1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mill, John

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MILL, JOHN (c. 1645-1707), English theologian, was born about 1645 at Shap in Westmorland, entered Queen's College, Oxford, as a servitor in 1661, and took his master's degree in 1669 in which year he spoke the “Oratio Panegyrica” at the opening of the Sheldonian Theatre. Soon afterwards he was chosen fellow and tutor of his college; in 1676 he became chaplain to the bishop of Oxford, and in 1681 he obtained the rectory of Bletchington, Oxfordshire, and was made chaplain to Charles II. From 1685 till his death he was principal of St Edmund's Hall; and in 1704 he was nominated by Queen Anne to a prebendal stall in Canterbury. He died on the 23rd of June 1707, just a fortnight after the publication of his Greek Testament.

Mill's Novum testamentum græcum, cum lectionibus variantibus MSS. exemplarium, versionum, editionum SS. patrum et scriptorum ecclesiasticorum, et in easdem notis (Oxford, fol. 1707), was undertaken by the advice and encouragement of John Fell (q.v.), his predecessor in the field of New Testament criticism; it represents the labour of thirty years, and is admitted to mark a great advance on all that had previously been achieved. The text indeed is that of R. Stephanus (1550), but the notes, besides embodying all previously existing collections of various readings, add a vast number derived from his own examination of many new MSS, and Oriental versions (the latter unfortunately he used only in the Latin translations). Though the amount of information given by Mill is small compared with that in modern editions, it is probable that no one person, except perhaps Tischendorf, has added so much material for the work of textual criticism. He was the first to notice, though only incidentally, the value of the concurrence of the Latin evidence with the Codex Alexandrinus, the only representative of an ancient non-Western Greek text then sufficiently known; this hint was not lost on Bentley (see Westcott and Hort, Introduction to New Testament). Mill's various readings, numbering about thirty thousand, were attacked by Daniel Whitby (1638-1726) in his Examen as destroying the validity of the text; Antony Collins also argued in the same sense though with a different object. The latter called forth a reply from Bentley (Phileleutherus lipsiensis). In 1710 Kuster reprinted Mill's Testament at Amsterdam with the readings of twelve additional MSS.