German Evangelical NT scholar, son of Rudolph kittel; b. Breslau, Sept. 23, 1888; d. Tübingen, July 11, 1948. He taught at Kiel (1913–17), Leipzig (1917–21), Greifswald (1921–26), Tübingen (1926–39), and Vienna (1939–43). He devoted himself principally to a study of the Jewish background of the NT, maintaining that the Jewish element of the primitive community prevailed over the Hellenistic. In 1931 he organized and became the first editor of the monumental Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament. Following the example of H. Cremer and G. Koegel and the suggestions of A. Schlatter, he insisted on tracing the semantics of every word; this entailed a study and combination of its secular usages in classical Greek and Koine with its religious significance in the Septuagint and its Hebrew background. His little book, Die Judenfrage (Stuttgart and Berlin 1933), numerous articles in anti-Semitic magazines, and collaboration with Eugen Fischer in Das antike Weltjudentum (1943) caused his imprisonment by the Allies after World War II and forced his retirement to the Benedictine Abbey of Beuron.
Bibliography: w. f. albright, "Gerhard Kittel and the Jewish Question in Antiquity," History, Archaeology and Christian Humanism (New York 1964) 229–240.
[l. a. bushinski]