German Protestant OT scholar, best known by his critical edition of the Hebrew Bible; b. Eningen, Württemberg, March 28, 1853; d. Leipzig, Oct. 20, 1929. Kittel became professor of Old Testament studies in Breslau (1888) and in Leipzig (1898). As a theologian who believed in divine revelation, in his three-volume Geschichte des Volkes Israel (v.1, 6th ed. Gotha 1923; v.2, 7th ed. ibid. 1925; v.3, Stuttgart 1927–29) he rejected the natural-evolutionism of J. wellhausen and set forth the inner spiritual history of Israel while also showing its relationship to the history of other religions of the ancient Near East. He was the first to make extensive use of archeological discoveries in connection with the history of Israel, and he also employed these to good effect in his controversy with Friedrich Delitzsch over panbabylonianism. Independent historical and theological judgment is likewise characteristic of his Religion des Volkes Israel (Leipzig 1921, 2d ed. 1929) and his commentaries on several books of the Old Testament: Psalms, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah. His indispensable Biblia Hebraica was prepared with the assistance of several fellow specialists (Leipzig 1905–06; 3d ed., P. Kahle, ed., ibid. 1929–37).
Bibliography: j. hempel, Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft 84 (1930) 78–93. e. kutsch, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3rd ed. Tübingen 1957–65) 3:1626–27. o. kaiser, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 6:310–311.