The last fifty years of scholarly research have revealed the fifteenth-century thinker Lorenzo Valla as a powerfully original intellect, difficult to shoehorn into contemporary disciplinary divisions. One of the most interesting areas of his work concerns the intersection of philology, theology, and philosophy, which Valla himself did not, in practice, separate discretely. His Annotations to the New Testament presents a case in point. As a collection of critical notes on the standard Latin translation of the New Testament (the Vulgate), the annotations themselves range from lexicographical to theoretical. Yet the “Preface” that Valla wrote for the Annotations has not been studied in great detail; the two versions of this “Preface” represent Valla’s views on the importance of studying scripture with philological tools, his respect for the Greek language, and his strong sense of himself as a rather revolutionary interpreter. This article brings these concerns into relief and offers the first English translation of the two versions of the “Preface.”

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