Wolfram von Soden

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Wolfram Freiherr von Soden (born June 19, 1908 in Berlin ; † October 6, 1996 in Münster ) was one of the most important German ancient orientalists .

life and work

Wolfram von Soden , son of the evangelical theologian Hans von Soden , studied ancient oriental studies at the universities of Marburg, Berlin and Leipzig and received his doctorate in Leipzig under Benno Landsberger in 1931 with a thesis on " The hymn-epic dialect of Akkadian ". In 1936 - just 28 years old - he was appointed professor of Assyriology and Arabic studies at the University of Göttingen , where he had been a private lecturer since 1934. While his old teacher Landsberger had to leave Germany due to the National Socialist law to restore the professional civil service , von Soden joined the SA in 1934 . The NSDAP he did not join, but was 1944 automatically not SA members transferred to the by then the party belonging to the party. He supported the National Socialist science policy with works such as “ The Rise of the Assyrian Empire as a Historical Problem ” (1937) and “ Arab Defense Language Expressions ” (1942). Von Soden was in the war from 1939 to 1945, mostly as a translator. At the beginning of 1940 he was offered the vacant chair for ancient oriental philology at the University of Berlin , but was never able to teach there because of his military service.

After the end of the Second World War , von Soden was initially denied re-entry into teaching, but from 1950 he had a teaching position at the University of Göttingen. Because of his extraordinary abilities and because his former teacher Benno Landsberger stood up for him from the USA, he was called to Vienna in 1954 . In 1961 he went to the University of Münster as the successor to Friedrich Schmidtke , where he taught as director of the ancient oriental seminar until his retirement in 1976. Since 1973 he was a corresponding member of the British Academy . In 1981 he was elected a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . In 1996 he left his scientific specialist library to the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Leipzig , which was then being established , the place where his teacher Landsberger had worked for a long time.

Von Soden's involvement with National Socialist science is shown above all in a higher valuation of Indo-European cultural influences in the ancient Orient compared to Semitic ones. That being said, his scientific work remains undisputed. Works like “ Grundriss der Akkadian Grammar ” and “ Akkadian Concise Dictionary ” are still irreplaceable in research and testify to Wolfram von Soden's high level of learning. In addition to scholars such as Friedrich Delitzsch , Adam Falkenstein , Benno Landsberger and Dietz-Otto Edzard , he is one of the formative personalities of German ancient Near Eastern studies.

Fonts (selection)

  • The rise of the Assyrian Empire as a historical problem . Hinrichs, Leipzig 1937 (The Old Orient, 37th year, issue 1 + 2)
  • The Akkadian Syllabary , Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, Rome 1948 (4th edition, Rome 1991)
  • Akkadian grammar plan , Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, Rome 1952
  • with Adam Falkenstein: Sumerian and Akkadian hymns and prayers , Artemis, Zurich-Stuttgart 1953
  • Akkadian concise dictionary , 3 volumes, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1959–1982
  • Conflicts and their management in Babylonian creation and flood narratives. With a partial translation of the Atramhasis myth , in communications from the German Orient Society in Berlin, special edition, number 111, Berlin 1979
  • Introduction to Ancient Oriental Studies , Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1985 (Orientalist introductions to the subject, results and perspectives of the individual areas) ISBN 3-534-07627-3


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Rykle Borger: Wolfram von Soden. In: Archive for Orient Research 44/45, 1997/98, pp. 588-594
  2. ^ Fellows: Wolfram von Soden. British Academy, accessed August 15, 2020 .
  3. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 228.