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386 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 



FRANZ DELITZSCH. 

(1812-1890.) 

A Palm-branch from Judah on His Newly-covered 

Grave. 

" The purely scientific interest in the literature of the Jews, and the 
spiritual interest in their conversion, have long struggled for the 
mastery of my souL" — Dblitzsch. 

If, at the decease of so rare a man as Franz Delitzsch, there 
be any consolation at all, it is to be found in the sorrow 
universally felt by all countries and all creeds. Like two 
reconciled angels, the old and the new covenant 
accompany his bier. Jew and Christian alike mourn 
the loss of a great man. One must go back to old times to 
find his equal — to the time of Pico de Mirandolo, or to that 
of Reuchlin and Miinster, of the Buxtorfs and Reland, of Ed. 
Pococke and Lightfoot, of Rittangel and Knorr von Rosenroth, 
of Wiilfer and Wagenseil, of Johann Christian Wolf and 
Vitringa, only to mention a few of the most meritorious men 
who have done so much for the spreading and furtherance of 
Jewish literature ; in the present time one would seek in vain 
for names to compare with his. Many dwarf shrubs have, 
indeed, sprung up, which may deceive the eyes of him who 
stands in the midst of them ; but when time shall have rolled 
on, and the searching gaze of scrutiny shall fall on all these 
new growths, then one from among them will stand forth like 
a cedar of Lebanon — Franz Delitzsch. 

If the title of a divine has ever been justly given to any 
man, it was given to him. From the very first, he 
devoted his feelings, thoughts and desires, his researches 
and discoveries to the service of the Ideal, which was his 
faith. But if he, nevertheless remained free from narrow- 
mindedness the reason is to be found in this — that his 
love was as great as his intelligence. Gifted with a noble 
heart, with an originality of mind, which made all that 
came under his care thrive, he was able to enter upon new 
fields from which many would have been deterred, and to 



Franz Belitzsch. 387 

display an activity that might easily seem divided and con- 
tradictory to the superficial observer. Therefore it is that the 
Professor of Theology in the University of Leipsic, and the 
Canon of the Bishopric of Meissen, must be reckoned among the 
heralds and pioneers of Jewish science, which awoke under 
his eyes, and that his name will shine in the list of the best 
Jewish names that have gained for themselves a place in the 
history of this awakening. Indeed, in that portion of his 
works which concerns Jewish literature, no indications of 
a difference of faith are observable — a triumph of the spirit 
of that true knowledge, which shines like a rainbow of recon- 
ciliation over the clouds that separate man from man. His 
love for Israel's literature and language existed before his love 
for Israel's people — a love which wished to gain, to possess, 
and to conquer. He did not become a theologian in order to 
forge weapons against the people of Holy Writ ; he did not 
bring foreign fire to the altar on which he sacrificed ; there- 
fore it was that the language of Zion and the spirit of its works 
revealed themselves to him, that he reached heights which 
none of his co-religionists, striving after him, have attained, 
that the believer within him was never able entirely to over- 
shadow the scholar. True to his creed, he began as a Philo- 
logian. For there was a time in the history of the world when 
Philology became a force and motive power. That period 
was the Reformation. This love for the original meaning of 
the words of Scripture, this zeal to comprehend the original 
records in the spirit in which they were given, never wholly 
forsook him. The theologian, much to his advantage scientifi- 
cally, never quite stripped ofi" the philologist. His enthusiastic 
devotion to Jewish literature, and the profound learning which 
he had acquired in this field with the eagerness of youth, 
made even his later works, which are pervaded by the 
missionary spirit, instructive and enjoyable to the Hebrew 
student. As there is no work of Wagenseil's from which the 
treasure-seeker of Jewish science could not obtain a grain of 
gold for his own purposes, so Delitzsch, in all his productions, 
even if he had lost the creative power of the best days of his 
youth, remained a friend, whose words, full of intelligence 
and special knowledge, were always worth listening to, even 
when they were seemingly disconnected with the subject- 
matter. The reader, who studies the first productions of his 
literary activity, would probably conclude (unless he knew the 
truth already), not only from the wealth of special knowledge, 
but especially from the ardour and inner sympathy of his 
charming style, that the author was a follower of the Jewish 
faith. As the thrilling song of the lark announces the coming of 

cc 2 



388 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

spring, so his first book, A History of Jetmh Poetry, from 
the close of the Holy Writings of the Old Covenant, down to 
the most Recent Times, the preface to which was dated May 
1st, 1836, appeared to lead up a May-day to the honour and 
appreciation of Jewish spirit and Hebrew poetry. A Christian, 
of barely 24 years, stepped before his contemporaries to tell 
them of the sleeping beauty he had discovered among the 
thickets of the primeval forest, in the world-forgotten Jewish 
writings, through which he had made his way with ardent 
zeal and resolute strength. He was everywhere at home, he 
had searched through the Talmud and the Midrashim, he 
had drunk deep draughts of delight at the magic springs of 
the mediaeval Spanish poets, and had gazed with a c&sceming 
eye upon the after-shoots of modern times. Here for the first 
time the standards and categories of classical literary history 
were applied to matter which had never been considered from 
such a point of view. With wonder the non- Jewish world 
learned from this book that the Hebrew language had never 
died, but continuing in undying youthful vigour had 
developed a richness of poetical styles and forms, which many 
a living language might envy ; that it had served, unchange- 
able through all times, as the pliant and plastic expression of 
sacred and secular subjects of every kind. Dukes, Sachs 
and Zunz had not yet hewn the building-stones of Jewish 
literature, when the learned Christian came forward to 
erect his spiritual edifice. Far-sounding and startling, like 
a herald's call of Jewish poetry, was the effect of this spring- 
tide gift. 

Delitzsch here displayed his intimate acquaintance with 
the sunny and most fascinating portion of the Jewish writings, 
and the opportunity for proving his excellent scholar- 
ship and special knowledge in obscurer and more remote 
fields was soon to present itself. The town of Leipsic was 
just about to publish the catalogue of the valuable manu- 
scripts preserved in the Town Council's Library. Fleischer 
undertook the description of the Arabic and other Oriental 
MSS., Delitzsch that of the Hebrew. The Christian specimens 
which were to hand, with the exception of J. Chr. Wolf's, 
could not be considered as worthy of imitation. Jews had till 
this time hardly ever themselves ventured upon the field of 
MS. knowledge. Delitzsch was here also the pioneer; his 
description written in elegant and easy Latin kept the middle 
path between uninstructive, misleading brevity on the one 
side, and limitless prolixity on the other. It did not take the 
place of the study of the MS., but it gives enough of their 
contents to incite to a closer study of them. Proper names 



Franz Belitz&ch. 889 

and geographical designations, which at that time had not 
been fully ascertained, were here given with a discerning 
certainty, worthy of remark. Zunz's Additamenta gave an 
additional charm and lasting value to this forerunner of 
scientific Hebraic MS. catalogues. Thus, in this work also, 
undertaken in 1837, and published in Grimma in 1838, the 
learned Christian became a pioneer of Jewish science. 

In 1837 he also published, with a Latin introduction, Moses 
Chayim Luzzato's drama Migdal Oz, with notes by Samuel 
David Luzzatto and M. Letteris, a proof of his complete mastery 
of Jewish poetry, the fame of which he had so loudly an- 
nounced to the world the year before. In his book, Science, 
Art and Judaism, Descriptions and Criticisms (1838), there 
seemed to be put forth a kind of palinode, which Zunz 
(Literaturgeschichte, p. 11) made out to be a reversal of the 
verdict upon Jewish poetry which had appeared two years 
before ; but Delitzsch s continued devotion to Hebrew litera- 
ture proved that an inner and real change had not taken 
place, ajid that the unkind, harsh tone can only have 
been the consequence of a somewhat sudden decline of 
his ardent enthusiasm. In the same year (1838) his book, 
Jesurun sive Prolegomenon in Concordantias Veteris Testa- 
menti a Julio Fiierstio editis, gave a satisfactory proof of 
undiminished absorption and loving penetration in the lan- 
guage and literature of the Hebrews. Who could have set 
forth more convincingly than he the claims of the Hebrew 
national grammarians to the gratitude and appreciation of 
posterity, or pointed out more warmly and impressively 
that before Gesenius, Ewald and Hupfeld, there had been 
men, and Jewish men, who had penetrated further than any 
of those who came after them into the construction of the 
Hebrew language. This portion of his elegantly written 
Latin book deserves attentive consideration, even at the pre- 
sent time, when the gist of the whole, the enquiry into the 
relationship of Hebraic with Sanskrit roots, is, as it were, 
already stored in the museum of scientific antiquities. 
Delitzsch was in this only the shield-bearer of his master, 
Julius Fiirst, with whose theory of similarity between 
Semitic and Indian linguistic elements, a new mom appeared 
to have dawned for philology. Delitzsch had received too 
much valuable instruction from Fiirst, especially in the field 
of Rabbinical and later Jewish literature, for him to have 
become afterwards untrue to his master on account of this one 
false doctrine. Rather he joined him, being of a grateful 
disposition, in further literary collaboration. He became a 
zealous and invaluable promoter of The Orient, which was 



390 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

edited by Fiirst and contained important literary contribu- 
tions. 

His previous productions had already entitled Delitzsch to 
the rights of citizenship in the dominion of Hebrew science, 
but in 1841 he came forward with a work which few learned 
men, born in the Jewish faith and trained in Jewish 
literature, would have been able to carry out in such per- 
fection, namely, an edition of the religious-philosophical 
work of Aaron b. Elia, of Nicomedia, the Karaite antitype 
of Maimonides. This book, written in 1346, entitled IHz 
Chayim, a prize in the Ofen booty of 1686, is one of the 
most precious MS. in the collection of the Leipsic civic 
library. To edit this voluminous work, with the index of con- 
tents which Kaleb Afendopolo had drawn up, was a very bold 
undertaking, when the richness and variety of the matter, the 
diflSculty of the terminology, and the total want of prepara- 
tory works are taken into consideration. The style of the 
edition, the abundance of learned addenda from the Arabic and 
Karaite literature, the neatness of the references, the trust- 
worthiness of the elucidations, the many-sidedness of the ex- 
planatory comments naturally excited great astonishment, 
and secured for the book a lasting place of honour among 
those editions of the Jewish and Karaite religious-philoso- 
phical literature which have a right to be called scientific. Here, 
also, Delitzsch appears in collaboration with a Jewish scholar, 
Moritz Steinschneider, with whom he had become acquainted 
at the Arabic lectures of Fleischer. The index, forming 
an attempt at a dictionary to the religious-philosophical lan- 
guage and terminology, was mainly due to a woi-k of Stein- 
schneider's, whose assistance was in other ways also given to 
Delitzsch's book. 

The year 1842 marks a turning point in the course of 
Delitzsch's studies. With the commencement of his academic 
activity in the theological faculty of the University of Leipsic, 
where, on February 16th, 1842, he defended his dissertation, 
Be Hahacuci Frophetce vita atque eetate, the exegesis of the 
Old Testament became the special province of labour, to 
which he remained faithful during the rest of his life. The 
peculiar excellence of his erudition, gained at the sources of 
the traditions of synagogue and church, shows itself already 
in this essay, truly an inaugural work, which exhaustively 
and sagaciously collects together all traditions concerning the 
prophet Habakkuk which are to be found in Jewish and eccle- 
siastical literature. In connection with these traditions he 
discusses, towards the end, the smaller writings, wrongly pass- 
ing under the names of Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre, and of 



Franz Delitzsch. 391 

Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus. Such a combination of Kab- 
binical and patristic erudition as was shown in this 
dissertation necessarily directed public attention to the 
Licentiate of Theology, who had been previously a pioneer of 
Jewish science, and now was on the point of becoming a 
Master of Protestant Theology. From Leipsic he was called 
to the professorship of Theology in Rostock, from thence to 
Erlangen, Avhere he also held the office of Pro-rector in 1859, 
until he was at last permanently attached to the University 
from which he had at first come. Through all the years of 
his fruitful academic activity, the interpretation of the Old 
Testament remained his life-task and his constant aim. In 
1845 there appeared The Frophetic Theology, in 1855 The 
System of Biblical Psychology. 

A chronological bibliography of Delitzsch's exegetical works 
is not needed, for they belong not only to his life, but to that 
of science in general. They are household books of Biblical 
exegesis, very groundworks of Old Testament knowledge, 
widely known and circulated alike in Germany, England and 
America. Conjointly with Karl Friederich Keil he brought 
out a Commentary on the Old Testament, in which the Book of 
Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon 
and the Prophet Isaiah are commented upon by his master- 
hand. By the side of this, there appeared his independent Com- 
mentary on Genesis. This book ran through four editions, and in 
1887 was re-issued, completely revised, and even re-written, 
under the title of New Commentary upon Genesis. Delitzsch's 
distinctive characteristics as a commentator are based not only 
on his unique learning, but also on the qualities of his mind 
and disposition. Most sensitive to the slightest variation in 
the jnood and diction of his authors, gifted, like Herder and 
Riickert, with great linguistic powers, unusually original in 
idea and expression and rich in suggestiveness, he was 
always completely master of his subject and familiar with its 
every detail. The history of the exposition was like an open 
book before him. His work is invariably stimulating, instruc- 
tive, lucid and delightful. For however much the objectivity 
of his exegesis may have been influenced by his Christianity, 
he still remains the best informed and most competent ex- 
positor of the Hebrew language among all Christian com- 
mentators. His intimate acquaintance with the Rabbinical 
literature and post-Biblical Hebraism give to his exegetical 
works the quality of original authorities, which even the 
Jewish enquirer may always consult with profit, beside the 
old Hebrew commentaries. The excursus and notes with 
which Fleischer, the Nestor of European Arabic scholars, and 



392 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Consul Wetzstein, the greatest connoisseur of Arab Bedouin 
life, graced these commentaries, greatly increased their 
value and many-sidedness. For the better understanding 
of grammatical points, for the fixing of the signification 
of roots and words, as well as for the quick perception 
of the deeper connection between the verses and sections, 
and for the better appreciation and full recognition of the 
contents, Delitzsch has done more than the whole of his 
competitors. 

Delitzsch's position towards the questions of modern Biblical 
criticism were not only indicated in his commentaries, but 
also laid down in a series of incisive investigations, which 
are to be found in Chr. E. Luthardt's Magazine for Christian 
Science and Christian Life, 1880-1886. 

The exegesis of Delitzsch rests on the firm basis of 
the auxiUary sciences, such as Hebrew grammar, the Mas- 
sorah and the comparative philology of the Semitic lan- 
guages. On all these subjects he could easily have 
written independent books, but he only used his know- 
ledge of them for the benefit of the one master science 
of Biblical exegesis, to which he devoted his life. Those 
who wish to see, in an independent work, the perfection 
with which Delitzsch had mastered these auxiliary sciences 
should study the work, Complutensische Varianten zum Alt- 
testamentlichen Texte, ein Beitrag zur hihlischen Text-Kritik 
(1878). The Jews had for several years done their best for 
the printing of the Biblical text, when the Church also, in 
the person of Cardinal Ximenes, began to interest itself in 
this subject. In 1515 there appeared in his Polyglot Bible 
the first of those five volumes which, in the Complutensis, 
comprises the Old Testament. Alfonso Zamora, one of the 
Christian Hebrew collaborators, bears witness that the 
Cardinal had bought for the sum of 4,000 gold pieces, seven 
Hebrew manuscripts which had belonged before the expulsion 
of the Spanish Jews, in 1492, to the synagogues of Toledo 
and Maqueda. In two of these MSS., which are still in the 
University librarj' at Madrid, Delitzsch discovered the chief 
sources of the deviations of the Complutensian text. The 
manner in which he tests and weighs their correctness in the 
scales of grammar displays great philological acumen, one 
might almost say beauty, surprising as this expression may 
here appear. Each question is rounded off with great skill 
to an artistic whole. The delightful feeling of having a 
completely trustworthy guide comes over the reader. 

Delitzsch rendered imperishable service to the text of the 
Old Testament through inducing S. Baer, of Bieberich-on-the 



B-anz Delitzsch. 393 

Bhine — the most distinguished living critic of the Massorah — 
to edit separate portions of the Biblical hooks. These 
masterpieces of criticism, which have gradually supplied us 
with a trustworthy Biblical text, based on the oldest and 
best manuscripts, are a memorial of the scientific bond 
existing between these two men, the Christian and the Jewish 
enquirers. The brilliant Latin introductions which Delitzsch 
prefixed to these editions show how deeply he penetrated 
into the obscure regions of the Massora. He revered it as 
one of the most wonderful and astounding productions, one 
of the titles to glory of the Jewish people. For Ezekiel he 
secured the invaluable aid of his son Frederick, the celebrated 
Assyriologist of the Leipsic University, in order to secure 
for Baer's edition the results of the most recent researches. 
Always at the highest level of contemporary science, Delitzsch 
was one of the first, in his work entitled, Physiology and 
Music in i/ieir importance for Grammar, particularly for 
Hebrew Grammar (1868), to apply the teachings of the 
modem physiology of languages to Hebrew, and to point out 
in the writings of the Jewish national gi-ammarians pre- 
sentiments of the lately-disclosed truths. Not only acoustics, 
but optics also he presses into the service of Hebrew vowel- 
sounds, the appropriate names of which had already 
astonished Chladni. The resonator - flame apparatus of 
Rudolf Konig converts the constituent parts of the vowels 
into pictures of flame, by which means ap old obscure image 
of the Yezira book becomes, as it were, embodied. New light is 
here thrown on the music of the Hebrew language and on its 
accentuation. In special musical appendices,. Delitzsch makes 
clear the intonation of the Pentateuchal and Prophetical 
perikopes, in other words, the singing of the "Torah 
Sections " and of the Haf tara according to the German rite. 
Not easily will a work on Hebrew grammar be found which 
combines so great a stimulative interest, such abundance of 
new thoughts (amidst which, moreover, the classical languages 
are not forgotten), such a high level of general culture with 
such a degree of special technical knowledge, as are contained 
in this little book. 

In the work, entitled Jewish -Arabic Poetry of Pre- 
Mahommedan Times : a Specimen from Fleischer's School, 
and a Contribution to the Celebration of his Jubilee (1874), 
Delitzsch raised his own memorial to his Arabic studies. 
This work, a translation of the poem ascribed to the Jewish 
poet Samaual Ibn Adiya, and contained along with a com- 
mentary in the Hamasa, is linguistic rather than historical ; 
but even after Ruckert's classical translation and Noldeke's 



394 TJie Jewish Quarterly Review. 

historical treatment of the poem, it possesses intrinsic value. 
For Delitzsch, in the course of his industrious life, appro- 
priated more from the Semitic languages than is customary 
among commentators. 

But these incomparable and penetrating researches into the 
Old Testament, and this singularly intimate acquaintance 
with the Rabbinical and lay-Jewish literature, were for 
Delitzsch only preparations for the great task of his life, the 
elucidation and translation into Hebrew of the New Testa- 
ment No one was better fitted to recognise in these records 
a product of Jewish literature than he, who lived in the 
atmosphere in which the Gospels took their origin, who con- 
jured up by the might of his knowledge and the force of his 
mind the spiritual scenes they reflect, who had walked with 
the rabbis of Jerusalem and with the fishermen of Galilee. 
He was capable of piercing through the words to the 
realities behind them, and of realising, through the veil of 
tradition, the original signification of the spoken discourse. 
This faculty was clearly proved by his work, A Day in 
Capernaum, or Artisan-life at the time of Jesus, which appeared 
in 1868. 

What may be considered as a fault in his Biblical exegesis, 
namely, that he interprets the Old Testament by the help of 
the New, is here, where the circumstances are reversed, to be 
esteemed as a distinct advantage. For he here pourtrays 
everything arising out of its conditions — the facts in their real 
relation to each other as appearances of contemporaneous 
Jewish life of their time. All his works on the New Testa- 
ment bear, therefore, in a measure, the stamp of rabbinical 
commentaries, and demonstrate fully the inestimable advantages 
he derived from Talmudic literature for his work of elucida- 
tion. Already, in 1853, there appeared Neic Investigations into 
the Origin and Design of the Canonical Gospels, the first part of 
which, The Gospel according to St. Matthew, was, however, not 
continued. In 1857 followed the commentary on the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, with archaeological and dogmatic digressions 
on the sacrifice and the atonement, after which came in 
1861-2 the two books of Discoveries in MS., containing studies 
on the Text of the Apocalypse. A System of Christian 
Apologetics, which appeared in 1869, was followed in 1870 by 
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Homans, translated into 
Hebrew and illustrated from Talmud and Midrasch. This last 
book brings us to his greatest, and to himself, most pleasur- 
able work, the translation of the whole of the New Testa- 
ment into Hebrew. He had solemnly vowed to himself to 
accomplish this task, into which he intended to put the sum 



Franz Delitzsch. 395 

of his discernment, the life-blood, as it were, of his learning. 
Ever}' sentence in it was counted and weighed, repeatedly 
tested and corrected, and subjected to a continuous process of 
emendation. The work, and the revision of it, occupied 
years ; he had time enough, as a publisher was not found until 
the British and Foreign Bible Society took the work under 
the shelter of its mighty wings and published it in the spring 
of the year 1877. In 1882 the fourth edition was issued in 
electrotype, followed immediately by a fifth edition and by a 
sixth, in crown 8vo. Out of gratitude to England, he gave 
an account of his corrections, on the occasion of this fifth 
edition, in a little pamphlet written in English, and entitled : 
The Hebrew New Testament of the British and Fweign Bible Society, 
a Contribution to Hebrew Bhilology. The valuable remarks 
on various alterations in his translation, and the candour and 
humility of his corrections, make this little work a precious 
memorial of his greatest literary production. But even then 
he did not consider the work as perfect, but always repre- 
sented it as needing improvement. He listened attentively 
to every proposal which appeared likely to better or correct 
even the minutest point in this, to him so sacred, task. He 
conducted an enormous correspondence with Jews of all 
countries, and received everybody's objections and remarks 
with meekness and gratitude. By this translation he ob- 
viously could not win the confidence of the great mass of those 
whom I might call Hebrew writers by instinct. What he 
brought forward was not a genial masterpiece, but the 
matured fruit of learning, working and advancing step by 
step. Here everything was set forth consciously, and with 
due calculation ; nothing was jotted down unconsciously, as 
a gift of momentary inspiration. Therefore Salkinson's 
translation has found more favour with many people, for it 
was more Hebraic, i.e., in reality often more un-Hebraic, more 
suited to the bad taste by which disorder is considered order, 
and loose expressions and slipshod carelessness are accepted as 
tokens of genuine philological attainments. Delitzsch's New 
Testament is a precious addition to Hebrew literature, an 
attempt based on the sure groundwork of honestly and hardly- 
won erudition, and undertaken with the strict self-discipline 
of genuine knowledge, to restore to or conquer for the 
language of Zion the origines of Christianity. 

Must I not fear to snap the string, which has sent forth 
such glorious sounds, with a shrill dissonance, if I say, in 
conclusion, that Franz Delitzsch was no friend to Judaism ? 
For not only latterly, but from the very beginning, ever since 
he gave his mission-lecture in the Orphanage Church at 



396 The Jewish Quarterly Revietc. 

Dresden in 1841, on "The Three Chief Causes on the Christian 
Side which Hinder the Conversion of Israel," proselytism 
was the very breath of his souL To unite Church and 
Synagogue, that is, to let Judaism be absorbed- by Christianity, 
to bring Jesus nearer to the Jews, to spread the Gospel in 
Israel ; this was the most passionate desire of his heart, the 
task of which he dreamed, and for which he watched, the 
central point of all his aims and efforts. All the ill success of 
his endeavours, the most grievous disappointments, the 
bitterest experiences could not turn him from this, his one 
master passion. It does one good to glance over the great 
number of his achievements on the field of scholarship, when 
one sees such great and noble talents spent in so useless a 
struggle. One could not well expect an impartial estimate of 
Judaism from a man whose Christian faith was so deeply 
rooted, but one must go further, and allow that he himself 
was not free from an exaggerated sensibility, as far as 
regards Christianity, which does not well become him who 
is possessed of the greater power. When at one time the 
sky began to darken over Israel, and the storm-clouds 
threatened more than ever, he appeared for a moment to 
consider it as a punishment, because a few inconsiderate 
Jewish voices had spoken presumptuously against Jesus. 
For a time, also, it seemed as if he so deeply lamented anti- 
Semitism, only because it was likely to fall like a hoar-frost 
on the evanoelization of Israel, and must wither the 
blossoms which, as it was, were but pale and feeble. This 
was the sad time of the revival of the " Instituta Judaica " 
at the German universities. Leipsic led the way in 1880, 
and in the writings of the institute there, at whose disposal 
Delitzsch placed his guidance, his collaboration, and his 
erudition, many a word has gone forth which has cut every 
faithful Jew to the heart. In the numerous volumes of the 
missionary periodical Sowing in Hope, which he supported 
many years before, the flowers had bloomed in secret, and 
words died away as in the desert. But now there was a 
pulpit in the market-place, and proselytism was carried out 
of professional circles into publicity and ordinary life. It 
was inevitable that he should experience opposition, and see 
that the veneration with which he had formerly been re- 
garded in all Jewish circles was here and there fading away. 

But like rays of the sun, so the brightness of his un- 
blemished soul pierced through the mists which seemed 
to darken his fame. When the fulness of time came, the 
proselytiser of Israel was transformed into its champion, 
the missionary became a brother in arm& Well for him 



Franz Delitsach. 397 

that he was deemed worthy to fight, in the day of danger, 
with a bright shield and gleaming sword, for those who could 
not defend themselves, and to come forward as a witness for 
us, to wliom his word must be of the greater service, the less 
he could be accused of prejudice in our favour or even of 
bribery and corruption. How the venerable Delitzsch rose 
up with all the courage of youth, to go to battle with un- 
truth and to bear a testimony to Truth which will endure as 
long as the sense of truth lives in the hearts of men, this is 
one of those things which it is a pleasure to have experienced. 

It was a disgrace for German theological science, in which 
Rabbinical studies had been decreasing for a long time, that 
Rohling was allowed to put before the German nation in his 
Talmud-Jew the repulsive concoction he had borrowed from 
Eisenmenger. In vain were the replies from the Jewish camp ; 
like the insolent Goliath, the miserable plagiarist went day by 
day through the ranks of intimidated Israel, and hurled the 
most shameful invectives and the most dangerous inflammatory 
speeches at them without fear of punishment. Then Delitzsch 
came on the scene ! The spirit of truth came over him ; not in 
vain had he enjoyed the hospitality of Rabbinical literature 
during the best years of his life. The desire to bear loud, 
unimpeachable testimony to the purity of this wickedly out- 
raged literature burned like fire within him. With the safety 
lamp of criticism he lighted up the pool of sin and ignorance, 
from which miasma and germs of disease had spread all over 
Germany. How Rohling's Talmud-Jew, exposed in all its falsity 
by Franz Delitzsch, shrivels up before the righteous anger of the 
lovei" of truth ! It was, indeed, easy for his superior erudition to 
demolish the poverty and the paltry wisdom of the infuriated 
Rohling, but it was a difficult and manly deed to speak, when 
it would have been so easy, so opportune, aye, and so advis- 
able to keep silent. What he said, others could have said too, 
perhaps not so pithily, so perfectly, but in substance the same ; 
but that he has said it will be for ever a meritorious and 
saving deed. 

But it was assigned to him to step forth in a still more de- 
cisive and even providential manner on behalf of Judaism. 
From the plains of Hungary a Fata Morgana, a spectre of 
medireval terrors had risen on the horizon of Europe, which 
blanched the cheeks of those who lived to see it. What the 
malice and cunning of many centuries had vainly tried to 
establish, what the hatred of many generations had not 
been able to prove, that was now to come to light 
in the court of justice at Nyiregyhdza, before all the world ! 
It was publicly to be proved that Jews use Christian blood. 



398 The Jetmh Quarterly Review. 

A minister of Justice was at the helm, whom infatuation had 
blinded ; false witnesses prospered ; the mouth of the child 
was to condemn the father. A sword hung over the head of 
Justice ; there appeared to be no escape. Then, in order to 
fill up the measure of horrors, Augustus Eohling offered to 
swear before the court that the use of Christian blood was a 
Jewish tradition, which he had now succeeded in authenti- 
cating in plain words in a Kabbalistic writing. A man of 
Jewish race, who, with due conceit, called himself Justus, was 
the prompter, whose fiendish inspiration Eohling had only 
to confirm on oath. Delitzsch had already, like so many other 
Christian scholars, demonstrated in writing the madness of 
this terrible accusation. That, however, did not suffice. It 
was necessary to refute the alleged literary proof, which was 
supposed to have been just discovered, to follow crime to its 
hiding-place. Again it was Delitzsch who took up the chal- 
lenge and gained the victory. The manner in which he 
acquitted himself of this task is a triumph of science, 
which here, for once, stepped forth into practical life to 
bring salvation and delivery. Only moral indignation, 
the revolt of a great heart, could utter such accents, 
" Checkmate to the liars, Eohling and Justus ! " Thus 
sounded the thundering " Halt ! " which he cried out 
to their bloodthirsty witnesses before the decisive battle 
of the Tisza-Eszlar crusade (1883). The bitterness which 
his appearance on behalf of the Jewish cause called up 
against him was very great, but as he had spoken according 
to the promptings of his spirit, and not for favour, and as he 
consistently refused to receive any thanks from the Jews, so 
he let the waves of excitement, which from the Christian 
world beat audibly against his house, flow on unregai-ded, 
feeling secure of divine reward in the consciousness of duty 
done. 

Therefore may Judaism and Christianity unite in mourning 
his death. Like a priest of reconciliation, he carried the Old 
and New Testament in his heart. " Speak ye comfortably to 
Jerusalem " was his motto towards Israel. Though he was a 
missionary, let it not be forgotten that he has also been a 
propagator of Judaism, of its language and literature among 
the Christian world. He was able justly to say of himself 
that he had worked with Eapoport and Zunz, with Luzzatto 
and Steinschueider, at the task of raising the literary history 
of Judaism to the rank of a science. He has done enough 
besides, moreover, to make his name live unforgotten on the 
pages of Jewish history, and to cause it to be thankfully 
praised wherever Jewish hearts beat high. He will continue 



Franz DelUzsch. 399 

to be a witness and a champion for Israel, and gain friends 
for us, even after his death. It is a grief to see so rare a man 
quit this world in such troublous times, but the thought that 
his name will continue to be a symbol of reconciliation, an 
example for coming generations to imitate, brings some 
consolation. If the synagogue promises admission into the 
life eternal to every pious man on earth, then Franz Delitzsch 
will live doubly the immortal life. 

David Kaufmann. 
12th March, 1890.