Wettstein, Johann Jakob

Wettstein, Johann Jakob a celebrated New Test. critic, was born at Basle, March 5, 1693, the second in a family of thirteen children. His father was minister in St. Leonard's Church, and his teachers were the younger Buxtorf, Samuel Werenfels, Iselin, Frey, etc. His attention was early turned upon the manuscripts in the public library and the comparison of codices, and his earliest dissertation had for its subject De Vatiis N.T. Lectionibus. Travels to Geneva, Lyons, Paris, and England, in connection with which he visited all accessible libraries and made himself acquainted with all the more important manuscripts of the New Test., served to enlarge the range of his views, as did also association with Montfaucon, La Rue, and Bentley. He obtained a chaplaincy in a Dutch regiment of Switzers through Bentley's influence, but in 1717 returned to Basle and was made diaconus communis, and in 1720 deacon of St. Leonard's and assistant, to his father. In this station he earned the reputation of al able preacher and faithful pastor; but study being his favorite occupation, he read private lectures on exegesis and systematic theology before a class of young men, and gave his spare moments to the continued comparison of manuscripts in the library. He conceived in this period the idea of publishing a critical edition of the New Test. Iselin and Frey were at the same time studying the codices of the Basle Library for the purpose of aiding Bengel in the preparation of his New Test., and Wettstein came into conflict with them respecting the age of the-Basle Codex of the Gospels (E), which he believed to be much lower than they would; concede. This dispute soon became personal.

Wettstein's orthodoxy had for some time been suspected. He was charged with holding Arian and Socinian errors, and to this fault were now added his alleged critical aberrations. His preference of ὅγ to θεός in 1Ti 3:16, on the ground that a careful examination of the Cod. Alexandrin had convinced him of its genuineness, was credited to an alleged desire of depriving the doctrine of Christ's deity of a proof. Complaints respecting his heterodoxy were expressed even in the Diet of the Confederation, and ultimately a formal process of inquisition was inaugurated against him. Wettstein had taken the precaution, however, to send the manuscript of his New Test. to Holland, and his assailants were accordingly compelled to substantiate their charges from the notes of his pupils, and from the memories of those who had heard him preach. He was ultimately dismissed from his post, May 13, 1730. He found anew place at Amsterdam, as successor to Clericus in the College of the Remonstrants, and thenceforward made Holland his home. The Prolegomena to his New Test. had already been issued anonymously in 1730. In 1751-52 appeared the New Test. itself, the work of his life; but such was the timidity of the age that he was compelled to state the readings he preferred in foot-notes, and to give the received text in the body of his work. William Bowyer, of London, first published a New Test. with Wettstein's improvements in 1763. It contained a wealth of various readings, numerous antiquarian remarks illustrative of the subject-matter, and parallel passages from classical, ecclesiastical, and Rabbinical writers, which made it a valuable aid both to exegesis and criticism. I Wettstein had appended to his New Test. two Syriac letters discovered by him and credited to Clemens Romanus, but whose genuineness has since been disproved (the letters to virgins). He earned the reputation of having excelled all his predecessors in the industry and exactness with which le prosecuted the comparison of, codices, having personally examined about forty. To him we owe the designation of codices now current in the theological world. He did not long outlive the publication of his book, and died March 22, 1754. His colleague, Jacob Krighont, delivered a funeral discourse over his remains, which led to a dispute between himself and Frey, of Basle. Previous to his death, Wettstein had been made a member of academies of science in Berlin and London, and of the British Society for the Extension of Christianity. See Athen. Raer. — p. 379 sq.; Meister, Helvet. Scenen d. neueirn Schwlermerei u. Intoleranz (Zurich, 1785), p. 167 sq.; Hagenbach, Weffstein. u. seine Gegner, in Illgen's Zeitschrift. hist. Theol. 1839, No. 1, p. 13; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v. Wetzel, Andreas, a Lutheran minister of Germany, was born Jan. 17, 1808, at Well, in Würtemberg. He studied at Tübingen, and in 1831 he arrived in the United States. In Lewis County, N. Y., he commenced his ministerial labors with great success, looking at the same time after his coreligionists in Oneida County. In 1832 he also commenced preaching at Utica. In 1844, the congregation organized there built a church — Zion's Church — and in 1845 Mr. Wetzel left Verona, where he had resided, for Utica, where he labored until the year 1879, when bodily infirmities obliged him to retire from his office. He died Aug. 16,1880. Mr. Wetzel was highly honored in his ecclesiastical body, in which he held for a great many years the office of treasurer. . He also promoted the cause of education within, his own Church and the community in which he lived, and took an active part in all movements which tended to elevate the moral standard of the people. (B.P.)

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