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Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg

Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg (October 20, 1802 - May 28, 1869), German Lutheran divine and theologian, was born at Frondenberg, a Westphalian village.

He was educated by his father, who was a minister of the Reformed Church[?], and head of the Frondenberg[?] convent of canonesses (Fräuleinstift). Entering the university of Bonn in 1819, he attended the lectures of GG Freytag for Oriental languages and of JKL Gieseler for church history, but his energies were principally devoted to philosophy and philology, and his earliest publication was an edition of the Arabic Moallakat of Amru'lQais[?], which gained for him the prize at his graduation in the philosophical faculty. This was followed in 1824 by a German translation of Aristotle's Metaphysics.

Finding himself without the means to complete his theological studies under Neander and Tholuck in Berlin, he accepted a post at Basel as tutor in Oriental languages to JJ Stähelin, who afterwards became professor at the university. Then it was that he began to direct his attention to a study of the Bible, which led him to a conviction, never afterwards shaken, not only of the divine character of evangelical religion, but also of the unapproachable adequacy of its expression in the Augsburg Confession[?]. In 1824 he joined the philosophical faculty of Berlin as a Privatdozent, and in 1825 he became a licentiate in theology, his theses being remarkable for their evangelical fervour and for their emphatic protest against every form of "rationalism," especially in questions of Old Testament criticism.

In 1826 he became professor extraordinarius in theology; and in July 1827 appeared, under his editorship, the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, a strictly orthodox journal, which in his hands acquired an almost unique reputation as a controversial organ. It did not, however, attain to great notoriety until in 1830 an anonymous article (by EL von Gerlach) appeared, which openly charged Wilhelm Gesenius and JAL Wegscheider with infidelity and profanity, and on the ground of these accusations advocated the interposition of the civil power, thus giving rise to the prolonged Hallische Streit. In 1828 the first volume of Hengstenberg's Christologie das Alten Testaments passed through the press; in the autumn of that year he became professor ordinarius in theology, and in 1829 doctor of theology. He died on the 28th of May 1869.

The following is a list of his principal works:

  • Christologie des Alten Testaments (1829-1835; 2nd ed., 1854-1857; Eng. trans. by R Keith, 1835-1839, also in Clark's Foreign Theological Library, by T Meyer and J Martin, 1854-1858), a work of much learning the estimate of which varies according to the hermeneutical principle of the individual critic
  • Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament (1831-1839); Eng. trans., Dissertations on the Genuineness of Daniel, and the Integrity of Zechariah (Edin., 1848), and Dissertation on the Genuineness of the Pentateuch (Edin., 1847), in which the traditional view on each question is strongly upheld, and much capital is made of the absence of harmony among the negative critics
  • Die Bücher Moses und Aegypten (1841)
  • Die Geschichte Bileams u. seiner Weissagungen (1842; translated along with the Dissertations on Daniel and Zechariah)
  • Commentar über die Psalmen (1842-1847; 2nd ed., 1849-1852; Eng. trans. by P Fairbain and J Thomson, Edin., 1844-1848), which shares the merit and defects of the Christologie
  • Die Offenbarung Johannis erläutert (1849-1851; 2nd ed., 1861-1862; Eng. trans. by P. Fairbairn also in Clark's " Foreign Theological Library," 1851-1852)
  • Das Hohe Lied ausgelegt (1853)
  • Der Prediger Salomo ausgelegt (1859)
  • Das Evangelium Johannis erläutert (1861-1863; 2nd ed., 1867-1871 Eng. trans., 1865)
  • Die Weissagungen das Propheten Ezechiel erläutert (1867-1868).

Of minor importance are:

  • De rebus Tyrioruz commentatio academica (1832)
  • Uber den Tag des Herrn (1852)
  • Da Passe, ein Vortrag (1853)
  • Die Opfer der heiligen Schrift (1859)

Several series of papers also, as, for example:

  • "The Retentio of the Apocrypha,"
  • "Freemasonry" (1854)
  • "Duelling" (1856)
  • "The Relation between the Jews and the Christian Church" (1857; 2nd ed., 1859), which originally appeared in the Kirchenzeitung, were afterwards printed in a separate form.

Posthumously published:

  • Geschichte des Reiches Gottes unter dem Alten Bunde (1869-1871)
  • Das Buch Hiob erläutert (1870-1875)
  • Vorlesungen über die Leidensgeschichte

See J Bachmann's Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg (1876-1879); also his article in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie (1899), and the article in the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie. Also F Lichtenberger, History of German Theology in the Nineteenth Century (1889), pp. 212-217; Philip Schaff, Germany; its Universities, Theology and Religion (1855), pp. 300-319.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.



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