Edouard Guillaume Eugene Reuss - Encyclopedia


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EDOUARD GUILLAUME EUGENE REUSS (1804-1891), Protestant theologian, was born at Strassburg on the 18th of July 1804. He studied philology in his native town (1819-22), theology at Göttingen under J. G. Eichhorn; and Oriental languages at Halle under Wilhelm Gesenius, and afterwards at Paris under Silvestre de Sacy (1827-28). In 1828 he became Privatdozent at Strassburg. From 1829 to 1834 he taught Biblical criticism and Oriental languages at the Strassburg Theological School; he then became assistant, and afterwards, in 1836, regular professor of theology at that university. The sympathies of Reuss were German rather than French, and after the annexation of Alsace to Germany he remained at Strassburg, and retained his professorship till, in 1888, he retired on a pension. Amongst his earliest works were: De libris veteris Testamenti apocryphis plebi non negandis (1829), Ideen zur Einleitung in das Evangelium Johannis (1840) and Die Johanneische Theologie (1847). In 1852 he published his Histoire de la theologie chretienne au siecle apostolique, which was followed in 1863 by L' Histoire du canon des saintes ecritures dans l'eglise chretienne. In 1874 he began to publish his translation of the Bible, La Bible, nouvelle traduction avec commentaire. It was the criticism and exegesis of the New Testament which formed the subject of Reuss's earlier labours - in 1842, indeed, he had published in German a history of the books of the New Testament, Geschichte der heiligen Schriften N. Test.; and though his own views were liberal, he opposed the results of the Tubingen school. After a time he turned his attention also to Old Testament criticism, for which he was especially fitted by his sound knowledge of Hebrew. In 1881 he published in German his Geschichte der heiligen Schriften A. Test., a veritable encyclopaedia of the history of Israel from its earliest beginning till the taking of Jerusalem by Titus. He died at Strassburg on the 15th of April 1891.

Reuss belonged to the more modern section of the Liberal party in the Lutheran Church. His critical position was to some extent that of K. H. Graf and J. Wellhausen, allowing for the circumstances that he was in a sense their forerunner, and was actually for a time Graf's teacher. Indeed, he was really the originator of the new movement, but hesitated to publish the results of his studies. For many years Reuss edited with A. H. Cunitz (b. 1812) the Beitrdge zu den theologischen Wissenschaften. With A. H. Cunitz and J. W. Baum (1809-1878), and after their death alone, he edited the monumental edition of Calvin's works (38 vols., 1863 ff.). His critical edition of the Old Testament appeared a year after his death. His son, Ernst Rudolf (b. 1841), was in 1873 appointed city librarian at Strassburg.

See the article in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopddie, and cf. Otto Pfleiderer, Development of Theology in Germany since Kant (1890).

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