Lachmann, Karl

Lachmann, Karl a distinguished German philologist, was born at Brunswick March 4, 1793. He studied at the universities of Leipzig and Gottingen, and in 1811 founded, together with Bunsen, Dissen, and Ern. Schulze, the Philological Society. In 1813 he entered the army as a volunteer, but, having left it at the conclusion of the war, he became professor at the University of Berlin in 1827, and member of the Academy of that citv in 1830. He died at Berlin March 13, 1851. His philological works are distinguished for profound learning and able criticism. He confined himself mainly to editions of classical authors, but he also published an edition of the Greek New Testament (Berlin, 1831; 3d ed. 1846; in a larger form, 1846-50). In this edition of the New-Testament Scriptures in the original, " he aimed," says Dr. W. L. Alexander (Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop. ii, 769), " at presenting, as far'as possible, the text as it was in the authorized copies of the 4th century, his design being, not to compare various readings with the received text, but to supply a text derived from ancient authorities directly and exclusively. Relinquishing the possibility of ascertaining what was the exact text of the original as it appeared in the autographs of the authors, he set himself to determine the oldest attainable text by means of extant codices. For this purpose he made use of only a very few MSS., viz. A, B, C, P, Q, T, Z, for the Gospels; D, G, H, for the Epistles; the ante Hieronymian Latin versions, and the readings of Origen, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Hilary of Poitiers, Lucifer; and for the Apocalypse, Primarius. Under the Greek text the editor cites his authorities, and at the bottom of the page he gives the Vulgate version edited from two codices of the 6th century, the Fuldensis and the Amiantinus, preserved in the Laurentian Library at Florence... On its first appearance, his work and the principles on which it was based were subjected to much hostility, but his great services to the cause of N.T. criticism are now universally admitted. That he narrowed unreasonably the sphere of legitimate authority for the sacred text, that he was sometimes capricious in his selection of authorities, and that, while he did not always follow his authorities, he at other times followed them even in their manifest errors and blunders, may be admitted. But, after every deduction from the merits of his work is made which justice demands, there will still remain to Lachmann the high praise of having been the first ta apply to the editing of the Greek N.T. those sound principles of textual criticism which can alone secure a correct and trustworthy text. In this he followed, to a considerable extent, the counsel of the illustrious Bentley, uttered more than a century before (whence some, who sought to discredit his efforts, unworthily mocked him as ' Simia Bentleii'); but he owed nothing to Bentley beyond the suggestion of the principles he has followed; and he possessed and has ably used materials which in Bentley's time were not to be had." (Comp. Lachmann's exposition of his principles in Studien und Kritiken, 1830, p. 817-845; also a review of Scrivener's [Collation of the Gospels, Cambr. 1853, 8vo] strictures on Lachmann's edition of the N.- T. writings in Kitto, Journ. Sac. Lit. 1853, July, p. 365 sq.) See Hertz, Lachmann; eine Biographie (Berlin, 1851, 8vo); Tregelles, Printed Text of the Greek N.T. p. 97 sq.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biogq. Generale, 28:532; Pierer, Universal Lexikon, 9:954. SEE CRITICISM, BIBLICAL.

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