Johann Jakob Wettstein’s Principles for New Testament Textual Criticism

A Fight for Scholarly Freedom


Author: Silvia Castelli
In Johann Jakob Wettstein's Principles for New Testament Textual Criticism Silvia Castelli investigates the genesis, development, and legacy of Wettstein’s criteria for evaluating New Testament variant readings. Wettstein’s guidelines, the Animadversiones et cautiones, are the first well-organized essay on New Testament text-critical methodology, first published in the Prolegomena to his New Testament in 1730 and republished with some changes in 1752. In his essay, Wettstein presents a new text-critical method based on the manuscripts’ evidence and on the critic’s judgment. Moving away from the authority invested in established printed editions, Wettstein’s methodology thus effectively promotes and enhances intellectual freedom. The second part of this volume offers a critical text and an annotated English translation of Wettstein’s text-critical principles.

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Silvia Castelli, Ph.D. (2001, University of Turin, Italy; 2019, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is Researcher at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. She has published a monograph and several articles, notably on Flavius Josephus and his reception.

Part 1 Genesis, Development, and Legacy of Wettstein’s Animadversiones

 1  Wettstein, Man and Scholar (1693–1754)
 2  Wettstein in Contemporary Text-Critical Scholarship
 3  The Contemporary Need for a Careful Reflection on Text-Critical Method
 4  Genesis of the Present Investigation, Research Question, and Method

1 The Development of New Text-Critical Rules in the Early Eighteenth Century: From Clericus’s Ars critica to Bengel’s Prodromus
 1.1  From the Renaissance to Clericus
 1.2  Mill’s New Testament and Its Reception
 1.3  Pfaff and von Mastricht
 1.4  Wettstein’s Dissertatio
 1.5  Bentley’s Proposals
 1.6  Bengel’s Prodromus and “Notitia”

2 The Two Editions of Wettstein’s Text-Critical Principles
 2.1  The Context of the Animadversiones in Prolegomena and Novum Testamentum Graecum (NTG 2)
 2.2  Wettstein’s Working Tools
 2.3  Editorial Changes to the Animadversiones Chapter in NTG 2
 2.4  Wettstein’s Sources and Their Use

3 Wettstein’s Contribution to Text-Critical Methodology
Table of Wettstein’s Nineteen Principles
 3.1  Basic Principles: A Fight for Scholarly Freedom
 3.2  Internal Criteria
 3.3  Relevance of the Indirect Tradition: Fathers and Versions
 3.4  External Criteria: Lectio Vetustior Potior and Lectio Plurium Codicum Potior
 3.5  Conclusions

4 The Textual Critic at Work: Between Theory and Practice
 4.1  Method
 4.2  Preference for the Majority Reading
 4.3  Preference for Internal Criteria
 4.4  Beyond Text-Critical Rules
 4.5  A Thoroughgoing Eclectic Critic?

5 Reception and Legacy of Wettstein’s Principles
 5.1  Positive Reception: From the First Reviews of Prolegomena to Griesbach
 5.2  Less Favourable or Negative Reception: From the Anonymous Pamphlets to Westcott and Hort
 5.3  Criticisms of the Genealogical Method and Wettstein’s Rediscovery in the Twentieth Century
 5.4  Wettstein’s Lasting Legacy

Summary and Conclusions


Appendix: Manuscripts Personally Inspected by Wettstein by 1730

Part 2 Edition and Translation of Wettstein’s Animadversiones

Introduction: Editing the Text of Prolegomena 1730
 1  The Text
 2  Apparatus criticus

Conspectus Siglorum

Animadversiones et cautiones ad examen variarum lectionum N. T. necessariae

Index of Ancient Authors
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Manuscripts
Index of Sources
Index of Subjects
All interested in textual criticism of any field and history of textual criticism; scholars and students of Classics, New Testament, Church History; scholars interested in intellectual history and neo-Latin studies.