OLSHAUSEN, Justus

OLSHAUSEN, Justus. Hohenfelde, Holstein 9.5.1800 — Berlin 28.12.1882. German Oriental Scholar and Theologian. Professor in Kiel and Königsberg. Son of Rev. (later Superintendent) Detlev O., younger brother of theologian Hermann O. (1796–1839). After school in Glückstadt, studied in 1816-19 at Kiel and 1819-20 at Berlin theology and Oriental languages, then 1820-23 languages in Paris under Silvestre de Sacy. Ph.D. 1823 Kiel. From 1823 ao. and 1830 ord. Professor of Oriental languages at Kiel (then under Denmark). Five times Rector of the university. In 1852 dismissed on political grounds (he opposed to the Danish politics). In 1853-58 Professor of Oriental languages and chief librarian at Königsberg. From 1858 career in Cultusministerium. Member of Prussian Academy 1860. Retired 1874. Also a politician. After the sudden death of his first wife soon after marriage he married 1831 Marie Luise Michaelis, Several children.

Olshausen is remembered as a pioneer of comparative Semitic linguistics, but worked also on Iranian, where his most important contribution is the decipherment of Pahlavi legends in Late Sasanian coins. In Semitics he was interested in Assyriology, criticized Ewald and attempted to explain Hebrew through Arabic which he saw as the more archaic language. As a teacher he mainly taught Hebrew (in rather small universities there were rarely students interested in more exotic languages), but both at Kiel and Königsberg he occasionally also taught Sanskrit. In 1840 he started a travel to Syris and Egypt, but a blague epidemy forced him to return from Constantinople. In the 1840s he was cataloguing Oriental manuscripts in Copenhagen University library.

Publications: Diss. De linguae Persicae verbo. Manuscript, Kiel 1823.

With J. Mohl: Fragments relatifs à la religion de Zoroaster, extraits des mss. Persans de la Bibliothèque du Roi. 9+34 p. P. 1829.

Vendidad, Zendavestae pars vicesima, adhuc superstes. Pars 1. 48 p. Hamburg 1829 (Vidēvdāt 1 – 4, 6).

Die Pehlewi-Legenden auf den Münzen der letzten Sasaniden, den ältesten Münzen arabischer Chalifen, den Münzen des Ispehbeds von Taberistan und auf indopersischen Münzen des östlichen Iran. 82 p. Kopenhagen 1843 (Lp. 1849); “Pehlevi Legends on the Coins of the last Sassanian Kings, of the early Arabian Khalifs, of the Ispehbeds of Taberistan, and on the Indo-Persic Coins of Eastern Iran”, NC 11, 1848, 60-92, 121-146 (transl. from the manuscript sent from Copenhagen, first name wrongly given as Julius).

Articles on Pahlavi, etc., e.g. “Parthava und Pahlav, Mâda und Mâh”, MbBeAW 1876 [1877], 727-777; “Zur würdigung der Pahlavî-glossare und ihrer erklärung durch die Parsen”, KZ 26, 1883, 521-569.

Emendationen zum Alten Testament. 56 p. Kiel 1826; Zur Topographie des alten Jerusalems. 76 p. Kiel 1833; Erklärung der Psalmen. 8+504 p. Lp. 1853; Lehrbuch des Hebräischen. 1-2. 17+676 p. Braunschweig 1861.

– “Ueber phönicische Ortsnamen“, Rhein. Museum 1853, 321ff.; etc.

Sources: C. E. Carstens, A.D.B. 24, 1887, 328-330; R. Schmitt, Encyclop. Iranica (online 2014); Enc. Iud. 12; JRAS Proc. 1884, xxvii-xxix; Wikipedia (more in German version).

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