Wolfhart Heinrichs

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Wolfhart Heinrichs , full name Wolfhart Peter Heinrichs , (born October 3, 1941 in Cologne , † January 23, 2014 ) was a German Islamic scholar , Arabist and Graeco-Arabist .


Wolfhart Heinrichs was born into an academic family. His father Matthias Heinrichs was professor of Old High German at the University of Gießen and at the Free University of Berlin , his mother, Anne Heinrichs, a professor for Old Norse who qualified as a professor at the age of 70 , was appointed professor at the Free University of Berlin at the age of 80 .

He attended the Friedrich-Wilhelm Gymnasium in Cologne and then studied Islamic Studies , Semitic Studies and Philosophy at the local university . After a year at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London , he continued his studies at the Universities of Frankfurt and Giessen . In 1967 he received his doctorate with a dissertation on Hazim Al-Qartaganni's reception of Aristotelian poetics . He then spent a year at the Orient Institute in Beirut and then taught at the University of Giessen from 1968 to 1977. After a visiting professor at Harvard University , he accepted a permanent position there in 1978. In 1980 he married Alma Giese, a private scholar and translator from Arabic. In 1989 he became co-editor of the new edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam , for which he himself wrote fifty articles. In 1996 he succeeded Muhsin Mahdi as James Richard Jewett Professor of Arabic at Harvard University.

Research priorities

Heinrichs saw himself as a philologist in the true sense of the word. One of his priorities was Arabic poetry and its poetics, as well as the Arabic translation of Aristotle's poetics . Another work was devoted to the New Aramaic dialect Turoyo , other works to Arabic rhetoric and Arabic prosimetry .

Fonts (selection)

  • Early Ornate Prose and the Rhetorization of Poetry in Arabic Literature. In: Frédérique Woerther (Ed.), Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in the Greek, Roman, Syriac and Arabic Worlds , Hildesheim, Olms 2009, Ss. 215-234.
  • (Ed. With Peri Bearman and Bernard G. Weiss): The law applied: contextualizing the Islamic Shari'a: a volume in honor of Frank E. Vogel. London, New York, IB Tauris, 2008.
  • The part and the whole: the auto-anthology Ṣafī al-Dīn al-Ḥillīs. In: Asian Studies 59: 3 (2005), pp. 675-696
  • Prosimetrical Genres in Classical Arabic Literature. In: J. Harris and K. Reichl (eds.), Prosimetrum, Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Narrative in Prose and Poetry. Cambridge, DS Brewer, 1997, pp. 249-275
  • (Ed. With J. Christoph Bürgel) Oriental Middle Ages. Wiesbaden, AULA-Verlag, 1990.
  • (Ed.) Studies in Neo-Aramaic. Atlanta, Ga., Scholars Press, 1989.
  • The hand of the northwind. Opinions on metaphor and the early meaning of istiʼāra in Arabic poetics. Wiesbaden, Steiner, 1977.
  • Arabic poetry and Greek poetics. Hāzim al-Qartāğannīs foundation of poetics with the help of Aristotelian terms. Wiesbaden, F. Steiner in Komm. 1969.


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