Selig, Gottfried

Selig, Gottfried a convert from Judaism, whose original name was Philipp Heynemann, was born at Weissenfels in 1722. Up to his tenth year he enjoyed the lectures of a private tutor; after this time he was sent first to Dessau and then to Fürth, to attend the Talmudical lectures there. When he was thirteen years of age, his father wished him to become a merchant, but to this proposition he would not yield. His father finally consented to give him a better education, and a candidate of theology was intrusted with his instruction in the German and Latin languages. At times the pupil, who was well acquainted with the objections against Christianity, propounded questions to his teacher which the latter could not answer, because he was not acquainted enough with the Hebrew language. The teacher then invited a certain Herrlich, who was well acquainted with the Hebrew and Rabbinic literature, to meet Philipp several times in order to dispute with him about Christianity. The result was that the sting left in the Jewish heart became the impetus for further searching the Scriptures. About Christmas of 1737, Philipp went to pastor Schumann and handed to him a paper in which certain passages of the New Test. were written down, and of which he desired an explanation. This visit decided his future course, and Sept. 17, 1738, he was baptized at Weissenfels, assuming the name Gottfried Selig. In 1767 he came to Leipsic, where Prof. Dathe examined him in Hebraicis, and Prof. Bosseck in Talmudicis et Rabbinicis, and thus he was enabled to commence his lectures in Rabbinic literature. He died after 1792. He wrote, Collectio abbreviaturarum Hebraicarum ultra 4000 Assurgens (Leipsic, 1781): — Kurze undgrundliche Anweisung zu einer leichteren Erlernung der jüdisch-deutschen Sprache (ibid. 1767): — Der Jude (ibid. 1767-71, 9 vols.), in which he describes the usages, customs, and doctrines of the Jews according to Rabbinic sources: — Compendia Vocum Hebraico-Rabbinicarum (ibid. 1780). See Fürst, Bibl. Jud. 3, 309; Steinschneider, Bibliog. Handbuch, p. 131; Delitzsch, Saat auf Hoffnung, 8, 159 sq. (B.P.)

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