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Witter, Henning Bernhard

(307 words)

Author(s): Gertz, Jan Christian
[German Version] (Apr 7, 1683, Hildesheim – May 8, 1715, Hildesheim). After a brief period teaching in Helmstedt, Witter was appointed pastor in Hildesheim in 1707. He had been influenced ¶ by J. Spencer, H. v. der Hardt, and J. Clericus; a study trip to Holland brought him into contact with the biblical criticism of the early Enlightenment (Biblical scholarship: I, 4). His major work, never completed, was his Iura israelitarum in palaestinam terram chananaeam commentatione in Genesin perpetua sic demonstrata . . . (1711). He planned to treat the whole Pentateuch, but published only the Prolegomena and the commentary on Gen 1–17; the completed manuscript of the remaining exposition of Genesis remained unpublished and is believed lost. Witter maintained that an adequate understanding of the Pentateuch – as of any literary work – must consider the circumstances of its origin. He accepted its Mosaic authorship. Like many of his contemporary exegetes, however, he believed that Moses was able to draw on other sources. He was the first to apply this assumption to Gen 1–3, where terminological (different words for God), stylistic, and factual differences led him to distinguish two sources, which he did not pursue beyond Gen 3. His work was discussed in the 18th century, but it fell into oblivion in the 19th century in the light of similar theories propounded later by J. Astruc. Witter’s shift of the doctrine of inspiration (Inspiration/Theopneusty) from Scripture itself to the theory of Moses as an inspired editor of sources brought him into conflict with Wittenberg ortho…

Rite and Ritual

(6,139 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Stausberg, Michael | Schwemer, Daniel | Gertz, Jan Christian | Hollender, Elisabeth | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The terms The terms rite and ritual are often used synonymously, both in daily speech and in the specialized language of religious studies, leading to a lack of clarity. “Rite” is etymologically related to Sanskrit ṛta, “right, order, truth, custom,” and may thus be regarded as the “smallest” building block of a ritual, which can be defined as a complex series of actions in a (logical) functional relationship. Within a three-level sequence, cult (Cult/Worship : I, 2) must also be taken into cons…

Covenant

(6,223 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Gertz, Jan Christian | Backhaus, Knut | Sanders, E.P. | Amir, Yehoyada | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity I. History of Religions Immediate and comprehensive solidarity appertains only in the most elementary form of human society (in the “family,” which can be variously structured according to culture); all other forms of solidarity are “artificial,” determined by more or less explicit rules; one can subsume this under the term “covenant,” in which the purposes, realms of social…

People of God

(664 words)

Author(s): Gertz, Jan Christian
[German Version] I. In preexilic times the expression “people of YHWH” denoted the state and people of Israel (People and nationhood: II). In the crisis in ancient Israelite YHWH religion that began with the defeat of Samaria in 722 bce the expression took on a new meaning that transcended political and territorial circumstances. Basic to this new meaning is the negation of the relationship, until then unquestioned and so hardly the subject of reflection, that YHWH as the God of the state and the dynasty had with his state and people…

People and Nationhood

(3,043 words)

Author(s): Junginger, Horst | Gertz, Jan Christian | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Grethlein, Christian | Ustorf, Werner
[German Version] I. Religious Studies People and nationhood are functional political terms that serve to define a collective entity and to incorporate it into a specific context (see III below). Only since the 18th century has it been possible to speak of a German nation as the active subject of its own history. The rupture of the church at the Reformation and the subsequent wars of religion in the 16th and 17th century long prevented the development of an inclusive political or religious identity. It …

Tolerance and Intolerance

(6,428 words)

Author(s): Dehn, Ulrich | Gertz, Jan Christian | Wischmeyer, Oda | Ohst, Martin | Kronauer, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Tolerance and intolerance must be defined in terms of their relationship to respect, coexistence, indifference, acceptance, and prejudice. In the public context, they ¶ correspond to the presence or absence of freedom of religion. They originate in the claim to exclusive religious truth or else collide with it. Tolerance requires insight into the human ability to err and into the limits of human cognition with regard to faith, whereas intolerance rejects this insight. Following Gerlitz,…

Galling, Kurt

(229 words)

Author(s): Gertz, Jan Christian
[German Version] (Jan 8, 1900, Wilhelmshaven – Jul 12, 1987, Tübingen) was an Old Testament scholar who studied in Berlin and Jena, where he received the Lic. theol. in 1921. He earned his Dr. phil. in 1923 with a dissertation in ancient Near Eastern archaeology, and gained his Habilitation himself in Berlin in 1925 and Halle in 1928. Galling was interim director of the commission of the Deutsches Evangelisches Institut für Altertumswissenschaften des Heiligen Landes (German Protestant Institute for the Study of the Holy Land in Antiquity) in Jerusalem in 1930. He taught in Halle ¶ (1930–1…

Buxtorf,

(472 words)

Author(s): Gertz, Jan Christian
[German Version] a family of Basel academics 1. Johann Buxtorf I (Dec 25, 1564, Kamen – died of the plague Sep 13, 1629, Basel) studied in Marburg (?) with J. Piscator in Herborn, in Heidelberg and with J.J. Grynaeus in Basel. After brief stays in Zürich, where H. Bullinger taught, and Geneva, where T. Beza taught, he was a tutor in Basel …

Astruc, Jean

(416 words)

Author(s): Gertz, Jan Christian
[German Version] (Mar 19, 1684, Sauve, Languedoc – Mar 5, 1766, Paris) belonged to the Christian branch of a Jewish family that had lived for centuries in southern France. He was the son of a Huguenot pastor who converted to Catholicism when the Edict of Nantes was revoked (1685) but became a Protestant again before his death. Originally trained as a physician (professor of medicine at T…

Graf, Karl Heinrich

(257 words)

Author(s): Gertz, Jan Christian
[German Version] (Feb 28, 1815, Mulhouse, France - Jul 16, 1869, Meißen), a theologian and orientalist, worked as private tutor in Paris from 1839 to 1843, as teacher of Hebrew and French in Meißen from 1847 to 1868, and was awarded the title of professor in 1852. Graf's lasting contribution to OT studies, developed in cooperation with A. Kuenen and J. Wellhausen, was the establishing of a late date for the Priestly Document, which had until then been regarded as the oldest textual source of the Pentateuch and been designated as a base document ( Grundschrift). Taking up on a suggestion m…