Zimmerli, Walther°

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ZIMMERLI, WALTHER ° (1907–1983), Swiss Bible scholar. Born in Schiers (Graubuenden), Zimmerli was professor in Zurich (from 1938) and Goettingen (from 1951). The subject of his research is expressed in the title of the collection of his articles Das Alte Testament als Anrede ("The Old Testament as a Harangue," 1956) and Gottes Offenbarung (1963). In his commentary on Ezekiel (2 vols., 1955–69), he explains in detail the message of the prophet in its historical-traditional context; the present Book of Ezekiel is the result of a later development of the prophetic word within an "Ezekielian school." In his commentary, Zimmerli applies the form-critical method, especially to the theologically significant formulas (e.g., "formula of self-introduction," "statements of realization," "word of proof").

One of his main interests is the marginal position of the Wisdom writings in relation to the theology of the Old Testament (Zur Struktur der alttestamentlichen Weisheit, in zaw, 51 (1933), 177–204); his commentary on Ecclesiastes belongs in this context (Das Buch des Prediger Salomo, 1962). In various works Zimmerli deals with aspects of the theology of the Old Testament (Das Gesetz und die Propheten, 1963; Der Mensch und seine Hoffnung im Alten Testament, 1968; Die Weltlichkeit des Alten Testaments, 1971).

[Rudolf Smend]