Hermann Jacobi (Indologist)

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Hermann Georg Jacobi (born February 11, 1850 in Cologne , † October 19, 1937 in Bonn ) was a German Indologist who made significant contributions to the study of Jainism .


Jacobi was the son of Otto Fritz Jacobi from Mühlenberg. He studied mathematics for a while in Berlin, but soon switched to indology and comparative linguistics . In 1869 he became a member of the Corps Teutonia Bonn. With a thesis on Indian astrology , he was in 1872 in Bonn to Dr. phil. PhD. In 1885 he became professor at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel , in 1889 at the University of Bonn , where he retired in 1922 . In 1905/06 he was the rector of the university. In 1909 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

Jacobi visited India in 1873/74 and traveled with Georg Bühler through Rajasthan , where Bühler tracked down rare manuscripts. A second trip to India followed in 1913/14 at the invitation of the University of Calcutta , where he gave lectures on Indian poetry. Jacobi edited, translated and commented on numerous Jain texts. His title “Selected Tales in Maharashtri” with grammar and glossary is considered a pioneering publication for Prakrit studies. In a study on the dating of the Rig Veda hymns , published in a commemorative publication for Rudolph von Roth , based on astronomical calculations, it came to a time around 4500 BC. He later took up the same topic again and in 1908 published an article on the age of Vedic culture in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society , which sparked a great deal of controversy.

In fact, Jacobi's research contradicted the traditional teaching of Indology, which says that the Vedas only emerged after the "Aryan immigration" in India (first half of the second millennium). Jacobi's findings are up-to-date again today, as he is the only renowned western Indologist who advocated a very early dating of the Vedas and is thus in line with representatives of today's Out-of-India theory , some of whom are also in their approaches go back to the 5th millennium.

At a later point in time Jacobi published a number of studies on the epics, poetry and aesthetics , Samkhya , yoga and Buddhism .


  • Two Jainastotras (1876)
  • Selected short stories in Maharashtri (1886)
  • The Computation of Hindu Dates in the Inscriptions (1892)
  • The Ramayana, history and content with concordance according to the printed reviews (1893)
  • Compositum and subordinate clause, studies on the Indo-European language development (1897)
  • Hermann Jacobi, On the nominal style of scientific Sanskrit , Indo-European Research 14 (1903): 236-25
  • On the Antiquity of Vedic Culture (1908)
  • The development of the idea of ​​God among the Indians and their evidence for the existence of God (1923)
  • About the original yoga system (1929/1930)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Kösener Corpslisten 1930, 15/258
  2. Dissertation: De astrologiæ Indicæ, Horā appellatæ originibus. : Accedunt Laghu-Jâtakí capita inedita III-XII .