Michaelensi, Jean a Swiss theologian of the 12th century, the date of whose birth and death are unknown, figured as a bishop of Lausanne in 1166. We know so little of his life that we cannot say whether this same Michaelensi was the one that assisted at the Council of Troyes in 1128, and who was commissioned to draw up a body of rules for the Temple order. These rules have often been reprinted, but appeared for the first time in the Chronique de Citeaux, by Aubert Lemire. They have also been attributed to Saint Bernard, but without foundation. See, for the scanty information accessible, Fleury, Hist. Eccles. liv. 67, n. 55; Mabillon, Op. S. Bernarde, 1:571; Hist. Litter. de la France, 11:66; Ruchat, Abrgey de l'Histoire Eccles. du pays de Vaud. page 75.
Michaelis is the name of a German family distinguished in the Protestant theological world. The following are the most eminent members of this family:
1. CHRISTIAN BENEDIKT was born at Elrich, in Hohnstein, January 26, 1680. He was educated at Halle, and in 1713 was made a professor extraordinary of philosophy, and in 1731 ordinary professor of theology at his alma mater. In 1738 he was transferred to the departments of Greek and Oriental literature. He died February 22, 1764. He was not a very prolific writer, but his few productions display unusual talent and ripe scholarship. He was a thorough master of the Biblical languages, particularly the Hebrew. His principal works are,
(1.) On Hebrew Grammar and Philology: — Dissertatio, qua solcecismus casuum ab Ebraismo S. Codicis depellitur (Halle, 1729): — Dissert. qua solcecismus generis a Syntaxi S. Codicis Ebraici depellitur (Halle, 1739): a treatise against the etymological hypothesis, defended by Hermann Hardt and others, that Hebrew and the cognate tongues were derived from Greek (Halle, 1726): — a treatise on the Hebrew points, in which he took the side of Capellus (Halle, 1739): — a dissertation on Scripture Paronomasia (Halle, 1737): — a disputation on Hebrew Ellipses (Halle, 1724).
(2.) On Biblical Exegesis: De Herba Borith (Halle, 1728): — De Idumaea et ejus Antiq. Historia (Halle, 1733): — Philologemata Medica (in which he discusses certain points of the ars medica of the Bible): — Observationes philologiae de nominibus propriis Ebrceis, a work which was a worthy predecessor of Simon's Onomasticon V.T.: — Dissertatio philologica de antiquitatibus inconomice patriarchalis (reprinted in Ugolino, Thesaur. 24:323). In the year 1749 he published Tractatus criticus de variis lectionibus N.T. caute colligendis et dijudicandis, an elaborate treatise on the various readings of the Greek Testament, exhibiting proofs of an accurate critical judgment. It gives some account of the MSS. known in his day, both Greek and Latin; of the ancient versions, and of the patristic quotations. We must not omit to mention his cooperation with his uncle, Johann Heinrich Michaelis (q.v.), in the valuable commentary on the Hagiographa. Our author contributed the annotations on the Proverbs, Lamentations, and Dafiel. He was also associated with J.H. Michaelis in a commentary on the first two of the greater prophets. Simultaneously with the work of the latter on Isaiah, noticed above, appeared C.B. Michaelis's treatise, De Jeremia et de Vaticinio ejus (Halle, 1712). In the year 1736 he published a short work, De vaticinio Amosiprophetae. See Kitto, Cyclop. Bibl. Lit. s.v.; Herzog, Real-Encyklopdaie, s.v.
2. JOHANN DAVID, one of the ablest of Germany's theologians, and son of the preceding, was born at Halle February 27, 1717. After receiving instruction for some time from private tutors, Michaelis spent four years in the Orphan School at Halle, where his attention was particularly directed to languages and philosophy. In 1733 he began to attend the lectures at the university, and it was here that he obtained from the chancellor Ludwig's lectures on German history the foundation of that knowledge of general law and of the constitution of society which was afterwards displayed in his Mosaisches Recht. (See below.) In 1740 he visited England, where he made the acquaintance of several eminent scholars both in London and in Oxford. During part of his residence in England he preached in the German chapel at St. James's Palace. On his return to Germany, he devoted himself to the study of history, Oriental languages, and Biblical criticism. Upon the death of the chancellor Ludwig, Michaelis was commissioned to arrange and catalogue his immense library. The catalogue was published in 1745, and is considered a model for such works. Michaelis published his first book in 1739. It was a Dissertatio de Punctuorum Hebr. Antiquitate, and was quite ultra-orthodox, written in the Buxtorfian manner. But later he appears to have joined the school of Schultens, if we may judge by the Hebrew Grammar he published in 1745. The pietistic air of Halle finally led him to accept the proffered position at Gottingen, and he removed to that place in 1746, and there he spent the rest of his life, although he was invited by Frederick the Great in 1763 to return to Prussia. To the University of Gottingen Michaelis rendered the most important services as professor of theology 'and Oriental literature from 1745 to 1791; as secretary and director of the Royal Society of Sciences, from 1751 to 1770, when he left it on account of some differences with the members; as editor of the journal entitled Gelehrte Anzeigen, from 1753 to 1770; and as librarian and director of the philological seminary, which would have been abandoned after the death of Gesner in 1761 if Michaelis had not consented to direct it gratuitously.
In order to throw new light upon Biblical science, Michaelis planned the expedition to Arabia and India which was conducted by Carsten Niebuhr. The first project of this enterprise was submitted in the year 1756 to baron Von Bernstorff, then minister of Frederick V, king of Denmark. The course of the travellers was directed mainly by Michaelis, who drew up a series of questions for their guidance. These questions discuss the most interesting points of Biblical science — sacred geography, Oriental habits and customs, natural productions mentioned in the Bible, and diseases which still affect men in the East as they did of old. "The perspicuity, and precision, and learning with which our author proposes the questions, and the information in answer, to them obtained by Niebuhr and Forskal (as embodied in the Voyage en Arabie and Description de l'Arabie of the former, and in the Descriptiones Animalium, etc., of the latter), strikingly illustrate the sagacity of Michaelis; and the literary results of the expedition, though short of the exaggerated expectations of the time, have, in the shape of five quarto volumes, been permanently beneficial to Biblical science. In 1775 Michaelis was made a knight of the Polar Star by the king of Sweden; in 1786 he was appointed an Aulic counsellor of Hanover, and in 1789 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He was also a member of the Academy of Inscriptions, Paris. He died August 22, 1791.
The works of Michaelis are very numerous; the following are some of the most important. In Oriental literature, grammars of Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, and treatises on various subjects connected with these languages: Orientalische und Exegetische Bibliothek (a valuable periodical commenced by Michaelis in 1771, and of which he conducted 24 vols.): — Supplementa in Lexica Hebraica (6 parts in 2 volumes, 4to — useful, not more for the language illustrated, than for the information afforded on Biblical geography, archaeology, and natural history. In philosophy: an essay On the Influence of Opinions on Language, and of Language on Opinions, which obtained a prize from the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1759; a treatise on moral philosophy, and other works. In history, geography, and chronology: Spicilegium Geographiae Hebraeorum exterae post Bochartum (Gotting. 1769, 1780); other treatises on geography and chronology; several separate dissertations on the laws and antiquities of the Jews, the substance (f most of which is embodied in his
Mosaisches Recht, in 6 volumes, 1770-75; a second edition of the first 5 volumes of this work was published in the years 1775-80. This work, which is considered the masterpiece of Michaelis, was translated into English by Dr. Alexander Smith, under the title of Commentaries on the Laws of Moses (1814, 4 volumes, 8vo). "The great object of Michaelis in this work is to investigate and illustrate the philosophy of the Mosaic laws, to show their wonderful adaptation in every respect to the very peculiar circumstances in which the people to whom they were given had been placed by Providence; and, while he takes every opportunity of establishing the claims of Moses to the character of an ambassador from heaven, to inculcate upon human legislators the important lesson of studying those particulars: respecting the nature and political situation, the ideas and prejudices, the manners and customs of their countrymen, by attention to which alone they can ever hope to make them virtuous, prosperous, and happy" (Dr. Smith's Preface, page 17). In Biblical criticism, Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament is well known in England by the translation of the late bishop Marsh; he also published part of an Introduction to the Old Testament; a Translation of the Bible, with Notes, for the Unlearned; a monograph on the three chief Messianic psalms (viz. 10:40, 110), in which he ably defended their prophetic character (comp. cardinal Wiseman, Lectures, page 378); a commentary on the Book of Maccabees (1778); on Ecclesiastes (1762). He also wrote an able vindication of the sacred narrative on the Burial and Resurrection of Christ according to the Four Evangelists (Halle, 1783; English transl. 1827); and published learned notes on an edition of bishop Lowth's Sacra Poesis Hebrceorum (reprinted in the Oxford edition. with further annotations by E.F.C. Rosenmuller, 1821).
Johann David Michaelis has been in many respects more influential as a Biblical writer than any other of the numerous savants whom Germany has produced within the last 150 years. He exhibited an indomitable energy in the prosecution of his studies, and, hurried forward by an inquiring spirit, he could not fail to produce valuable writings. Unfortunately, however, he was inconsistent as a writer. Anxious to adhere to the established system of Lutheranism, he displayed outwardly great respect for the Christian religion, while he was really too light-minded, as he himself acknowledges, to adopt their tone of pious feeling. It is true, however, that his early pietistic training nevertheless sustained in him a certain conviction of the truth of Christianity. He endeavored constantly, by new and singularly ingenious theories, to remove objections to Christianity; and, much to the surprise of his younger contemporaries, whose rationalistic views were ripening apace, he held to the last many parts of the older system, which they had either modified or thrown aside. The melancholy consequences, however, of this merely natural persuasion are abundantly manifest. Destitute of that conviction which alone can give a comprehensive insight into the real character of revelation, and the harmonious relation of its several parts, he had no guide to enable him to perceive what might be safely admitted without detriment to the system itself; he consequently, according to the usual custom of persons taking only a partial view of subjects, frequently opposed the objection, instead of the principle on which the objection was founded; endeavored to remove it by theories in conformity with mere human systems, and strengthened it equally by his concessions and by his own inadequate and arbitrary defences.. Possessed of no settled principles, every minute difficulty, presented itself with intrinsic force and perplexity to his mind; his belief was a reed ready to be shaken by every fresh breeze; all that he had previously gained seemed again staked on the issue of each petty skirmish; and, in the very descriptive comparison of Lessing, he was like the timid soldier who loses his life before an outpost, without once seeing the country of which he would gain possession. The theological opinions of this celebrated man are never to be trusted; and, indeed, the serious student cannot but be disgusted with the levity which too frequently appears in his writings, and the gross obscenity which frequently defiles them. After all drawbacks, however, the discriminating and careful student will seldom consult Michaelis without benefiting by his erudition and clearness of illustration; and often will he find objections on Scripture refuted with much force and felicitous originality. Dr. Tholuck describes Michaelis as one of the chief pioneers of neology, though not because he indulged in bold neological assumptions, but because he was devoid of religious life, retaining only the external form of orthodoxy, but abandoning its essence and spirit (comp. Tholuck, Vernmischte Schriften, 2:130). See Lebensbeschreibung von ihm selbst abgefasst (Leipsic and Rinteln, 1793); C.G. Heyne, Elogium J.D. Michaelis (1791); Kitto, Cyclop. Bibl. Lit. s.v.; English Cyclop. s.v.; Doring, Gelehrte Theol. Deutschlands, volume 2, s.v.; Hagenbach, Ch. Hist. of the 18th and 19th Centuries, 1:157 sq.; Kahnis, Hist. of German Protestantism, page 120.
3. JOHANN FRIEDRICH, another writer of this family, a pupil of Danzius, is the author of a philological dissertation on the derivation and meaning of the sacred name אֶלֹהַים (reprinted in Ugolino, Thesaur. 24:105-138). With this treatise it is worth while to compare J.D. Michaelis's remarks, Supplement. ad Lex. Hebraic. pages 85-87; and Gesenius, Thesaur. pages 95-99.
4. JOHANN GEORG, who flourished as divinity professor at Halie, was born at Zerbst May 22, 1690; was educated at the University of Franeker; in 1715 entered the ministry; in 1717 accepted a position in the gymnasium at Frankfort-on-the-Oder; and in 1730 was promoted to a professorship in the university then at that place. In 1735 he was called to Halle, and died there July 16,1.758. He is the author of several learned works; one, on the famous Catechetical School of Alexandria, was first published in 1739; another work is entitled De progressu et incremento doctrines salutaris inde a protevangelio usque ad Noachum (1752); he is, however, better known for his Observationes Sacrae, a volume of great and varied erudition, comprising certain disputations which he had held at the University of Frankfort. This volume was published at Utrecht in 1738; we add the titles of such as claim mention in this work: De incisura propter mortuos: — De Elisaeo, a propro puerorun Bethlehensium justo Dei judicio vindicato: — De cane, symbolo prophetae: — De Spiritu Sancto, sub externo linguarum ignearum symbolo Apostolis communicato: — De crustulis quotidianis pontificis maximi: — De Sacerdote, ex ministerio sufftus non divite. In Ugolino, Thesaur. 11:727-748, there occurs a valuable dissertation, De Thuribulo Adyti, in which our author fully considers the high-priest's sacrificial duties on the great day of atonement, and takes occasion to illustrate, in an interesting manner, the priesthood of Christ in some of its features as indicated in the Epistle to the Hebrews (9:7-15). See Doring, Gelehrte Theol. Deutschlands, 2:516 sq.; Kitto, Cyclop. Bibl. Lit. s.v. (J.H.W.)
5. JOHANN HEINRICH, upon the whole, the most accurately learned of all the accomplished members of his family, was born at Klettenberg, in Hohnstein, July 26, 1668. He studied Oriental literature for some years at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, where he had the celebrated Ludolf for his instructor in Ethiopic. He next studied for a time at Leipsic, and then removed to Halle, the head-quarters of Spener's influence, and became librarian to the university, later professor of the Oriental languages, and eventually of divinity. Halle was at that time the most renowned of the German universities; its professors were eminent men, and its schools crowded with sager students, and J. Heinrich Michaelis was the soul of the place. In connection with A.H. Franke, he instituted the Collegium Orientale Theologicum, a seminary for instruction in the Biblical languages. Fifty years before Kennicott's publication, J.H. Michaelis, after some thirty years' conscientious labor, led the way in Old-Testament textual criticism by issuing from the press a carefully-edited Hebrew Bible (Halle, 1720, 2 volumes, 4to). Kennicott, who was impetuous in judgment, spoke slightingly of this work, as if the author, from favor of the Masoretic text, had improperly used his manuscripts (see Kennicott's Annual Account of Hebrew Collections, page 146). He afterwards modified his opinion in the following statement, which we extract, as giving a good description of Michaelis's labors: "This edition was the first which contained any various readings collected from Hebrew MSS. by a Christian editor. The text is taken from Jablonski's edition, with some few emendations... There were collated for this Bible most of the best printed editions, and also five Hebrew MSS. belonging to the library at Erfurt; two of which contain the verses in Joshua excluded by the Masora. The propriety of selecting various readings from Hebrew MSS. and ancient versions is set forth in the preface" (Hist. of Hebr. Text. Dissert. 2:487, Teller's ed. page 465). Three quarto volumes of exegesis, in the shape of a commentary on the Hagiographa, entitled Annotationes Philologico-Exegeticae in Hagiographis (Halle, 1720), accompanied the critical text. This is a work of still acknowledged value. J.H. Michaelis was the general editor of the whole work; but he. received assistance from his nephew, and from Rambach in portions of it. The annotations on the Psalms, Job, Canticles, Ezra, and the Chronicles were contributed by him (on the critical merit of our author, see Wiseman, Connection between Science, etc. 2d ed. page 349). Other works of his, worthy of mention here, are, a dissertation, De Paradiso: — a tract, De peculiaribus Hebraeorum loquendi modis (Halle, 1702): — De Iesaia propheta ejusque vaticinio (Halle, 1710): — and on the N.T., De textu N.T. Graeco (Halle, 1707: — Introductio in Jacobi epistolam (Halle, 1722, 4to). Johann Heinrich Michaelis died in 1738. See Doring, Gelehrte Theol. Deutschlands, volume 2, s.v.; Herzog, Real- Encyklopadie, 9:522 sq.