GEIGER, Wilhelm Ludwig

GEIGER, Wilhelm Ludwig. Nürnberg 21.7.1856 — Neubiberg near Munich 2.9. 1943. German Iranian Scholar and Indologist. Professor in Erlangen and Munich. Husband of —> M. Geiger. Son of Johannes Leonhard G., a Lutheran minister, and Emma Paur. Studied classical philology and Oriental languages at Erlangen (under Spiegel), Bonn and Berlin. Ph.D. 1876 Erlangen. From 1878 PD at Erlangen, from 1880 teacher of Greek and Latin at Gymnasium in Neustadt, from 1884 in Munich, where also PD at Munich Universität from 1886. In 1891 succeeded Spiegel as ord. Professor at Erlangen, in 1920 succeeded his friend E. Kuhn at Munich. In 1924 emeritus. Visited Ceylon in 1895-96, 1925-26 (also Java) and 1931-32, in 1936 on holiday in Brazilia. After having been long time widower (from Marie Plochmann [1858–1910], married 1881, three daughters and two sons) he married on 12.4.1917 his student Magdalene Grobe. In retirement living in Neubiberg near Munich.

As a student of Spiegel WG concentrated first on Iranian studies, but from the 1890s he became more and more interested in Ceylon and in 1904 left Iranian. Although as a scholar he was a philologist and a linguist, he found fascinating to compare the two great founders of religions, Zarathustra and the Buddha. Though he published little on the history of religions, this was important in his teaching. He knew many languages (e.g. Russian) and was further interested in geography and history. In Iranian he was a champion of the eastern origin and high antiquity of the Avesta (against e.g. Spiegel, Justi and de Harlez) and the Iranian character of the Pehlevi, in both cases more or less rightly. In Indology he first concentrated on Pāli. He founded the theory of Pāli as a kind of “Māgadhī koine” and derived the origin of Sinhalese from North-West India. His visits to Ceylon led his interest to the history and modern language of the island. After his death his extensive lexical collection was given to the C.P.D.

Publications: Diss. Die Pehleviversion des ersten Capitel des Vendidad. 6+66 p. Erlangen 1877; habil.diss. Aogemadaêcâ, ein Parsentraktat in Pâzend, Altbaktrisch und Sanskrit. 160 p. Erlangen 1878.

– “De Gallieni elegiarum scriptoris aetate”, Acta semin. philol. Erl. 1, 1878, 79-93.

Handbuch des Awestasprache. Grammatik, Chrestomathie und Glossar. 359 p. Erlangen 1879; “Vaterland und Zeitalter des Awesta”, SBaAW 1884, 315-385.

Ostiranische Kultur im Altertum. 520 p. Erlangen 1882.

Die Russen in Turkestan. 44 p. Breslau 1885.

– “Das Yātkār-i Zarīrān und sein Verhältnis zum Šāh-nāme”, SBaAW 1890, 43-84 (with translation).

Articles on Balūčī: on dialects, SBaAW 1889, 65-92; texts, ZDMG 43, 1889, 579-589 & 47, 1893, 440-449; on etymology, ABaAW 1890, 105-153; on phonetics, ABaAW 1891, 397-464.

– “Etymologie und Lautlehre des Afghanischen”, ABaAW 1892, 167-222; “Afghanische Studien”, KZ 33, 1895, 246-258, 474-477.

Edited with E. Kuhn: Grundriss der iranischen Philologie. Strassburg 1895-1904.

Elementarbuch des Sanskrit. Unter Berücksichtigung der vedischen Sprache. 170 p. München 1888; 2nd ed. 1909; 3rd ed. 1-3. 92+56+79+3 p. B. 1923.

– “Etymologie des Singhalesischen”, ABaAW 21:2, 1897, 175-273; rev. English ed. Etymological Glossary of the Sinhalese Language. 12+196 p. Colombo 1941.

Literatur und Sprache der Singhalesen. 93 p. Grundriss. Strassburg 1900; “Die Sprache der Rodiyas”, SBaAW 1897.

On Divehi: SBaAW 1900, 641-684 & 1902, 107-132; ZDMG 55, 1901, 371-387; all transl. in English: Maldivian Linguistic Studies. 10+182 p. JRAS-CB 27, 1919, Extra number. Colombo 1919; “Etymological Vocabulary of the Maldivian Language”, JRAS 1902, 909-938.

– “Buddhistische Kunstmythologie”, ARW 5, 1902, 177-201.

Dīpavamsa und Mahāvamsa und die geschichtliche Überlieferung in Ceylon. 8+146 p. Lp. 1905, English transl. Colombo 1908; articles on Ceylon chronicles.

Edited: Mahāvamsa. 56+368 p. P.T.S. L. 1908; translated the same: The Mahavamsa or the Great Chronicle of Ceylon. 64+600 p. 1912.

Pāli. Literatur und Sprache. 183 p. Grundriss. Strassburg 1916; English by B. Ghosh. Calcutta 1943.

With M. Geiger: Pāli Dhamma vornehmlich in der kanonischen Literatur. 129 p. ABaAW 31:1, 1920.

Edited: Zeitschrift für Buddhismus 1921-28.

Translated: Samyutta-Nikāya. Die Lehrreden des Buddha aus der gruppierten Sammlung. 1-2. 385+294 p. München 1925-30 (books 1-16; part 3. by Nyayaponika, all ed. in 2 parts by H. Hecker, Wolfenbüttel 1990); Cūlavaṁsa. Being the more recent part of the Mahāvaṁsa. From the German transl. by C. M. Rickmers. 1-2. 362+365 p. L. 1929-30 (PTS Transl. Series 18 & 20).

Edited: Cūlavaṁsa. Being the more recent part of the Mahāvaṁsa. 1-2. 35+658 p. L. 1925-27 (PTS Text Series 20-21).

With H. Smith & D. B. Jayatilaka: Dictionary of the Sinhalese Language. 1:1-4. 1935-39 (then continued by others).

Grammar of the Sinhalese Language. 24+200 p. Colombo 1938.

Studien zur Geschichte und Sårache Ceylons. 36 p. SBaAW 1941:4.

Beiträgen zur singhalesischen Sprachgeschichte. 79 p. SBaAW 1942.

Ceylon. Tagebuchblätter und Reiseerinnerungen. 213 p. Wb. 1898; Unter tropischer Sonne. Wanderungen, Studien, Begegnungen in Ceylon und Java. 232 p. Bonn 1930.

Culture of Ceylon in Mediaeval Times. Ed. by Heinz Bechert. 23+286 p. Wb. 1960.

Kleine Schriften zur Indologie und Buddhismuskunde. Hrsg. von H. Bechert. 33+ 707 p. Glasenapp-St. 6. Wb. 1973.

Sources: *W. Wüst (ed.), Studia Indo-Iranica. Egrengabe für W. G. Lp. 1931; *H. Bechert, C.P.D. ?, 1961?, ix-xiv; *H. Bechert, W. G., His Life and Works. 12+153 p. Colombo 1976, 2nd rev. ed. Col. 1995; Bechert, N.D.B. 6, 1964, 142f.; *H. Hoffmann, Geist und Gestalt 1, 1959, 103ff.; Stache-Rosen 1990, 127-129 with photo; Wüst, Glasenapp & Schaeder, ZDMG 98, 1944, 169-188; *Wüst, SBaAW 1943:11 & *Yoga. Internat. Zeitschrift 1, 1931, 15-27; *Bibliography by Zistl, Yoga. Internat. Zeitschrift 1, 1931, 107-115; Bibliography by Bechert in Kleine Schriften 1973; briefly D.B.E. 3, 1996, 606; Wikipedia with photo (more in German version); photo in Rau 69 and Sardesai, three photos in Titus Galeria.

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