ESS, KARL AND LEANDER VAN: Two Roman Catholic Bible translators.
1. Karl van Ess was born at Warburg (18 m. s.e. of Paderborn) Sept. 25, 1770; d. at Huysburg (30 m. s.w. of Magdeburg) Oct. 22, 1824. His education was begun in the gymnasium of the Dominicans at Warburg, whence he went to the abbey at Huysburg in 1788; he was made priest in 1794, and became prior of his abbey in 1801. When the abbey was closed in 1804, he became priest of the town of Huysburg and acted as vicar-general for Magdeburg, Halberstadt, and Helmstedt. He was an orthodox Catholic, but at first was so liberal in tendency that he included a number of Protestant hymns in the Osnabrück Hymnal. After the fall of Napoleon and the rise of Prussia he became pronouncedly ultramontane and, in a short "History of Religion" published in 1817 on the occasion of the celebration of the Reformation, criticized sharply the Evangelical churches. His literary activity includes his part in the translation of the New Testament with his cousin Leander, Kurze Geschichte der Abtei Huysburg (Halberstadt, 1810), Katechismus (1822), and the Kurze Geschichte der Religion referred to above.
2. Johann Heinrich, better known by his Benedictine name Leander van Ess, was born at Warburg Feb. 15, 1772; d. at Affolderbach (20 m. n.e. of Heidelberg) Oct. 13, 1847. He was educated by the Dominicans at Warburg; entered the Benedictine abbey Marienmünster near Paderborn, 1790; was made priest and pastor at Schwalenberg, 1796. He became preacher for the Catholic Church at Marburg and professor in the university there in 1812; and retired in 1822. He was deeply interested in the dissemination of the Bible, and wrote many pamphlets in which he advocated more frequent use of the Scriptures by the laity. With his cousin Karl he published a German translation of the New Testament (Brunswick, 1807); alone he published the Old Testament in German (part 1, Sulzbach, 1822, part 2, 1836), and with his pupil Wetzer the whole Bible in three parts (1840). In 1821 he prefixed a preface to a work on mixed marriages by a Roman Catholic priest and it was put on the Index Dec. 17, 1821, and two days later the same was done with his translation of the New Testament, though the latter received the commendation of the Roman Catholic faculty at Tübingen and of the vicar-general of Bruchsal. His edition of the Vulgate was published in three parts (1822-1824); and of the Septuagint in 1824 (latest ed. by E. Nestle, with Prolegomena and Epilegomena,1887); in his New Testament he combined the Complutensian and Erasmian readings. In the copies circulated by the BFBS, the prefaces have been removed. Other writings are : Pragmatica doctorum catholicorum Tridentini circa Vulgatam decreti sensum historia (Sulzbach, 1801); Pragmatisch-kritische Geschichte der Vulgata (Tübingen, 1821); Wesenlchren des christlichen Glaubens und Lebens (1823).