Leusden, Johann

Leusden, Johann a very celebrated Dutch Orientalist and theologian, was born at Utrecht in 1624, and was educated at the then recently founded university of his native place and at Amsterdam, paying particular regard to the Oriental languages, especially the Hebrew. In 1649 he was appointed professor of Hebrew at Utrecht, and for nearly fifty years he most creditably discharged the duties of this office, for which he had fitted himself, not simply at the universities already mentioned, but also by private study with several learned Jewish rabbis. He died in 1699, regarded by all as one of the best Hebrew scholars of his day, the Buxtorfs only taking precedence in rank. Of his works we may say that the writings of but few Biblical scholars of that day have descended to us which can be said to be of more solid utility than Leusden's. "If they are defective in originality of genius (the amount of which quality, however, it is impossible rightly to determine in works like our author's), they undoubtedly afford evidence of their author's varied resources of learning, adorned by clearness of method and an easy style, characteristics which made Leusde.n one of the most renowned and successful teachers of his age." His numerous works, which were all Biblical, may be classed as follows: (1) Critical, (2) Introductory, and (3) Exegetical. Under the first head we have his valuable Biblia Hebsrea accuratissima notis lHebraicis et lemmatibus illustrata: typis Josephi Athias (Amstel. 1617 [2d ed. 1667], the first critical edition by a Christian editor ["Estimatissima primum numeratis versibus, primaque a Christiano adhibitis MSS. facta." Steinschneider, Catal. Bodl.]) In 1694 he joined Eisenmenger in publishing a Hebrew Bible without points. The Greek Scriptures also received his careful attention, as is proved by his editions of the Greek Test. in 1675, 1688, 1693, 1698, 1701, and by his edition of the Septuagint (Amsterdam, 1683). After his death, Schaaf completed a valuable edition of the Syriac New Test. (with Tremnellius's version) which Leusden had begun. Under this first head we may also place his Hebrew Lexicon (1688); Elementary Heb. Gram., which was translated into English, French, and German (1668); his Compendia of the 0. T. and the N. Test. (comprising selections of the originals, with translations and grammatical notes in Latin), frequently reprinted; his Onomasticon Sacr. 1665, 1684), and his still useful Clavis Hebr. Vet. Test. (containing the Masoretic notes, etc., besides much grammatical and philological information), first published in 1683, and his Clavis Graec. NV. T. (1672). His contributions to the second head of Introduction (Einleitung) and sacred archaeology were not less valuable than the works we have already commended. Of these we mention three (sometimes to be met with in one volume) as very useful to the Biblical student: Philologus Hebr. continens Quaestiones Hebr. quae circa V. Test. Hebr. fere moveri solent (Utrecht, 1656, 1672, 1695, Amst. 1686, are the best editions, and contain his edition and translation of Maimonides's Precepts of Moses, p. 56); Philologus Hebraeomixtus, una cume. Spicileg. Philol. (Utr. 1663, etc., contains treatises on several interesting points of Hebrew antiquities and Talmudical science); Philologus Hebraeo Graecus gemeralis (Utr. 1670, etc.) treats questions relating to the sacred Greek of the Christian Scriptures, its Hebraisms, the Syriac and other translations, its inspired authors, etc., well and succinctly handled (with this work occurs Leusden's translation into Hebrew of all the Chaldee portions of the O.T.). Under the last, or Exegetical head, we have less to record. In 1656 (reprinted in 1.692) Leusden published in a Latin translation David Kimchi's Commentary on the prophet Jonah (Jonas illustratus), and in the following year a similar work (again after David Kimchi) on Joel and Obadiah (Joel explicatus, adjunctus Obadjas illustratus). Well worthy of mention are also his editions (prepared. with the help of Villemandy and Morinus) of Bochart's works, and the works of Lightfoot (which he published in Latin, in 3 vols. folio, in the last year of his life) and Poole (whose Synopsis occurs in its very best form in Leusden's edition, 1684, 5 vols. folio). See Burmann, Trajectums eruditorum?; De Vries, Oratio in Obitlim J. Leusdenii (1699); Fabricius, Ilist. ibliot. Graec. 1 244; Walch, Biblioth. Theol. Selecta, vols. 3, 4; Biograuphie universelle anc. et mod. (1819) 24:357; Elogia Philogorum quorundam Hebraeorum (Lub. 1708, 8vo); Meyer, Gesch. d. Schsrifterklarung,. p. 111, 174 sq.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog.

Generale, 31:11 sq.; Kalisch, Heb. Gram. pt. 2 (Historical Introd.), p. 37; and in Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:345, 346; Kitto, Cyclop. Biblical Literature, vol. 2, s.v.

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