March 7, 1825, Vienna, Austria.

March 16, 1889, Menton, France.

Menton, France.


Son of wealthy Jewish parents, Edersheim grew up in a cultured home where English was spoken, and he became fluent at an early age. He was educated at a local Gymnasium, and in the Talmud and Torah at a Hebrew school. In 1841, he entered the University of Vienna. He was the first Jew to take prizes there, but his father suffered illness and financial reverses before Alfred could complete his education, and he had to support himself. He emigrated to Hungary and became a teacher of languages. He converted to Christianity in Pesth (now part of Budapest) under the influence of John Duncan, a Church of Scotland chaplain to workers building a bridge over the Danube. Edersheim accompanied Duncan on his return to Scotland, and studied theology at New College, Edinburgh, and later at the University of Berlin.

On return to Scotland, Edersheim preached for a time in Aberdeen, and in 1849 was appointed to minister at the Free Church, Old Aberdeen. In 1861, health problems forced him to resign, and the Church of St. Andrew was built for him at Torquay. In 1872 Edersheim’s health again obliged him to retire, and for four years he lived quietly at Bournemouth. In 1875 the Bishop of Winchester ordained him in the Church of England, and he served as Curate of the Abbey Church, Christchurch, Hampshire, for a year, then as Vicar of Loders, Dorset (1876-82). He was appointed Warburtonian Lecturer at Lincoln’s Inn (1880-84). After resigning and moving to Oxford, he was Select Preacher to the University (1884-85) and Grinfield Lecturer on the Septuagint (1886-88 & 1888-89).

Edersheim’s works include:

  1. Jesu, Name of Sweetest Thought