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Gustaf Hermann° Dalman

DALMAN, GUSTAF HERMANN° (until 1886 G.A. Marx; 1855–1941), German Protestant theologian, philologist, and Palestinologist. In his youth Dalman was closely associated with the Missionary Church Brotherhood ("Bruedergemeine") at Herrnhut and spent his last days with them. An important contact for him was Franz *Delitzsch, who recommended him in 1887 to the Institutum Judaicum in Leipzig, where Dalman taught for 15 years, from 1895 as assistant professor. He was the first director of the German Evangelical Institute for Antiquity in Jerusalem from 1902 to 1917 where he contributed a number of important papers and subsequently served as professor and head of the Institute of Palestinology in Greifswald (later the Gustav-Dalman-Institut). Dalman was a prolific writer in many fields including (1) Theology: Der leidende und sterbende Messias (1888); Jesaja 53 (19142); Worte Jesu (19302); (2) Studies of Palestinian Aramaic (in which he included the Aramaic of Targum Onkelos): Grammatik des juedisch-palaestinischen Aramaeisch (19055, repr. 1989); Aramaeische Dialektproben (19272); Aramaeisch-neuhebraeisches Woerterbuch (19222, repr. 1967); (3) Historical geography and topography of EreẒ Israel: Petra (1901); Neue Petraforschungen (1912); Orte und Wege Jesu (19242, repr. 1967; Sacred Sites and Ways, 1935), a study which also treats the talmudic sources on the sites where Jesus lived and taught; Hundert Fliegerbilder aus Palaestina (1925); Jerusalem und sein Gelaende (1930, repr. 1972), a comprehensive study of the Holy City, its terrain, names of sites, antiquities, topographic identifications, and descriptions of the contemporary Jerusalem community; (4) Palestinian folklore: Palaestinensischer Diwan (1901), a collection of Arabic folksongs from Palestine, Transjordan, and Syria; Arbeit und Sitte in Palaestina (7 vols., 1928–42; repr. 1964), dealing with all aspects of the Arab economy of Palestine, its terminology, and customs with continual references to the Bible and Talmud. From 1905 until 1926 Dalman was editor of the Palaestinajahrbuch. Dalman's autobiography was published in 1928. He had a profound knowledge of Jewish sources, especially the Mishnah and Talmud. Although he was (with Delitzsch) one of the few Christian theologians of the time who fought ardently against antisemitism, his position was always a missionary Christian one, convinced by the superiority of Christianity. His writings on post-biblical Judaism were especially marked by traditional anti-Judaic clichés, the Jewish denominations and intellectual trends in contemporary Germany seen only as developments leading to final conversion to Christianity.


J. Maennchen, Leben und Wirken (1978); idem, Dalman als Palaestinawissenschaftler (1994); C. Wiese, Wissenschaft des Judentums und protestantische Theologie (1999), index.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.