HACKER, Paul. Seelscheid, Bergisches Land (Kreis Sieg) 6.1.1913 — Münster, Westfalen 18.3.1979. German Indologist. Professor in Bonn and Münster. After matriculation from Siegburg Gymnasium studied Indology, modern literature (English, French and Russian) and philosophy at Bonn, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Berlin. In Indology student of Kirfel, Losch, Zimmer, Ruben, and Breloer. Ph.D. 1940 Berlin, with a dissertation on Turgenev. In 1938-41 Assistant at Indological Seminary, Berlin. Member of NSDAP. After military service he continued Indological studies at Bonn with a scholarship, but without a competent teacher (where was Kirfel?). From 1950 PD at Münster. In 1954-55 visiting Professor at Mithila Institute in Darbhanga, from 1955 Kirfel’s successor as Professor of Indology at Bonn. From 1963 Professor and Head of the new Indologisches Seminar at Münster. In 1971 visiting Professor at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In 1978 emeritus. During several years suffered of poor health, died in a heart-attack.
Hacker was a scholar of Indian philosophy and religion, mainly of Vedānta and Hinduism, but his interest extended even to the syntax of Hindi. In his later years he became acquainted with general philosophy and Christian theology. From the very beginning he is said to have been independent and not following his teachers. In the beginning he was also personally engaged in Vedānta, but in the 1950s returned to Christian faith and strongly polemized against Neo-Hindu movements coming to the West. He was often comparing Indian and Western philosophical concepts (Inklusivismus), and even participated in theological discussion. In 1962 he moved from Protestant to Catholic church. With his strong opinions became known as “der Löwe von Münster”. He has been much criticized of neglecting textual criticism and philological method in his Paurāṇic studies. Among his students were Bock-Raming, Camman, Rüping and P. Schreiner.
Publications: Translated: Upadeshasâhasrî von Meister Shankara. Übertragen und erläutert. 57 p. Bonn 1949.
– Hab.diss. Untersuchungen über Texte des frühen Advaitavāda. 1. Die Schüler Śaṅkaras. 172 p. A.W.L.Mainz 1950:26. Wb. 1950; “Eigentümlichkeiten der Lehre und Terminologie Śaṅkaras”, ZDMG 100, 1950, 246-286.
– Vivarta. Studien zur Geschichte der illusionistischen Kosmologie und Erkenntnis–theorie der Inder. 58 p. A.W.L.Mainz 1953.
– Prahlāda. Werden und Wandlungen einer Idealgestalt. Beiträge zur Geschichte des Hinduismus. 1. Die Entstehung der Legende. Die Pr.-Legenden des Viṣṇupurāṇa und des Bhāgavatapurāṇa. 147 p. A.W.L.Mainz 1959:9, 2. Weiterentwicklungen nach den Bhāgavatapurāṇa. Nebenentwicklungen. 105 p. Ibid. 1959:13.
– Zur Funktion einiger Hilfsverben im modernen Hindi. 92 p. A.W.L.Mainz 1958.
– Das ich im Glauben Martin Luthers. Graz 1966; Theological Foundations of Evangelization. 100 p. St.Augustin 1980; other works on church history and religion.
– Kleine Schriften. Hrsg. von L. Schmithausen. 24+916 p. Glasenapp-St. 15. Wb. 1978.
– Grundlagen indischer Dichtung und indischen Denkens. Aus dem Nachlass hrsg. von K. Rüping. 148 p. Publ. De Nob. Res. Libr. 12. Wien 1985.
Sources: *I. Gehl, JBRS 62, 1976, 305-3??; *W. Halbfass (ed.), Philology and Confrontation: P.H. on Traditional and Modern Vedanta. Albany 1995; L. M. Joshi, Glory of India 3:4, 1979, 64f.; *Kl. Rüping, WZKS 25, 1981, 5-17; L. Schmithausen, ZDMG 131, 1981, 1-8; Stache-Rosen 1990, 241f.; VIJ 17, 1979, 289f.; German Wikipedia; photo in Rau 131.