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Dillmann, Christian Friedrich August

DILLMANN, CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH AUGUST (1823-1894), German orientalist and biblical scholar, the son of a Württemberg schoolmaster, was born at Illingen on the 25th of April 1823. He was educated at Tübingen, where he became a pupil and friend of Heinrich Ewald, and studied under F. C. Baur, though he did not join the new Tübingen school. For a short time he worked as pastor at Gersheim, near his native place, but he soon came to feel that his studies demanded his whole time. He devoted himself to the study of Ethiopic MSS. in the libraries of Paris, London and Oxford, and this work caused a revival of Ethiopic study in the 19th century. In 1847 and 1848 he prepared catalogues of the Ethiopic MSS. in the British Museum and the Bodleian library at Oxford. He then set to work upon an edition of the Ethiopic bible. Returning to Tübingen in 1848, in 1853 he was appointed professor extraordinarius. Subsequently he became professor of philosophy at Kiel (1854), and of theology at Giessen (1864) and Berlin (1869). He died on the 4th of July 1894.

In 1851 he had published the Book of Enoch in Ethiopian (German, 1853), and at Kiel he completed the first part of the Ethiopic bible, Octateuchus Aethiopicus (1853-1855). In 1857 appeared his Grammatik der äthiopischen Sprache (2nd ed. by C. Bezold, 1899); in 1859 the Book of Jubilees; in 1861 and 1871 another part of the Ethiopic bible, Libri Regum; in 1865 his great Lexicon linguae aethiopicae; in 1866 his Chrestomathia aethiopica. Always a theologian at heart, however, he returned to theology in 1864. His Giessen lectures were published under the titles, Ursprung der alttestamentlichen Religion (1865) and Die Propheten des alten Bundes nach ihrer politischen Wirksamkeit (1868). In 1869 appeared his Commentar zum Hiob (4th ed. 1891) which stamped him as one of the foremost Old Testament exegetes. His renown as a theologian, however, was mainly founded by the series of commentaries, based on those of August Wilhelm Knobels' Genesis (Leipzig, 1875; 6th ed. 1892; Eng. trans, by W. B. Stevenson, Edinburgh, 1897); Exodus und Leviticus, 1880, revised edition by V. Ryssel, 1897; Numeri, Deuteronomium und Josua, with a dissertation on the origin of the Hexateuch, 1886; Jesaja, 1890 (revised edition by Rudolf Kittel in 1898). In 1877 he published the Ascension of Isaiah in Ethiopian and Latin. He was also a contributor to D. Schenkel's Bibellexikon, Brockhaus's Conversationslexikon, and Herzog's Realencyklopädie. His lectures on Old Testament theology, Vorlesungen über Theologie des Allen Testamentes, were published by Kittel in 1895.

See the articles in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie, and the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie; F. Lichtenberger, History of German Theology in the Nineteenth Century (1889); Wolf Baudissin, A. Dillmann (Leipzig, 1895).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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