Bentzen, Aage°

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BENTZEN, AAGE° (1894–1953), Danish biblical scholar, He was appointed professor of biblical studies at the University of Copenhagen in 1929. He was the first president of the International Organization of Old Testament Scholars, which was established in Leiden in 1950, and was instrumental in helping to establish its journal, Vetus Testamentum, in the same year.

Bentzen was a prolific scholar, expert in all phases of biblical exegesis. Since he observed little agreement between the J and E documents, and regarded them as independent of one another, he preferred to write in terms of etiological legends, myths, and cultic songs. He almost completely ignored the older classification of literary criticism, including the Documentary Hypothesis, and was inclined instead to emphasize historical narrative, historiography, and strata of traditions. Typical of Bentzen's methodology and thought is his MessiasMoses redivivusMenschensohn (1948; King and Messiah, 1955), where he attempts to assess the contributions of the English and Scandinavian myth and ritual schools in regard to the cultic situations in the life of the king of Israel. Bentzen criticizes both schools and argues for the impact of history on the cultic myth. Furthermore, it is the "Urmensch" idea which underlies the role of the king, the priest, the prophet, and the messiah in Israel. He also wrote Introduction to the Old Testament (2 vols., 1948–49, 19616).


vt, Congress Volume (1953), vii–xv (incl. complete bibliography).

[Zev Garber]