There’s no question at all that Julius Wellhausen has been far more influential in the field of Old Testament studies than most others. I mention him now because it was on the 17th of May in 1844 that he was born. Today is the anniversary of his birth.
Wellhausen was born in the northern German city of Hameln on May 17, 1844. His father was a Lutheran minister; Julius was to follow in the same vocation. Wellhausen was sent to Gottingen during the period 1862-65 to study under Heinrich Ewald, a Hebraist and Old Testament scholar. However, Wellhausen and Ewald had a gradual falling out during the years 1866-70. The two quarreled over the proper interpretation of the Old Testament and about Prussian politics. Wellhausen received his Ph.D. in theology in 1870 and then taught for two years at Gottingen. In 1872, Wellhausen received a professorship at Greifswald, located on the Baltic Sea. He resigned in 1882 because he believed that his teachings were having a dire effect on theological students destined for the ministry, and because he had become a figure of controversy over his published views on the Old Testament.
There’s more here. Of course it isn’t at all surprising that he was so influential- his initials were, after all, J.W. Happy Wellhausen Day!