HOLMBOE, Christopher Andreas

HOLMBOE, Christopher Andreas. Vang/Valdres 19.3.1796 — Christiania 2.4.1882. Norwegian Orientalist and Numismatician. Professor in Christiania (Oslo). Son of a minister, matriculated from Cathedral School of Christiania in 1814. Studies of theology at Christiania, graduated 1818. Sent by Professor Hersleben he pursued further studies in Paris in 1821-22, especially Arabic and Persian under Silvestre de Sacy and Caussin de Perceval. From 1822 “Lektor i østerlandske sprog ved Kristiania universitet”, from 1825 Professor of the same. In 1830-76 also director of university’s Coin Collection. In 1834 visited Stockholm, Uppsala and Copenhagen studying local coin collections. In 1857 among founders of the Christiania Videnskabsselskab. Retired in 1876.

As a numismatician CAH had produced a large and often valuable literary work, but his research in Oriental studies and comparative linguistics was often speculative and uncritical, for which he was rightly criticized. He really knew Semitic languages, but in comparative IE he was a layman and unable of understanding the achievements of Rask, Bopp and Grimm. Thus he for instance thought that Old Norwegian would be more valuable than Gothic, and sought for common points between Indo-Iranian and Scandinavian mythology, tradition and customs. The latter idea was of course quite acceptable in principle, but CAH was unable to handle his material critically and often relied on merely superficial similarities (e.g. with “Buddhist traces in Norway”). He was also a noted educationalist. His works were mostly published by the university and the Videnskabsselskab.

Publications: De prisca re monetaria Norvegiae. 1841; Das älteste Münzwesen Norwegens. 1846; Bröholtfundet. 1874; and several other publications on Scandinavian numismatics.

Sanskrit og Oldnorsk. 6+32 p. Christiania 1846; De Oldnorske Verbum oplyst ved Sammenligning med Sanskrit. 1848; Om pronomen relativum og nogle relative Conjunctioner i vort Oldsprog. 1850; Det norske Sprogs væsentligste Ordforraad, sammenlignet med Sanskrit. 1852.

Traces de Buddhisme en Norvège. 1857; Mjølnir og Vagra. 1862; Om Haugelys. 1862; Om Dandserhauge. 1864; Flaghauhen paa Karmøen og de buddhistiske Toper i Asien. 1867; Hexe og Dākini. 1873.

Bibelsk Real-Ordbog. 1868.

Sources: C. Marstrander, Norsk biogr. Lexikon 6, 1934, 249f.; Norwegian Wikipedia (bokmål) with photo.


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