KURTZ, kurtz, JOHANN HEINRICH: German exegete and church historian; b. at Montjoie (16 m. s.s.e. of Aachen), Rhenish Prussia, Dec. 13, 1809; d. at Marburg Apr. 26, 1890. He attended the Latin school of Montjoie (1821-23) and the gymnasia of Dortmund (1825-27) and Soest (1827-1830), studied theology at Halle (1830-31) and Bonn (1831-33), became teacher of religion at the gymnasium of Mitau in 1835, and professor of church history at Dorpat in 1849. In 1859 he became professor of Old-Testament exegesis, and continued as such until 1870 when he was pensioned. From 1855 to 1866 he was dean of the theological faculty. In 1871 he settled at Marburg, where he spent the rest of his life in literary labors.

His first book was Die Astronamie und die Bibel. Versuch einer Darstellung der bihlischen Kosmologie, sowie einer Erläuterung and Bestätigung derselben aus den Resultaten und Ansichten der neueren Astronomie (Mitau, 1842); in later editions the material of this work was considerably enlarged and the title was changed to Bibel und Astronomie, nebst Zugaben verwandten Inhalts. Eine Darstellung der biblischen Kosmologie und ihrer Beziehung zu den Naturwissenschaften (5th ed., Berlin, 1865; Eng. transl., The Bible and Astronomy, Philadelphia, 1857). The work is characterized by a certain theosophical type of thought and shows the great interest which Kurtz took in the results of natural science. He tried to prove the central position of the earth in the history of the universe and show how the universe is connected with, and subordinate to, the progress and completion of man's salvation. In the same year appeared Das Mosaische Opfer, ein Beitrag zur Symbolik des Mosaischen Kultus. The same topic was treated by Kurtz in theological periodicals and culminated in Der alttestamentliche Opferkultus each seiner gesetzlichen Begründung und Anwendung (Mitau, 1862; Eng. transl., Sacrificial Worship of the Old Testament, Edinburgh, 1863). Another work on the Old Testament was the Lehrbuck der heiligen Geschichte, ein Wegweiser zum Verständnis des göttlichen Heilsplans (Königsberg, 1843; 19th ed., Leipsic, 1906; Eng. transl., Manual of Sacred History, Philadelphia, 1855). From this Lehrbuch proceeded Biblische Geschichte der heiligen Schrift nacherzählt und für das Verständnis der unteren Klassen in Gymnasien und höheren Bürgerschulen erläutert (Berlin, 1847; 51st ed., Breslau, 1901; Eng. transl., Bible History Edinburgh, 1867), the work that made the name of the author most widely known. It is used even in the missionary schools of India. From the same Lehrbuch proceeded also the principal work of Kurtz in the field of the Old Testament, his Geschichte des alten Bundes (vol. i. Berlin, 1848, 3d. ed., 1864; vol. ii., 1855, 2d ed., 1858; Eng. transl., History of the Old Covenant, with annotations by A. Edersheim, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1860), which extends, however, only to the death of Moses. The work had been preceded by


investigations on the Pentateuch such as Beiträge zur Verteidigung und Begründung der Einheit des Pentateuchs (Königsberg, 1844) and Die Einheit der Genesis (Berlin, 1846). Later Kurtz changed his opinion and, like Delitzsch, distinguished different sources in the Pentateuch, but considered all as belonging to the time of Moses. The historical reality of the account in the Pentateuch and its character of revelation are the fundamental presuppositions of his work. The Lehrbuch der heiligen Geschichte had been followed in 1844 by Christliche Religionslehre (15th ed., Leipsic, 1902), which, like the former work, was destined for use in secondary schools. In 1849 appeared the Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte für Studierende (14th ed., by N. Bonwetsch and P. Tschackert, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1906; Eng. transl., Church History, 3 vols., London and New York, 1889-90) and in 1852 the Leitfaden, since the third ed. (1856) called the Abriss der Kirchengeschichte (16th ed., Leipsic, 1906). Kurtz's works on church history are distinguished by his peculiar gift of clearly arranging and condensing his material and making prominent the most characteristic features in popular and vigorous language.



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