Ferdinand Hitzig

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See also a German architect Georg Heinrich Ferdinand Hitzig (1811-1881).

Ferdinand Hitzig (June 23, 1807–January 22, 1875), was a German biblical critic.

He was born at Hauingen (now a part of Lörrach), Baden, where his father was a pastor. He studied theology at Heidelberg under H.E.G. Paulus, at Halle under Wilhelm Gesenius and at Göttingen under Ewald. Returning to Heidelberg he became Privatdozent in theology in 1829, and in 1831 published his Begriff der Kritik am Alten Testamente praktisch erörtert, a study of Old Testament criticism in which he explained the critical principles of the grammatico-historical school, and his Des Propheten Jonas Orakel über Moab, an exposition of the 5th and 16th chapters of the book of Isaiah attributed by him to the prophet Jonah mentioned in 2 Kings xiv. 25.

In 1833 he was called to the University of Zürich as professor ordinarius of theology. His next work was a commentary on Isaiah with a translation (Übersetzung und Auslegung des Propheten Jesaias), which he dedicated to Heinrich Ewald, and which Hermann Hupfeld (1796–1866), well known as a commentator on the Psalms (1855–1861), pronounced to be his best exegetical work. At Zürich he laboured for a period of twenty-eight years, during which, besides commentaries on The Psalms (1835–1836; 2nd ed., 1863–1865), The Minor Prophets (1838; 3rd ed., 1863), Jeremiah (1841; 2nd ed., 1866), Ezekiel (1847), Daniel (1850), Ecclesiastes (1847), Canticles (1855), and Proverbs (1858), he published a monograph, Über Johannes Markus und seine Schriften (1843), in which he maintained the chronological priority of the second gospel. He wrote works of archaeological interest, of which the most important are Die Erfindung des Alphabets (1840), Urgeschichte und Mythologie der Philister (1845), and Die Grabschrift des Eschmunezar (1855).

After the death in 1860 of Friedrich Umbreit, one of the founders of the well-known Studien und Kritiken, Hitzig was called to succeed him as professor of theology at Heidelberg. Here he wrote his Geschichte des Volkes Israel (1869–1870), in two parts, extending respectively to the end of the Persian domination and to the fall of Masada, 72 AD, as well as a work on the Pauline epistles, Zur Kritik Paulinischer Briefe (1870), on the Moabite Stone, Die Inschrift des Mescha (1870), and on Assyrian, Sprache und Sprachen Assyriens (1871), besides revising the commentary on Job by Ludwig Hirzel, first published in 1839.

He was also a contributor to the Monatsschrift des wissenschaftlichen Vereins in Zürich, the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft, the Theologische Studien und Kritiken, Eduard Zeller's Theologische Jahrbücher, and Adolf Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie. Hitzig died at Heidelberg.

His lectures on biblical theology (Vorlesungen über biblische Theologie und messianische Weissagungen) were published in 1880 after his death, along with a portrait and biographical sketch by his pupil, J. J. Kneucker (b. 1840), professor of theology at Heidelberg.


  • Begriff der Kritik, am Alten Testament praktisch erörtert, 1831
  • Die 12 kleinen Propheten, ("The 12 Minor Prophets"), 1838
  • Über die Erfindung des Alphabetes, ("About the Invention of the Alphabet"), 1840
  • Urgeschichte u. Mythologie der Philistäer, ("Prehistory and Mythology of the Philistines"), 1845
  • Das buch Daniel, 1850
  • Die proph. Bücher des Alten Testaments, 1854
  • Geschichte des Volkes Israel, ("History of the People of Israel"), 1869/70

Belschazzar and his historicity[edit]

Hal Flemings in his book Examining criticism of the Bible (p. 161) and several fundamentalist websites or related [1][2] claim that Ferdinand Hitzig had written in 1850 about Belshazzar that he was "a figment of the Jewish writer's imagination". The reference always given is - Ferdinand Hitzig, Das Buch Daniel, Leipzig: Weidman, 1850, p. 75, as quoted by Millard, "Daniel and Belshazzar in History," Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1985, pp. 74–75 - but, there is not even a little clue about such claim into that page [3] which coming up neither page 74 and page 76.[4] Furthermore, there is nowhere into the book something related to Baltasar with « Schreiber » (writer), « Schriftsteller » (author), « jüdisch » (Jewish), « Erfindung » (figment) or «Vorstellung» (imagination). This quote is spurious.



  1. ^ Grace Valley Christian center
  2. ^ Everette Hatcher
  3. ^ The exact sentence about Belshazzar is "Sofern Daniel auf den Baltasar zunäscht einen medischen König folgen lasst (6,1) hat man mit Recht grosses Gewicht darauf gelegt, dass auch Xenophon einen König Mediens bietet" which can be translated as "Regarding to the fact that Daniel forward Baltasar by a Median king (6,1), one has laid rightly big weight on the fact that also Xenophon offers a Median king "
  4. ^ Das Buch Daniel is available on Google books,

External links[edit]

See also: Hitzig