Dillmann, August°

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DILLMANN, AUGUST ° (1823–1894), German Orientalist, Bible scholar, and theologian. Dillmann first studied Bible and theology and concentrated on Ethiopic studies at the universities of London, Paris, and Oxford in 1846–48. At Tuebingen he became professor extraordinary of theology (1853). He served as professor of Oriental languages at Kiel from 1854 to 1864, professor of theology at Giessen from 1864 to 1869, and at Berlin from 1869 until his death. Dillmann is best remembered for his long-standing attachment to Ethiopic studies. In 1847 and 1848 he published long neglected catalogs of Ethiopic manuscripts. He was responsible for pioneering studies on the various Ethiopic books of the Bible, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha (from 1851 on). His Ethiopic grammar (Grammatik der aethiopischen Sprache, 1857, 18992), lexicon (Lexicon linguae aethiopicae cum indice latino, 1865), and chrestomathy (Chrestomathia aethiopica, 1866, 19502) were hailed as classics in the field. His most important works on the interpretation of the Bible are his commentaries on Genesis (18926) and Exodus-Leviticus (18973). An English translation of the one on Genesis came out in two volumes in 1897. He held that there were three independent sources in the Pentateuch (p, e, and j), and argued for the existence of an independent Deuteronomic source based on e. Unlike many higher biblical critics of his day, he maintained the priority of a pre-Exilic p over d. His posthumously published Handbuch der alttestamentlichen Theologie (1895) rejected J. *Wellhausen's philosophy of the development of Israel's religion and maintained that the religion of Israel, which was centered on holiness, was unique in the ancient world.


W. Baudissin, August Dillmann (Ger., 1895); idem, in: Realencyklopaedie fuer protestantische Theologie und Kirche, 4 (1898), 662. add. bibliography: A. Amsalo, Etymologischer Beitrag zu A. Dillmann Lexikon linguae Aethiopicae (1962); E. Ullendorff, Catalogue of the Ethiopian Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (1951).

[Zev Garber]