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 Johann Michael H., a teacher (at Lyceum), and Christine Frieder, brother of Karl H. (1811–1865), 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 to study languages. With a government scholarship started studies at Munich 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.
Holtzmann was one of the first specialists of epic literature, but the level of his scholarly work is fluctuating. While he aptly disproved A. W. von Schlegel’s theory of Indian origin of the Zodiac and did good 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 Holtzmann 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 Holtzmann 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. His curious way of writing Indian names has caused some confusion (e.g. Vifandaka = Vibhāṇḍaka).
Publications: Über den griechischen Ursprung des indischen Tierkreises. 39 p. 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 (from the Mahābhārata).
– Edited: Indravidschaja. Eine Episode des Mahâbhârata. 4+75 p. Karlsruhe 1841.
– Ueber den Umlaut. 48 p. Karlsruhe 1843; Ueber den Ablaut. 77 p. Karlsruhe 1844.
– Beiträge zur Erklärung der persischen Keilinschriften. 152 p. Carlsruhe 1845, articles on the same in ZDMG 1851-54.
– “Vyāsa und Homer”, KZ 1, 1852, 483-491.
– Edited: Isidor. Karlsruhe 1836 (in OHG); Nibelungenlied. 20+424 p. Stuttgart 1857, Schulausgabe 1858 & 1863.
– Untersuchungen über das Nibelungenlied. 8+202 p. Stuttgart 1854; Kelten und Germanen. 14+178 p. Stuttgart 1855.
– Althochdeutsche Grammatik. 1-2. Lp. 1870-75; Germanistic studies.
– Posthumously published: Germanische Altertümer. 4+313 p. Lp. 1873; Deutsche Mythologie. 8+308 p. Lp. 1874; Die ältere Edda. 606 p. Lp. 1875 (translation).
Sources: *Bartsch, Germania 16, 242; Drüll, Heidelberger Gel.lexikon 1803-1932. Hdb. 1986; *Killy, Lit.-Lex. Autoren u. Werke deutscher Sprache. 1-12, Munich 1988-92; *Martin, Zeitschrift f. deutsche Philologie 3, 201; Scherer, A.D.B. 13, 1881, 16-18; Stache-Rosen 1990, 86; Windisch 16-18; *Augsb. allg. Zeitung 1870, Beilage 188; briefly D.B.E. 5, 1997, 157; Wikipedia, with photo.