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J ERNESTI

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 753 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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J ERNESTI. C. and by example, philologists greater than themselves, and of having kindled the national enthusiasm for ancient learning. It is chiefly in hermeneutics that Ernesti has any claim to eminence as a theologian. But here his merits are distinguished, and, at the period when his Institutio Interpretis N. T. was published (1761), almost peculiar to himself. In it we find the principles of a general interpretation, formed without the assistance of any particular philosophy, but consisting of observations and rules which, though already enunciated, and applied in the criticism of the profane writers, had never rigorously been employed in biblical exegesis. He was, in fact, the founder of the grammatico-historical school. He admits in the sacred writings as in the classics only one acceptation, and that the grammatical, convertible into and the same with the logical and historical. Consequently he censures the opinion of those who in the illustration of the Scriptures refer everything to the illumination of the Holy Spirit, as well as that of others who, disregarding all knowledge of the languages, would explain words by things. The " analogy of faith," as a rule of interpretation, he greatly limits, and teaches that it can never afford of itself the explanation.of words, but only determine the choice among their possible meanings. At the same time he seems unconscious of any inconsistency between the doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible as usually received and his principles of hermeneutics. Among his works the more important are:—I. In classical literature: Initia doctrinae Solidioris (1736), many subsequent editions; Initia rhetorica (1730); editions, mostly annotated, of Xenophon's Memorabilia (1737), Cicero (1737–1739), Suetonius (1748), Tacitus (1752), the Clouds of Aristophanes (1754), Homer (1759-1764), Callimachus (1761), Polybius (1764), as well as of the Quaestura of Corradus, the Greek lexicon of Hedericus, and the Bibliotheca Latina of Fabricius (unfinished) ; Archaeologia litteraria (1768), new and improved edition by Martini (1790) ; Horatius Tursellinus De particulis (1769). II. In sacred literature: Antimuratorius sive confutatio disputationis Muratorianae de rebus liturgicis (1755—1758); Neue theologische Bibliothek, vols. i. to x. (1760–176; Institutio interpretis Nov. Test. (3rd ed., 1775) ; Neueste theologische Bibliothek, vols. i. to x. (1771–1775). Besides these, he published more than a hundred smaller works, many of which have been collected in the three following publications: Opuscula oratoria (1762, 2nd ed., 1767); Opuscula philologica et critica (1764, 2nd ed., 1776); Opuscula theologica (1773). See Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopadie; J. E. Sandys, Hist. of Class. Schol. iii. (1908).
End of Article: J ERNESTI
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