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Moses Buttenwieser

BUTTENWIESER, MOSES (1862–1939), Bible scholar. Buttenwieser studied at German universities, received his Ph.D. at Heidelberg, and then went to the United States, where he was appointed professor of biblical exegesis at the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, in 1897. He accepted the general approach of the K.H. Graf-J. Wellhausen school, but did not follow it slavishly. He drastically reconstructed the text of Job. He denied that the apocalyptic developed out of prophecy: Ezekiel and his successors, he held, were genuine prophets, though not of the highest rank, whereas the apocalyptic was altogether contrived, and borrowed its characteristic features from Iranian tradition. According to Buttenwieser, Isaiah held consistently to his conviction that Jerusalem was doomed to fall; and the narrative of Isaiah 37 (= II Kings 19) is legendary. Taking up a view first advanced by Seineke in the 1880s, he argued that Deutero-Isaiah lived in Ereẓ Israel rather than Babylonia.

He effectively stressed the precatory use of the Hebrew perfect tense; in light of this phenomenon, many Psalms previously understood as acknowledgment of past favors prove to be pleas for Divine help in the present. His English translations of the Bible are exceptionally vigorous and poetic. His earliest publications dealt with the medieval Hebrew apocalypses, Die hebraeische Elias-Apokalypse (1897) and Outline of the Neo-Hebraic Apocalyptic Literature (1901). Thereafter he concentrated on biblical studies, his principal works being The Prophets of Israel (1914), The Book of Job (1922), and The Psalms, Chronologically Treated with a New Translation (1938; 19692, with introd. by N.M. Sarna).


Oko, in: Hebrew Union College Monthly, 8 (May 1922), 185–209 (incl. bibl.); 26 (Apr. 1939), 1–4, 12 (incl. bibl.); idem, in: AJYB, 6 (1904/05), 72; Dictionary Catalog of the Klau Library, 5 (1964), 314, col. 1, 316, col. 1.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.