Wellhausen, Julius

Wellhausen, Julius

(yo͞ol`yo͝os vĕl`hou'zən), 1844–1918, leading German biblical scholar of the 19th cent. He is recognized for his documentary hypothesis that sought to account for both the composition of the Pentateuch (Genesis–Deuteronomy) and for the evolution and history of Judaism. His Prolegomena to the History of Israel (1883; tr. 1885) is the best known of his many biblical studies.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wellhausen, Julius


Born May 17, 1844, in Hameln; died Jan. 7, 1918, in Göttingen. German orientalist.

Wellhausen published a work on the history of Israel in 1878 that was a milestone in the history of Old Testament biblical criticism. He proved that the main part of the so-called Mosaic Law, which he called the Priests’ Code, was written by a group of priests during the Babylonian captivity, not earlier than the sixth century B.C. In his research on the pre-Islamic religion of the Arabs, Wellhausen established a number of traits that were similar to the ancient Israelite religion. In his Islamic studies he gave consideration not only to the religion but also to social and economic problems of the ancient and medieval history of the Arabs.


Geschichte Israels. Berlin, 1878. (In later editions, Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels, 6th ed. Berlin, 1905.)
Muhammed in Medina. Berlin, 1882.
Reste Arabischen Heidentums. Berlin, 1887.
Die religiös-politischen Oppositionsparteien im alten Islam. Göttingen, 1901.
Das arabische Reich und sein Sturz. Berlin, 1902.
Israelitische und jüdische Geschichte , 9th ed. Berlin, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Vvedenie v istoriiu Izrailia. St. Petersburg, 1909.


Nikol’skii, N. M. “Problemy kritiki Biblii v sovetskoi nauke.” Vestnik Drevnei Istorii, 1938, no. 1, pp. 30-44.
Becker, C. H. “Julius Wellhausen.” In his book I slam studien, vol. 2. Leipzig, 1932.
Fück, J. Die arabischen Studien in Europa. Leipzig, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Source: Wellhausen, Julius, The Arab Kingdom and Its Fall.