EWALD, Georg Heinrich August (von)

EWALD, Georg Heinrich August (von). Göttingen 16.11.1803 — Göttingen 4.5.1875. German Oriental, especially Hebrew and Semitic Scholar, but also Indologist, and Theologian. Son of Heinrich Andreas E., a master weaver, after gymnasium studied theology and Oriental languages at Göttingen. Ph.D. there 1823. After a short period as Collaborator at Gymnasium of Wolfenbüttel, from 1824 Repetent at Theological Faculty in Göttingen. From 1827 ao. Professor of Philosophy at Göttingen, from 1831 ord. there, 1835 succeeded Tychsen in charge of Oriental languages. In 1837 he was one of the “Göttinger Sieben”, participating in the professors’ protest against suspending the constitution of Hannover, and was fired from the university. From 1838 Professor of Oriental Languages and Literature at Tübingen, in 1841 moved to Theological Faculty as Professor of Old Testament. In 1848, after the political turn in Hannover, returned of his own wish to Göttingen. In 1867 he was deprived of his salary because he declined to give the oath of loyalty to the king of Prussia and in 1868 also of his right to teach. Worked now as a private scholar and a member of Gött. A.W. (since 1833). From 1862 he participated actively in religious disputes of Hannover and in 1869-75 represented Hannover and the Welf party (opposition) in North German and German parliament. Hon. Dr. theol. 1836 Copenhagen. Württemb. Personaladel 1841. Married 1830 Wilhelmine (d. 1840), the daughter of the famous Karl Friedrich Gauss, Ewald’s colleague at Göttingen, then 1845 Augusta Schleiermacher, one daughter.

Though Ewald was mainly a theologian and a notable Hebrew (important grammar!) and Arabic scholar, he also knew Sanskrit and gave some time to its study. In his opinion language was bound to its speakers, which led him to study texts. He was even interested in Tibetan. He defended the idea of Semitic-IE relationship. His encouragement led Bollensen at Göttingen as well as Schleicher and Roth at Tübingen, all originally students of theology, to turn their attention to Sanskrit. Also E. Meier, E. Trumpp and many noted Semitists (e.g. Dillmann, Nöldeke and Wellhausen) were his students.

Publications: Die Composition d. Genesis. Braunschweig 1823; Das hohe Lied und d. Prediger Salomos. Göttingen 1826; Kritische Grammatik der hebraischen Sprache. Lp. 1827, English transl. 1836, revised ed. as Ausführliche Lehrbuch der hebr. Spr. Gött. 1870; Die poet. Bücher des alten Bundes. 1-3. 1835-37, 3rd ed. as Die Dichter des alten Bundes. Gött. 1866-67; Geschichte des Volkes Israel bis Christus. 1-7. 1841-63; and much more on Hebrew and Old Testament.

Ueber ältere Sanskrit-Metra. 24 p. Göttingen 1827; “Über das Afghanische oder Puschtu”, ZKM 2, 1839, 285-312; Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek zu Tübingen. 32 p. Tübingen 1839 (17-28 Indische Hand­schriften, Schenkung John Häberlin); “Über die Indischen Hss. der Universitäts-Bibliothek zu Tübingen”, ZKM 3, 1840, 298-307; “Das Bhâgavata Purâna nach Burnouf’s Ausgabe und der Tübinger Handschrift”, ZKM 4, 1842, 220-230.

Edited and translated: “Kâlidâsas Çrutabodha”, ZKM 4, 1842, 57-72; “Das indische Gedicht vom Vogel Tschâtaka”, ZKM 4, 1842, 366-376.

Reviews, e.g. Annals and Antiquities by Tod, GGA 1831, 1009-1022 & 1833, 689-708; Urvasi by Lenz, GGA 1833, 2059-2063; Accent im Sanskrit by Böhtlingk, ZKM 5, 1844, 437-447.

Sprachwisseschaftliche Abhandlungen. 1861.

De metris carminum Arabicorum. 8+147 p. Gottingae 1825; Grammatica critica linguae Arabicae. 1-2. Lipsiae 1831-33.

Sources: *E. & C. Betheau, Realencyclopädie für protest. Theologie unf Kirche 5, 1898, 682-687; Brückner et al., Indienforschung im Zeitenwandel. 2003, 62-66, with photo; *Th.W. Davies, H.E. Orientalist and Theologian 1803-1903. A Centenary Appreciation. L. 1903; A. Dillmann, A.D.B. 6, 1877, 438-442; *J. Ebach, Theol. Realenzykopädie 10, 1982, 694-696; Fück 1955, 167; W. Kirfel, N.D.B. 4, 1959, 696f.; *L. Perlitt, “Heinrich Ewald. Der Gelehrte in der Politik”, B. Müller (ed.), Theologie in Göttingen eine Vorlesungsreihe. Göttingen 1987, 157-212; Windisch 157 & 210; Wikipedia with two photos (a third in the German version); photo in Rau 12.

*Briefe an Ewald. Aus seinem Nachlass. Hrsg. von R. Fick & G. v. Selle. 8+223 p. Göttingen 1932.

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