Haupt, Paul°

views updated


HAUPT, PAUL ° (1858–1926), U.S. Orientalist and Bible scholar. He taught from 1880 at the University of Goettingen. In 1885 he was appointed to head the incipient Oriental Seminary in Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., but he continued to lecture at Goettingen each summer until the outbreak of World War i. His more than 500 publications in German and English (as well as one Hebrew article on the Pentateuchal sources, 1895) and his training of several generations of Semitic philologists significantly influenced American biblical and Oriental studies.

The scholarly writings of Haupt are governed by the empirical historical method with full employment of linguistic and philological data. His first essay, "The Oldest Semitic Verb Form" (in jras, 1878), showed that the Akkadian present is probably the most archaic verb form preserved in the extant Semitic languages. His biblical commentaries on the Song of Songs (1902), Ecclesiastes (1905), Nahum (1907), Esther (1908), and Micah (1910) emphasize Hebrew metrics. In Purim (1906) he discussed the origin of the Purim festival, tracing it to the Persian Nauroz feast, and in Midian and Sinai (1909; = zdmg, 63 (1909), 506–30) he argued for the historical and cultural maturity of the Mosaic era. In his semipopular writings, Haupt was very productive, but whimsical and pontifical. Influenced by the writings of E. Burnouf, he wrote two learned articles on the Aryan ancestry of Jesus, which were later used by the Nazis as propaganda against the Jews. His original writings were supplemented by his editorial work on important series of Orientalia and Biblica. He edited with W.R. Harper the early volumes of Hebraica and with Friedrich Delitzsch the Assyriologische Bibliothek and Beitraege zur Assyriologie und semitischen Sprachwissenschaft. Three series of Oriental studies published by Johns Hopkins University were under his supervision. He also edited the Polychrome Bible (1893, 1896–1904) and with H.H. Furness edited the English translation of selected portions.


Oriental Studies Dedicated to P. Haupt (1926), includes bibliography; Albright, in: Beitraege zur Assyriologie und semitischen Sprachwissenschaft, 10 no. 2 (1928), xiii–xxii.

[Zev Garber]