Edward Wells (theologian)

For the Boeing executive, see Edward Curtis Wells.
A 1700 map of Africa by Edward Wells

Edward Wells (1667–1727) was an English mathematician, geographer, and controversial theologian.


He was the son of Edward Wells, vicar of Corsham, Wiltshire. He was admitted to Westminster School in 1680, and elected to a scholarship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1686. He graduated B.A. in 1690 and M.A. in 1693.

He was inducted to the rectory of Cotesbach, Leicestershire, on 2 January 1702, and he was awarded the degrees of B.D. and D.D. on 5 April 1704. On 28 March 1716 he was instituted to the rectory of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, on the presentation of his former pupil, Browne Willis. From the pulpit he attacked his benefactor; Browne Willis then published Reflecting Sermons considered; occasioned by several Discourses delivered in the Parish Church of Bletchley.

From 1709 to 1719, Wells produced a Greek critical edition of the New Testament, published in Oxford. Wells drew from the variant readings collated in the edition of John Mill in the construction of the text. While Mill's edition had included the most thorough critical apparatus up to its time, the actual text was a reprint of that of Stephanus. Wells' edition was thus the first to offer the complete Greek New Testament while moving away from the Textus Receptus and toward what is now considered the standard critical text, Nestle-Aland.[1]

Wells died, holding both his livings, on 11 July 1727, and was buried at Cotesbach.


Among his works are:


  1. Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament Fourth Edition (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 154–155.

External links


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Wells, Edward". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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