493.

+ Ibid. vol. ii. not. p. 871.

by Professor Birch himself. Its value is likewise enhanced by many extracts from an ancient version discovered by Professor Adler in the Vatican Library, to which he gives the name of the Jerusalem-Syriac, and the readings of which remarkably coincide with those of the Cambridge manuscript. The Vatican copy of this version is dated in the eleventh century, but the version itself is computed to have been made not earlier than the fourth, nor later than the sixth century. The second volume of this princely edition, which was expected to appear soon after the publication of the first, was prevented by a dreadful fire at Copenhagen *, which put a stop to the work. But in the year 1798 Professor Birch published his collection of various read. ings in a separate volume without the text t.

8. The first edition of the Greek Testament by Dr. John James Griesbach, in two volumes octavo, was published A. D. 1775 and 1777. The second edition, very much enlarged and improved, appeared A. D. 1796 and 1806.

This is an edition of unrivalled excellence and importance, the publication of which will constitute a memorable æra in the history of Scripture criticism. In the construction of this admirable work the learned editor had two objects in view. The first was to exhibit to the public a text of the Greek Testament as correct, and as nearly approximating to its original purity, as it could be made by the assistance of that immense quantity of critical materials which had been accumulating during the last century. And, secondly, to com. press a great mass of critical information into as narrow a compass as possible, in order to bring it within the reach of those who could not afford either the time, the labour, or the expense, which would be

necessary to collect it from those numerous and expensive volumes in 4 which it was diffused.

As the basis of his own edition, Dr. Griesbach has selected the Elzevir text, 1624, every, the most minute, variation from which he carefully notes. No alteration is admitted which is not fully warranted by the established laws of just and rational criticism. All conjectural emendations are excluded from the Text, though a few, by way of specimen, are admitted into the Notes. If any of the words of the Received Text are omitted or changed, these words are inserted in a large type, in what he calls his inner margin, which in the printed page is immediately below the text; and the authorities for every alteration are inserted in the collection of various readings at the bottom of the page.

Where new words are introduced into

+ Verum ingenti illo incendio Havniensi, doctissimo etiam Birchio funesto, impeditus fuit vir optimus, ne opus affectum perficeret. Griesbach, vol. 2. Præf. The Professor probably alludes to the burning down of the royal palace of Copenhagen, A. D. 1794.

+ Marsh's Michaelis, vol. ii. not. p. 873. and Griesb. Præfat, ubi supra.


the text, they are printed in a smaller type: and to some passages which are not expunged from the text, he has prefixed marks expressive of their doubtful authenticity. Many various readings which, though probable in themselves, the learned author has not thought fit to introduce into the text, he has inserted in his inner margin, with signs prefixed to denote their greater or less degrees of probability. And he has noted with asterisks those passages in the text in which a variation in the punctuation produces a considerable change in the

After all, he does not presume to affirm that he has exhibited a perfect text; he only professes to have made the best use in his power of the materials in his possession, for correcting and improving the Received Text, fairly stating the grounds of his own decisions, and leaving others to form their own opinion.

The various readings, and the authorities by which they are supported, are placed below the inner margin. They are collected from nearly four hundred manuscripts, besides ancient versions and eccle. siastical writers. In the selection of these readings Dr. Griesbach has made use of the collections of all his learned predecessors, to which he has added a very considerable number extracted by himself from many of the most ancient manuscripts and versions, and from the early ecclesiastica! writers, and particularly from the works of Origen. In his second edition he has greatly enlarged and improved his collection of readings and authorities from the valuable publications of Alter and Matthaï, but especially from the splendid edition of Birch. The learned editor does not form his judgement of the probability of a reading, solely from the number, or even from the antiquity of manuscripts by which it is supported; but he also takes into consideration the edition or family to which a manuscript belongs,-a circumstance which is of indispensable necessity to a right decision of the question. The readings exhibited by Griesbach are avowedly a selection of those only which are of the greatest importance. · But he has omitted none which could be of use either to ascertain the true reading, or to illustrate the sense or the phraseology of the sacred writer, or to settle the affinity of the manuscript. He adopts Wetstein's plan of distinguishing uncial manuscripts by great letters, and the rest by numeral characters; and to save room, where a reading is supported by a great number of copies, he specifies particularly only a few of the principal, to which he annexes the total number of the remaining authorities. By these methods he has contrived to compress within the limits of two octavo volumes as much critical information as is often contained in as many folios. Griesbach's edition, however, though it contains in a

narrow compass a vast body of useful instruction, does not entirely ,supersede the labours of former editors, and particularly of Wetstein, To the first volume are prefixed the Prolegomena, in which the learned editor gives a clear and succinct history of the origin of the Received Text, and ably justifies the exertions of himself and others to correct and improve it; justly alleging, that neither the Complutensian editors, nor Erasmus, nor Robert Stephens, nor Theodore Beza, nor the unknown editor of the Elzevir edition, made any pretensions to inspiration or infallibility, and that modern editors enjoy advantages for correcting the text far beyond the reach of the original publishers. He then states at large the design which he had in view in his edition of the Greek Testament: viz. to exhibit an improved text accompanied with a copious selection of various readings, condensed into as narrow a compass as could be done consistently with perspi. cuity, in order to furnish a manual for critical students of the sacred writings. He next lays down the rules to which critics by long experience have learned to adhere, in forming a judgement concerning the probability or improbability of a various reading ; and here he intro. duces a brief but perspicuous and curious account of the distinction of ancient manuscripts into different editions, classes, and families, according to their affinity with the copies which were in use at Alexandria, at Constantinople, or in the West of Europe; a careful attention to which distinction is an essential qualification in a Scripture critic. The learned Professor then proceeds to describe the method which he has pursued in compiling his edition of the Greek Testament, to which he adds the particulars in which the second edition differs from and excels the first, which was published twenty years before; and that not merely by an improved arrangement, but chiefly by a very considerable addition of important various readings from the celebrated Vati. can, Vienna, and Moscow manuscripts, the Sahidic, the Jerusalem-Syriac, the Coptic, the Slavonic, and the old Latin versions, and likewise from the works of the Fathers, and particularly of Origen, for which he is indebted to the learned labours of Alter, Matthaï, Birch, Adler, Sabatier, Blanchini, Dobrowski, and others, together with his own renewed and indefatigable attention to the subject. In consequence of which, he has been enabled to correct the errors of the former edition, to amend the text, and to enrich the notes. He concludes with a di. stinct enumeration of manuscripts and versions, accompanied with

whose learned and incomparable Notes still retain all their original


brief remarks. In his preface the learned editor expresses his grati», tude to His Grace the Duke of Grafton for his liberal patronage of the I work. This is one of the numerous obligations under which sacred

literature has been laid to the munificence of that illustrious nobleman, and for which he is entitled to the cordial acknowledgements of every lover of truth and enlightened friend of the Christian Religion.

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