As late as last week my setup for biblatex worked fine. Going back to the same project today not even a minimal file compiles:






but breaks off with

/usr/local/texlive/2017/texmf-dist/tex/latex/biblatex/biblatex.sty:3776: LaTeX 
Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.3776   australian,newzealand}
/usr/local/texlive/2017/texmf-dist/tex/latex/biblatex/biblatex.sty:3776: Math f
ormula deleted: Insufficient symbol fonts.
\expandafter ->american|

l.3776   australian,newzealand}

And keeps repeating the last one until

 (That makes 100 errors; please try again.)

when I ignore it.

Files without biblatex work as expected.

Using tlmgr to go my two backup versions of biblatex back in time to 1st Jan I still get the same errors.

Could this be another update from the last week or so that causes this?

If I swich back to TL 16 things work as expected. (For my work I need TL 17 because of packages.)

  • I worked around this issue by reverting back to the previous version of etoolbox.
    – tucuxi
    Feb 6, 2018 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


This is due to a (faulty) change in etoolbox, or rather an oversight in a change: see https://github.com/josephwright/etoolbox/issues/19. A temporary fix is to patch around the issue:



An update is on the way to CTAN and will therefore be available within around 48 hours via the usual channels.

  • typical tex.SE-problem: cannot accept perfect answer because of time restrictions ;)
    – Florian
    Feb 6, 2018 at 10:17
  • I can confirm that the 2.5c update of etoolbox avaible on my CTAN mirror now solves the problem.
    – Florian
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:23
  • New version is now in TeXLive! I just updated and problem solved!
    – tatojo
    Feb 7, 2018 at 14:10
  • Same problem occurs on MiKTeX. I did a clean reinstall today and have updated packages, but the problem persists. I presume MiKTeX updates are lagging behind CTAN. Anyway, the workaround is great. Many thanks.
    – LimnoLeon
    Feb 8, 2018 at 2:26
  • 1
    @LimnoLeon As of this morning the 7. Feb. update ships etoolbox v2.5c which fixes this issue (apparently there is still another issue github.com/josephwright/etoolbox/issues/20, but that does not affect biblatex).
    – moewe
    Feb 8, 2018 at 7:25

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