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VATKE, JOHANN KARL WILHELM:

Christian Hebraist; born March 14, 1806, at Behndorf, Saxony; died in Berlin April 19, 1882. After studying in Halle, Göttingen, and Berlin he became privat-docent in the University of Berlin in 1830, and assistant professor in 1837. In 1835 (Berlin) appeared his first important work, "Die Religion des Alten Testaments" (intended as part i. of a "Biblische Theologie"; but no more was published). After 1841 he published little; but his lectures on the Old Testament were edited after his death by H. Preiss under the title "Einleitung in das Alte Testament" (1886).

On the question of the origin of the Pentateuch, Vatke took the most advanced position, denying to Moses any share in the work, and regarding Deuteronomy as the earliest of the Pentateuchal books. He thus brought on himself the vigorous opposition of Hengstenberg; but his teaching exerted a lasting influence on a wide circle of hearers; and he is regarded as one of the predecessors of Graf, Kuenen, and Wellhausen.

Bibliography:
  • H. Benecke, Wilhelm Vatke, Sein Leben und Seine Schriften, Bonn, 1883;
  • Allg. Deutsche Biographie.
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