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Anton° Jirku

JIRKU, ANTON° (1885–1972), German Bible scholar. Born in Birnbaum, Moravia, Jirku was a pupil of Ernst *Sellin and the Assyriologist Friedrich *Delitzsch. From 1914 he taught at Kiel University and then held professorships at Breslau (1922), Greifswald (1934), and Bonn (1935–45). The basic trend in his work, prolific and often forced in its scholarly presentation (see his collected works Von Jerusalem nach Ugarit, 1966), is the attempt to understand biblical phenomena by comparing them with their ancient Oriental environment. His early works are mainly concerned with the popular religion of ancient Israel, in particular with its miraculous and magical elements (Die Daemonen und ihre Abwehr im Alten Testament, 1912; Mantik in Altisrael, 1913; Materialien zur Volksreligion Israels, 1914). He collected ancient Near Eastern parallels to the separate books of the Bible in his Altorientalischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament (1923). Numerous single studies led up to his Geschichte des Volkes Israel (1931), and Geschichte Palästina-Syriens im orientalischen Altertum (1963). The point of departure in his later works was mainly Ugaritic texts, a selection of which he translated (Kanaanäische Mythen und Epen aus Ras Schamra-Ugarit, 1962). Jirku was generally conservative with regard to the Bible's historicity, accepting the biblical account of the invasion of Canaan and the attribution of the Decalogue to Moses.


W. Thiel, in: DBI, 1, 585–86.

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