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Reconsidering the relationship between the Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum



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Basel 1516
Erasmus’ Edition of the New Testament
Edited by
Martin Wallra , Silvana Seidel Menchi,
Kaspar von Greyerz
Mohr Siebeck
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IX
 e Novum Instrumentum 1516 and Its Philological Background
M V
Basel 1514: Erasmus’ Critical Turn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
E R
Biblical Humanism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
A  H
Late Medieval Vernacular Bible Production in the Low Countries . . . . . . . 43
I G  P
Reconsidering the Relationship between the Complutensian Polyglot Bible
and ErasmusNovum Testamentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
e Text of the New Testament and Its Additions
P A
Structure and History of the Biblical Manuscripts Used by Erasmus
for His 1516 Edition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
A J. B
e Manuscript Sources and Textual Character of Erasmus’ 1516 Greek
New Testament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
M W
Paratexte der Bibel: Was Erasmus edierte außer dem Neuen Testament . . . 145
VI Inhaltsverzeichnis
M  P-  L
Die Annotationes in Novum Testamentum im Rahmen von Erasmus’
Werken zur Bibel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
J K
Deconstructing the Vulgate: Erasmus’ Philological Work in the Capita
and the Soloecismi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
S S M
How to Domesticate the New Testament:
Erasmus’ Dilemmas (1516–1535) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Communication and Reception
V S
e Impact of Erasmus’ New Testament on the European
Market (1516–1527): Considerations Regarding the Production
and Distribution of a Publishing Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
M B-B
Erasmus and the New Testament: Innovation and Subversion? . . . . . . . . . . 239
G K
eological and Humanistic Legacies of Erasmus in the Age of Reform . . . 255
S H
Unmittelbarkeit und Überlieferung: Erasmus und Beza zum Status
des neutestamentlichen Textes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
C C- W
Die Nachwirkung des Neuen Testamentes von Erasmus
in den reformatorischen Kirchen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
Acknowledgements for Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
Authors and Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
Index of Proper Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Reconsidering the Relationship between the Complutensian
Polyglot Bible and ErasmusNovum Testamentum
I G P
1516 would be still remembered as unique in Occidental cultural history simply
for being the year in which such important works as omas More’s Utopia and
Erasmus’ Institutio principis Christiani came to light. In addition to these how-
ever, it was at the beginning of that year that the Novum Instrumentum was rst
published, setting a new milestone in the history of Biblical studies.
It is well known that this was not the rst time the Greek New Testament had
been printed, since two years earlier, in January 1514, the h volume of the
Complutensian Polyglot Bible had already come o the press at Arnao Guillén
de Brocar’s workshop in Alcalá de Henares (Fig. 1).1 is explains why in 2014,
a diverse agenda of activities was planned and many publications appeared in
celebration of the h centenary of the Polyglot Bible.2 Yet the anniversary might
1 is is accurate if we disregard the Magnicat and Benedictus hymns included in the Greek
Psalter (Milan 1481, Venice 1486 and 1496/97), the rst six chapters of the Gospel of John print-
ed by Aldus Manutius in 1504 and the 14 verses from chapter six of that same Gospel displayed
in Tübingen in 1514. For a panorama of the situation before the Complutensian Polyglot, see
A. Schenker, ‘From the First Printed Hebrew, Greek and Latin Bibles to the First Polyglot Bible,
the Complutensian Polyglot: 1477–1517’, in M. Saebø (ed.), Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. e
History of its Interpretation, vol.2 (= From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment) (Göttingen
2008), 276–291; 286–291 contains a bibliography on the Polyglot up to 2006. A good descrip-
tion of the project and its circumstances can be read in E. Rummel, Jiménez de Cisneros. On the
reshold of Spain’s Golden Age (Tempe, Ariz. 1999), 57–66.
2 In 2013 an exhibition called Preparando la Biblia Políglota Complutense: los libros del saber
(Preparing the Complutensian Polyglot Bible: the Books of Knowledge) was held at the Biblioteca
Histórica Marqués de Valdecilla (Madrid). In April 2014, scholars gathered at a scientic confer-
ence entitled El libro de los libros. La Biblia Políglota Complutense y su edición (e Book of Books.
e Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Its Edition); one month later, in May, a joint ceremony
was held at the Complutensian and Alcalá de Henares Universities (ironically enough, the name
of “Complutensian” is nowadays held by a university located in Madrid, so that the new Com-
plutensian can only be called “of Alcalá”); and in October, a Symposium on the Complutensian
Polyglot Bible (Encuentro sobre la Biblia Políglota Complutense) was organised by the Alcalá de
Henares University. e most relevant publications concerning this anniversary are the follow-
ing: E. Ruiz García (ed.), Preparando la Biblia Políglota Complutense: los libros del saber (Madrid
2013); the monographic issue of Estudios bíblicos 72,1 (2014), also published as a book: I. Carba-
josa (ed.), Una Biblia a varias voces. Estudio textual de la Biblia Políglota Complutense (Madrid
Complutensian Polyglot
Bible and Erasmus’ Novum
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Ignacio García Pinilla60
Fig. 1: Title page of the h volume of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible.
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
61Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
well be repeated in 2017, for that date will mark 500 years aer the completion of
the edition and the death of its patron, Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.
e Gaps in Our Knowledge about the Complutensian Bible
As mentioned above, on 10January 1514, the rst volume of the Polyglot– vol-
ume ve out of the complete series of six– came o the printing press in Alcalá de
Henares. Volumes one to four would contain the Old Testament, volume ve the
New Testament and volume six (but second in order of printing) would include a
Hebrew-Latin Dictionary and a Hebrew Grammar, providing an important clue
to understanding the didactic aim of the whole Bible project, which was thought
to serve as an instrument for students of the sacred languages.3 e last volume,
the fourth of the Old Testament, was not nished until 3July 1517, soon before
Cardinal Cisneros’ death. e printing of the entire Bible thus took three and a
half years. However, the complete works were not published until 22March 1520,
when Pope Leo X nally issued his motu proprio approving all the works of the
Polyglot. It was at that time that open distribution began.4
At a distance of ve centuries, it now seems clear that the Polyglot Bible was
doomed to misfortune. Despite being the rst New Testament in Greek ever
printed, it was ErasmusNovum Instrumentum that was the rst to be distrib-
uted under the Privilege of Emperor Maximilian I and Pope Leo X, earning the
right to be considered, for practical purposes, as the editio princeps. A similar
fate awaited the volumes of the Old Testament of the Polyglot. Although Jews
had already printed their Bible with Hebrew characters in Brescia in 1488, the
Complutensian was the rst one to be published by Christians, together with an
Aramaic Ta r gum . Nevertheless, recognition for this “rst” fell– together with
the Pope’s Privilege– to the Biblia Rabbinica, printed in Venice between 1516
2014); J. L. Gonzalo Sánchez-Molero (ed.), V Centenario de la Biblia Políglota Complutense. La
Universidad del Renacimiento. El Renacimiento de la Universidad (Madrid 2014); M. Jiménez
Monteserín (ed.), Exposición “El sueño de Cisneros(Alcalá de Henares 2014); A. Alvar Ezquerra,
La Biblia Políglota Complutense y su contexto (Madrid, forthcoming).
On this pedagogical concern, see J. A. L. Lee, ‘Dimitrios Doukas and the Accentuation of the
New Testament Text of the Complutensian Polyglot’, Novum Testamentum 47 (2005), 250–290,
at 271. J. H. Bentley, Humanists and Holy Writ. New Testament Scholarship in the Renaissance
(Princeton, N. J. 1983), 73 f. oers a wider description of Cisneros’ reasons for publishing his
4 e rst references to the reading of the Complutensian Polyglot date to 1522, see Allen IV,
ep. 1213, n. 82 and Allen V, ep. 1274, n. 1; J. P. R. Lyell, Cardinal Ximenes. Statesman, Ecclesiastic,
Soldier and Man of Letters. With an Account of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (London 1917),
100 mentions a copy of the New Testament kept in the Harvard College Library which bears the
following ex-libris: “De Nicolas Astam Sacerdote Yngres Anglicani Jesu Anno 1514”. It has been
thought to be a witness of the early distribution of the Polyglot, see P. Botley, Latin Translation in
the Renaissance. e eory and Practice of Leonardo Bruni, Giannozzo Manetti and Desiderius
Erasmus (Cambridge 2004), 122; but probably the date was misread by Lyell.
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Ignacio García Pinilla62
and 1517 by Daniel Bomberg and Felice da Prato and enriched with medieval
e Complutensian Septuagint’s text did not enjoy a better fortune. e Aldine
edition was printed later– in 1518– in Venice but enjoyed a wider and more
inuential diusion.5 As if that were not bad enough, the death of Cardinal
Cisneros (which occurred some months aer the text’s completion) sparked a
series of setbacks that concluded with the text’s conscation, ordered by Emper-
or Charles V, as part of the University’s property.6 Additionally, the War of the
Communities of Castile (also known as “the Revolt of the Comuneros”) prevent-
ed its distribution until midway through 1521. To make matters even worse, a
signicant number of the 600 printed copies (plus six more on vellum) were lost
in a shipwreck, further straining its distribution.7 e only undeniable fact is that
Cardinal Cisneros’ project resulted in the rst Polyglot Bible ever to be printed,
leading the way for others to follow in the centuries to come.
Such an ambitious project, endorsed by Cardinal Cisneros, required the set-
ting-up of a team of scholars capable of facing such challenges. Hebraists like
Pablo Coronel, Alonso de Zamora and Alonso de Alcalá sat alongside Hel-
lenists and humanists such as Elio Antonio de Nebrija (who remained only
briey on the taskforce), Hernán Núñez de Toledo y Guzmán (known either
as “Pintianus”– the country name for those born in Valladolid– or “the Greek
Commander”), Demetrius Ducas of Crete and Diego López de Zúñiga (Jacobus
Lopes Stunica, the polemicist against Erasmus). A number of minor contributors
should also be included here, such as Juan de Vergara, Bartolomé de Castro and,
perhaps for a short time, Nicetas Faustus. Our current knowledge about the tasks
assigned to each is rather lacunose, due to the scarcity of documentary sources.
Even so, the ongoing eorts of modern scholars are broadening our knowledge
of the teaching in Alcalá and the heads of the editorial work of the Polyglot (i. e.
Pablo Coronel, Alonso de Zamora, Hernán Núñez de Toledo y Guzmán and
Diego López de Zúñiga).
However, not all statements commonly made in studies
5 e Aldine Bible is Πντα τ κατ’ξοχν καλοενα Βιβλα θεα δηλαδ γραφ παλαι
τε κα να (Venice 1518).
6 e problems derived from Cisneros’ will are described in J. Pérez, Cisneros, el cardenal de
España (Madrid 2014), 87.
7 See J. Martín Abad, ‘Cisneros y Brocar. Una lectura tipobibliográca de la Políglota Com-
plutense’, Estudios bíblicos 72 (2014), 23–73, here 65. e only source which mentions this ship-
wreck is a letter from Philipp II of Spain to the Duke of Alba, dated 25March 1568, that is, nearly
50 years aer the disaster. It is partially reproduced in B. Macías Rosendo, La Biblia Políglota de
Amberes en la correspondencia de Benito Arias Montano (ms. Estoc. A 902) (Huelva 1998), .
8 Cf. S. O’Connell, From Most Ancient Sources. e Nature and Text-Critical Use of the Greek
Old-Testament Text of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, Orbis biblicus et Orientalis 215 (Göt-
tingen 2006); R. Jiménez Zamudio, ‘La Biblia Políglota Complutense’, in A. Alvar Ezquerra (ed.),
Historia de la Universidad de Alcalá (Alcalá de Henares 2010), 187–222; A. Domingo Malvadi,
‘El Pinciano y su contribución a la edición de la Biblia Políglota de Alcalá (1514–1517)’, Pecia
Complutense 10 (2013), 49–81; J. de Prado Plumed, Al lasso, fuerça. La convivencia de impresos
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
63Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
of the Complutensian Polyglot are entirely correct, as can be demonstrated with
the following two examples.
Firstly, it has oen been stated that Diego López de Zúñiga dealt with the Latin
interlinear translation accompanying the text of the Septuagint. is assertion
is based on a claim made by Cisneros’ biographer, Álvar Gómez de Castro, who
used materials (gathered by Juan de Vergara) for his De rebus gestis Francisci Xi-
menii, one of the most important sources for the study of the Cardinal’s life and
the history of the University of Alcalá:9
However, the translation of the Septuagint was carried out with such good results– in
part by some learned men of the Complutensian University who had already made great
progress in Greek under the teaching of Demetrius and Pintianus, in part by Demetrius,
Pintianus and Astuniga, that nothing was said by the LXX translators according to Greek
learning– so great was their knowledge– which was le out by our countrymen, despite
their conciseness.10
However, the statement of Álvar Gómez, which includes a clumsy repetition of
names, is not acceptable as it stands. We should recall that De rebus gestis went
through at least three stages of draing, with signicant alterations in both style
and content. e above-quoted passage belongs to the last printed version, the
only one accessible to scholars.
But this passage underwent an alteration aer the second writing stage, as
examination of the margin of the manuscript 9/2213 in the Real Academia de la
Historia (Madrid) shows: the correction was handwritten by Álvar Gómez him-
self. e problem originated with a saut du même au même (partim) made by the
copyist. When Álvar Gómez noticed a part of the phrase was missing, he tried to
solve the problem, but by adding words he slightly altered the content. On the le
hand side below, the transcription of the rst version of the text is shown, from
a manuscript kept in the Archivo Histórico Nacional (Madrid); here, the words
y manuscritos en la carrera del hebraísta converso Alfonso de Zamora († ca. 1545), nal dra
(14March 2013) available with a Creative Commons license on URL: http://www.academia.
edu/6170889/Al_lasso_fuer%C3 %A7a._La_convivencia_de_impresos_y_manuscritos_en_la_
carrera_del_hebra%C3 %ADsta_converso_Alfonso_de_Zamora_ca._1545_ (controlled 2No-
vember 2014).
9 e most detailed study of this work is still A. Alvar Ezquerra, ‘Álvar Gómez de Castro y la
historiografía latina del siglo XVI: la vida de Cisneros, in M. Revuelta Sañudo/ C. Morón Ar-
royo (eds.), El erasmismo en España (Santander 1986), 247–264, along with A. Alvar Ezquerra,
Álvar Gómez de Castro y la bibliografía del cardenal Cisneros’, Anales Complutenses 13 (2001),
Álvar Gómez de Castro, De rebus gestis a Francisco Ximenio Cisnerio Archiepiscopo Toletano
libri octo (Alcalá de Henares 1569), 43: “LXX tamen translationis explicatio, partim ab aliquot
Academiae Complutensis eruditis hominibus, qui iam tunc sub Demetrio et Pinciano praecep-
toribus in Graecis literis non vulgariter profecerant, partim a Demetrio, Pinciano et Astuniga,
adeo feliciter confecta fuit, ut nihil a LXX interpretibus iuxta Graecam eruditionem sit dictum,
qualia permulta apud eos habentur, quod a nostris in tanta brevitate fuerit praetermissum.
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Ignacio García Pinilla64
missing in the next stage are in bold. In both columns there are some words
which have been crossed out, indicating attempts to improve the text.
AHN Univ. leg. 717, fol. 78rRAH 9/2213, fol. 90v
LXX tamen translationis explicatio, quam
in spacio uersus [+lineas] dirimente,
interiectam esse demonstrauimus, partim
a uiris illis doctissimis operi praefectis
confecta fuit,
partim ab aliquot academiae Complutensis
iuuenibus qui cum iam in ipsis scholae
primordiis [+primitiae quaedam bonarum
in Hispania literarum et spes maximae
praesentis ubertatis] sub Demetrio et
Pinciano praeceptoribus in Graecis literis
non vulgariter profecissent …
LXX tamen translationis explicatio, quam
in spacio lineas dirimente, interiectam esse
partim ab aliquot academiae Complutensis
iuuenibus [eruditis hominibus] qui cum
iam in ipsis scholae primordiis, primitiae
quaedam bonarum in Hispania literarum
et spes maximae praesentis ubertatis, [qui
iam tunc] sub Demetrio et Pinciano prae-
ceptoribus in Graecis literis non vulgariter
profecissent [+profecerant], [+partim ab
ipsis Demetrio et Pintiano et Astuniga
etiam nonnunquam adiuuante] …
It seems that during the revision of the second manuscript (right hand column),
the author noticed the lack of a necessary correlate for partim. He did not solve the
problem by recovering the earlier text however, but by composing a new syntagm.
Presumably, when Álvar Gómez reviewed this copy he did not have either the
prior manuscript or the materials used for its composition at hand. His wording
was careless as well, for he introduced an unfortunate repetition of proper names
in close proximity. e third name was added later with an obvious reservation
(Astuniga etiam nonnunquam adiuvante, “with the occasional help of Zúñiga”).
But this restrictive nuance was nally deleted. us, the real value of this passage
for implying the involvement of Zúñiga in the interlinear translation of the LXX
in fact relies on a weak basis, namely a hasty intervention which cannot be related
back to the notes of Juan de Vergara used by Álvar Gómez as a source.
e second example of inaccuracy is the unreserved naming of Juan de Ver-
gara in the preparatory and editorial work of the Polyglot. In fact, Álvar Gomez
made clear in his rst dra of this same passage that Ducas and Hernán Núñez
delegated several tasks to some of their most brilliant students– mere students
aer all–, doubtless working under their supervision. Prominent among them
was the young Juan de Vergara, who was responsible for the Latin translation of
some wisdom books of the LXX. His role in the task was almost certainly super-
vised by more experienced scholars however. Indeed, Vergara’s youthful inexpe-
rience is described by Ángel Sáenz Badillos, who examined the translations.11
11 His role as a collaborator is rightly shown, for example, by A. Sáenz Badillos, La lología
bíblica en los primeros helenistas de Alcalá (Estella 1990), 327–336; I. Pérez Martín, Las bi-
blio tecas del doctor Juan de Vergara y de Alonso de Cortona (Madrid 2008), 18 f.; and T. López
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
65Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
Nonetheless, authorship is not the most elusive question in research on the
Complutensian Polyglot Bible. Scholars have not yet managed to identify the
sources used to establish the Greek text of the Complutensian New Testament,
unlike our knowledge on the same matter for Erasmus’ edition. It is relatively
clear which Hebrew and Septuagint manuscripts were used by the Compluten-
sian scholars, but all attempts to establish the sources of the text of the New
Testament have so far failed, despite the numerous eorts of scholars, starting
with Delitzsch in the mid 19thcentury and continuing up to the present day.12
e comparison between the Complutensian New Testament and known man-
uscripts has revealed a certain closeness to Codex Laudianus 2 (Ev. 51, Act. 32,
Paul 38), kept in the Bodleian Library, and to Codex Hafniensis 1 (Ev. 234, Act.
57, Paul 72), which, although now held in Copenhagen, was located in Venice
until 1699. Some scholars have also pointed out similarities between the Polyglot
New Testament and Codex Seidelianus II (Act. 42, Paul 48, Ap. 13), as well as the
Guelpherbytanus (Act. 69, Paul 74, Ap. 30).13 ese connections, however, do not
identify any of the manuscripts used by the Complutensian scholars, even if they
do help assign the Polyglot’s text to certain families of manuscripts.
Erasmus himself expressed his distrust of the authority of the Complutensian
text of the New Testament. In his correspondence with Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
he showed his negative assessment based on an alleged lack of scientic preci-
sion, the lack of reliable manuscripts, and the text’s servile subordination to the
Vulgate. Erasmus was not entirely right about this, nor was he entirely justied
in disregarding the value of the celebrated Codex B or the prominence grant-
ed to patristic sources. In any case, our ignorance regarding the nature of the
manu scripts used by the Complutensian Polyglot to establish the text of the New
Testament, including the lost Codex Rhodiensis mentioned by Zúñiga, hinders
any conclusive statement.
If we were to compare the Polyglot with modern critical editions of the Bible
we would notice the following points: a) it is not possible to identify the peculiar
features of any specic family of manuscripts in the Polyglot; b) since almost
none of the Polyglot’s variants are exclusive, it seems that the text was established
strictly on the grounds of the readings found in the manuscripts at hand; c) the
proportion of cases where the readings are close to those in the Vulgate is not
greater than the contrary, so there is no reason to consider a deliberate attempt
to assimilate the Greek text to the Latin. ese three conclusions are taken from
Muñoz, ‘Juan de Vergara (1492–1557)’, in I. J. García Pinilla (ed.), Disidencia religiosa en Castilla
la Nueva en el siglo XVI (Ciudad Real 2013), 131–157, here 140 f. Concerning Vergara’s trial cf.
L. A. Homza, Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance (Baltimore, Md. 2000), 1–40.
12 See F. Delitzsch, Studien zur Entstehungsgeschichte der complutensischen Polyglotte (Leipzig
1871), 30–38.
13 M. Revilla Rico, La Políglota de Alcalá. Estudio histórico-crítico (Madrid 1917), 118; and
M. V. Spottorno, ‘El texto griego del Nuevo Testamento en la Políglota Complutense, Estudios
bíblicos 72 (2014), 161–175, here 168 f.
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Ignacio García Pinilla66
the work of Sáenz Badillos, who collated several sections of the Polyglot’s New
Testament. e latter is especially relevant, since it is the opposite to what Jerry
H. Bentley and others have armed.14
Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum and the Complutensian Polyglot Bible
e question about how the Polyglot could have contributed to ErasmusNovum
Testamentum naturally stands out from the others.15 However, before attempting
an answer, it should be noted that there have also been supporters of a reverse
inuence, that is to say of Erasmus’ New Testament on the Complutensian Pol-
yglot. e rst to defend this point of view explicitly was M. Johann Nicolaus
Kiefer,16 who stated that the dedication of the rst volume of the Polyglot re-
sembles the dedication of the Novum Instrumentum “like one egg to another”.17
He argues that the same reasons for publication are proposed in both cases: the
need to purge copyists’ errors found in the text of the Holy Scripture, to restore
the purest readings, to shed light on darkness, the existence of a mystical sense,
and the need to go back to the Graeca veritas. Kiefer adds other observations on
expressions from the prologue to the Polyglot that imply a late redaction. Here
in particular, the proposal was attractive, because it dealt with a part of the work
likely draed toward the end of the printing (as is usual with prologues) in July of
1517, when one or more copies of the Novum Instrumentum could already have
14 See Sáenz Badillos, Filología (op. cit. n. 11), 427–440; Bentley, Humanists (op. cit. n. 3),
110 f. Bentley, following the lines of Walton, Wettstein, Tregelles and others, harshly criticizes the
Polyglot on p. 101: “e Complutensian editors oen chose to employ their philological talents
in such a way as to protect the reputation of the Vulgate”, but this does not t with the fact that
there are more than 1,000 places in the Polyglot where the Greek and the Hebrew text diverge
from the Latin, as it is pointed out in three books by Johann Melchior Goeze, Vertheidigung der
Complutensischen Bibel (Hamburg 1765); id., Ausführliche Vertheidigung des Complutensischen
griechischen Neuen Testaments (Hamburg 1766); id., Fortsetzung der ausführlicheren Vertheidi-
gung des Complutensischen griechischen Neuen Testaments (Hamburg 1769). It seems that the
Complutensian editors did not feel the need to adapt one text to the other; we nd the opposite
in the copy of volume V kept in the Seminario Conciliar in Pamplona. Somebody with a dierent
idea added a new interlinear Latin translation in red ink, and the result is a Latin text dierent
in many places and closer to the Greek. is text still awaits a specic study.
15 Aer the sharp controversy held between Semler and Goeze in the 18thcentury, many
studies have been devoted to the coincidence and disparity between the readings of the New
Testament of the Complutensian Polyglot and those of Erasmus. ey are registered in E. Reuss,
Bibliotheca Novi Testamenti (Braunschweig 1872), 15–25. A few years later, F. H. A. Scrivener,
A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students
(Cambridge 1883), 432 plainly asserted that the text of the Polyglot, especially in the Book of
Revelation, is “decidedly preferable.
16 See M. Johann Nicolaus Kiefer, Gerettete Vermutungen über das Complutensische N. Testa-
ment. Gegen den Hn. Senior Götz in Hamburg (Halle 1770), §§ 1, 8–10.
17 “Man wird nden, dass der spanische Inhalt den Erasmischen so ähnlich sehe, als ein Ei
den andern” (ibid., 29).
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
67Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
reached Alcalá.18 However, the content of both dedications is so commonplace
that it is dicult to draw any reliable conclusions about the relationship between
them, especially since they are both clearly inuenced by the prologue of Lorenzo
Valla’s Annotationes and faced the same kind of criticism.19
Screech’s more recent proposal stands in a completely dierent category. He
turned his attention to one of the few marginal notes (ve) that exist in the New
Testament volume of the Polyglot, namely that of 1 John 5,7–8, the comma Io-
hanneum.20 He suggests that the gathering of the Polyglot which contains these
verses (fols. KK2 and KK5) are cancels reprinted following the controversy over
its omission in ErasmusNovum Instrumentum. is would mean that the leaves
were printed again, not before 1517. In order to defend this hypothesis, Screech
relies on some typographical features in which he thinks this intervention can be
detected.21 ese arguments are however weak and inconclusive. Furthermore,
Screech declares that, as long as it is indisputable that the comma Iohanneum was
18 It is not necessary to push back its printing until 1520 on the grounds that it includes the
motu proprio of Pope Leo X, issued in March of that year. On the contrary, the existence of some
copies of this quire having that page blank (state C) shows that, during printing, it was le that
way in order to add the Pope’s document later, and that, except in those few copies, the initial
quire passed a second time under the press (the most common state A), see Martín Abad, ‘Cis-
neros’ (op. cit. n. 7), 66 and id., La imprenta en Alcalá de Henares, 1502–1600, 3vols. (Madrid
1991), vol.1, 222–233.
19 Erasmus was the editor of this work, and one of the copies of the editio princeps, now in
Madrid, is closely related to the circles of the Complutensian scholars, see Domingo Malvadi,
‘Pinciano’ (op. cit. n. 8), 53–55.
20 See M. A. Screech, ‘Introduction’, Reeve (1990), xi–xxv, here xxi–xxiii.
21 His arguments are: e Greek text on KK2r over-runs into the lower margin and has the
maximum of lines (54, most have 53) (Fig. 2); one can see that the capital letters are worn, es-
pecially one capital “I” on KK5v (Fig. 3).
Fig. 2: Marginal note to the comma Iohanneum (1 John 5,7–8).
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Ignacio García Pinilla68
present in the original printing, the decision to add a posteriori a marginal note
would imply the re-composition of the whole gathering. is is not accurate,
as it would have been enough to pass the existing copies through the press (as
happened with the rst quire of volume I). In fact, Screech proposes the existence
of two issues, but without having identied a single copy of this supposed rst
issue. Regarding other typographical features, it is evident that, if the authors
had decided to add a marginal gloss even in the rst issue, the typesetter would
have needed to organize the material dierently, so the presence of some unusual
features is not telling.22
More recently, Jan Krans has suggested that something similar could have hap-
pened with the gloss to Matthew 6,13b in the Polyglot: he writes that in that place
“Erasmus’ remark seems to have inuenced the Complutensian Polyglot.
But it
must be stated that the reasons provided by the gloss in the Polyglot to athetize the
words are not the same as those in Erasmus’ Annotationes, especially in the rst
two editions of that work. It was only in the 1522 edition that Erasmus added a ref-
erence to the Greek liturgy, and only from an indirect source (Chrysostom).
Polyglot’s gloss, on the other hand, is not based on any authority, but it explains
the custom of Byzantine Mass from direct observation. erefore, Krans’ remark
is of similar value to that of Screech’s proposal. As long as there are no witnesses
to the rst issue, these suggestions will remain too hypothetical to prove the in-
uence of ErasmusNovum Testamentum on the Complutensian Polyglot Bible.
22 I am indebted to Julián Martín Abad and to Inmaculada García-Cervigón for the discus-
sion of Screech’s hypothesis. Some scholars accept it unreservedly, see Botley, Latin Translation
(op. cit. n. 4), 122.
23 J. Krans, Beyond What Is Written. Erasmus and Beza as Conjectural Critics of the New
Testament, New Testament Tools and Studies 35 (Leiden 2006), 35. At n. 29 he quotes Bentley,
Humanists (op. cit. n. 3), 78 as a supporter of this hypothesis, but the latter does not refer the
gloss in the Polyglot to Erasmus, not even in the fuller description in pp. 96 f.
24 See Annotationes in Matthaeum, ASD VI-5, 159 f.
Fig. 3: Capital “I” on KK5v.
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69Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
Returning to the main question of how the Polyglot may have contributed
to Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum, it is important to stress the gure of Juan de
Vergara, who was the only contributor to the Polyglot (albeit a minor one) who
also knew Erasmus in person. Aer his philological experience, Vergara moved
to the court of Cardinal Cisneros, worked as his secretary and joined the Chapter
of Toledo Cathedral. In 1520, aer the Cardinal’s death, the Chapter entrusted to
Vergara the task of petitioning for a hearing with the new Archbishop (the per-
manently absent Guillaume de Croÿ) and so he joined the entourage of Charles
V on his trip to the Netherlands. anks to this mission, he reached Bruges on
25July 1520, where he met with Erasmus. e Spaniard had to begin by pre-
senting his apologies for forgetting a copy of the Annotationes Iacobi Lopidis
Stunicae contra Erasmum Roterodamum, published in Alcalá shortly before his
departure. is annoyed Erasmus, who was looking forward to reading the book.
However, it seems that from the meeting– held not without a certain tension in
the room– and from the complimentary dinner that Vergara was invited to by
Erasmus several days later, a mutual sympathy arose between the two humanists.
is resulted in year-long epistolary contact, despite their age dierence. e
abundance of Erasmus’ works in Vergara’s library provides unequivocal evidence
for the extraordinary appreciation he felt for the Roterodamus.25
To learn what exactly happened in that rst meeting, we rely on a single letter
from Vergara to Zúñiga. is letter was written over a year aer the meeting,
in early October 1521 (aer a second meeting between Erasmus and Vergara,
which this time took place in Leuven).26 is missive provides but a constrained
and cautious account of that dinner, limited to the matters directly related to
the controversies between the two humanists. Is it thus reasonable to think that
Erasmus and Vergara, both with expertise in biblical text editing, had no interest
in exchanging their respective knowledge? On this matter, we only nd a brief
reference in the letter, where Vergara mentions how he informed Erasmus that
the second edition of his Novum Testamentum had not yet arrived in Spain,
whilst Erasmus announced that he was already preparing its third edition. In
fact, it seems plausible that Vergara informed Erasmus how his Novum Instru-
mentum had been received in Alcalá, but that he deliberately concealed this in
his letter to Zúñiga due to the latter’s previous temperamental response.27 Would
Erasmus not have been keenly interested in knowing how enriching volume V
25 See Pérez Martín, Bibliotecas (op. cit. n. 11), 171–175. She identies at least 52 Latin books
written by Erasmus in Vergara’s library.
26 See ep. 1 from the Vergara-Zúñiga correspondence, Allen IV, pp. 623–625 (= CWE 8,
pp. 337–340).
27 A recent and detailed account on him can be read in L. Carrasco Reija, ‘López de Zúñiga,
Diego’, in J. F. Domínguez (ed.), Diccionario biográco y bibliográco del humanismo español
(siglos XV–XVII) (Madrid 2012), 510–526. Not much can be proted from C. Chaparro, ‘Eras-
mo de Rotterdam y Diego López de Zúñiga: una polémica áspera y prolongada’, Ágora. Estudos
Clássicos em Debate 16 (2014), 157–187.
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Ignacio García Pinilla70
of the Polyglot, printed six years before but still unavailable to him, might have
been? Sharing an evening with one of the contributors of that work was no doubt
an opportunity he could not miss, but progress would not be substantial until he
had a copy of the book in his hands. It is obvious that Erasmus would have sought
a commitment from his guest to have a copy sent as soon as possible, or, if that
were not possible, at least a detailed description of the work.
e rst time Erasmus acknowledged the use of the Polyglot was in the Anno-
tationes to the 1527 edition, by incorporating readings explicitly taken from it,
especially in the Book of Apocalypse.
As a result, it seems to have been accepted
that the Polyglot did not inuence the rst three editions of ErasmusNovum
Testamentum, because Erasmus does not mention it. Here is where I would like to
raise the following question: is this an undisputable assertion? Was the criticism
of Zúñiga and Sancho Carranza the only Complutensian contribution prior to
the fourth edition? I would like to suggest an alternative hypothesis: that before
the date of the third edition (1522) Erasmus had at his disposal, not the whole
volume V of the Complutensian Polyglot, but at least some detailed information
collected from it. To test this hypothesis I will use a philological method of check-
ing the variants inserted in the Greek text of the 1522 edition. To aid in this task
it is now possible to take advantage of the excellent work of Andrew J. Brown in
the volumes of the sixth Ordo of the Opera Omnia.
As has already been well documented, the 1522 edition did not mark any
progress regarding the inspection of Greek manuscripts by Erasmus, apart from
some information drawn from Codex B.29 On the contrary, the Aldine edition
of the Greek New Testament, 1518–19, had a great inuence on it.30 In this
Bible, Erasmus oen found conrmation of the readings he had selected, not
realising that the Aldine derived mostly from his own rst edition, although in
several cases it corrected errors thanks to manuscripts available in Venice. Sure
enough, there are many changes, supported by the variants of the Aldine Bible,
in the third edition of the Greek text of Erasmus. But in that same edition there
is another, large group of corrections that do not have the support of the Aldine
but are to be found, however, in the Complutensian Polyglot.
Here are some examples, which have all been taken from the Gospel of St. John.
28 Erasmus acknowledges it, although in a vague way, in the Apologia of the fourth edition,
that of 1527, fol. A4r / v: “Nos in prima recognitione quatuor graecis [codicibus] adiuti sumus,
in secunda quinque. In tertia praeter alia accessit editio Asulana, in hac quarta praesto fuit et
29 See A. J. Brown, ‘Introduction, ASD VI-2, 1–10, here 7.
30 See A. J. Brown, ‘Introduction. Part 1’, ASD VI-4, 1–25, here 11 f. e same point of view
about the use of manuscripts can be found in P. F. Hovingh, ‘Introduction’, ASD VI-5, 1–50,
here 7 f.
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71Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
1) John 1,25. Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις, εἰ σὺ οὐκ εἶ ὁ Χριστός οὔτε Ἠλίας οὔτε ὁ προφήτης;
προφτη AB (+Aldus) :  προφτη Complut. CDE
Brown considers that the suppression of the article here and in John 7,40 was
possibly unintentional, perhaps a slip made by the printers.31 Despite this and
given the long explanation in the Annotationes,32 Erasmus did not doubt, having
established this reading in the rst edition, that it was indeed the reading he had
found in the manuscripts. Erasmus rst made mention of the absence of the
article in his 1519 Annotationes, where he tries to defend that reading, in spite of
having found the variant with the article in nonnullis Graecorum exemplaribus.
e restoration of the article occurs in the third edition, but without any expla-
nation for the change in the Annotationes. at is to say, at the time of the second
edition he already knew of the variant with the article and yet he rejected it, and
the Aldine Bible seemed to reinforce the reading initially selected. So, what led
him to alter his initial preference, and to do so without providing a reason? If that
change is to be attributed only to philological reection, is it not surprising that
it has le no trace in the Annotationes, especially aer the clear reasons given for
excluding the article in previous editions?33
2) John 2,22. ὅτε οὖν ἠγέρθη ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐμνήσθησαν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι τοῦτο
ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς
ατο Complut. CDE om. AB (+Aldus)
Browns reection on this variant is very interesting:
e reading ατο is found in just a few of the later manuscripts, but not in any which
Erasmus is known to have consulted. He did not include it in his text of 1516, as it was not
in the manuscripts which he used for that edition, nor was it in the Vulgate. It is striking
that ατο is found in the Complutensian Polyglot, whose distribution was in progress
during 1522, but it is unlikely that Erasmus received a copy of the Polyglot in time to use
it for his own third edition which was published in that year. He does not directly mention
the Polyglot in his Annotationes until 1527. e existence of a number of other unusual
Greek variants in his 1522 edition, most of them not coinciding with the Complutensian
Polyglot …, may indicate that he at that time had a passing enthusiasm for a particular
manuscript which had come to his attention between 1519 and 1522.34
31 See ASD VI-2, 20, n. 25.
32 See In annotationes Novi Testamenti praefatio, ASD VI-5, 56.
33 Erasmus was working on the third edition at least since 20December 1520, see P. F. Hov-
ingh, ‘Introduction, ASD VI-6, 1–26, here 9. I have not found any information about the print-
ing order of the parts of the third edition of the Bible in Froben’s press, but if the Annotationes
were printed before the Greek text, the conict between them (as it is in this case) could be
explained by the late arrival of the material, which gave rise to some changes in the text.
34 ASD VI-2, 35, n. 22.
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Ignacio García Pinilla72
Brown claims not to know where the reading ατο might come from. Mention-
ing the Complutensian Polyglot at this point suggests, however, that it is only a
problem of dating that prevents him from proposing it as a source for the variant.
3) John 6,11. διέδωκε τοῖς μαθηταῖς, οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ἀνακειμένοις· ὁμοίως καὶ
ἐκ τῶν ὀψαρίων ὅσον ἤθελον
θελεν AB (+Aldus) : θελον Complut. CDE
Again, Brown’s commentary sheds light on the passage:
e reading θελεν, in the 1516–19 editions, appears to be unsupported by Greek manu-
scripts, and those which Erasmus usually consulted all have θελον. His citation of θελεν
in 1516 Annotationes, and later, might be thought to indicate that he had found this reading
in an unknown manuscript. Possibly, however, it was caused by his misreading the script of
codex 817, in which the last two letters are represented by an abbreviation … Nevertheless,
his Annotationes continued to cite the spelling, θελεν, and when he found the same read-
ing in the 1518 Aldine Bible, he took this as further support for his earlier printed text, not
realising that the Aldine was itself largely derived from his own edition of 1516.35 Despite
this confusion in Annotationes, he inserted the correct reading, which can be read in the
Complutensian Polyglot, in the Greek and Latin text of 1522–35.36
However, in spite of the ingenious explanation regarding the origin of the -εν
reading, the same question arises: what made Erasmus change his mind in 1522,
just at the point when the Aldine seemed to conrm the initial reading? And how
did the inconsistency between the Greek text and the Annotationes originate?
4) John 19,28. Μετὰ τοῦτο εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι πάντα ἤδη τετέλεσται
δν AB (+Aldus) : εδ Complut. CDE
For this change in the third edition, Erasmus had Codex GA 1 as a witness, but
not the support of the Aldine, which featured the reading of the previous edi-
tions. e δν variant is grammatical, so the decision to modify it must have
arisen from an alternative source, currently unknown. Again, we ignore what
led Erasmus to change his mind, especially given that Erasmus did not seem to
place much value on Codex GA 1. So the presence of the alternative reading in
the Polyglot leads to the same question: can we be sure that Erasmus did not have
the Polyglot at hand during the preparation of the third edition?
Many similar examples can be found. If we discard obvious mistakes and
itacisms, we nd 31 signicant new readings in the 1522 edition of the Gospel
of St. John.37 In 26 of these places Erasmus adopted a reading to be found in the
35 See In Evangelium Ioannis annotationes, ASD VI-6, 88 f. Erasmus even pointed out that
he had found the alternative reading in eophylact (addition in B, 1519) and in “some manu-
scripts” (addition in C, 1522). is note is mine.
36 ASD VI-2, 69, n. 11.
37 See the appendix at the end of this paper.
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73Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
Polyglot but unsupported by the Aldine (which simply reproduces the reading of
the rst two editions of Erasmus). e overlap thus occurs in 84 % of the cases.
Such a level of agreement seems reasonable only by admitting a real relation-
ship– either direct or indirect– between the Polyglot and the third edition of the
Novum Testamentum. at is to say, either the text of the Complutensian Polyglot
was available to Erasmus around 1521, or both used a common source (although
this seems highly unlikely, even if the sources for the Greek New Testament of
the Polyglot are still unknown to us).
In the rst case, we should bear in mind that a century has now passed since
Mariano Revilla Rico rejected the hypothesis of a late diusion of the Polyglot.38
He located its origin two centuries earlier in Jacques Le Long’s Bibliotheca Sacra.
e Augustinian martyr39 writes that the only argument for Le Long to support
this delay is precisely that Erasmus does not mention its use until the 1527 edi-
tion, and since then his statement has been generally accepted. As such, those
scholars who point to the late distribution of the Complutensian Polyglot as an
argument to dismiss its inuence on the edition of 1522 are engaging in a peti-
tio principii. It is therefore necessary to reassess the terms of this question. We
already have the tools to do this thanks to the philological work in the volumes
of the Opera Omnia.
Returning to the question raised earlier, is it possible then, that Erasmus
received Cisneros’ Bible during the preparation of the third edition of the New
Testament? In light of the results obtained during the inspection of the Gospel
of John, it would seem so. However, it is necessary to put these ndings into
context, since the clear result in the Gospel of John disappear when carrying out
the same test on the Epistles and Apocalypse. Although the third edition and the
Polyglot share some readings not to be found elsewhere, they are insignicant
in number.40
An intermediate position is that occupied by the Acts of the Apostles, where
(leaving aside questions regarding the form of Moses’ name) there are nine cases
(out of a total of 23) where the readings of the third edition agree only with those
in the Polyglot. is represents 40 % of cases, far below the 84 % of the Gospel
of John, but still signicant. Now, if we remove from that list the six cases of ob-
vious misprints in the 1522 edition (presumably unintentional), the percentage
of matching variants between the 1522 edition and the Polyglot climbs to 53 %.
38 See Revilla Rico, Políglota (op. cit. n. 13), 42 f.
39 He was killed, along with his Augustinian brothers of El Escorial (more than 50), during
the rst months of the Spanish Civil War (1936) and was beatied in 2007.
40 It is well known that the text of the Revelation in the fourth edition, that of 1527, displays
the strong inuence of the Complutensian Polyglot, which provides the corrected text in 144
places. Nothing similar can be said of the third edition, see Scrivener, Introduction (op. cit. n. 15),
434 and, especially, A. J. Brown, ‘Introduction. Part 1’, ASD VI-4, 1–25, here 12.
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Ignacio García Pinilla74
Finally, if we combine the data from both historical books, the percentage of new
readings of the third edition coinciding with the Polyglot rises to 73 %.
I have not been able to take into account the Synoptic Gospels, because the rst
volume of the Amsterdam edition has yet to be published. ere is no doubt how-
ever that examination of the rst three Gospels will provide useful information
regarding the possible inuence of the Polyglot on the third edition of Erasmus’
Novum Testamentum.41
With the data currently available, it seems unlikely that Erasmus had a copy
of volume V of the Complutensian Polyglot at hand at an early date. Indeed, in
the Epistles and Apocalypse, the number of coincident readings is fairly low,
as mentioned above. On the other hand, it seems that such an inuence can be
legitimately argued given the distribution of corrections in the Gospel of John
and the Acts of the Apostles. e disparity in the results suggests that Erasmus
access to information about the Polyglot may have been indirect and incomplete,
perhaps mediated by Juan de Vergara or any of the other humanists from Alcalá
(or Toledo or even Rome). By examining the distribution of variants in dierent
quires, the theory that scattered printed parts of the Polyglot could have reached
Basel can be rejected. Surely Zúñiga was not the only one in Alcalá who ana-
lysed thoroughly the Novum Instrumentum when the rst copy arrived,42 and it
might not have been dicult for Vergara, while he was in Germany, to ask one
of his friends in Alcalá– or even his own brother, the Hellenist Francisco de
Vergara– to send him a list of variant readings between the editions of Brocar
and Froben. Such consignments were not infrequent, and Erasmus received at
least two of them from Spain at virtually the same time. First, a copy of Zúñiga’s
book– the one forgotten by Vergara– and second, through the imperial secretary
Guy Morillon, a copy of Nebrijas unpublished work In Reuclinum Phorcensem et
Erasmus Roterodamum quod de talita in Evangelio Marci et de tabita in Luca non
41 Many scholars oer lists of variant readings in several bibles of the 16thcentury, but it is
more dicult to nd among them a collation including the ve Erasmian editions. Some in-
formation can be taken from H. C. Hoskier, A Full Account and Collation of the Greek Cursive
Codex Evangelium 604 (with Two Facsimiles) (London 1890), appendix B. According to it, Luke
11,12 (ατσ) and 17,1 (το ) are examples of readings in the Synoptics where AB + Aldus
are against CDE + Polyglot. In a preliminary survey, it seems that the situation in the Synoptics
is quite dierent from that in John and Acts.
42 Among the witnesses of the early presence of the Novum Instrumentum in Alcalá, a letter
sent by García de Bobadilla, abbot of Santa María de Husillos, to Cardinal Cisneros in Novem-
ber 1516 is remarkable. A photographic reproduction of it is available in the catalogue of the
exhibition by Gonzalo Sánchez-Molero (ed.), V Centenario (op. cit. n. 2), 231–234, with a partial
transcription. It is translated in Rummel, Jiménez de Cisneros (op. cit. n. 1), 61: “Given that he
has anticipated Your Reverence with his publication, I believe that he could be of assistance in
making your work appear somewhat more polished … I believe that Your Reverence should
not deprive yourself of a person like Erasmus. You should avail yourself of his assistance in the
correction of the whole publication and hire his services for a certain period”.
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
75Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
bene senserunt.43 If the material concerning the Polyglot was sent in successive
deliveries, as the work progressed, it can be assumed that some of these arrived
on time to be used in the third edition, while others (or the other) might have
been lost or arrived too late.
But, why would Erasmus disguise the use of such a source? Several reasons
can be identied:
First, if his access to that source was only indirect and also fragmentary, he
likely would have used that witness with caution, for he would not have been
able to guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.
– Second, in the midst of his controversy with Zúñiga, if Erasmus had explicitly
recognized the value of many readings in the New Testament in which his
opponent had worked, it could have seemed that he was admitting Zúñiga was
ird, silence could prevent attacks on his friend Vergara (or whoever may
have passed him the material). Although in Spain there was still no open
prosecution against Erasmists, there were plenty of critics. Moreover, the con-
tributors to the Polyglot had already borne attacks from the most conservative
sectors,44 and Vergara could have been bitterly attacked even by Zúñiga him-
self if it was found that he had cooperated with Erasmus by sending material
for a new edition of his New Testament.
ese suggestions, coupled with the interesting readings provided by his corre-
spondents, would justify Erasmus dissimulating them by adopting variants of the
Polyglot in some books of the 1522 edition.
At present, it is not possible however to arrive at any denitive conclusions,
so this contribution is intended only to present a hypothesis for further consid-
eration and discussion, one which could explain the reasons that led Erasmus
to incorporate variants in the third edition of the New Testament that might
otherwise appear arbitrary.
(Translated by Julián Morales and Alba Caballero)
43 See C. Gilly, ‘Otra vez Nebrija, Erasmo, Reuchlin y Cisneros’, Boletín de la Sociedad Castel-
lonense de Cultura 74 (1998), 257–340, here 260 f.
It is well known, for example, that Antonio de Nebrija was accosted by a furious Dominican
in Burgos, because he was indignant at the news received about the preparatory works for the
Polyglot Bible; the monk reviled the major contributors, labelling Coronel as a Jew, Nebrija as
an heretic and Zúñiga as a fool. is account was transmitted by Álvar Gómez de Castro but
it is only to be found in the rst versions of his life of Cisneros, because it was censored before
going to press. It is contextualised in I. J. García Pinilla, ‘El humanista ante la historia ocial:
la podadera en el De rebus gestis a Francisco Ximenio Cisnerio de Álvar Gómez de Castro’, in
E. Fosalba/ M. J. Vega (eds.), Textos castigados. La censura literaria en el Siglo de Oro (Bern
2013), 173–187, here 182.
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
Ignacio García Pinilla76
List of places from St. John’s Gospel where Erasmus’ edition C (1522) diers from
AB, with reference to the Complutensian Polyglot (Pol) and the Aldine Bible
(Aldus). Source: ASD VI-2.
1,25 προφτη (+Aldus)  προφτη (+Pol)
1,33 λλ (+Aldus) λλ‘  (+Pol)
2,15 φραγγλιον (+Aldus) φραγλλιον (+Pol)
2,22 – (+Aldus) ατο (+Pol)
5,2 στω (+Aldus) στο (+Pol)
5,10 – (+Aldus) ο (+Pol)
6,11 θελεν (+Aldus) θελον (+Pol)
6,29 πιστεητε (+Aldus) πιστεσητε (+Pol)
6,63 φελε (+Aldus) φελε (+Pol)
7,45 – (+Aldus) ον (+Pol)
8,39 ν (+Aldus) ν (+Pol)
8,44 νθροπκτονο (+Aldus) νθρωπκτονο (+Pol)
8,51 – (+Aldus) τον (+Pol)
9,10 νεχθησαν (+Aldus) νεχθησαν (+Pol)
9,21 ε (+Aldus) ε (+Pol)
10,4 κβλλ (+Aldus) κβλ (+Pol)
10,33 λιθζοεν (+Aldus, Pol) λιθσοεν
12,33 ποθνσκειν ποθνσκειν (+Aldus, Pol)
12,38 ν (+Aldus) ν (+Pol)
12,42 κα κ (+Aldus, Pol) κ
12,47 πιστε (+Aldus) πιστεσ (+Pol)
13,36 – (+Aldus) γ (+Pol)
14,4 – (+Aldus) γ (+Pol)
16,3 ν (+Aldus) (Pol omits) ν
16,16 – (+Aldus, Pol) γ
16,21 τκτει (+Aldus) τκτ (+Pol)
19,28 δν (+Aldus) εδ (+Pol)
19,31 ρτησαν (+Aldus, Pol) ρτησαν
19,36 ατο (+Aldus) π‘ ατο (+Pol)
21,4 γινονη (+Aldus) γενονη (+Pol)
21,7 πενδτυν (+Aldus) πενδτην (+Pol)
Digitaler Sonderdruck des Autors mit Genehmigung des Verlages.
77Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum
e closeness in the publication dates of the rst edition of Erasmus’ New Testament
(1516) and Volume V of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible (printed in 1514, but not
released until 1521 or 1522) has led researchers to examine the relationship between the
two works. e chronological issue is further compounded by the scarcity of documentary
sources for the study of the Polyglot. is paper provides a quick review of studies of the
Polyglot’s New Testament, in addition to pointing out some diculties in the use of the
sources. A sample of one of these diculties, taken from the rst Latin biography of Cis-
neros, is included. at biography was written by Álvar Gómez de Castro using the dras
of Juan de Vergara, who was Cisneros’ nal secretary; it was published in 1569.
Some scholars have suggested the possibility of a reverse inuence of the Novum In-
strumentum on Volume V of the Polyglot. is would mean that the initial quire, or even
several quires (containing glosses) have been printed at a later date. e basis and strength
of this hypothesis are analysed in the present paper.
e next section oers a critique of the commonly accepted opinion that the Com-
plutensian Polyglot did not inuence ErasmusNovum Testamentum until its fourth edi-
tion of 1527. It refers to the analysis of variants showing that in some books of the third
edition of 1522 (St. John’s Gospel and Acts of the Apostles, at least) we nd a signicant
number of new readings that tally with those of the Polyglot. Finally, we will consider how
Erasmus could have been inuenced, especially by Juan de Vergara (who was a humanist
and a contributor to the Polyglot Bible of Alcalá), and why Erasmus might have been silent
about the use of this source in the Annotationes.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
This paper begins by pointing out the previously unobserved fact that the accentuation of the Greek New Testament text of the Complutensian Polyglot (1514) follows a monotonic system almost exactly the same as that now in use in Modern Greek. Next is considered the information on the matter in the preface to the volume. The Greek text of the preface is presented with English translation and notes. A number of misconceptions are dealt with. The question of the identity of the inventor of the accentuation is then explored in full. The evidence in favour of Dimitrios Doukas as editor of the text and author of the preface is summarised and augmented. The paper then argues that it was he who conceived and applied the system of accentuation. Possible other sources of the idea are considered and eliminated. Finally the question of who might have been behind the initial intention to print an unaccented text is discussed.
V Centenario de la Biblia Políglota Complutense
  • J L Gonzalo
J. L. Gonzalo Sánchez-Molero (ed.), V Centenario de la Biblia Políglota Complutense. La Universidad del Renacimiento. El Renacimiento de la Universidad (Madrid 2014);