Ernesti, John Augustus

, was born at Tacnnstadt in Thuringia, Aug. 4, 1707, was educated at Witternberg and Leipsic, and became one of the most learned philologers of Germany. He studied theology as a profession; and in 1734 was chosen rector of St. Thomas’s school. In 1742 he was appointed professor extraordinary of ancient literature, in 1756 professor of eloquence, and in 1758 doctor and professor of divinity, the functions of all which offices he discharged with great assiduity and high reputation, and yet found leisure for his numerous original | publications, and those excellent editions of the classics which have made his name familiar in the learned world. As a divine, he disliked the modern philosophical innovations in the study of theology, and was alike hostile to infidelity and superstition. He died, with the character of a man of consummate learning and irreproachable character, Sept. 11, 1781. Among his valuable editions of the classics are, 1. His “Homer,” Leipsic, 1759, 5 vols. 8vo, which may be ranked among the very best. It is formed on the basis of Clarke’s, containing his text and notes, and the various readings of a Leipsic manuscript, with those of the ancient editions. 2. “Callimachus,” Ley den, 1761, 2 vols. 8vo, containing, besides the preface, notes, and version of Ernesti, many grammatical and critical observations of Hemsterhusius and Ruhnkenius, and the whole of what is valuable in Gravius. 3. “Cicero,” of whose works he published three editions, the first at Leipsic, 1737, 5 vols. the others at Halle, 1758 and 1774, in 8 vols. 8vo. The second and third, which are the most correct, contain the famous “Clavis Ciceroniana,” which has been published separately. 4. “Tacitus,” Leipsic, 1752, 1772, 2 vols. 8vo, both valuable, although there are more errors and omissions than could have been wished; yet the preface, notes, and indexes are interesting and useful. 5. “Suetonius,” two editions, at Leipsic, 1748 and 1775, 8vo, but neither correct, or indeed at all valuable. 6. Aristophanes’ s Nubes,“Leipsic, 1788, a very useful edition, with the ancient scholia, and remarks by the editor and by Nagelius. 7. Xenophon’s” Memorabilia,“of which there have been several editions, 1737, 1742, 1755, &c. The best is that of Leipsic, 1772. Ernesti’s other works are, 8.” Initia doctrinse solidioris,“Leipsic, 1783, 8vo, the seventh edition. 9.” Institutio interpretis Novi Testamenti,“Leipsic, 1775, 8vo, the third edition, which Alberti of Leyden calls a” golden work.“10. An improved edition of Hederic’s Lexicon, 1754 and 1767. 11. A” Theological Library,“1760 1771, 11 vols. 8vo. 12.” Opuscula Oratoria, Orationes, Prolusiones et Elogia x “Leyden, 1762, 8vo. This contains thirteen very elegant and judicious academical discourses, pronounced on different occasions, with the same number of historical eloges. The subjects of the discourses are, 1. Of the study of the belles lettres. 2. That eloquence has its real source in the heart. 3. That we must conform to the laws of criticism in the study of | divinity. 4. Of the revolutions of eloquence. 5. Of the conditions to be observed for studying and teaching philosophy with success. 6. Of the advantages of real learning. 7. The arts of peace and war. 8. A parallel between the Greek and Roman writers. 9. Of the name of on’s country. 10. Of joining the art of thinking to that of speaking. 11. Of the desire of praise and reputation. 12. Of popular philosophy and, 13. Of moral or practicable philosophy. These discourses are written in an easy flowing style, and in elegant Latinity. II.” Opusculorum oratoriorum, novum volumen,“Leipsic, 1791, 8vo: this and another volume published in 1794, forms a complete collection of Ernesti’s smaller tracts. 12.” Archaeologia literaria,“Leipsic, 1768, 8vo, to which we may add his excellent new edition, of which he lived to publish only 3 volumes, of” Fabricii Bibl. Graeca." His nephew, Augus­Tus William Ernes n, was born in 1733, and died in 1801 at Leipsic, where he was professor of eloquence in that university from 1770, and well known by his edition of Livy, Quintilian, and other classics. To the university library there he bequeathed his very complete collection of the works of Camerarius; and to that of the Senate, his collection of the editions and Mss. of Cicero, to complete the Ciceronian collection already in it. 1

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Dict. Hist.—Rees’s Cyclopædia.—Dibdin’s Classics.