Julius Fürst (also Julius Furst) (b. 12 May 1805, Zerkowo, South Prussia; d. 9 February 1873, Leipzig), was a Jewish German orientalist. Fürst was a distinguished scholar of Semitic languages and literature. During his years as professor in the department of oriental languages and literature at the University of Leipzig (1864–1873), he wrote major works on literary history and linguistics.
At an early age, Fürst had a remarkable knowledge of Hebrew literature, Old Testament scriptures and oriental languages. In 1825, after having studied at Berlin, where Hegel and Neander were among his teachers, he took a course in Jewish theology at Posen. In 1829, after having abandoned his Jewish orthodoxy, he went to Breslau, and in 1831 to Halle. Here he took his degree in oriental languages and theology under Gesenius in 1832.
In 1833 he became a journalist in Leipzig, later securing a position as tutor and lecturer (privat-docent) in the university there, from which position he was promoted in 1864 to professor of oriental languages and literature. He filled this post until his death, and during his tenure there he was also elected to several scientific societies.
As one of the exponents of the University of Leipzig's academic scholarly milieu throughout his adult life he was also a contemporary, a friend, and a sometimes collaborator of Leipzig's own native Lutheran scholar and professor Franz Delitsch.
His most important scholarly works include the Bibliotheca Judaica (Leipzig, 1849–1863), Kultur and Literaturgeschichte der Juden in Asien (“Cultural and literary history of Jews in Asia,” 1849), several dictionaries as well as numerous contributions to the periodical Der Orient (Leipzig 1840-1851), whose chief editor he was. Der Orient was mainly devoted to scientific study of the language, literature and history of the Jews. Other works include:
- Lehrgebäude der aramaischen Idiome (“A system for Aramic dialects,” 1835)
- Concordantiae librorum Sacrorum veteris Testamenti Hebraicae et Chaldaicae (1837–40)
- Hebräisches und Chaldäisches Handwörterbuch (“Portable dictionary for Hebrew and Chaldaic,” 1851-61)
- Geschichte des Karäerthums (1862–65)
- Geschichte der biblischen Litteratur und des jüdisch-hellenistischen Schrifttums (“History of Biblical literature and Jewish-Hellenic writings,” 1867-70)
- Julius Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica. 1-3, Leipzig 1863.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Fürst, Julius". Encyclopedia Americana.
- The Jewish Encyclopedia entry on him cited below as an original source for this page says he lectured on "Chaldaic, Syriac, Hebrew grammar and literature, Biblical exegesis, etc."
- "Fuerst, Julius." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 306. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 22 Nov. 2013. It is also important to note in this context that Fürst was 8 years Delitsch's senior, and seems to have preceded the latter by a few years in getting himself tenured within the Univerity of Leipzig's academic establishment and hierarchy.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "FÜRST, JULIUS". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906.