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Reviewed by:
  • Annotationes in Novum Testamentum (pars secunda): In Evangelium Joannis, In Acta Apostolorum, and: Annotationes in Novum Testamentum (pars quarta): 1–2 Corinthios
  • Albert Rabil
Erasmus, Desiderius . Annotationes in Novum Testamentum (pars secunda): In Evangelium Joannis, In Acta Apostolorum. Ed. P. F. Hovingh. Vol. 6-6, Opera Omnia. Amsterdam and Boston: Elsevier, 2003. viii + 404 pp. index. append. illus. $200. ISBN: 0-444-51460-0.
Erasmus, Desiderius . Annotationes in Novum Testamentum (pars quarta): 1-2 Corinthios. Ed. M. L. Van Poll-Van de Lisdonk. Vol. 6-8, Opera Omnia. Amsterdam and Boston: Elsevier, 2003. viii + 508 pp. index. illus. bibl. $225. ISBN: 0-444-51461-9.

These two volumes continue the publication of the critical edition ofErasmus's annotations on the New Testament. Previously published and reviewed here (RQ 55 [2002], 1427–29) is volume 6–5, also edited by P. F. Hovingh, on Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the first in the series on the annotations. Volume 6–6 contains six pages of addenda et corrigenda to volume 6–5 that include all five divisions of the text (introduction, text of the annotations, critical apparatus, commentary, and bibliography). But over eighty percent of the changes have to do with variant readings of the same word in the five editions of the New Testament and annotations or with distinguishing among what was added to the annotations in each of the four editions following the first. As someone who has been involved in this process in the past, I can testify to the difficulty of dotting every "i" and crossing every "t." It would not surprise me to see similar lists in subsequent editions of the annotations referring to the two volumes here reviewed, though I have not undertaken that task in writing this review.

The introduction and notes of volume 6–6 are in English and of volume 6–8 in German. Though the editor of volume 6–6 is a nonnative English speaker, the English is impeccable. Both editors provide much the same material, but with different emphases, in their introductions. The latter presuppose that a general introduction providing much greater historical detail will appear in volume 6–1, the first volume on the New Testament, not yet published. Each editor calls attention to the patristic and medieval commentators on whom Erasmus relied, identifying in their notes each point at which Erasmus draws on one or another commentator, whether or not Erasmus mentions the commentator by name. Once completed, this critical edition will be invaluable to future historians of theology, to say nothing of the editors of the CWE who are still in the process of translating the annotations to Erasmus's edition of the New Testament. The editor of volume 6–5 pays close attention in his introduction to what he calls "grammatical peculiarities" in Erasmus's annotations: the different spellings of nouns in the various cases of Latin, various Latin constructions, and stylistic terms (four pages of them). [End Page 688]

Much of the end matter of both these volumes is identical: abbreviations for classical and medieval authors, for the books of the New Testament, and for the works of Erasmus. Each editor provides a bibliography of sources for the particular texts edited, but most of the authors and titles listed overlap. Each volume also contains an index of names. But volume 6–6, in addition to the addenda et corrigenda, includes biographical data for other authors who appear prominently in Erasmus's commentary, a convenience for many readers even of the Latin text.

Most of Erasmus's annotations are brief, but even in his briefest notes the opinions of the fathers (including medieval theologians) are invoked to interpret meaning, both philologically and theologically. Their names and texts are visibly present on every page of these volumes in the notes on Erasmus's notes. Philology and theology blend into one another, for the words and their sense convey their meaning. In a few cases theological discussion becomes prolonged, though nothing like the commentary on Romans 5:12, which fills fifty columns in the LeClerc edition of Erasmus's works. Let me mention two significant instances, one each from these two volumes.

In volume 6–5, the first...


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