GRØNBECH, Vilhelm Peter. Allinge, Bornholm 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. Exhausted from intensive work he interrupted it and 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. 121 p. Copenhagen 1902.
– With O. Olufsen: A Vocabulary of the Dialect of Bokhara. 59 p. Copenhagen 1905.
– Books and articles on history of religions, especially Germanic, on classic and Christian religion and mysticism, classical culture, German literature etc.; Primitiv Religion. Stockholm 1915; own poetry.
– Mystikere i Europa og Indien. 1-4. Copenhagen 1925-34 (vol. 1 on India).
– Friedrich Schlegel i aarene 1791–1808. 441 p. Vid. Selsk. Medd. Copenhagen 1935; Hellenismen. 1-2. Copenhagen 1939; Hellas. Kultur og Religion. 1-4. Copenhagen 1942-45 and 5. Supplement. 1953.
Sources: A. Hvidtfeldt, D.B.L. 3rd ed. 5, 1980, 348-351; *P.M. Mitchell, Vilhelm Grønbech. Twayne’s World Authors Series 397. Boston 1978; *Køb. Univ. 11; kalliope.org (in Danish); Wikipedia with photo and further references.