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Hengstenberg, Ernst Wilhelm

HENGSTENBERG, ERNST WILHELM (1802-1869), German Lutheran divine and theologian, was born at Frondenberg, a Westphalian village, on the 20th of October 1802. He was educated by his father, who was a minister of the Reformed Church, and head of the Frondenberg convent of canonesses (Frauleinstift). Entering the university of Bonn in 1810, he attended the lectures of G. G. Freytag for Oriental languages and of F. K. L. 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'l- Qais, 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 J. J. Stahelin, 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 E. L. von Gerlach) appeared, which openly charged Wilhelm Gesenius and J. A. L. 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 Sireit. In 1828 the first volume of Hengstenberg's Christologie des Allen 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 Allen 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 principles of the individual critic; Beitrage zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament (1831-1839); Eng. trans., Dissertations on the Genuineness of Daniel and the Integrity of Zechariah (Edin., 1848), and Dissertations on tfa 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 Bucher Moses und Agypten (1841); Die Geschichte Bileams u. seiner Weissagungen (1842; translated along with the Dissertations on Daniel and Zechariah) ; Commentar iiber die Psalmen (1842-1847; 2nd ed., 1849-1852; Eng. trans, by P. Fairbairn and J. Thomson, Edin., 1844-1848), which shares the merits and defects of the Christologie; Die Offenbarung Johannis erldutert (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 erldutert (1861-1863; 2n d ed., 1867-1871 ; Eng. trans., 1865) and Die Weissagungen des Propheten Ezechiel erlaulert (1867-1868). Of minor importance are De rebus Tyriorum commentatio academica (1832); Ober den Tag des Herrn (1852); Das Passa, ein Vortrag (1853); and Die Opfer der heiligen Schrift (1859). Several series of papers also, as, for example, on " The Retention of the Apocrypha," " Freemasonry " (1854), " Duelling " (1856) and 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. Geschichte des Retches Gottes unter dem Allen Bunde (1869-1871), Das Buck Hiob erldutert (1870- 1875) and Vorlesungen iiber die Leidensgeschichte (1875) were published posthumously.

See J. Bachmann's Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg (1876-1879); also his article in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopddie (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 (1857), pp. 300-319.

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

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