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Alfred° Jeremias

JEREMIAS, ALFRED° (1864–1935), German Bible critic. He became deacon in 1890 and pastor in 1891 at the Luther-Kirche, Leipzig. From 1905 he taught at the University of Leipzig. A student of Franz Delitzsch, a Biblicist, and his son Friedrich, an Assyriologist, Jeremias was a staunch member of the Pan-Babylonian school, which maintained that the interrelationships between the cultural areas of the ancient Near East, dominated by the Babylonian civilization, decisively influenced Israel's religious development. Jeremias was the first to translate the Gilgamesh epic into German. His Das Alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients (1904, 19163; Eng. tr. and enlargement from the 2nd ed. as The Old Testament in Light of the Ancient East (2 vols., 1911, 19163)) posited that the Hebrews' highly advanced cultural expression was derived from the Babylonians at the beginning of biblical history. In his Monotheistische Strömungen innerhalb der babylonischen Religion (1904) he argued for the existence of monotheistic faith among the Babylonians as early as the third millennium B.C.E. He wrote important works on the Sumerian-Babylonian pantheon, including his important Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur (1913, 19292), but his comparative studies on biblical parallels are often whimsical and lacking in evidence. He is the author of Izdubar Nimrod, eine altbabylonische Heldensage (1891); Im Kampfe um Babel und Bibel (1903); Die Panbabylonisten (1907); Das Alter der babylonischen Astronomie (1909); Allgemeine Religionsgeschichte (1918, 19242); Die ausserbiblische Erlösererwartung (1927).


H. Huffmon, in: DBI I, 575–76.

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