Ernesti, Johann August
Ernesti, Johann August an eminent critic and scholar, was born August 4, 1707, at Tennstadt, in Thuringia. He completed his academical studies at Wittenberg and Leipsic. In 1712 he became professor of ancient literature at Leipsic, and in 1758 doctor and professor of theology there. He held the two last-named professorships together till 1770, when he gave up the former to his nephew, August Wilhelm. He died September 11, 1781. He distinguished himself greatly by his philological and classical publications, and also by the new light which his theory of interpretation threw upon the sacred Scriptures. He adopted from Wetstein the grammatico-historical method of interpretation, and gave it general currency. Among the most important of his critical and philological writings are Opuscula philologico-critica
(Amster. 1762, 8vo): Opuscula oratoria, oratioes, prolusiones et elogia (Leyd. 1762 and 1767, 8vo): — Archaeologia litteraria (Leips. 1768 and 1790; 8vo): — Initia doctrine solidioris (Leips. 1736, 7th ed. 1783, 8vo). The style of this work gave to Ernesti the name of the Cicero of Germany. His most important work in the field of theology is his Institutio interpretis Novi Testamenti (Leips. 1761, 8vo; 5th ed. 1809). This work first clearly set forth what is called the grammatico-historical method of interpretation. It was translated by lerrot, and published in the Biblical Cabinet (Edinb. 1843, 2 volumes, 16mo); there is also an edition, with notes and appendix, by Moses Stuart (Andover, 1827, 12mo). Some valuable essays may be found in his Opuscula theologica (1792, 8vo). He rendered great service to theological literature by the publication of the Neue theologische Bibliothek (17601779, 14 volumes). His Lectiones Academicae in Epistolam ad Hebraeos was published by G.J. Dindorf in 1815 (Lips. 8vo). Ernesti's reputation as a classical scholar rests chiefly upon his excellent editions of Homer (Leips. 1759, 8vo), of Callimachus (Leyd. 1761, 2 volumes, 8vo), of Polybius (Leips. 1763-64, 3 vols. 8vo), of Xen-ophon, Aristotlej and of Cicero (ib. 1776, 3d ed. 7 volumes), of Tacitus (ib. 1772, 2 volumes, 8vo); also of Suetonius, Aristophanes, etc. His Eulogy, by Augustus William Ernesti, was published at Leipsic (1781, 8vo). See Hagenbach, German Rationalism, transl. by Gage, page 76; Teller, Ernesti's Verdienste um Theologie und Religion (Leips. 1783); Van Voorst, Oratio de J.A. Ermnestio (Leyd. 1804); Hoefer, Nouv. Biogr. Generale, 16:296; Kahnis, German Protestantism, page 119.