HOLTZMANN, Adolf H. (der ältere). Karlsruhe 2.5.1810 — Heidelberg 3.7.1870. German Indologist and Germanist. Professor in Heidelberg. Uncle of —> A. H. d.j. Son of a teacher (at Lyceum), brother of Karl H., Professor of Physics. From 1828 studies of theology at Halle and Berlin (Schleiermacher), in 1831 theological examination in Karlsruhe. Served as a vicar in Kandern, but wanted study languages. With a government scholarship started studies at München in 1832 under O. Frank, soon also in Paris under Burnouf. From 1837 tutor of the princes of Baden and Professor at Karlsruhe Gymnasium. From 1852 ord. Professor of Germanistics and Sanskrit at Heidelberg, where he taught until his death (after which the chair was at last divided in two). He was married twice and had two sons and two daughters.
AH was one of the first specialists of epic literature, but the level of his scholarly work is fluctuating. While he aptly disproved Schlegel’s theory of Indian origin of the Zodiac and did work in cuneiform studies, his epic ideas were not always as valuable. So for instance the etymology Homer = skr. samāsa. He vainly sought for common IE heritage in Indian, Greek and German epics. His Niebelungen study was judged weak, but AH himself turned his argument with Lachmann into a personal quarrel. Uncritically he tried to identify Celts and Germans. He was too keen to accept chance similarities and connections and relied too much on his own studies — in all this a good student of Frank. His important magnum opus was the unfinished OHG grammar, although this, too, was not free of faults. In his Indian studies AH was the first to suggest that the Proto-Mbh. could have been a Kaurava epic. Unlike Lassen he rejected the idea of the historicity of the Mbh.
Publications: Über den griechischen Ursprung des indischen Tierkreises. Karlsruhe 1841.
– translated: Bruchstücke aus dem Ramajana von Walmiki. 8+140 p. Karlsruhe 1841, 2nd enl. ed. as Rama. Ein indisches Gedicht nach Walmiki. 14+193 p. Kr. 1843; Indische Sagen. 1-3. Karlsruhe 1845-47; 2nd ed. 1-2. 32+339+344 p. St. 1854.
– edited: Indravidschaja. Eine Episode des Mahâbhârata. 4+75 p. Karlsruhe 1841.
– Ueber den Umlaut. Karlsruhe 1843; Ueber den Ablaut. Karlsruhe 1844.
– Beiträge zur Erklärung der persischen Keilinschriften. 1845, articles on the same in ZDMG 1851-54.
– “Vyāsa und Homer”, KZ 1, 1852.
– edited: Isidor. 1836 (in OHG); Nibelungenlied. 1857, Schulausgabe 1858 & 1863.
– Untersuchungen über das Nibelungenlied. 1854; Kelten und Germanen. 1855.
– Althochdeutsche Grammatik. 1-2. 1870-75.
– posthumously published: Germanische Altertümer. 1873; Deutsche Mythologie. 1874; Die ältere Edda. 1875.
Sources: *Bartsch, Germania 16, 242; Drüll, Heidelberger Gel.lexikon 1803-1932. Hdb. 1986; *Killy, Lit.-Lex. Autoren u. Werke deutscher Sprache. 1-12, München 1988-92; *Martin, Zeitschrift f. deutsche Philologie 3, 201; Scherer, A.D.B. 13, 16-18; Windisch 16-18; *Augsb. allg. Zeitung 1870, Beilage 188; briefly D.B.E. 5, 1997, 157; briefly Wikipedia, with photo.