Meyer, Eduard°

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MEYER, EDUARD ° (1855–1930), German Bible critic and historian. Born in Hamburg, Meyer was professor of ancient history at the universities of Breslau (from 1885), Halle (from 1889), and Berlin (1902–22). While he supported *Wellhausen's critical views on Pentateuchal composition, in his Die Entstehung des Judenthums (1896, 19652) he opposed Welhausen's position concerning the authority of the documents mentioned in Ezra and the list of names referred to in Nehemiah, suggesting that a late date for Ezra does not allow for the development of Judaism as is known from the sources. In writing his classic Geschichte des Altertums (5 vols., 1884–1902; 1925–582) he examined all available documentary evidence but failed to appreciate the contributions of archaeologists in regard to early Phoenician and Israelite history. He wrote, among other things, on the culture and history of the Sumerians (Sumerier und Semiten in Babylonien, 1906) and the Hittites (Reich und Kultur der Chetiter, 1914). He was one of the first to interpret the papyrus finds from Elephantine, and his Die aeltere Chronologie Babyloniens, Assyriens, und Aegyptiens (1925) reached very sound conclusions which are still widely referred to by students of the chronology of the ancient world. His Ursprung und Anfaenge des Christentums (3 vols., 1921–23) dealt with the history of Judaism and early Christianity, and it reflected the bias of classical biblical criticism, which respected prophetic Judaism, but saw talmudic Judaism as a fossil of rabbinic casuistry.

[Zev Garber]