German Orientalist; born in Hohenfelde May 9, 1800; died at Berlin Dec. 22, 1882; educated at the universities of Kiel (Ph.D. 1823), Berlin, and Paris. He became professor of Oriental languages at Kiel in 1830, but lost this position in 1853 in consequence of his political views. He was called to Königsberg in the same capacity in 1858, and spent the remainder of his life there. Olshausen's scientific activity was divided almost equally between Pahlavi, in which he did excellent pioneer work, and Old Testament criticism and theology. His first work on this latter subject was a series of emendations (Kiel, 1826), followed by another series of critical observations (1856). His commentary on the Psalms (Leipsic, 1853) was epoch-making in its textual and historical criticism and its keen exegetical insight based upon a profound grammatical knowledge. He set forth his grammatical views in his "Lehrbuch der Hebräischen Sprache" (Brunswick, 1861), in which he undertook to go back to Old Hebrew forms as the basis of his presentation, and appealed to Arabic analogies, forming thus a system opposed to that of Ewald. Most succeeding writers on Hebrew grammar (Stade, for example) have attempted a synthesis of the views of Ewald and Olshausen (or of the methods of these two authors and Gesenius).

  • Allg. Deutsche Biographie.
T. J.
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