Matthai, Christian Friedrich Von

Matthai, Christian Friedrich Von a noted German theologian, was born in Thuringia in 1744; was educated at the University of Leipsic, and immediately upon the completion of his studies became rector of the Gymnasium at Moscow. While here he devoted himself to a critical study of the Greek fathers of the Church, and published editions of the writings of Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and others. He was promoted to a professorship in the university about 1776, but in 1785 gladly accepted the position of rector at Meissen — this affording him an opportunity to return to his fatherland. In 1789 he was called to the University of Wittenberg, whence he again returned to Moscow in 1805. He died in Russia Sept. 26,1811. Matthai, besides patristic studies, devoted himself largely to exegesis. He edited the commentary of Euthymius Zigabenus on the Gospels, with notes, and Nemesius of Emesa on the Nature of Man. But his most celebrated critical labor is his edition of the Greek Testament, for which he made an extensive collation of manuscripts; though, as he chiefly followed the authority of one class, the Byzantine, his edition is less valuable in itself than as a collection of materials for the further labors of the critical editor. A second edition of this Testament appeared in 1803-7, in 3 vols. 8vo. The work is entitled Novum Test. Graece et Latine: Textum denuo recensuit, varias Lectiones numquam antea vulgatas collegit, scholia Graeca addidit, animadversiones criticas adjecit, etc. (Rigse, 1782-88, 12 vols. 8vo). The competent judgment of Michaelis pronounces its great value in few words. He says: "He has made his collection of various readings with great labor and diligence; he found in his MSS. a confirmation of many readings, which I should have hardly expected, because they are found in MSS. of a different kind and of a different country from those which he used; nay, even those of the Western edition, of which he speaks with the utmost contempt, he has corroborated by the evidence of his Moscow MSS. This edition is absolutely necessary for every man who is engaged in the criticism of the Greek Testament." See Doring, Gelehrte Theol. Deutschlands d. 18ten u. 19ten Jarh. vol. 2, s.v.; Home, Introd. to the Crit. Study of the Scriptures; Kitto, Cyclop. Bibl. Lit. vol. 3, s.v.

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