Knobel, Karl August

Knobel, Karl August, a German theologian, highly distinguished as an exegetical scholar in the Old Testament and as archaeologist, was born Aug. 7, 1807, near Sorau, Silesia. In this town he studied under associate principal Scharbe, who inspired Knobel with a zeal for learning, and also befriended him with money to pursue his university course at Breslau after his father's death. David Schultz, to whose children he became tutor, exerted a special influence in determining his choice of teaching as a profession, and in fixing the unfailing rationalistic tendency of his mind. He began lecturing in 1831, and his freshness, power, and genuine worth at once drew and ever attracted to him numerous hearers. In 1835 he was made extraordinary professor, and in 1837 he received from Breslau the degree of doctor in theology, chiefly in recognition of his exceedingly valuable work on Hebrew Prophecy (Prophetismus d. hebraer. Breslau, 1837, 2 vols. 8vo). The fame of this work brought him at once the offer of a professorship in Gottingen, in Ewald's place, and of one in Giessen, which latter he accepted. Thenceforth his attention was confined to the study of the Old Testament; but his cold, critical, rationalistic spirit avails but little to a right appreciation of the theological import or even poetical beauty of the Scriptures. His publications during his twenty-four years' labor at Giessen (nearly all exegetical) bear the same defect of insight, with the display of great learning. The Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah appeared in the Kuryef. exeget. Handb. z. A. T. in 1843 (2d ed. 1854, 3d ed. 1861); on Genesis in 1852 (2d ed. 1860); Exodus and Leviticus, 1857; Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua, 1861. These commentaries are characterized by special sobriety and thoughtfulness, healthy linguistic and historical views, with comprehensive knowledge of Oriental antiquity. In the firstmentioned feature they have the advantage of Hitzig. Knobel is independent, and gives positive views on many points which he was obliged earnestly to defend. He was in conflict with Ewald, as also specially in reference to the origin of the Pentateuch with Hupfeld, Tuch, Bertheau, and Stachlin. He is deserving of credit for his ingenuity in bringing out the " Composisition theory" concerning the production of the Pentateuch. Knobel died, after long and severe suffering, from a cancer in the stomach, May 25, 1863. In addition to the works already mentioned, Knobel published Commentar uber Koheleth (Lpz. 1836, 8vo) ; and Voilkertafel der Genesis (1850, 8vo), a very learned work, and frequently cited in the exegetical department of this Cyclopcedia. See Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, vol. 19:s.v.

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