MUNK, Salomon

MUNK, Salomon. Gross-Glogau, Silesia (now Glogów, Poland) 2.5.1802 — Paris 5/6.2.(14.5.?)1867. German Oriental Scholar in France. Professor in Paris. Born in a Jewish family in Prussian Silesia, son of a poor synagogue servant, educated at Rabbinical school in Gross-Glogau and in Berlin. Despite of poverty succeeded to start studies at Berlin University. Further studies at Bonn under Freytag, Schlegel, Lassen, etc. As a Jew barred from teaching in Prussian universities, he went to Paris in 1828. Studied Hebrew, Arabic and Sanskrit under Silvestre de Sacy, Quatremère and Chézy. From 1838 worked in Bibliothèque nationale cataloguing Oriental manuscripts (including those in Sanskrit) until 1847 when he went blind. Nevertheless, he continued working, with the help of secretary, and became Professor of Hebrew at Collège de France in 1864. In 1840 he accompanied Adolphe Crémieux to Egypt.

He is best remembered as a specialist of Jewish literature in Arabic (e.g. Maimonides). He discovered the manuscript of al-Bīrūnī’s India, then edited and translated by Sachau.

Publications: Much on Hebrew and Arabic, especially the edition of Dalālat al-ḥā’irīn by Maimonides. 1-3. 1856-66; and Mélanges de philosophie juive et arabe. 1859.

– “Fragments de littérature Sanskrite”, Le Temps 1836; Mahabharata. 1838 (? – not in Gildemeister).

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; J. Fück, Arabische Studien. 1955, 205; *Dugat, Hist. des orientalistes. 2, 192-202; C. Siegfried, A.D.B23, 1886, 16-18; Enc. Iud. 12 (with photo); Wikipedia with portrait.

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