London Polyglot

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The last great polyglot is Brian Walton's (London, 1657), which is much less beautiful than Le Jay's but more complete in various ways, including, among other things, the Syriac of Esther and of several apocryphal books for which it is wanting in the Paris Bible, Persian versions of the Pentateuch and Gospels, and the Psalms and New Testament in Ethiopic. Walton was aided by able scholars and used much new manuscript material. His prolegomena and collections of various readings mark an important advance in biblical criticism. It was in connection with this polyglot that Edmund Castell produced his famous Heptaglott Lexicon (two volumes folio, London, 1669), a monument of industry and erudition even when allowance is made for the fact that for the Arabic he had the great manuscript lexicon compiled and left to the University of Cambridge by William Bedwell. The liberality of Cardinal Ximenes, who is said to have spent half a million ducats on it, removed the Complutensian polyglot from the risks of commerce. The other three editions all brought their promoters to the verge of ruin.

Subsequent polyglots are of little scholarly importance, the best recent texts having been confined to a single language; but at least into the early 20th century many biblical students still used Walton and, if it was available, Le Jay.

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