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Ess, Johann Heinrich Van

ESS, JOHANN HEINRICH VAN (1772-1847), German Catholic theologian, was born at Warburg, Westphalia, on the 15th of February 1772. He was educated at the Dominican gymnasium of his native town, and in 1790 entered, as a novice, the Benedictine abbey of Marienmünster, in the bishopric of Paderborn. His Benedictine name was Leander. He was priest at Schwalenberg from 1799 to 1812, after which he became extraordinary professor of theology and joint-director of the teachers' seminary at Marburg. In 1818 he received the doctorate of theology and of canonical law. In 1807, in conjunction with his cousin Karl van Ess, he had published a German translation of the New Testament, and, as its circulation was discountenanced by his superiors, he published in 1808 a defence of his views, entitled Auszüge aus den heiligen Vätern und anderen Lehrern der katholischen Kirche über das nothwendige und nützliche Bibellesen. An improved edition of this tractate was published in 1816, under the title Gedanken über Bibel und Bibellehre, and in the same year appeared Was war die Bibel den ersten Christen? In 1822 he published the first part of a German translation of the Old Testament, which was completed in 1836. In 1822 he resigned his offices at Marburg in order to devote his whole time to the defence of his views regarding Bible reading by the people, and to endeavour to promote the circulation of the scriptures. He was associated first with the Catholic Bible Society of Regensburg, and then with the British and Foreign Bible Society. He died at Affolderbach in the Odenwald on the 13th of October 1847.

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

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