Gesenius, Priedrich Heinrich Wilhelm

Gesenius, Priedrich Heinrich Wilhelm a distinguished Oriental scholar, was born at Nordbausen February 3, 1785. After finishing his education at the universities of Helmstadt and Gottingen, he was for a short time teacher at the paedagogium at Helmstadt. In 1806 he became privat docent at the University of Göttingen, and in 1809 professor of ancient literature at the college of Heiligenstadt. In 1810 he became extraordinary, and in 1811 ordinary professor at Halle. In 1814 he received the degree of doctor of divinity; and in 1820 he made a scientific journey to Paris and Oxford, where he chiefly collected material for his projected Hebrew dictionary. He died October 23, 1842. Gesenius was an outspoken adherent of the Rationalistic school. In the study of Oriental languages, his works, which had an almost unprecedented circulation, began a new era. The most important among them are: Hebräisches und Chaldäisches Handwörterbuch (Lpz. 1810- 1812, 2 volumes; 7th ed. 1868; Latin ed. 1833; 2d ed. by Hoffmansn, 1847; Eng. transl. by C. Leo, Cambridge, 1825; by J.W. Gibbs, Andover, 1824, and by, Robinson, Boston, 1850): — Hebrische Grammaatik (Halle, 1813; 20th edit. by Dr. Rödiger, 1866; English transi. by M. Stuart, Andover, 1826, and by Conant, Boston, 1839; also a French transl.): — Hebraisches Lesebuch (Halle, 1814; 7th edit. by De Wette; 9th edit. by Heiligstedt, 1858 transl. into English, N.Y.): Kritische Geschichte der hebr. Sprache u. Schrift (Leipz. 1815 ; 2d edit. 1827): — De Pentateuchi Samaritani origine indole et auctoritate (Halle, 1815): — Grammatisch- Krit. Lehrgebaude der hebr. Sprache (2 volumes, Leipz. 1817): — Uebearsetzung des Propheten Jesaias mit einem phil.-krit. u. hist. Commentar (3 volumes, Leipz. 1820-1821; 2d edit. 1829): — Thesaurus phil. crit. ling. hebr. et chald. (Leipz. 1827-1853, 3 volumes; part of the 3d volume by Rödiger): — Scripturae linguaeque phoeniciae monumenta (Leipz. 1837, 3 volumes). He also wrote many valuable articles for the Allgemeine Encycl. of Ersch und Gruber, and translated Burckhardt's, Travels to Syria and Palestine (Weimar, 1823, 2 volumes), with many valuable notes illustrating Biblical geography. See Gesenius, eine Erinnerung an seine Freunde (Berlin, 1843); Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 5:121-3.

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