Kittel studied at University of Tübingen (1871–76). He was a professor of Old Testament studies at the universities of Breslau (1888–98) and Leipzig (1898–1923). In 1917 he was appointed rector at the University of Leipzig.
He produced commentaries and histories of the Israelites and the Near East, but his most enduring work was his critical edition of the Hebrew scriptures, Biblia Hebraica, which has remained a standard text.
- Geschichte der Hebräer, 2 volumes, 1888–1892 – History of the Hebrews.
- Biblia Hebraica (BHK), 1909. (Hebrew Bible).
- Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft in ihren wichtigsten Ergebnissen mit Berücksichtigung des Religionsunterrichts, 1910 – Old Testament science and its most important results.
- Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft in ihren wichtigsten Ergebnissen dargestellt, 1917 – Old Testament science and its most important results; with regard to religious instruction.
- Die Religion des Volkes Israel, 1921 – The religion of the people of Israel.
- Geschichte des Volkes Israel, 1923 – History of the people of Israel.
- Gestalten und Gedanken in Israel, 1925.
- Rudolph Kittel (1905). Biblia hebraica. Part I. archive.org (in Hebrew). Lipsiae: J. C. Hinrichs. p. 574. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018.
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