OERTEL, Hanns. Geithain, Sachsen 20.4.1868 — Munich 7.2.1952. German Indologist, for a while in the U.S.A. Professor in New Haven and Munich. Son of Colonel Philipp Julius Oe. (1821–86) and Evelyn Lassnitzer. Gymnasium in Plauen and Meissen. After father’s death in 1886 moved with the family to the U.S.A., studied classical philology and Indology (under Whitney) at Yale. Ph.D. 1890 Yale. In 1891-93 Instructor in German and 1893-96 in German and Comparative Philology at Yale, in 1896-1900 Assistant Professor and in 1901-17 Professor of Linguistics and Comparative Philology at Yale, 1911-16 also Dean of Graduate School. In 1903-04 Visiting Lecturer at Harvard. At the outbreak of war he was on furlough in Germany and not returning to the U.S.A. gave up his chair and lived in Munich. In 1920 moved to Basel and soon became PD at the university there. After a while in Munich he was Geldner’s successor at Marburg in 1922-25. From 1925 Professor of Indian and Iranian Philology (Geiger’s successor) at Munich. Emeritus in 1935, now concentrated on research, but continued teaching after the war in 1945-48. Married Paula Lohse (née Simons; 1872–1956), no children (four stepchildren).

Oertel was one of the last of Indologists of the old school. As Whitney’s student (and further influenced by Wackernagel and Delbrück) he was mainly interested in Vedic literature and Sanskrit grammar in relation to comparative IE. After early Vedic studies he concentrated on syntactic research which soon established his fame. His library and the extensive syntactic card index he had started at the age of 19 were destroyed during the WW II in 1944. Among his students at Munich were B. Ghosh, F. J. Meier and V. Trapp.

Publications: Diss. De cottidiani sermonis in Q. Horatii Flaccii sermonibus vestigiis. Manuscript 1890.

Linguistic articles in the AJPh since 1897.

– “Extracts from the Jāiminīya-Brāhmaṇa and Upaniṣad-Brāhmaṇa”, JAOS 15, 1892, 233-251; “Contributions from the Jāiminīya Brāhmaṇa”, JAOS 18, 1897, 15-48; 19, 1898, 97-125; 23, 1902, 325-349; 26, 1905, 176-196 & 306-314; 28, 1907, 81-98; “Contributions from the Jāiminīya Brāhmaṇa”, Tr. Conn. Acad. 15, 1909, 155-216.

– “The Jāiminīya or Talavakāra Upaniṣad Brāhmaṇa: Text, Translation, and Notes”, JAOS 16, 1894, 79-260.

The syntax of cases in the narrative and descriptive prose of the Brāhmaṇas. 1. The disjunct use of cases. 379 p. Idg. Bibl. 1:1:18. Heidelberg 1926.

Zur indischen Apologetik. 91 p. Beiträge zur indischen Sprachwissenschaft und Religionsgeschichte 5. St. 1930.

Zur Kapiṣṭhala-Kathā-Saṁhitā. 141 p. SBaAW 1934:6.

– “Roots and verb-forms from the unpublished parts of the Jaiminīya Brāhmaṇa”, Journal of Vedic Studies 1:2, Lahore 1934, 129-169 & 2:2, 1935, 121-195.

Syntaktische Äquivalenz des Genetivs und Ablativs bei Verben der Trennung in der vedischen Prosa. 44 p. SBaAW 1935:12; Zum altindischen Ausdrucks­verstärkungs­typus satyasya satyam ‘das wahre des Wahren’ = ‘die Quintessenz des Wahren’. 58 p. SBaAW 1937:3; Zu den Kasusvariationen in der vedischen Prosa. 151+92+99 p. SBaAW 1937:8 & 1938:6 & 1939:6; Zu den Wortstellungs­varianten der Mantras des Atharvaveda … und des Sāmaveda 171 p. SBaAW 1940:7; Die Dativi finales abstrakter Nomina und andere Beispiele nominaler Satzfügung in der vedischen Prosa. 130 p. SBaAW 1941:9; Euphemismen in der vedischen Prosa und euphemistische Varianten in den Mantras. 48 p. SBaAW 1942:8; Widersprüche zwischen grammatischem Genus und Sexus in der Symbolik der Brāhmaṇas. 47 p. SBaAW 1943:7.

– “Kasus und Adjektivum des Götternamens bei den ai. Verben des Darbringens vap + nis und labh + ā”, KZ 62, 1935, 145-183, and other articles.

Kleine Schriften. Hrsg. von H. Hettrich & Th. Oberlies. 1–2. 15+1669 p. Glasenapp-Stiftung Band 32. Wiesbaden 1994.

Sources: Hettrich & Oberlies, Vorwort of the Kleine Schriften contains important corrections!; Kirfel, ZDMG 102, 1952, 14-16, with photo (also in Rau 89); Stache-Rosen 1990, 165f.; F. Wilhelm, N.D.B. 19, 1998, 448; KZ 71, 1954, 1f.; briefly D.B.E. 11, 2000, 148; briefly German Wikipedia.

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