Matthäus Aurogallus

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Matthäus Aurogallus
Relief from the Berlin Cathedral depicting Matthäus Aurogallus, Martin Luther, and Phillip Melanchthon
Born Matthäus Goldhahn
1490 (1490)
Komotau, Bohemia
Died November 10, 1543 (1543-11-11)
Wittenberg, Germany
Nationality Bohemian
Occupation Professor of Hebrew, Linguist
Academic background
Alma mater Leipzig University
Academic work
Institutions Wittenberg University
Main interests Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Theology

Matthäus Aurogallus (1490 – November 10, 1543), also known as Matthäus Goldhahn, was a German linguist. Born in Komotau, Bohemia, he served as Professor of Hebrew at the University of Wittenberg and was a colleague of Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther. He assisted Luther in the revision of the reformer's translation of the Old Testament,[1] and made valuable contributions to the academic study of Hebrew.[2] He died at Wittenberg.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Matthäus Aurogallus began his education at a humanist school in Komotau founded by Czech nobleman and writer Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic in his family home, Hasištejn Castle.[2] There, Aurogallus studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He then studied Hebrew in Leipzig from 1512-1515, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts,[3] before returning to Komotau to teach Latin at his former school.[4]

Wittenberg and Luther[edit]

In 1519 he left his position and move to Wittenberg, where he began a close professional relationship with Philip Melanchthon.[3] Melanchthon had recently accepted a position as professor of Greek at the University of Wittenberg on the recommendation of his great-uncle, Martin Luther. During this time, Melanchthon had the opportunity to observe Aurogallus’ impressive command of Hebrew.[5] Two years later, at the recommendation of Melanchthon and Luther, Aurogallus also joined Wittenberg’s faculty as professor of Hebrew, replacing Matthäus Adrian, who – although he had been recommended for the position by Luther several years earlier – was removed from the post after his vocal opposition to Luther’s religious reform.[6]

Wittenberg at the time was the epicenter of the Protestant Reformation, under Luther’s leadership, and Aurogallus was drawn into the movement at least peripherally as a scholar of Hebrew. Aurogallus acted as an adviser to Martin Luther on Hebrew translation while the latter was writing his translation of the Old Testament.[5] He was also able to borrow rare manuscripts from Lobkovic’s extensive library which he lent to Luther and Melanchthon, further aiding in the translation process.[2] In 1540, Luther published a revision of his translations of the book of Psalms after Aurogallus had reviewed and improved the previous edition.[7]

On May 1, 1542, Aurogallus achieved the prestigious position of rector of the University of Wittenberg. He died a year later.[3]

Contributions to Hebrew Studies[edit]

Works[edit]

  • Hebräisch und chaldäisch Grammatik (1523-25, 1531 Wittenberg)
  • Chronik der Herzöge uund Könige von Böhmen (lost)
  • Hebräisch historisch-geographisches Reallexicon (1526–1539)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Aurogallus (Goldhahn), Matthäus". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 1. Hamm: Bautz. col. 304. ISBN 3-88309-013-1. 
  2. ^ a b c Seidemann, "Aurogallus, Matthäus" in: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 1 (1875), S. 691-692 [Online-Version]; URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/gnd117765066.html#adbcontent
  3. ^ a b c Wendorf, Hermann, "Aurogallus, Matthäus" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 1 (1953), S. 457 [Online-Version]; URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/gnd117765066.html#ndbcontent
  4. ^ "Matthäus Goldhahn, gen. Aurogallus (GND: 117765066)", in: RAG, Repertorium Academicum Germanicum. URL: http://www.rag-online.org/pnd/117765066 (Abgerufen: 16. März 2017).
  5. ^ a b Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums. Rudolf Kuntze, 1904.
  6. ^ Luther, Martin, and Johann Georg Walch. Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche schriften. Concordia publishing house, 1910.
  7. ^ Boyle, Marjorie O’Rourke. Christening Pagan Mysteries: Erasmus in Pursuit of Wisdom. University of Toronto Press, 2016.