Nestle was a son of the upper tribunal procurator (Obertribunalprokurator) Christian Gottlieb Nestle and his wife Sophie Beate Kleinmann. His half-brother from his father's second marriage was classical philologist Wilhelm Nestle.
Nestle studied at the University of Tübingen—the Tübinger Stift—from 1869 to 1874. His studies culminated in his doctoral thesis on the Hebrew and Greek text forms of the Book of Ezekiel. Afterwards he worked in the area of orientalism and wrote, among other things, a Syriac grammar. During his later years, his focus changed to textual criticism of the New Testament.
Between 1898 and 1912 he worked as professor at the Evangelical Seminaries of Maulbronn and Blaubeuren.
In 1880, he married Klara Kommerell (1852–87) in Tübingen; they had one son, Erwin Nestle. In 1887 his wife died after a short illness, and three years later, in 1890, Nestle married Elisabeth Aichele (1867–1944). In this second marriage, five daughters and one son were born.
In 1898 Nestle published a handbook of textual criticism, and in 1898 published the first edition of a Greek New Testament under the title Novum Testamentum Graece cum apparatu critico ex editionibus et libris manu scriptis collecto. The text of this Greek New Testament was combined with the editions of Constantin von Tischendorf (Editio octava critica maior), The New Testament in the Original Greek of Westcott and Hort, and the edition of Richard Francis Weymouth. It was edited by the Württemberg Bible Society in Stuttgart. This edition eliminated the extremes of Tischendorf, such as partiality to Sinaiticus, and of Westcott and Hort, such as partiality to Vaticanus.
This edition was adopted by the British and Foreign Bible Society, replacing the Textus Receptus. After a few years this edition received worldwide recognition as the best edition of the Greek New Testament. This edition took the place which formerly belonged to the Textus Receptus and became a "New Textus Receptus".
After the death of Eberhard Nestle his son Erwin Nestle (1883–1972) took over the publication and contributed substantially to a constant improvement of the editions. Since 1952 the edition occurred with the cooperation of Kurt Aland (21st edition). The theological standard work "Nestle-Aland" appeared from 1993 in the 27th edition.
A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament: For the Use of Biblical Students is one of the books of Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener (1813–1891), biblical scholar and textual critic. In this book Scrivener listed over 3,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, as well as manuscripts of early versions. It was used by Gregory for further work.
The book was published in four editions. The first edition, published in 1861, contained 506 pages. The second edition (1874) was expanded into 626 pages; the third into 751 pages; and the fourth into 874 pages. Two first editions were issued in one volume; in the third edition the material was divided into two volumes, with an increased number of chapters in each. The first volume was edited in 1883, the second in 1887. The fourth edition was also issued in two volumes (1894). The fourth edition of the book was reprinted in 2005 by Elibron Classics.Codex Alexandrinus
The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, MS Royal 1. D. V-VIII; Gregory-Aland no. A or 02, Soden δ 4) is a fifth-century manuscript of the Greek Bible, containing the majority of the Septuagint and the New Testament. It is one of the four Great uncial codices. Along with the Codex Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus, it is one of the earliest and most complete manuscripts of the Bible. Brian Walton assigned Alexandrinus the capital Latin letter A in the Polyglot Bible of 1657. This designation was maintained when the system was standardized by Wettstein in 1751. Thus, Alexandrinus held the first position in the manuscript list.It derives its name from Alexandria where it resided for a number of years before it was brought by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Cyril Lucaris from Alexandria to Constantinople. Then it was given to Charles I of England in the 17th century. Until the later purchase of Codex Sinaiticus, it was the best manuscript of the Greek Bible deposited in Britain. Today, it rests along with Codex Sinaiticus in one of the showcases in the Ritblat Gallery of the British Library. A full photographic reproduction of the New Testament volume (Royal MS 1 D. viii) is available on the British Library's website.
As the text came from several different traditions, different parts of the codex are not of equal textual value. The text has been edited several times since the 18th century.Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (Paris, National Library of France, Greek 9; Gregory-Aland no. C or 04, von Soden δ 3) is a fifth-century Greek manuscript of the Bible, sometimes referred to as one of the four great uncials (see Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus and Vaticanus). The manuscript is not intact: in its current condition, Codex C contains material from every New Testament book except 2 Thessalonians and 2 John; however, only six books of the Greek Old Testament are represented. It is not known whether 2 Thessalonians and 2 John were excluded on purpose, or that not a single fragment of either epistle happened to survive.The manuscript is called Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus because (a) it is a codex, i.e., a handmade book; (b) its parchment has been recycled; originally inscribed with Scriptural texts, the pages were washed (removing most of the ink) and reused for another text, and (c) the text that was written on the recycled pages, in the 12th century, consisted of Greek translations of 38 treatises composed by Ephrem the Syrian, a prominent theologian of the mid-4th century. Manuscripts of this sort, consisting of recycled pages, are known as palimpsests. The later, "upper", text was written in the 12th century.
The lower text of the palimpsest was deciphered by biblical scholar and palaeographer Constantin von Tischendorf in 1840–1843, and was edited by him in 1843–1845. Currently it is housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Grec 9) in Paris.Codex Koridethi
The Codex Koridethi, also named Codex Coridethianus, designated by Θ, 038, or Theta (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 050 (Soden), is a 9th-century manuscript of the four Gospels. It is written in Greek with uncial script in two columns per page, in 25 lines per page. There are gaps in the text: Matthew 1:1–9, 1:21–4:4, and 4:17–5:4 are missing.
The letters are written in a rough, inelegant hand. The scribe who wrote the text is believed to have been unfamiliar with Greek.The codex is located now in Tbilisi (Georgian National Center of Manuscripts, Gr. 28).Codex Nanianus
Codex Nanianus, designated by siglum U or 030 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 90 (von Soden), is a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament on parchment, dated palaeographically to the 9th century. The manuscript has complex contents, with full marginalia (see picture). The codex is named after its last owner. It is also known as Codex Venetus Marcianus.
The text of the codex usually follows the majority text, but with departures, some of them represent Alexandrian tradition. The manuscript is rarely cited in the present critical editions of the Greek New Testament.Codex Vaticanus
The Codex Vaticanus (The Vatican, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; no. B or 03 Gregory-Aland, δ 1 von Soden) is regarded as the oldest extant manuscript of the Greek Bible (Old and New Testament), one of the four great uncial codices. The Codex is named after its place of conservation in the Vatican Library, where it has been kept since at least the 15th century. It is written on 759 leaves of vellum in uncial letters and has been dated palaeographically to the 4th century.The manuscript became known to Western scholars as a result of correspondence between Erasmus and the prefects of the Vatican Library. Portions of the codex were collated by several scholars, but numerous errors were made during this process. The codex's relationship to the Latin Vulgate was unclear and scholars were initially unaware of its value. This changed in the 19th century when transcriptions of the full codex were completed. It was at that point that scholars realised the text differed significantly from the Textus Receptus.Most current scholars consider the Codex Vaticanus to be one of the best Greek texts of the New Testament, with the Codex Sinaiticus as its only competitor. Until the discovery by Tischendorf of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus was unrivaled. It was extensively used by Westcott and Hort in their edition of The New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881. The most widely sold editions of the Greek New Testament are largely based on the text of the Codex Vaticanus. Codex Vaticanus is regarded as "the oldest extant copy of the Bible."Coptic versions of the Bible
There have been many Coptic versions of the Bible, including some of the earliest translations into any language. Several different versions were made in the ancient world, with different editions of the Old and New Testament in all four of the major dialects of Coptic: Bohairic (northern), Fayyumic, Sahidic (southern), Akhmimic, and Mesokemic. Biblical books were translated from the Alexandrian Greek version.
The Sahidic was the leading dialect in the pre-Islamic period, after the 11th century Bohairic became dominant and the only used dialect of the Coptic language.
Partial copies of a number of Coptic Bibles survive. A considerable number of apocryphal texts also survive in Coptic, most notably the Gnostic Nag Hammadi library. Coptic remains the liturgical language of the Coptic Church and Coptic editions of the Bible are central to that faith.Erwin Nestle
Erwin Nestle (22 May 1883 in Münsingen, Germany – 1972), son of Eberhard Nestle, was a German scholar who continued editing his father's "Nestle Edition" of the New Testament in Greek, adding a full critical apparatus in the thirteenth edition.Lectionary 54
Lectionary 54, designated by siglum ℓ 54 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering). It is a Greek manuscript of the New Testament on paper leaves. It is dated by a colophon to the year 1470.London Canon Tables
The London Canon Tables (British Library, Add. MS 5111) is a Byzantine illuminated Gospel Book fragment on vellum from the sixth or seventh century. It was possibly made in Constantinople. The fragment consists of two folios of two illuminated canon tables – of unusual construction – set beneath an ornamental arcade and the Letter by Eusebius of Caesarea which usually prefaces canon tables. The fragment is bound together with a twelfth-century Gospel Book (British Library, Add. MS 5111 and 5112) which is thought to have belonged to one of the monasteries on Mount Athos.
The folios are 220 by 150 mm. They were originally larger, but were trimmed to their current size when they were bound with the twelfth century Gospel Book. The two folios are stained gold, an attribute even rarer than purple-stained folios such as are in the Vienna Genesis. The arches and the columns of the arcades are filled by brightly coloured abstract ornamentation. This ornamentation causes the arcade to lose much of its structural sense. Below each of the arches, there is a medallion with a portrait painted in classical style. As there would have been twelve of these arches it is likely these portraits represent the Apostles, although there is no direct connection between the Canon Tables or the letter of Eusebius and the twelve Apostles.
The numbers of corresponding Gospel sections, as listed in the London Canon Tables, differ strikingly from any other surviving manuscript of the Eusebian canons. Eberhard Nestle, who was among the first biblical scholars to call attention to the value of the Eusebian canons for the New Testament textual criticism, dismissed the London Canon Tables as an example of de luxe manuscripts whose "text-critical value stands in reverse proportion to their artistic". The art historian Carl Nordenfalk, however, suggested that the London Canon Tables, "instead of being an example of careless copying, presuppose another section division than that of Eusebius himself".Minuscule 1739
Minuscule 1739 (per Gregory-Aland numbering), α 78 (per von Soden), is a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament, on 102 parchment leaves (23 cm by 17.5 cm). It is dated paleographically to the 10th century.Novum Testamentum Graece
Novum Testamentum Graece (The New Testament in Greek) is a critical edition of the New Testament in its original Koine Greek, forming the basis of most modern Bible translations and biblical criticism. It is also known as the Nestle-Aland edition after its most influential editors, Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland. The text, edited by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, is currently in its 28th edition, abbreviated NA28.
The title is sometimes applied to the United Bible Societies (UBS) edition, which contains the same text (its fifth edition, "UBS5", contains the text from NA28). The latter edition is aimed at translators and so focuses on variants that are important for the meaning whereas the NA includes more variants.Papyrus 6
Papyrus 6 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 6 or by ε 021 (in von Soden's numbering), is a fragmentary early copy of the New Testament in Greek and Coptic (Akhmimic). It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of John that has been dated paleographically to the 4th century. The manuscript also contains text of the First Epistle of Clement, which is treated as a canonical book of the New Testament by the Coptic Church. The major part of the codex is lost.
The Greek text of the codex has several unusual textual variants.Tübinger Stift
The Tübinger Stift (listen ) is a hall of residence and teaching; it is owned and supported by the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg, and located in the university city of Tübingen, in South West Germany. The Stift was founded as an Augustinian monastery in the Middle Ages. After the Reformation, in 1536, Duke Ulrich turned the Stift into a seminary which served to prepare Protestant pastors for Württemberg. To this day the scholarship is still given to students in preparation for the ministry or teaching in Württemberg. Students receive a scholarship which consists of boarding, lodging and further academic support.
Some of the well known "Stiftlers" are the astronomer Johannes Kepler and his associate, statesman Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg, the poet Friedrich Hölderlin who had as roommates the philosophers G. W. F. Hegel and Friedrich Schelling, the theologians David Friedrich Strauß, Johann Albrecht Bengel, Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, Ferdinand Christian Baur and Eberhard Nestle, and the philologist August Pauly.Uncial 0152
Uncial 0152 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), is a Greek talisman manuscript of the New Testament. It contains a small fragment of the Gospel of Matthew (16:9-13). It is dated to the 4th century.Uncial 0162
Uncial 0162 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 023 (Soden; also known as Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 847 or P.Oxy. 847), is one vellum leaf of a Codex containing The Gospel of John in Greek. It has been paleographically assigned a 3rd or 4th century CE date.Uncial 0220
Uncial 0220 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), also known as the Wyman fragment, is a leaf of a third century Greek codex containing The Epistle to the Romans.Uncial 089
Uncial 089 in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 28 (Soden), is a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament, dated paleographically to the 6th century. The codex now is located at the Russian National Library (Gr. 280) in Saint Petersburg. It came to Russia from Sinai.