Elsner, James

, a learned Prussian divine, was born in 1692, at Saalfield, in Prussia, and was educated at the university of Konigsberg, where he became private tutor to some young nobleman, and was afterwards appointed chaplain of the army. In 1719, he published a work on the delivery of the law on Mount Sinai, and shortly after the first volume of his “Sacred Observations on the New Testament.” In the following year his Prussian majesty appointed him professor of theology and the oriental languages at Lingen, to which he repaired, after having first taken his degree of doctor at Utrecht. He was afterwards chosen a member of the academy of Berlin; and in 1742, he was appointed director of the class of the belles lettres in that academy; and when the society was renewed in 1744, he retained the same office, and contributed several valuable papers to their memoirs. He died of a fever, Octobers, 1750. His works are very numerous, and on various topics, but chiefly in theology. He published also, “A new description of the state of the Greek Christians in Turkey,” in which he received very important assistance from Athanasius Dorostamos, who came to Berlin to collect money for the Christian slaves in England. 1


Dict. Hist.—Former’s Eloges del Academicians.—Saxii Onomast.