Hengstenberg, Ernst Wilhelm°

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HENGSTENBERG, ERNST WILHELM ° (1802–1869), German Bible scholar. He earned his Ph.D. at Bonn (1823) after studying Hebrew and Arabic with G. Freytag, the prominent Orientalist. As editor of the Evangelische Kirchenzeitung (1827–69) he led an anti-rationalistic crusade which upheld the doctrine of infallibility in regard to the fundamental beliefs of Protestant Christianity. Hengstenberg belonged to the group of orthodox Christian scholars known as "Confessionalists," because of their adherence to such formularies as the Augsburg Confession. He is remembered principally for his Christologie des Alten Testaments (1829–35; The Christology of the Old Testament, 1854–58), a strictly Christian orthodox presentation of the Bible, which views the messianic prophecies on a spiritual plane and totally ignores their original historical setting. Adaptations of the hermeneutical principles of the Reformation are found throughout his biblical commentaries which include Kommentar über die Psalmen (4 vols., 1842–47; Commentary on the Psalms, 3 vols., 1845–48); Prediger Salomo (1858; Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes, 1860); Weissagungen des Propheten Ezechiels (1867–68; The Prophecies of Ezekiel, 1869); and Beiträge zur Einleitung ins Alte Testament (1831; Genuineness of the Pentateuch, 2 vols., 18547), a defense of the unity of the Pentateuch. He also wrote Geschichte des Reiches Gottes unter dem Alten Bunde (2 vols., 1869–71; History of the Kingdom of God under the Old Testament, 2 vols., 1871–72), Die Opfer der heiligen Schrift (1859), and Egypt and the Books of Moses (1843). Twelve of his books were translated into English to combat the inroads that critical scholarship was making among English readers.


A. Mueller, Hengstenberg und die evangelische Kirchenzeitung (1857); P. Schaff, Germany, its Universities, Theology and Religion (1857), 300–20; J. Bachmann, Hengstenberg, sein Leben und Wirken, 2 vols. (1876–79); H.J. Kraus, Geschichte der historisch-kritischen Erforschung des Alten Testaments (1956), 203–7. add. bibliography: J. Rogerson, in: dbi, I, 494–95.

[Zev Garber /

S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]