Gotthelf Bergstrasse

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Gotthelf Bergstrasse

Gotthelf Bergsträßer (born April 5, 1886 in Oberlosa ; † August 16, 1933 near Berchtesgaden ) was one of the most important orientalists of the 20th century .


Gotthelf Bergsträßer was born in 1886 as the son of a pastor. He studied philosophy , linguistics and classical and Semitic philology in Leipzig . He was first a teacher of classical languages ​​before turning to oriental studies. In 1912 he became a private lecturer for Semitic languages ​​at the University of Leipzig . At the end of 1915 he became a full professor in Istanbul. From 1914 to 1918 he studied the Arabic and Aramaic dialects of Syria and Palestine . In 1919 he became associate professor in Berlin and in the same year full professor in Königsberg . In 1922 he moved to Breslau , 1923 to Heidelberg and 1926 to Munich , where he became professor for Semitic philology and Islamic studies at the University of Munich . In 1925 he became an associate and in 1926 a foreign member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences . Since 1929 he was a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . Bergsträßer died in 1933 on a mountain tour on the Watzmann .


Many of his writings are relevant to Islamic studies and Semitic studies to this day . The introduction to the Semitic languages ​​in particular is an internationally read standard work to this day . His Hebrew Grammar promised to be of outstanding importance for ancient Hebrew studies , which was planned by Wilhelm Gesenius as a completely new conception of the Hebrew Grammar last edited by E. Kautzsch in the 28th edition of 1909 , but remained a fragment: Of the planned four volumes (Bergsträßer himself spoke modestly only of “notebooks”) only the first two parts have appeared (1918 Scripture and Phonology , 1929 Verbum ). Together with the Gesenius-Kautzsch-Grammar from 1909 they are reprinted as a bundle until today.

At the invitation of the University of Cairo , in 1931/32 he gave a series of lectures on philological questions of Arabic sources at the Philosophical Faculty, in which the then famous writer Taha Hussein also took part. The lectures have been published under the title Uṣūl naqd an-nuṣūs wa-našr al-kitāb (Basics of textual criticism and work publication) in Cairo (edited by Muḥammad Ḥamdī al-Bakrī, 2nd edition. Cairo 1995).


An archive of photos of old Koran manuscripts for his planned Apparatus Criticus on the Koran was initially processed by Otto Pretzl , but the latter died in a plane crash in 1941. Anton Spitaler inherited the archive . He later claimed that the archive was burned in the 1944 bombing raid on Munich that completely destroyed the building of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . However, that was not the case; on the contrary, the photos were in Spitaler's possession until the beginning of the 1990s. Since then, the collection has been in the care of Angelika Neuwirth at the Free University of Berlin , where it is digitized and evaluated as part of the Corpus Coranicum project .


  • The negations in the Kur'an . 1911 ( digitized version )
  • Ḥunain ibn Isḥāq and his school. Studies of the history of language and literature on the Arabic Hippocrates and Galen translations. Leiden 1913.
  • Negative and questioning particles and related things in the Kur'an . Leipzig, 1914; 1968
  • Linguistic Atlas of Syria and Palestine . 1915
  • New Aramaic fairy tales and other texts from Malula . Scriptures with German translation. 1915 ( digitized version )
  • Hebrew grammar . Using the 28th edition of Wilhelm Gesenius' Hebrew grammar , edited by E. Kautzsch , written by G. Bergsträßer, with contributions by M. Lidzbarski , Vogel, Leipzig 1918. ( digitized version ) ( [1] )
  • New meteorological fragments of Theophrastus . Arabic and German. 1918/9
  • Hebrew readings from the Old Testament . Vogel, Leipzig 1920 ( digitized version )
  • To the Arabic dialect of Damascus. Phonetics and prose texts . 1924
  • as editor and translator: Ḥunain ibn Isḥāq on the Syrian and Arabic Galen translations. Leipzig 1925 (= treatises for the customer of the Orient. Volume XVII, 2). ( Digitized version ).
  • New materials on Ḥunain ibn Isḥāq's Galenbibliographie. Leipzig 1932 (= treatises for the customer of the Orient. Volume XIX, 2).
  • Introduction to the Semitic languages. Speech samples and grammatical sketches . 1. A. 1928, 2. 1963, 3. A. 1977 ISBN 3-19-005024-4 .
    • Translated by Peter T. Daniels: Introduction to the Semitic Languages , Eisenbrauns 1983.
  • Plan of an Apparatus Criticus for the Koran . Munich 1930
  • The story of the Qorāntext together with O. Pretzl in Theodor Nöldeke, History of the Qorāns. Leipzig 1938; 1961
  • Non-canonical versions of the Koran in the Muhtasab of ibn Ginni . Munich 1933
  • Phonograms in the Neo-Aramaic dialect of Malula . 1933
  • Basics of Islamic Law. Edited and ed. by Joseph Schacht . 1935.


Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Members of the HAdW since it was founded in 1909. Gotthelf Bergstrasse. Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, accessed on July 15, 2016 .
  2. ^ Member entry by Gotthelf Bergsträßer (with a link to an obituary) at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on January 4, 2017.
  3. Andrew Higgins, " The Lost Archive: Missing for a half century, a cache of photos spurs sensitive research on Islam's holy text, " The Wall Street Journal , January 12, 2008