German theologian and Orientalist; born at Illingen, Württemberg, April 25, 1823; died at Berlin July 4, 1894. When Hengstenberg died in 1869, Dillmann was invited to Berlin as his successor. Besides preparing a catalogue of Ethiopic manuscripts for the British Museum and the Bodleian Library (1847-48), and an edition of the Ethiopic Old Testament, of which three volumes, Genesis to Ruth, Samuel and Kings (1853-71), and the Apocrypha have been published, he translated from the Ethiopic the Book of Enoch (1853), the Book of Jubilees (1859), and the Ascension of Isaiah (1877).
Dillmann is chiefly known among Old Testament students as the editor of several parts of the "Exegetisches Handbuch zum Alten Testament," the first part of which was issued in 1841. For this collection he prepared the third and fourth editions of the commentary on Job (1869-91); three editions on Genesis (1882-92; the last edition has been translated into English by W. B. Stevenson: "Genesis Critically and Exegetically Expounded," Edinburgh, 2 vols., 1897); Exodus and Leviticus (1880); Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua (1886); Isaiah (1890). Dillmann's lectures on Old Testament theology were edited by Professor Kittel, and published posthumously in 1895. Dillmann's merit in the domain of Old Testament exegesis lay in the fact that he developed the results of Ewald's historical criticism while avoiding his arbitrariness. His position is especially conspicuous in Pentateuch criticism, though less in the separation than in the chronological assignment of the sources. But while he rejected the so-called Graf hypothesis, he still opposed the traditional treatment of the Scriptures. To him it is due that a healthy historical conception of the Old Testament has practically become the common property of the present generation of theologians. Dillmann was a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin. His library forms a part of the Johns Hopkins University Library at Baltimore, Md.
- Baudissin, in Herzog-Hauck, Real-Encyc. 3d ed., iv. 662-669.