Hupfeld, Hermann Christian Karl°

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HUPFELD, HERMANN CHRISTIAN KARL ° (1796–1866), German Bible critic. In 1825 he was appointed professor of Old Testament exegesis at Marburg, publishing in the same year in Leipzig Exercitationes Aethiopicae, a pioneering classic in the field of Ethiopic philology. He succeeded *Gesenius at Halle University in 1843, and wrote there his most fruitful work, Die Quellen der Genesis und die Art ihrer Zusammensetzung von neuem untersucht ("The Sources of Genesis and the Way in Which They were Combined Newly Examined," 1853), an enquiry into the sources of Genesis. With this work he established a new documentary hypothesis, maintaining that there were three independent narratives underlying Genesis: the basic Elohistic document (now known as p), a second Elohistic work (e), and a Yahwist strand (j). These narratives were combined by a later redactor into a single organic whole. Hupfeld's work determined the course of subsequent critical research. His Bible introduction (Ueber Begriff und Methode der sogenannten biblischen Einleitung, "On the Concept and Method of So-Called 'Biblical Introduction,'" 1844), which defines the scope of biblical research as the study of the origin and historical development of the Scriptures, is an example of his cautious and indefatigable research. Hupfeld also wrote a four-volume commentary on Psalms (1855–61).


T.K. Cheyne, Founders of Old Testament Criticism (1893), 149–55; Hupfeld, in: Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie, 5 (1963), 54–96; The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 5 (1953), 413 (incl. bibl.). add. bibliography: R. Smend, in: dbi, 1:529–30.

[Zev Garber /

S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]