Paul de Lagarde

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Paul Anton de Lagarde
Born (1827-11-02)November 2, 1827
Died December 22, 1891(1891-12-22) (aged 64)
Nationality German
Other names Paul Bötticher
Occupation Orientalist

Paul Anton de Lagarde (2 November 1827 – 22 December 1891) was a German polymath, biblical scholar and orientalist. He has been cited as one of the greatest orientalists of the 19th century.[1] He is also one of the founding fathers of German antisemitism and inspired most of Hitler's antisemitic stance.[citation needed]


Paul de Lagarde was born in Berlin as Paul Bötticher; in early adulthood he legally adopted the family name of his maternal line out of respect for his great-aunt who raised him. At Berlin (1844–1846) and Halle (1846–1847) he studied theology, philosophy and Oriental languages.

In 1852 his studies took him to London and Paris. In 1854 he became a teacher at a Berlin public school, but this did not interrupt his biblical studies. In 1866 he received three years leave of absence to collect fresh materials, and in 1869 succeeded German orientalist and theologian Heinrich Ewald as professor of oriental languages at the University of Göttingen. Like Ewald, Lagarde was an active worker in a variety of subjects and languages; but his chief aim, the elucidation of the Bible, was almost always kept in view. Lagarde was easily the most renowned Septuagint scholar of the nineteenth century, and he devoted himself ardently to Oriental studies.

His great learning and gifts were curiously mixed with dogmatism and distrust in the activities of others.[2] In politics, he belonged to the Prussian Conservative party. He died in Göttingen on 22 December 1891.


Lagarde's anti-Semitism laid the foundations for aspects of National Socialist ideology, in particular that of Alfred Rosenberg. He argued that Germany should create a "national" form of Christianity purged of Semitic elements and insisted that Jews were "pests and parasites" who should be destroyed "as speedily and thoroughly as possible".[3][4] His library now belongs to the New York University.[2]


He edited the Didascalia apostolorum syriace (1854) and other Syriac texts collected in the British Museum and in Paris. He edited the Aramaic translation (known as the Targum) of the Prophets according to the Codex Reuchlinianus preserved at Karlsruhe, Prophetae chaldaice (1872), the Hagiographa chaldaice (1874), an Arabic translation of the Gospels, Die vier Evangelien, arabisch aus der Wiener Handschrift herausgegeben (1864), a Syriac translation of the Old Testament Apocrypha, Libri V. T. apocryphi syriace (1865), a Coptic translation of the Pentateuch, Der Pentateuch koptisch (1867), and a part of the Lucianic text of the Septuagint, which he was able to reconstruct from manuscripts for nearly half the Old Testament.

Of the Armenians he published Zur Urgeschichte der Armenier (1854) and Armenische Studien (1877). He was also a student of Persian, publishing Isaias persice (1883) and Persische Studien (1884). He followed up his Coptic studies with Aegyptiaca (1883), and published many minor contributions to the study of oriental languages in Gesammelte Abhandlungen (1866), Symmicta (1. 1877, ii. 1880), Semitica (i. 1878, ii. 1879), Orientalia (1879–1880) and Mittheilungen (1884). Mention should also be made of the valuable Onomastica sacra (1870; 2nd ed., 1887).

He edited:

In Deutsche Schriften (1878–81; 4th ed., Göttingen, 1903), he attempted to involve himself in politics.[1] It deals with the position of the German state relative to theology, the church and religion.[2] It became a nationalist text.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg "Lagarde, Paul Anton de". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 
  2. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Lagarde, Paul Anton". Encyclopedia Americana. 
  3. ^ Snyder, L. Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, Wordsworth, 1998, p.203
  4. ^ Stern, Fritz The Politics of Cultural Despair: a study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology, 1961 (see Chapter I, "Paul de Lagarde and a Germanic Religion").


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lagarde, Paul Anton de". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  This work in turn cites:
    • Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie
    • Anna de Lagarde, Paul de Lagarde (1894)

Further reading[edit]

  • Ulrich Sieg, Deutschlands Prophet. Paul de Lagarde und die Ursprünge des modernen Antisemitismus (München, Carl Hanser 2007).
  • Frtiz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair (1961).

External links[edit]