Bode, Christopher Augustus

, a learned professor of the university of Helmstadt, was born in 1722, at | Wernigerode. After having been educated at home, with great care, by his father, who was judge of that city, and counsellor to the count Stolberg of Wernigerode, he went in 1739 to the school of Closter-Bergen, near Magdeburgh, then superintended by Steinmez, and in 1741, took his leave of this school, in a Latin oration, “De societatibus hujus sevi notabilioribus.” He then went to Halle, and having early imbibed a taste for oriental languages and sacred philology, he attached himself particularly to the two Michaelis’s, father and son, who were then professors in that university. From Halle, he went to Leipsic, where he studied Arabic, Syriac, Chaldaic, Samaritan, Ethiopian, and rabbinical Hebrew. On his return to Halle in 1747, he maintained a thesis for his doctor’s degree, under the presidency of Michaelis the father, “On the antiquity of the Hebrew language” and then opened a course of lectures which were much admired. Notwithstanding this success, however, he left Halle, after a residence of two years, and settled at Helmstadt. Here he became a most popular teacher, his lectures being attended by an unusual number of students; and in 1754, the uniYersity secured his services by appointing him professor extraordinary of oriental languages. About this time, happening to meet with some works in which the study of the Armenian, Coptic, and Turkish languages was recommended, he had a great desire to add these to his stock, and not having been able to obtain the assistance of Jablonski for the Coptic, he determined to learn the others without a master. Having begun this task at his lisure hours, in 1756, he made such rapid progress as to be able to publish, before the conclusion of the year, the first two chapters of St. Matthew translated from the Turkish into Latin, with a critical preface on the history and utility of the Turkish language and the first four chapters of the same evangelist translated from the Armenian into Latin, with some considerations on the Armenian language. These two little works, which were published, the first at Bremen, and the other at Halle, were criticised with some severity, perhaps not unjust; but the zeal and industry of the author, although not altogether successful in these attempts, were still the subject of admiration, and were not unrewarded. In 1760 he obtained a pension and in 1763, lest he should accept of the offer of a professorship made to him by the university of Giessen, that of Helmstadt | conferred on him the title of professor in ordinary of philosophy, with an augmentation of salary. His various works in the mean time amply confirmed their choice, and extended his reputation throughout Europe. Of his private life we have no further account, although it was prolonged for many years after this period, as he died of an apoplexy, March 7, 1796. His principal works are, 1. “Evangelium secundum Matthaeum ex versione Æthiopici interpretis in Bibliis polyglottis Anglicanis editum cum Graeco, c.Halle, 1748, 4to, with a preface by Michaelis on the Ethiopian translation of the New Testament. 2. “Evangelium secundum Matthaeum ex versione Persica, &c.” Helmstadt, 17.50, 4to. 3. Persian translations of Mark, Luke, and John, 1751, 4to. published separately. 4. “Evangelium secundum Marcum ex versione Arabica, &c.” Lerngow, 1752, 4to. 5. “Novum Testamentum ex versione jEthiopica, &c. in Latinum,Brunswick, 1753 55, 2 vols. 4to. 6. “Fragmenta Veteris Test, ex versione Æthiopici interpretis, et alia quaedam opuscula Æthiopica,” Wolfenb. 1755, 4to. 7. “Pseudo-critica Millio-Bengeliana,Halle, 1767, 8vo, pointing out some inaccuracies in the variorum editions of the New Testament by these eminent critics. Bode is considered by his countrymen as a man of most extensive learning, but as destitute of elegance as a writer, either in Latin or German, and as unacquainted with the art of enlivening his subject. 1


Harles de Vitis Philologorum, vol. III. necessarily left imperfect.—Biog. Universelle.