NATHAN, WOLF BEN ABRAHAM:
German Biblical exegete and theologian; born at Dessau July 8, 1751; died there Sept. 6, 1784. He wrote a commentary on the Book of Job entitled "Pesher Dabar" (Berlin, 1777), which was highly praised and recommended for its clearness and lucidity by Moses Mendelssohn and Naphtali H. Wessely. But his "Grundsätze der Jüdischen Religion, aus den Heiligen Büchern, dem Talmud und den Vorzüglichsten Rabbinen" (Dessau, 1782), a reader for the young, in which he presented the divergent opinions of the Rabbis, drew upon him the anger of his coreligionists, the direct cause being his "complaints against the Jewish nation" in the preface. He therefore changed and reprinted the "unfortunate preface," as Mendelssohn termed it, and made a formal apology. The German pedagogues Basedow and Salzmann warmly defended him, but Mendelssohn, who could do nothing for him, admonished him not to let his "praiseworthy zeal for a good cause degenerate into quarrelsomeness."
- Ha-Meassef, 1785, pp. 43 et seq.;
- M. Mendelssohn, Gesammelte Schrifen, v. 602 et seq.;
- Roest, Cat. Rosenthal. Bibl. p. 210;
- Supplement, p. 489.