Walther Hinz

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walther Hinz (born November 19, 1906 in Stuttgart , † April 12, 1992 in Göttingen ) was a German Iranologist, linguist and university professor.


After studying journalism , he turned to the history of Eastern Europe and oriental studies at the University of Leipzig . He went to Munich and Paris for further studies . In 1930 he received his doctorate in Leipzig with the topic: Cultural history of Russia under Peter the Great . From 1932 Hinz worked for the Reichswehr Ministry , which in 1934 appointed him as a consultant for military science. After the seizure of power , Hinz turned to National Socialism. He became a member of the SA (1933-1934), the NSDAP (since 1937) and the NSDDB .

In 1934, Hinz completed his habilitation in Islamic Studies at Berlin University . From May 1934 to 1937 he worked as a consultant in the newly founded Reich Ministry for Science, Education and National Education . In 1936 he went on a research trip to Iran , in 1937 he became a full professor for the history of the Middle East at the University of Göttingen and did research in Iran again. During the Second World War he served in the Wehrmacht and worked for counter-espionage in Turkey from 1942 to 1945 .

In 1945, Hinz was released. In 1945/46 he was interned. He lived off translations and worked from 1950 to 1957 as editor of the Göttinger Tageblatt . From 1957 onwards, Hinz was able to work again as a university lecturer - after "thoroughly turning away from positions previously represented" (according to the obituary of the University of Göttingen). Until his retirement he taught as professor for oriental philology and director of the seminar for Iranian studies at the University of Göttingen. In 1958, 1961 and 1963 Hinz carried out excavations in Iran. His retirement took place in 1975. In 1976 the University of Tehran awarded him an honorary doctorate .

In addition to his work as a university lecturer, Hinz emerged as an exponent of Spiritual Christianity since the 1960s . As a leading member of the " Spiritual Lodge Zurich ", he wrote numerous publications, some of which achieved considerable print runs.

Research priorities

At the beginning of his research, Hinz dealt with the Islamic period of Persia , the Seljuk and Safavid periods and the influence of Turkic-Persian relations on the development of Persian identity. In the thirties he worked with several young orientalists to translate the Amoenitates exoticae by Engelbert Kaempfer, a traveler to Persia, from the late 17th century. A travel report from 1938 as well as the development of a neo-Persian phrasebook, which was published several times, attests to his interest in Iran today.

Hinz later turned to the pre-Islamic cultures of the Achamenids and Elams . In his descriptions of cultures, he took into account the cultural, linguistic and economic aspects in addition to historical and archaeological facts. His work on the ancient Persian language and his research on Elamite are linguistically significant . On the basis of an examination of around 25,000 cuneiform tablets, he published an Elamite directory of names and a dictionary with several thousand entries.

Hinz was not only a very versatile historically and linguistically working Iranist, he also worked on orientalist topics outside of his actual field. These include, for example, his work on Islamic measures, weights and coins, or the late essay on the ancient Semitic Sinai inscriptions, which are important for the history of the alphabet .

As a versatile researcher, Hinz enjoyed international recognition. The Zarathustra monograph from 1961, which advocates the late dating of the effectiveness of the ancient Iranian prophet (7th / 6th century BC) and contains a philologically justified translation of the Gathas, also includes a historical and philological translation in some places Recognize religious interest in the object, for example when Hinz advocates the authenticity of Zarathustra's prophecy.

Fonts (selection)


  • Peter the Great's share in the scientific and artistic culture of his time , Breslau 1933.
  • Iran's Rise to National State in the Fifteenth Century . De Gruyter, Berlin 1936.
  • Iranian trip . A research trip through present-day Persia. Berlin 1938.
  • At the court of the Persian Great King (1684-1685) . The first book of Amoenitates exoticae by Engelbert Kaempfer, introduced and edited in German by Walther Hinz, Sources and Researches for the History of Geography and Ethnology, Leipzig 1940.
  • Islamic measures and weights, converted into the metric system , Handbuch der Orientalistik Erg.-Bd. 1, H. 1, Leiden 1955 (2nd edition 1970).
  • Zarathustra , Stuttgart 1961.
  • The Elam Empire , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1964.
  • Old Iranian research and finds , Berlin 1969.
  • Persian. Practical phrasebook , 5th completely revised edition, Berlin 1971 (originally: Persian . Guide to colloquial language, Berlin 1942).
  • New ways in Old Persian , Wiesbaden 1973.
  • Old Iranian language of the secondary traditions , Wiesbaden 1975.
  • Darius and the Persians . A cultural history of the Achaemenids, 2 vols., Baden-Baden 1976/1979.
  • together with Heidemarie Koch : Elamisches dictionary , 2 parts, Berlin 1987.
  • Islamic currencies of the 11th - 19th centuries, converted into gold . A contribution to Islamic economic history, Wiesbaden 1991.
  • New knowledge about God's creation . ABC Verlag, Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-85516-008-2 .
  • On the Sinai inscriptions , Journal of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft 141 (1991), 16–32.


  • Shah Esma'il II. A contribution to the history of the Safavids . In: Communications of the seminar for oriental languages, 2nd department, 36, 1933, pages 19-99, ZDB -ID 281701-9 .


Web links


  1. a b c Michael Grüttner : Biographical Lexicon on National Socialist Science Policy (= Studies on Science and University History. Volume 6). Synchron, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-935025-68-8 , pp. 75-76.
  2. ^ Anikó Szabó: Expulsion, return, reparation. Göttingen university professor in the shadow of National Socialism, with biographical documentation of the dismissed and persecuted university professors: University of Göttingen - TH Braunschweig - TH Hannover - University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. Wallstein , Göttingen 2000, ISBN 978-3-89244-381-0 (= publications of the working group History of Lower Saxony (after 1945), Volume 15, also dissertation at the University of Hanover 1998). Pp. 307-308.
  3. On the website of the "Geistige Loge Zürich" (www.geistigeloge.ch), among other things, books on "New knowledge about the life and work of Jesus" and "New knowledge about God's creation" are mentioned under Hinz 'name. For more on Hinz's proximity to this lodge, cf. also the article Fatally Threatened . In: Der Spiegel . No. 50 , 1984 ( online - 10 December 1984 ).