BOESCHENSTEIN, JOHANN ° (1472–1540), German Hebraist. He was born in Esslingen, and many scholars (such as Wolf, Joecher, Steinschneider, Perles) believed him to be of Jewish parentage, although Boeschenstein himself denied this. With Reuchlin, Boeschenstein was a pioneer of Hebraic studies among Christians in Germany. He himself was a Hebrew teacher in several German cities (Ingolstadt, Augsburg, Regensburg) until invited (1518) by Melanchthon to become professor of Hebrew at the University of Wittenberg. Later he moved to Heidelberg and then to Augsburg, Antwerp, Zurich, Augsburg, and Nuremberg (1525). He died in great proverty at Noerdlingen. Among his students were the noted theologians Johann Eck, and Ulrich Zwingli. Boeschenstein published works on Hebrew grammar: Elementale introductorium in hebreas litteras teutonice et hebraice legendas (1514, rev. ed. 1518, 1520, 1530) and Hebraicae Grammaticae Institutiones (Wittenberg, 1518). He also edited a Latin edition of Moses Kimhi's Mahalakh Shevilei ha-Da'at entitled Rudimenta Hebraica (1520) and German translations of general Jewish prayers (c. 1523) and of Grace after Meals (c. 1536).
Wolf, Bibliotheca, 4 (1733), 840; J. Perles, Beitraege zur Geschichte der hebraeischen und aramaeischen Studien (1884), 27f., 30f.; M. Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Handschriften Muenchen (18952), nos. 72, 259, 329, 401. add. bibliography: Th. Wiedemann, in: Oesterreichische Vierteljahresschrift für katholische Theologie, 2 (1863), 70–88; Steinschneider, in: zhb, 2, no. 112 (1897), 53–54; E. Werner in: Historia Judaica, 16 (1954), 46–54.
[Chaim M. Rabin /
Giulio Busi (2nd ed.)]