The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Ewald, Georg Heinrich August
EWALD, Georg Heinrich August, gā-ōrg hīn′rĭH ow′goost ā′vält, German Orientalist and biblical critic: b. Göttingen, 16 Nov. 1803; d there, 4 May 1875. As a student he published his first critical work, ‘Die Komposition der Genesis.’ He became professor of theology at Göttingen in 1831, and in 1835 professor of Oriental languages. As one of the seven professors of Göttingen who signed the protest against the abrogation by King Ernest Angustus of the Hanoverian constitution, he was deposed from his chair and accepted, in 1838, a call to Tübingen as professor of philosophy. In 1841 he was ennobled by the king of Würtemberg and returned in 1848 to Göttingen, and resumed his old position. When Hanover was annexed by Prussia in 1866 he became a zealous defender of the rights of the ex-king and this led to his removal from his university chair, though his salary was continued. He was elected several times a member of the Diet, where he spoke strongly in favor of the restoration of the Hanoverian monarchy. His ‘Kritische Grammatik der hebräischen Sprache’ (Critical Grammar of the Hebrew Language) (1827), afterward merged in his ‘Ausführliches Lehrbuch der hebräischen Sprache,’ and continually enlarged (8th ed., 1870), formed an epoch in the study of Hebrew and placed Ewald in the first rank among scholars. ‘Das Hohe Lied Salomos’ (The Song of Solomon); ‘Die poetischen Bucher des Alten Bundes’ (The Poetical Books of the Old Testament); ‘Die Propheten des Alten Bundes,’ containing a translation and interpretation of all the prophets in chronological order; together with his ‘Geschichte des Volkes Israel’ (History of the People of Israel); and ‘Die Alterthümer des Volkes Israel’ (The Antiquities of the People of Israel), are his principal works on the Old Testament.
The ‘History of Israel’ is considered his greatest work, entailed a labor of 30 years and is a work of rare genius stamped with the impress of its author's individuality. Like others of his more important writings, it has been translated into English. On the New Testament he wrote, among other works, ‘Uebersetzung und Erklärung aller Bücher des Neuen Testaments’ (Translation and Explanation of all the Books of the New Testament). Another important work is ‘Die Lehre der Bibel von Gott, oder Theologie des Alten und Neuen Bundes’ (the Doctrine of the Bible regarding God, or Theology of the Old and New Testaments). He also wrote philological treatises on various Eastern languages and on subjects connected with them, among which may be mentioned works on the book of Enoch, on Phœnician inscriptions, on Phœnician views regarding the creation of the world, on Arabic Grammar, and ‘Linguistic Studies.’ From 1849-65 he issued a serial almost entirely written by himself called ‘Die Jahrbücher der biblischen Wissenschaft’ (Year Books of Biblical Science). Ewald has been called the “second founder of the science of the Hebrew language.” Consult Cheyne, ‘Founders of Old Testament Criticism’ (London 1893).