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Critici sacri was a compilation of Latin biblical commentaries published in London from 1660, edited by John Pearson. The publisher was Cornelius Bee. The work appeared in nine volumes, and collected numerous authors, both Protestant and Catholic, of early modern critical work on the Bible.[1] It was intended to complement Brian Walton's Polyglot Bible, and set off a series of subsequent related publications.[2]

The original work, while influential (particularly in making the notes of Grotius widely available),[3] was not a connected Bible commentary, and was found to be long-winded, as well as scanty in other parts. Later publications attempted to address these shortcomings.[4]

Critici sacri (1660)

The original full title was Critici Sacri, sive Doctissimorum Virorum in SS. Biblia Annotationes et Tractatus, and it appeared in nine volumes starting in 1660. The commentary project was launched by Cornelius Bee, with the main editor being John Pearson, supported by Anthony Scattergood and Francis Gouldman, as well as Pearson's brother Richard.[5] Bee was a bookseller in Little Britain, London. He suffered major losses in the 1666 Great Fire.[6]

Synopsis criticorum (from 1669)

The Synopsis criticorum was a work by Matthew Poole, in five volumes, condensing the Critici sacri, and adding further authors. There was a 1684 edition by Johann Leusden;[7] also editions by J. H. Maius (1679), and J. G. Pritz (Pritius) (1712).[8]

There had already been a pioneer complete Bible commentary in English, the Annotations upon all the Books of the Old and New Testament sponsored by the Westminster Assembly.[9] Prompted by William Lloyd, Poole began his compilation in 1666. The prospectus of Poole's work bore the names of eight bishops (headed by Morley and Hacket) and five continental scholars, besides other divines. Simon Patrick, John Tillotson, and Edward Stillingfleet, with four laymen, acted as trustees of the subscription money. A patent for the work was obtained on 14 October 1667.[10]

Poole had assistance from John Lightfoot and Matthew Robinson.[11][12]

The first volume was ready for the press, when difficulties were raised by Cornelius Bee, who accused Poole of invading his own patent. After pamphlets had been written and legal opinions taken, the matter was referred to Henry Pierrepont, 1st Marquess of Dorchester, and Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, who decided in Poole's favour; Bee's name appears (1669) among the publishers of the Synopsis. The style was crisp notes, including rabbinical sources and Roman Catholic commentators.[10][13]

Matthew Poole's Synopsis criticorum is currently being translated by the Matthew Poole Project, and much of the work is available online.[14]

Critici sacri (from 1698)

An expanded edition was produced in Amsterdam from 1698 by a Dutch editorial group, credited as: Hendrick Boom, the widow of Dirk Boom, Johannes Janssonius van Waesberge, Gillis Janssonius van Waesberge, Gerardus Borstius,[15] Abraham van Someren, Joannes Wolters, and Willem van de Water.[16]

The authors included in this collection are selectively listed by Adam Clarke:[17][18]

Thesaurus theologico-philologicus

Under the full title Thesaurus theologico-philologicus sive sylloge dissertationum elegantiorum ad selectiora et illustriora Veteris et Novi Testamenti two further supplementary volumes were published in Amsterdam in 1701. These were followed up in 1732 by two further volumes of the Thesaurus novus theologico-philologicus;[9] these were edited by Theodor Hase and Conrad Iken.[20]


  1. ^ Keene, Nicholas. "Poole, Matthew". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22518. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. III: Chamier – Draendorf, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  3. ^ Saebo, Magne (2008). Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation: from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 876–. ISBN 978-3-525-53982-8. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  4. ^ Bloomfield, Samuel Thomas (1837). Hē kainē diathēkē: the Greek Testament with English notes, critical, philological, and exegetical, partly selected and arranged from the best commentators, ancient and modern, but chiefly original; The whole being especially adapted to the use of academical students, candidates for the sacred office, and ministers. Perkins & Marvin. pp. 9–.
  5. ^ "Scattergood, Antony" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  6. ^ A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers who Were at Work in England, Scotland and Ireland, Archive, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  7. ^ Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1839). Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Great Britain: C. Knight. pp. 452–. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  8. ^ Watson, George; Willison, Ian Roy (1971). The new Cambridge bibliography of English literature. Cambridge University Press. pp. 5–. ISBN 978-0-521-20004-2. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  9. ^ a b Horne 1836, pp. 1–.
  10. ^ a b "Poole, Matthew" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  11. ^ Key, Newton E. "Lightfoot, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16648. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  12. ^ Hopper, Andrew J. "Robinson, Matthew". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23859. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  13. ^ "Synopsis criticorum aliorumque Sacrae Scripturae", Babel Babel, vol. 2, HathiTrust Digital Library, 7 August 1694, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Poole Project".
  15. ^ van Rooden, Peter (1999), "The Amsterdam Translation of the Mishnah", in Horbury, William (ed.), Hebrew Study from Ezra to Ben-Yehuda (PDF), T&T Clark, pp. 257–67, archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2011, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  16. ^ Trove – Critici sacri, sive, Annotata doctissimorum virorum in Vetus ac Novum Testamentum : quibus accedunt tractatus varii theologico-philologici (in Latin), AU: NLA, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  17. ^ "AT", Holy Bible, Archive, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  18. ^ Clarke, Adam, ed. (1825). The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments: the text printed from the most correct copies of the present authorized translation including the marginal readings and parallel texts with a commentary and critical notes designed as a help to a better understanding of the sacred writings. N. Bangs & J. Emory. pp. 13–. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  19. ^ "Franaut-U", Users, NL: Bart, retrieved 15 June 2011.
  20. ^ Ike, Conrad (19 January 2011), Thesaurus, CERL, retrieved 15 June 2011.


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.