KIRFEL, Willibald

KIRFEL, Willibald. Reifferscheid, Eifel 29.1.1885 — Bad Godesberg 16.10. 1964. German Indologist. Professor in Bonn. Son of an elementary schoolteacher Johann K. and Anna Maria Huy. In 1904-08 studies of Oriental languages and Catholic theology at Bonn. Ph.D. 1908 Bonn (Jacobi). In 1911-21 Librarian in Bonn Universitäts­bibliothek. From 1920 PD at Bonn. In 1922 succeeded Jacobi as ord. Professor für Indologie at Bonn. Retired in 1953. Married 1913 Elisabeth Hedwig, two sons (Sinologist Harald K. 1914–, sculptor Rolf K. 1916–) and three daughters. Second marriage 1944 with Antoinette Victoria Gertrude, no children.

WK was a many-sided scholar of Indian cultural history and a specialist of the Purāṇas. His main works are Kosmographie and the comparative critical Purāṇa editions. As Jacobi’s student he was also interested in Jainism, and although the edition of the Jambuddīvapannatti, prepared in the 1910s, was never printed, he much used its material in his later research. His further interests included Indian medicine, religion and iconography, and history of Indology. He was a popular teacher, among whose students were Birwé, etc.

Publications: diss. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Nominalkomposition in den Upaniṣads und im Epos. 4+98 p. Bonn 1908.

habil.diss. Die Kosmographie der Inder. 8+36+401 p. Bonn & Lp. 1920.

translated: Upamitibhawaprapantschā Kathā. Ein allegorischer Roman von Siddharschi. 1. 245 p. Lp. 1924.

edited: Das Purāṇa Pañcalakṣaṇa. Versuch einer Textgeschichte. 49+598 p. Bonn 1927; Bhāratavarṣa (Indien). Textgeschichtliche Darstellung zweier geogr. Purāṇa-Texte nebst Übersetzung. 6+71 p. St. 1931; Das Purāṇa vom Welt­gebäude (Bhuvanavinyāsa). Die kosmogr. Traktate der Purāṇas. 14+49+311 p. Bonner Or. St. N.S. 1. Bonn 1954; Zur Eschatologie vom Welt und Leben. Ein Purāṇischer Text nebst Übertragung. 7+70 p. Bonner Or. St. 5. Bonn 1959.

Die Religion des Jainas. 25 p. 30 pl. Bilderatlas zur Religionsgeschichte Lf. 12. Lp. 1928; Der Hinduismus. 52 p. 73 pl. Ibid. 18-20. Lp. 1934.

Grundriss der Bibliographie zum Gebrauch bei Vorlesungen. 15+171 p. Bonn 1928.

Verse Index to the Bhagavadgita. 45 p. Lp. 1938.

transl. with L. Hilgenberg: Vāgbhaṭa’s Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṁhitā. 52+855 p. Ld. 1941

Die dreiköpfige Gottheit. Archäologisch-ethnographischer Streifzug durch die Ikonographie der Religionen. 210 p. 72 pl. Bonn 1948.

Der Rosenkranz. Ursprung und Ausbreitung. 72 p. Walldorf-Hessen 1949.

Die fünf Elemente. Eine medizingeschichtliche Studie. 45 p. Walldorf-Hessen 1951.

Symbolik der Buddhismus. Textband. 128 p. Symbolik der Religionen 5. St. 1959 (Tafelband by Karow): Symbolik des Hinduismus und Jinismus. Tafelband. 167 p. Symbolik der Religionen 19. St. 1959 (Tafelband by V. Moeller).

articles, collected in Kleine Schriften. Hrsg. von R. Birwé. 474 p. Glasenapp-St. 11. Wb. 1976.

Sources: Birwé, N.D.B. 11, 1977, 668f.; bibliography in Kleine Schriften vii-xxi; O. Spies (ed.), Studia Indologica. Fs. für W.K. 375 p. Bonner orient. Studien N.S. 3. Bonn 1955; briefly D.B.E. 5, 1997, 554 Wikipedia (even German version only briefly).

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