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An orientalist is a scientist in the field of oriental studies . Orientalists deal with past or present linguistic and cultural areas of the Near East , depending on their orientation .


The scientific activity can extend to contemporary historical developments or to archaeologically significant periods, also referred to as Near Eastern Archeology . With their language skills, orientalists can convey the political, cultural and economic conditions of a region and contribute to an understanding of developments.

In addition to the classic university environment, orientalists work in commercial enterprises that maintain relationships with the Orient, or in other organizations.


The Oriental is a higher education program and is offered at universities. Typically, the courses lead to a master’s degree , but individual universities also offer diploma courses .

The standard period of study so far has been 9 semesters for both Magister and Diploma . The average actual length of study was more like 12.5 semesters.

As part of the Bologna Process , three-year bachelor's degree programs in the field of oriental studies are now also offered, which can be deepened in the context of two-year master’s degree programs.

Special subjects

Most orientalists specialize already during their studies, which results from the necessary language skills for individual areas of the Middle East. Examples are:

Traditionally, Oriental Studies are often assigned to South Asian Studies (e.g. Indology ) and East Asian Studies ( Sinology , Japanese Studies ).

List of orientalists






















See also


  • Erika Bär: Bibliography on German-language Islamic studies and Semitic studies from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day . Vol. 1. Publications by living scholars. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden 1985. Vol. 2. and Vol. 3 Deceased Scholars. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden 1991–1994
  • Gustave Dugat : Histoire des Orientalistes de l'Europe du XIIe au XIXe siècle . Paris 1868–70
  • Johan Fück: Arabic studies in Europe up to the beginning of the 20th century . Leipzig 1956
  • G. Makdisi: The rise of colleges. Institutions of learning in Islam and the West . Edinburgh 1981
  • Rudi Paret : The study of Arabic and Islam at German universities: German orientalists since Theodor Nöldeke. Franz Steiner Verlag, Wiesbaden 1968
  • Wolfgang Behn: Concise biographical companion to Index Islamicus: an international who's who in Islamic studies from its beginnings down to the twentieth century: bio-biographical supplement to Index Islamicus, 1665-1980 . Leiden, Brill 2004
  • C. Edmund Bosworth (Ed.): A Century of British Orientalists, 1902-2001 . London: Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, 2001
  • SD Goitein: The Life Story of a Scholar . in: Robert Attal: A Bibliography of the Writings of Prof. Shelomo Dov Goitein, Jerusalem, 1975 pp. xiii-xxviii
  • Ludmila Hanisch: The successors of the exegetes: German-language exploration of the Middle East in the first half of the 20th century . Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz 2003
  • Martin Kramer (Ed.): The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis. Tel Aviv, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies . Tel Aviv University, 1999
  • I. Krachkovskii: Ocherki po istorii russkoi arabistiki. In: I. Yu. Krachkovskii: Izbrannye Sochineniia. Moscow-Leningrad: USSR Academy of Sciences Publishing House. 1958. pp. 9-188.
  • Manuela Marin: Arabistas en España: un asunto de familia In: Al-Qantara XIII (1992), pp. 379-393
  • Badawi, 'Abd al-Rahman: Mawsu'at al-Mustashriqin. (Lexicon of Orientalists). Beirut. Dar al-'Ilm li-l-Malayin. 3rd edition 1993. 640 pp. (In Arabic)

Web links

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