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SAMUEL WILBERFORCE’S ANNOTATED NEW TESTAMENT:Novum Testamentum: juxta exemplar millianum

[Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford]
‘Soapy Sam’ Wilberforce’s interleaved copy of the Greek New Testament with copious manuscript annotation from the early part of a career that cul… Read more
Published in 1819 by Clarendon Press.
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SAMUEL WILBERFORCE’S ANNOTATED NEW TESTAMENT:Novum Testamentum: juxta exemplar millianum by [Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford]

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‘Soapy Sam’ Wilberforce’s interleaved copy of the Greek New Testament with copious manuscript annotation from the early part of a career that culminated in his famous clash with T H Huxley and Robert Owen over Darwin’s evolutionary theory.

Small octavo bound in quarter black morocco, probably during the 20th century with a Latin inscription from the bibliophile responsible for the restoration explaining the book’s provenance on the new flyleaf: ‘E libris... Samuelis Episcopi Oxoniensis.’ Opposite, tipped in, a cutting from an early 20th century bookseller’s catalogue offering the book for sale, again as Wilberforce’s copy. Samuel Wilberforce’s ownership signature appears at the head of the title page: ‘S Wilberforce’. The printed text breaks off after the end of St John’s Gospel after the second verse of the Acts of the Apostles. The text is interleaved throughout with the blank inserts bearing Wilberforce’s extensive annotation to the first two Gospels and a much reduced intensity for Luke and John - around 50 pages with annotation, ranging from a few words to a full page. Additionally Wilberforce has added lighter annotations to the printed text itself.

Wilberforce’s annotations to the Gospels have the feeling of a young man’s exploratory and scholarly readings, drawing on rival authorities and interpretations in the manner of the scholar that he was at Oriel College Oxford and during his training for the priesthood in the 1820s - the date of this edition is 1819. Opposite the first verses of Matthew’s Gospel, Wilberforce takes a note from George Pretyman ‘Tomline’s Theology’ on the visit of the Magi with his own observation below: ‘In fourteen hundred years no one controverted the opinion that the gospel of St Matthew was written in Hebrew and translated early into Greek. Erasmus was one of the first who contended that the present Greek copy was the original.’ Wilberforce continued with notes on the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies, the nature of the Pharisees, diferent classes of ‘tax gatherers’, variant readings and in relation to Matthew c18. v 17 on telling it ‘unto the church’: ‘Directly to the Apostles whatever they forbad on earth he would forbid for they were directly inspired. Hence our obligation to obey their commands...’ Wilberforce examines rival interpretations of ‘regeneration’, arguments for ‘infant baptism’ and Christ’s ‘only exclamation of grief or pain... on the cross: here his pain is purely Mental which may show what constituted the chief suffering of the Saviour, namely the sense of his fathers absence - the weight of his wrath.’

Samuel Wilberforce was the 3rd and favourite son of his anti-slavery campaigning father, William Wilberforce. Born in 1805 he was home educated during which time his parents took ‘an intense interest in the spiritual and moral development of their children’ before attending Oriel College, Oxford in the 1820s and becoming an Anglican priest when he took a curacy at Checkendon, Oxfordshire - it was as a young clergyman that he instituted Sunday afternoon lectures on the gospels. During this period he became a highly effective public speaker which led to his involvement in the great evolutionary debate of 1860 - with Wilberforce the leading figure against evolution by natural selection. In 1845 he was enthroned in what was effectively the new diocese of Oxford and it is on his work there that his subsequent reputation rests. It seems thoroughly appropriate that it should be on an Oxford-printed New Testament that Wilberforce expended such scholarly effort.


Full details

Added under Book
Publisher Clarendon Press
Date published 1819
Subject 1 Book
First edition Yes
Product code 7947


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