HOEFER, Karl Gustav Albert

HOEFER, Karl Gustav Albert. Greifswald 2.10.1812 — Greifswald 9.1.1883. German Indologist. Professor in Greifswald. Son of Carl Andreas H., a judge, and Christiane Sophie Waldeck. Studied classical, Oriental and German philology at Greifswald, Berlin, Göttingen and Königsberg, especially under Kosegarten, Ewald, J. Grimm, Lachmann and Bopp. Ph.D. 1837 Königsberg. From 1838 PD at Berlin, from 1840 ao. Professor für orient. Sprachen, vgl. Sprachwissenschaft und alt­deutsche Philologie at Greifswald, soon long trip to London and Oxford, in 1847-80 ord. Professor at Greifswald. In 1880 retired because of health problems. A bachelor.

AH was a student and defender of Bopp, more a linguist than a philologist, and he was sharply criticized e.g. by Gildemeister and Weber. The latter was even able of showing defects in his knowledge of Sanskrit. He himself gave on that some of his publications were too hasty. The Prakrits he discussed according to drama texts, without sufficiently knowing different dialects and grammatical literature, and was soon shadowed by Lassen’s better work. Later on he collected material in London for a Vararuci edition, which never appeared. However, he was a skilled translator, who gave a German form for Indian and English poetry. His Indische Gedichte contains Vedic hymns, epic pieces, lyrics and fairy tales. He was much interested in Low German language and literature. His discussion of Vedic language was deemed good, with respect to the meagre amount of material then available. He founded the first German linguistic periodical.

Publications: diss. De prakrita dialecto libri duo. 12+212 p. B. 1836.

translated: Urwasi der Preis der Tapferkeit. Ein indisches Trauerspiel von Kalidasa. 8+100 p. B. 1837; Indische Gedichte. 1-2. Lp. 1841-44.

Beiträge zur Etymologie und vgl. Grammatik der Hauptsprachen des idg. Stammes. 1. B. 1839.

Vom Infinitiv besonders im Sanskrit. 4+123 p. B. 1840.

edited: Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft der Sprache. 1-4:2. 1845-54, with own contributions like: “Abhandlungen zur Geschichte und Literatur des Prâkrit”, 2-3, 1850-51; “Über Setubandha”, 2, 1850; “Über die Grammatik der Vêdas”, 2, 1850; “Zur Lehre vom Infinitiv im Sanskrit und Prâkrit”, 2, 1850, 181-191; and, “Sprachwissenschaftliche Bibliographie der letzten Jahre” in all volumes.

Sanskrit Lesebuch mit Benutzung handschriftlichen Quellen. 1. Hamburg 1850.

Denkmäler niederdeutscher Sprache und Literatur. 1-2. 1850-51 and other works.

Sources: *A. Reifferscheid, A.D.B. 50, 1905, 385-387; *J. Gildemeister, Die falsche Sanskrit-philologie, an dem Beispiel des Herrn Dr. Hoefer in Berlin aufgezeigt. Bonn 1840; *H.T. Michaelis, Die pommersche Gelehrtenfamilie Hoefer. Ostdeutsche Familienkunde 12, 1964, 366-375; Br. Sauer, N.D.B. 9, 1972, 307f.; Windisch 216-219; German Wikipedia with portrait (with some details deviating from Sauer).

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