MAJER, Friedrich

MAJER (Maier), Friedrich. Koskau bei Schleiz 28.4.1772 — Gera 15.5.1818. German Lawyer and Scholar interested in India. Son of a minister. Studied law at Jena from 1791. He was lawyer and PD at Jena, then living in Weimar, in 1804–05 tutor of the heir-apparent Heinrich LXII of Reuss-Schleiz during his studies at Würzburg and Bamberg. Again lived in Weimar and taught as PD at Jena. In 1816 moved to Gera, now fürstl. Reuss-Schleizischer Legationsrat.

He was much interested in cultural history and philosophy, a pupil, admirer and friend of Herder, and devoted his leisure for studies. He corresponded with Fr. Schlegel. He knew well the most recent publications, such as those of the Calcutta Asiatic Society, and introduced Indian culture to German public. As pure-bred romantician he had an entirely idealized conception of it. In his Weimar lectures young Schopenhauer heard for the first time of the Oupnek’hat. He was full of plans, but found little time to realize them. During his later years he planned a “Geschichte und Altertumskunde der Inder” which never materialized.

Publications: Geschichte der Ordalien. 319 p. Jena 1795; Zur Kulturgeschichte der Völker. 1-2. 40+494+??? p. Lp. 1798; Allgemeines mythologisches Lexicon. 1-2. Weimar 1804; and other works.

– “Brief an Alwina über die mythologischen Dichtungen der Indier”, Ludwig Tieck’s Poetischer Journal 1, Jena 1800, 165-216.

Transl.: “Fragmente aus den heiligen Schriften der Indier und Die vier Weltalter der Indier”, Seckendorf’s Oster-Taschenbuch von Weimar auf das Jahr 1801, 168-199; “Die Verkörperungen des Wischnu”, Klaproth’s Asiatisches Magazin 1, 1802, 116-138, 221-244, 395-405, 2, 1802, 11-70.

Transl.: “Der Bhaguat-Geeta oder Gespräche zwischen Kreeshna und Arjoun”, Klaproth’s Asiatisches Magazin 1, 1802, 406-453, 2, 1802, 105-135, 229-255, 273-293, 454-471, 477-490 (from Wilkins).

Transl.: Gita-Govinda, ein Indisches Singspiel von Jajudeva. Aus dem Ursprache ins Englische von W. Jones und aus diesem ins Deutsche übersetzt. 84 p. Weimar 1802 (originally publ. in Klaproth’s Asiatisches Magazin 2, 1802, 294-375; this was adapted to the stage by A. W. Riemschneider: Gita-Govinda oder Krischna der Hirt, ein idyllisches Drama des indischen Dichters Yayadeva. Halle 1818).

Brahma oder die Religion der Inder als Brahmaismus. 14+240 p. Lp. 1818.

Sources: Gildemeister; Hoffmann 1915, 53-57; *A.L. Wilson, “FM: Romantic Indologist”, Texas Studies in Liter. and Lang. 3, 1961, 40-49; Windisch 56 & 204; German Wikipedia.

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