Werner Müller (ethnologist)

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Werner Müller (born May 22, 1907 in Emmerich ; † March 7, 1990 in Bad Urach ) was a German ethnologist .

Live and act

Müller received his doctorate in Bonn in 1930 with Carl Clemen . From 1933 he worked as a librarian in Berlin-Spandau and published smaller articles in the publication series of the SS Research Foundation German Ahnenerbe . In 1936 Müller worked on a research assignment for the Ura Linda Chronicle . Müller had been a member of the NSDAP since May 1, 1933 ( membership number 2.549.044) and since 1940 of the SS (membership number 352.955) in the personal staff of the Reichsführer of the SS . Müller completed his habilitation in ethnology at the University of Strasbourg in 1942 , at which time he was head of the “Teaching and research center for localization and landscape symbols” department at the Ahnenerbe Foundation. Under the protection of Ahnenerbe managing director Wolfram Sievers , he held a trial lecture in Strasbourg in February 1944 and was given a lectureship in religious studies there on November 27, 1944, which he could no longer take due to the events of the war.

Because of his earlier activities as a National Socialist, there was no employment as a university lecturer after 1945. In the first ten years after the war, he lived as a private scholar on grants from the German Research Foundation and from his wife's income. It was not until 1955 that Müller was hired again as a librarian in West Berlin. In 1962 he moved to the University Library of Tübingen as a subject librarian for history and geography, where he worked as senior librarian until his retirement in 1972.

Since March 9, 1936, he was married to the children's author Anna Ernestine Tannewitz .

The focus of his scientific work was the exploration of the mythology of the North American Indians . In doing so, he pursued a historical approach with a wealth of sources at a time when ethnology was predominantly structured in a structuralist manner, which made him an outsider in his discipline.

In his last book America - The New or the Old World? , which is viewed as a synthesis of his research, Müller claimed a close relationship between the American Indian and the Paleolithic Eurasian civilizations, which presupposes early contacts across the Atlantic. With that he came into contradiction to the archaeological doctrine.

Reception of the scientific work

Mircea Eliade wrote on the occasion of Müller's 75th birthday: “If you read the bibliography of Dr. If you examine Müller carefully, you will understand why he was not included among the most learned and creative historians of religion of our time. To say it in advance, he knows too much and that in too many areas of research. In addition, he is mainly interested in important and significant problems, and ultimately he writes clearly and concisely and has a rare gift for synthesis. "

On the occasion of Müller's 100th birthday, Gerd Simon characterizes him : “He was a radical outsider and yet always in the mainstream. He was a daredevil researcher with an almost unsurpassed hostility to theory, and yet he made it a point to be considered a scientist. He was a staunch brown and was still a cult figure among many greens. One could easily use a dozen other pairs of opposites to characterize Müller. He would certainly have been against being counted among the postmodern. he didn't want to and didn't fit in any drawer. "

Fonts (selection)

  • The oldest American deluge stories , Bonn 1930, doctoral thesis
  • Circle and cross. Investigations on sacred settlements among Italians and Teutons , Berlin: Widekind-Verlag, 1938
  • The blue hut. On the symbol of the pearl among North American Indians , Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1954
  • Worldview and cult of the Kwakiutl Indians , Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1955 ( studies on cultural studies 15)
  • The religions of the woodland Indians of North America , Berlin. Reimer, 1956, revised and expanded version of the previously unpublished habilitation thesis
  • The religions of the Indian peoples of North America , in: The religions of the old America, Religions der Menschheit , Vol. 7, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1961
  • The holy city. Roma quadrata, heavenly Jerusalem and the myth of the world navel , Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1961
  • Beliefs and Thoughts of the Sioux. On the shape of archaic worldviews , Berlin: Reimer, 1970
  • Indian world experience , 5th edition, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1992, ISBN 3-608-93172-4 (1st edition 1981, ISBN 3-548-39016-1 )
  • America - The New or the Old World? , Berlin: Reimer, 1982; ISBN 3-496-00530-0
    • America, the new world or the old? , Frankfurt am Main; Bern; New York; Paris: Lang, 1989, ISBN 3-631-40486-7 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mircea Eliade, Werner Müller and the "general religious studies", in: Under the plaster is the beach , special volume on Werner Müller's 75th birthday, vol. 11, 1982, p. 13.
  2. a b Gerd Simon with the help of Ulrich Schermaul: Der> Kreis- und Kreuz <-Müller. On the 100th birthday of the Tübingen symbol researcher and ethnologist Werner Müller , online version PDF, accessed on November 26, 2014