Relief from the Berlin Cathedral depicting Matthäus Aurogallus, Martin Luther, and Phillip Melanchthon
|Died||November 10, 1543
|Occupation||Professor of Hebrew, Linguist|
|Alma mater||Leipzig 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, and made valuable contributions to the academic study of Hebrew. He died at Wittenberg.
Early Life and Education
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. There, Aurogallus studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He then studied Hebrew in Leipzig from 1512-1515, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts, before returning to Komotau to teach Latin at his former school.
Wittenberg and Luther
In 1519 he left his position and move to Wittenberg, where he began a close professional relationship with Philip Melanchthon. 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. 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.
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. 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. In 1540, Luther published a revision of his translations of the book of Psalms after Aurogallus had reviewed and improved the previous edition.
On May 1, 1542, Aurogallus achieved the prestigious position of rector of the University of Wittenberg. He died a year later.
Contributions to Hebrew Studies
- Hebräisch und chaldäisch Grammatik (1523-25, 1531 Wittenberg)
- Chronik der Herzöge uund Könige von Böhmen (lost)
- Hebräisch historisch-geographisches Reallexicon (1526–1539)
- 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.
- Seidemann, "Aurogallus, Matthäus" in: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 1 (1875), S. 691-692 [Online-Version]; URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/gnd117765066.html#adbcontent
- Wendorf, Hermann, "Aurogallus, Matthäus" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 1 (1953), S. 457 [Online-Version]; URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/gnd117765066.html#ndbcontent
- "Matthäus Goldhahn, gen. Aurogallus (GND: 117765066)", in: RAG, Repertorium Academicum Germanicum. URL: http://www.rag-online.org/pnd/117765066 (Abgerufen: 16. März 2017).
- Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums. Rudolf Kuntze, 1904.
- Luther, Martin, and Johann Georg Walch. Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche schriften. Concordia publishing house, 1910.
- Boyle, Marjorie O’Rourke. Christening Pagan Mysteries: Erasmus in Pursuit of Wisdom. University of Toronto Press, 2016.
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