Sellin studied theology and oriental languages. During 1897–1908 he taught at the evangelical faculty of theology in Vienna, during 1908–1913 at the University of Rostock, during 1913–1921 in Kiel and in 1921–1935 in Berlin.
Among his greatest discoveries was the solution to a great alleged Bible contradiction involving whether Jesus healed a blind man on the way to or after arriving in the city of Jericho (Luke 18:35 and Mark 10:46). Sellin discovered the twin cities of Jericho, one being the old city mentioned in the book of Joshua, and the other the new Roman city. The two were about a mile apart in separation and called "Jericho." Therefore Jesus left Luke's Jericho and was arriving at Mark's Jericho when this took place.
- Beiträge zur Israelitischen und Jüdischen Religionsgeschichte. Leipzig 1896, volume 2 1897. – Contribution to Israelite and Jewish religious history.
- Studien zur Entstehungsgeschichte der jüdischen Gemeinde nach dem babylonischen Exil. 2 volumes, Leipzig 1901.
- Die biblische Urgeschichte, 1905 – Biblical prehistory.
- Das Rätsel des deuterojesajanischen Buches. Leipzig 1908, – The mystery of Deuterojesaja.
- Einleitung in das Alte Testament, Leipzig 1910, 12th edition 1979. – Introduction to the Old Testament.
- Der alttestamentliche Prophetismus : drei Studien, 1912 – The Old Testament prophets, three studies.
- Jericho, 1913 (with Carl Watzinger).
- Gilgal; ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Einwanderung Israels in Palästina, 1917 – Gilgal; a contribution to the history on the immigration of Israel in Palestine.
- *Introduction to the Old Testament", 1923, (translated by W. Montgomery, with an introduction and a bibliography by Professor A. S. Peake).
- Theologie des Alten Testaments, 1933 – Theology of the Old Testament.
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