ALSDORF, Ludwig Wilhelm

ALSDORF, Ludwig Wilhelm. Laufersweiler near Kirchberg in Hunsrück 8.8.1904 — Buchholz-Sprötze 25.3.1978. German Indologist. Professor in Hamburg. Son of a minister, Hermann A. and Emilie Chelius, he went to school in Saarbrücken (Ludwigs-Gymnasium). Began his studies in 1922 at Heidelberg (under Bartholomae & Zimmer), then from 1923 under Schubring at Hamburg University. In addition to Indology, he learned comparative IE, Persian, and Arabic. Ph.D. 1928 at Hamburg. Further studies in Berlin under Lüders. From October 1930 to May 1932 he taught German and French at University of Allahabad and studied Sanskrit with a Pandit. Travelled in many parts of India, in Ceylon and Burma. Back in Germany joined NSDAP in 1933, but is later in their documents characterized as unreliable liberal. PD 1935 Berlin, but moved in 1938, apparently on political grounds, to Münster, teaching there without salary (he had a scholarship). After a brief period in army in occupied France he got in 1941 a place in the foreign ministry. Taught also at the Auslands­wissen­schaftliche Fakultät of Berlin University, and was nominated apl. Professor there in 1943 (für Volkskunde und Landeskunde Indiens). The faculty was closed after the war, and Alsdorf lost his position. He came in 1948 back to Münster as a Gast­professor. From 1950 Schubring’s successor at Hamburg, retired in 1972, taught as emeritus until 1977/78. He visited India 12 times. Died in complications caused by an insect bite during a visit to Sri Lanka in 1978.

Alsdorf began his career as a specialist of Apabhramśa, but matured into a many-sided scholar, especially of MIA and Jainism. During the WW II he rather concentrated on modern India, its history, politics and society. He found out that the Vasudevahiṇḍī is a recension of the Brhatkathā (1937). He edited Lüders’ posthumous Varuṇa book and from 1968 the C.P.D. His other fields of interest included Aśokan inscriptions, Jāta­kas, the Uttarādhyayanasūtra, Pāli literature and metrics, history of vegetarianism, modern history and geography of South Asia, etc. From 1959 member of Mainz A.W., 1967 of Danish Academy, 1977 corr. member of Österr. A.W. Among his students were e.g. K. Bruhn, A. Mette, K. Oetjens and K. Okuda.

Publications: Diss. Der Kumārapālapratibodha. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des Apa­bhramśa und der Erzählungsliteratur der Jainas. 12+227 p. A.N.I.St. 2. Hamburg 1928. Habil. diss. Harivaṁśapurāṇa. Ein Abschnitt aus des Apabhramśa-Welthistorie Mahāpurāṇa Tīsaṭṭhimahāpurisaguṇālaṁkāra. 12+515 p. A.N.I.St. 5. B. 1934.

Apabhramśa-Studien. 8+113 p. A.K.M. 22:2. Lp. 1937.

– “Die Pratyayas. Ein Beitrag zur indischen Mathematik”, ZII 9, 1933/34, 97-157; “Zwei neue Belege zur ‘indischen Herkunft’ von 1001 Nacht”, ZDMG 89, 1935, 175-314; “Zur Geschichte der Jaina-Kosmographie und -Mythologie”, ZDMG 92, 1938, 464-493.

Indien. Geschichte der englischen Herrschaft. 242 p. Lp. 1940; Deutsch-indische Geistesbeziehungen. 8+111 p. Heidelberg 1942; Indien und Ceylon. Landeskunde. 159 p. B. 1943; Vorderindien – Bharat, Pakistan, Ceylon. Eine Landes- und Kulturkunde. 336 p. 32 pl. Braun­schweig 1955.

– With E. Waldschmidt et al.: Geschichte AsiensMunich 1950 (by LA: “Indien von der mohammedanischen Eroberung bis zum Gegenwart”, 163-307).

Transl. Pantchatantra. 124 p. Bergen II 1952; ed. Lüders, Varuṇa. 1-2. Göttingen 1951-59; C.P.D. 1968-78.

– “Bemerkungen zum Vessantara-Jātaka”, WZKS 1, 1957, 1-70; “Das Jātaka vom weisen Vidhura”, WZKS 15, 1971, 23-56; “Das Bhūridatta-Jātaka”, WZKS 21, 1977, 25-55; ed. & tr. “Itthīparinnā [of Sūyagaḍaṅga]. A chapter of Jain Monastic Poetry, edited as a contribution to Indian Prosody”, IIJ 2, 1958, 249-270..

Beiträge zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und Rinderverehrung. 69 p. A.W.L. 1961:6; Aśokas Separatedikte von Dhauli und Jaugaśa. 38 p. A.W.L. 1962; Les études jaina, état présent et taches futures. 97 p. P. 1965; The Āryā Stanzas of the Uttarajhāyā. 68 p. A.W.L. 1966; Die Āryā-Strophen des Pāli-Kanons, metrisch hergestellt und textgeschichtlich untersucht. 89 p. A.W.L. 1967:4.

Les études jaina, état présent et tâches futures. 97 p. P. 1966..

Many articles, most collected in Kleine Schriften. Edited by A. Wezler. 762 p. Glasenapp-St. 10. Wb. 1974; Nachtragsband. Ed. by A. W. c. 168 p. Gl.-St. 35. St. 1998.

Sources: Obituary by K. Bruhn, ZDMG 129, 1979, 1-7 (with photo, also in Rau 130); K. Bruhn et al.: L. A. and Indian Studies. 12+102 p. D. 1990; Framke in Framke et al. 2014, 99-102, 114-120; *A.N. Jani, JOIB 27, 1978, 131-133; M. Mallik, VIJ 17, 1979, 287-289; K.R. Norman, C.P.D. 2, xv-xvii; G. Oberhammer, Almanach der Öst. A.W. 129, 1979, 369-377 (with photo & additions to bibliography); *G. Roth, IIJ 20, 1978, 339-342; Stache-Rosen 1990, 239f.; Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus. Gedenkschrift für L. A. 418 p. ANISt 23. Wb. 1981; briefly D.B.E. 1, 1995, 94; bibliography in Kl. Schr.; German Wikipedia.

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