KUHN, Franz Felix Adalbert

KUHN, Franz Felix Adalbert. Königsberg/Neumark (now Chojna, Poland) 19.11.1812  (St.-W. 19.9.) — Berlin-Neukölln 5.5.1881. German Indologist. Schoolteacher and Director in Berlin. Son of a schoolteacher, Bernhard Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhn, and Johanne Kienast. Lost early (1813) his father and his mother brought the family to Berlin. In 1827-33 at Joachimsthaler Gymnasium in Berlin, already thenlearnt Sanskrit from —> L. Poley and continued on his own. From 1833 studies at Berlin under Bopp. Ph.D. 1837 Berlin. From 1837 taught at Köllnisches Gymnasium in Berlin, as Probandus, from 1841 ord. Lehrer, from 1856 Professor, from 1870 Director of the same school. From 1872 member of Prussian Academy. He was three times offered a university position, but rejected. Married 1841 Albertine Schwartz, two sons. His son was —> Ernst K., brother-in-law the Germanist Schwarz.

AK was one of the great pioneers of comparative linguistics, mythology and folklore. He sought for clues about IE “Urkultur” using mainly Sanskrit, Greek and Old German as his sources. He is thus considered the founder of “Indogermanische Altertumskunde” and of comparative mythology. This latter was his favourite subject, the starting-point being mostly the Veda, which he studied even before editions, from Berlin manuscripts. Unfortunately, he worked before junggrammarians and gave little attention to sound laws. Also wrote on orthographic changes in the Rigveda. In 1852 he founded the famous Kuhns Zeitschrift (Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, from 1991 Historische Sprachforschung). He had strong influence on Weber.

Publications: Diss. De conjugations in –μι linguae Sanscritae ratione habita. 70 p. Berlin 1837.

– “Ueber die Metra der zuerst von Rosen edirten und neuerlich von Lassen in seiner Anthologia Sanscritica wiederabgedruckten Rig-Vedahymnen”, ZKM 3, 1840, 76-88; “Ueber Nig‘antu und Nirukti”, Z. f. d. Wiss. der Sprache 1:1, 1845, 140-154; “Ueber ṛxâs des Rigvêda”, Ibid. 1:1, 1845, 155-161.

Märkische Sagen und Märchen. 388 p. B. 1843; Norddeutsche Sagen, Märchen und Gebräuche. 42+560 p. Lp. 1848 (with W. Schwarz); Sagen, Gebräuche und Märchen aus Westfalen. 1-2. Lp. 1859.

– “Über die Vṛihaddevatā”, ISt 1, 1850, 101-110; “Zum älteren Geschichte der Indogermanischen Völker”, Ibid. 321-363.

A great number of articles in KZ, e.g.: “Saraṇyû – Ἐριννύς”, KZ 1, 1852, 439-470; “Die Sprachvergleichung und die Vorgeschichte der idg. Völker”, KZ 4, 1855, 81-124 (Ṛbhu); “Indische und germanische segenssprüche”, KZ 13, 1864, 113-157.

Die Herabkunft des Feuers und Göttertranks. 8+266 p. B. 1859.

– “Sprachliche Resultate aus der vedischen Metrik”, Beitr. z. vgl. Sprachf. 3, 1863, 113-125, 450-477 & 4, 1865, 179-216.

Mythologische Studien. 1-2. Hrsg. von E. Kuhn: 1. Die Herabkunft des Feuers und Göttertranks. (2nd ed.) (rev. 2nd ed.) 4+240 p. Gütersloh1886; 2. Vier Akademische Abhandlungen über Pitaras und Zwerge. Fragment über die Bedeutung der Rinder der idg. Mythologie. 200 p. B. 1912.

Sources: A. Leskien, A.D.B.17, 1883, 335f.; *F. Max Müller, Biogr. Essays. 2nd ed. Chips 2, 1895, 462-468; *v. Prandtl, SBaAW 1882:1, 391-394; *J. Schmidt, KZ 26, 1883, v-vii.

*H. Hirth, Idg. Jb. 2, 1914, 213-215; *P. Rabault-Feuerhahn: “Ein hochspezialisiertes Fach mit breiten Ansprüchen – Indologie als Grundlage der vergleichenden Erforschung von Mythologie und Religion bei Adalbert Kuhn”, H. Brückner & K. Steiner (ed.), 200 Jahre Indienforschung – Geschichte(n), Netzwerke, Diskurse. Wb. 2012, 163-180; *R. Schmitt, Lex. gramm. 1996, 536f.; *W. Schulze, KZ 45, 1913, 375-380; Stache-Rosen 1990, 38f.; Stache-Weiske 2017, 210-213, 538; Walravens & Stache-Weiske 2015, 317-319 (with photo and 320-377 Schiefner’s letters to him); F. Wilhelm, N.D.B. 13, 1982, 256f.; Windisch 265-270; Wikipedia with photo (more in German version); photo in Rau 21 (from Myth. Studien 2).

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