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Ewald, Heinrich Georg August

EWALD, HEINRICH GEORG AUGUST (1803–1875), Protestant theologian; scholar of the Bible, Israelite history, and Semitic languages. Ewald was a pupil of J.G. *Eichhorn. He served as professor at Goettingen (1827–37, 1848–67) and Tuebingen (1838–48). He was twice dismissed from his post – once in 1837 for protesting against the abolition of the Hanoverian constitution by the king, and again in 1867 for refusing to swear allegiance to the king of Prussia. Ewald viewed historical criticism not as a religious threat but as a means of reconstructing the process by which divine providence had chosen to reveal the true faith to humanity. He believed that the stories of the patriarchs could be used to reconstruct ancient Israelite tribal history, but that the patriarchs themselves were "ideal types." Ewald was more positive in his historical assessment of Moses. As for the Hebrew prophets, it was through them that God gave the most important truths to humanity. Ewald also did research on Hebrew and Arabic grammar and on the medieval works of Hebrew grammar, which were written in Arabic. He is considered the father of the theory of Hebrew syntax. In his Kritische Grammatik der hebraeischen Sprache (1827–808; pt. 3 trans. as Syntax of the Hebrew of the Old Testament, 1879), he attempted to discover the principles which determine linguistic forms and explain them. J. *Wellhausen, T. *Noeldeke, and *A. Dillmann, were among his pupils. His books include Die Komposition der Genesis kritisch untersucht (1823); Grammatica critica linguae arabicae… (2 vols., Leipzig, 1831–33); Die Dichter des Alten Bundes erklaert (2 vols., 1966–67); Die Propheten des Alten Bundes erklaert (3 vols., 1867–682); Geschichte des Volkes Israel bis Christus (5 vols., 1843–55; 7 vols., 1851–59); The History of Israel (8 vols., 1883– ), according to H. Graetz a turning point in the treatment of Jewish history by Christian scholars; Ausfuehrliches Lehrbuch der hebraeischen Sprache des Alten Bundes (1870); and Theologie des Alten und Neuen Bundes (1871–78).


T.W. Davies, Heinrich Ewald, Orientalist and Theologian (1903), incl. bibl.; H.J. Kraus, Geschichte der historisch-kritischen Erforschung des Alten Testaments (1956), 182–90; RGG3, 2 (1927), 453–5. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Rogerson, in: DBI, 1, 363–64.

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