NEANDER, AUGUST (originally David Mendel ; 1789–1850), Church historian and convert. His Orthodox father abandoned the family, complaining that his liberally educated wife was corrupting the children (four of five were eventually baptized). Though poor and sickly, David was an immediate success at the Johanneum Gymnasium in Hamburg. His honorary public address presented in Latin on the conclusion of his studies in 1805, demanding equality for the Jews in all respects but advocating the abrogation of some rites, aroused wide interest. The speech was inspired by his rationalist benefactor, who was also principal of the school. David soon fell under the varied influences of Plato, *Schleiermacher, and romanticism, and embraced Christianity at the age of 17. Neander (Gr. "new man") rapidly attained prominence in the field of Church history and became a professor at the age of 24. During the *Damascus affair (1840) he publicized his opinion that the whole ritual murder charge was a falsehood. In 1847 he opposed the admission of Jews to Berlin University, identifying them with the anti-Christian movement of the left-wing Hegelians.
H. Huettmann, August Neander (Ger., 1936); L. Schultze, August Neander (Ger., 1890); H. Liebeschuetz, Das Judentum im deutschen Geschichtsbild von Hegel bis Max Weber (1967), index.