WAGENSEIL, JOHANN CHRISTOPH:
German Christian Hebraist; born at Nuremberg Nov. 26, 1633; died at Altdorf Oct. 9, 1705. In 1667 he was made professor of history at Altdorf, and was professor of Oriental languages at the same university from 1674 to 1697, after which he occupied the chair of ecclesiastical law until his death. For his knowledge of Hebrew he was chiefly indebted to Enoch Levi, who had come from Vienna to Fürth about 1670. Wagenseil devoted his learning to publishing anti-Christian works of Jewish authors, and undertook long journeys to gather his material. The fruit of this work is the collection entitled "Tela Ignea Satanæ, sive Arcani et Horribiles Judæorum Adversus Christum, Deum, et Christianam Religionem Libri" (Altdorf, 1681), which includes the apologetic "Ḥizzuḳ Emunah" of the Karaite Isaac b. Abraham of Troki. Becoming convinced by the "Toledot Yeshu" that the Jews were guilty of blaspheming Jesus, Wagenseil addressed to all high potentates his "Denunciatio Christiana de Blasphemiis Judæorum in Jesum Christum" (Altdorf, 1703), in which he implored them to restrain the Jews from mocking at Jesus, Mary, the cross, the mass, and Christian teachings. Although he would have been pleased to see the Protestant princes show greater zeal in the conversion of the Jews, Wagenseil was opposed to forcible baptism and similar measures, and devoted a special treatise to the refutation of the charge of ritual murder.
Wagenseil wrote, besides the above - mentioned books, "Hoffnung der Erlösung Israels" (Leipsic, 1705), which appeared in a second edition (Altdorf, 1707), augmented by a number of smaller works under the general title "Benachrichtigungen Wegen Einiger die Gemeine Jüdischheit Betreffenden Sachen." This collection contains the following treatises: (1) "Quomodo cum Judæo in Colloquio, Forte Fortuno Nato, Agendum"; (2) "Judæos non Uti Sanguine Christiano"; (3) "Quomodo Usura Judæorum Averti Possit"; (4) "De Precatione Judaica Olenu"; (5) "Denunciatio Christiana de Blasphemiis Judæorum in Jesum Christum"; (6) "Apologia"; (7) "Denunciatio ad Magistratus Christianos de Juribus Eorum a Judæis Violatis"; (8) "An Christianus Salva Religione Judæo Die Sabbati Inservire Possit." He wrote also: "Exercitationes Sex Varii Argumenti" (Altdorf, 1698); "Belehrung der Jüdisch-Deutschen Red- und Schreibart" (2d ed., Königsberg, 1699); "Disputatio Circularis de Judæis" (Altdorf, 1705); "Rabbi Moses Stendal's nach Jüdischer Rede-Art Vorlängst in Reimen Gebrachte Psalmen David's" (Leipsic, 1700); as well as an edition and Latin translation of the Talmudic treatise Soτah (Altdorf, 1674).
- Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. ii. 1046;
- Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., x. 274-276;
- Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 489;
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 2711-2713.