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Giannozzo Manetti's New Testament: new evidence on sources, translation process and the use of Valla's Annotationes

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Abstract

In the 1450s, the court of Pope Nicholas V was a centre of humanist learning, including humanist biblical scholarship. This is where Lorenzo Valla (1407–57) wrote his Annotationes in Novum Testamentum, a work that influenced later biblical scholarship through Erasmus' edition. However, Valla was not the only humanist to revise the Vulgate: around the same time, the Florentine humanist Giannozzo Manetti (1396–1459) produced a new Latin translation of the New Testament from the Greek, also at the Vatican court. This is the only Latin translation between Jerome's Vulgate and Erasmus' version, and it was probably commissioned by the pope himself. Although Valla's work is well known, Manetti's text remains in manuscript, and has hardly been studied. This article presents new insights in the writing process of Manetti's translation and its relation to Valla's biblical scholarship. It shows that Valla's project was not an isolated case, and that Manetti, though influenced by his more famous contemporary, was an independent scholar who developed his own method over time.

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