|The publisher’s advertisements |
at the back of the edition
list “E. Nestle” as the editor.
I do, however, have a problem with Kay’s description of the article as a “glowing review of the anonymous Greek New Testament [which] was written by none other than Nestle himself” (p. 193; emphasis mine). In the first case, it seems to me that this is much more of a report than a review and second, while it is true that Nestle is not listed on the title page of his first edition, his name is clearly given as the editor of the various formats advertised at the back of the book (see image). So I don’t think it’s right to call it anonymous.
The article itself is a very interesting read. You get a sense of Nestle’s frustration with the continued publication of the Textus Receptus, due in no small part to the British and Foreign Bible Society’s distribution of it—even in Germany. His frustration didn’t last long though. Just six years later, the BFBS adopted Nestle’s text for their own edition, thus marking, in the Alands’ words, “the final defeat of the Textus Receptus, nearly four hundred years after it was first printed” (Text, p. 19).
‘The Greek Testament’ of the Bible Society of Stuttgart
WHEN O. v. Gebhardt published in 1881 his Greek and Greek-German Testament, he was induced to this undertaking by the intention to counteract the practice of the British and Foreign Bible Society to circulate in Germany nothing but reprints of the Textus Receptus (see the statement in the Preface of the bilingual edition, p. v): His editions, however, were not cheap enough to reach this effect. As late as 1893–94 the British and Foreign Bible Society made at Cologne a reimpression of the Textus Receptus in 12,200 copies, and went on to circulate of it in Germany and Switzerland about 1600 copies per annum (see the Annual Reports of the Society). It seemed necessary to make a more decided effort against this practice, and therefore the Wurttembergian Bible Society at Stuttgart published lately a Greek Testament with a critically revised text, but as cheap and as nice as any of the Society’s reprints of the Textus Receptus. The text is based on a collation of the editions of Tischendorf, Westcott-Hort, and Weymouth; it gives on the margin all their differences, from Acts onwards, also those of the new recension of Bernhard Weiss. But it gives further, at the foot of the pages, a selection of manuscript readings, not to be found in the editions just mentioned, for the Gospels and Acts, chiefly from the Codex Bezae at Cambridge; and it places thus in the hands of the poorest student materials which were hitherto accessible only to those who were in possession of the larger critical editions. The outer margins contain all references to the O.T. and many parallel passages. The Greek type was expressly cut for this work, to be as clear and large as it was possible in a pocket edition. Bishop Westcott, in a letter to the editor, called it ‘an admirable specimen of typography.’ It is sold in all forms of binding and arrangement, from one shilling onward, in one vol., in two parts, in ten parts with case; on writing-paper and interleaved; in Greek and German, the German text being the Revised one, but giving on the margin a full comparison of Luther’s last edition of 1545.
There is probably no Bible Society on the Continent which is more heartily thankful for the good work the British and Foreign Bible Society has done in Germany than the Wurttembergian in Stuttgart,—Dr. Steinkopf, the well-known secretary of the London Society, was our countryman,—but must it not seem disgraceful to repeat and circulate, at the end of the 19th century, the clerical errors made by Erasmus in 1516? Westcott-Hort conclude their N.T. with a motto taken from our countryman, J. A. Bengel, that we must not enlarge the shortcomings of our predecessors, nor anticipate or hinder the progress of the future, but that each time must show faithfulness in minimis et maximis. In the same connexion Bengel says that every particle gold remains gold, but that just therefore it is the duty of the pious to apply all energies to the textual criticism of the N.T., and not to circulate as gold what is not gold. By what pleas can one be justified in repeating a grammatical monstrum like the καίπερ ἐστίν (Rev 17.8), or as words of St. John, what Erasmus translated from the Latin Vulgate (Rev 22.19–21), because the only MS. which was at his disposal was defective?
It would be the best reward for the great expense which the Bible Society of Stuttgart has spent on this undertaking, if other Societies would make a large use of it; and if last, not least, the greatest of all, which in other directions is as splendidly managed, the British and Foreign might be induced to give up its present praxis, at least in Germany.
Source: Eberhard Nestle, “‘The Greek New Testament’ of the Bible Society of Stuttgart,” Expository Times 9 (1897–98): 419–420. (PDF here)