GRØNBECH, Vilhelm Peter. Allinge 14.6.1873 — Helsingør 21.4.1948. Danish Scholar of Comparative Religion. Born in Bornholm island as the son of “blikkenslager & glarmester, senere husejer” Georg Peter G. (1844–1893) and Vilhelmine Marie Sonne (1846-1937), moved with the family to Copenhagen. In 1890 started studies at Copenhagen University, in 1897 cand.mag. i Dansk, Latin og Engelsk. Also listened to Thomsen, Verner and Pedersen. Ph.D. 1902. Apparently faced a crisis (personal?) in his career as he acted in 1902-06 as organist in Sankt Jakobs church. From 1908 docent of English at the University and from 1911 University Docent in history of religions (succeeding E. Lehmann). In 1912-19 he also taught at Lærerhøjskole. From 1915 eo. Professor for Religionshistorie. Retired in 1943, spent his last years in Helsingør. Married 1900 Pauline Ramm (d. 1946) and 1947 Honorine Louise Hermelin, his son, Kaare Gr. (1901–1957), was Professor in Copenhagen and a famous Mongolian scholar. Rejecting Frazer’s evolutionary theories he argued that so-called “primitive” religion is as complex as modern.
Publications: diss. Forstudier til tyrkisk Lydhistorie. 1902.
– A Vocabulary of the Dialect of Bokhara. 1905.
– books and articles on history of religions, especially German, on classic and Christian religion and mysticism, classical culture, German literature etc.; Primitiv Religion. Stockholm 1915; poetry.
– Mystikere i Europa og Indien. 1-4. 1925-34.
– Friedrich Schlegel i aarene 1791–1808. 1935; Hellenismen. 1-2. 1939; Hellas. Kultur og Religion. 1-4. 1942-45.
Sources: A. Hvidtfeldt, D.B.L. 3rd ed. 5, 1980, 348-351; *Køb. Univ. 11; Wikipedia with further references.
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