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Johann August Ernesti

1707-1781. German Lutheran theologian. Born in Thuringia and educated at Wittenberg and Leipzig, his early career was given to classics; he was later to produce famous editions of Homer, Polybius, Aristotle, Xenophon, Tacitus, Suetonius, Cicero, and others. In 1742 he became professor of ancient literature at Leipzig, to which post was added in 1758 a chair in theology, which dual role he sustained until 1770. As a grammarian and philologist he discarded dogma for historical evidence in theological studies, and he tried to reconcile traditional Lutheran beliefs with biblical scholarship. Ernesti's most important work is Institutio interpretis Novi Testamenti (8 vols., 1761).