WELLER, Friedrich

WELLER, Friedrich. Markneukirchen 22.7.1889 — Leipzig 19.11.1980. German Indologist. Professor in Leipzig. The only child of Friedrich Wilhelm W. (1854-1944), a violin maker, and Marie Wettengel (1860-1953). Educated at local village school and from 1901at Realgymnasium in Plauen. From 1909 studied at Leipzig, first Romance and Germanic philology, soon Sanskrit (under Windisch), Iranian, Tibetan, and Sinology (Conrady). Ph.D. 1915 Leipzig (in chinesisch und Ost­asiatische Religionsgeschichte). Because of shortsightedness he was not sent to the front in WW I. Now he concentrated on Central and East Asian languages. PD 1922 Leipzig, für Sanskrit, Chinesisch und Ostasiatische Religionsgeschichte. From 1928 ao. Professor für Sanskrit, Chinesisch und Ostasiatische Religionsgeschichte at Leipzig, in 1930-33 on leave as Assistant at Harvard-Yenching Institute in Peking (under Staël-Holstein). In 1938 succeeded Hertel as Professor of Sanskrit (Indische Philologie) at Leipzig, from 1943 member of Sächsische A.W. He refused to join the NSDAP. and had therefore difficulties, e.g. could not travel abroad. In 1943 the Indological Institute with its books was destroyed in bombing and in 1945 his own library and Chinese art collection were robbed. When he retired in 1958, Sanskrit was concentrated in Berlin and discontinued at Leipzig. Honours of D.D.R.: Nationalpreis 1955, Hervorragender Wissenschaftler des Volkes 1964. In a privileged position, he was allowed to visit West Germany until 1961 and again in 1966-72. In 1976 an accident made him an invalid who lived on waiting for death, but still working. Married in 1932 Helene Johanna Bachmann (1891-1964), a singer, no children.

Weller was a many-sided scholar of India, Central Asia and China, especially of Buddhism. In addition to Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese, he had a good command of Sogdian, Mongolian and Manchu. He used the different versions in reconstructing the development of Buddhism. In an early work he showed the hypothetical metrical Jātaka collection erroneous, supporting Oldenberg’s Ākhyāna theory. After the WW II he became also interested in Veda. As a man he was said to be modest and shy, as a teacher he was very popular. Among his students were C. Haebler, J. Mehlig, Kl. Mylius, U. Schneider, Shanti Bhikshu Shastri and M. Taube, while G. Roth and W. Rau moved to the West before completing their doctorates (but Rau remained always his close friend) and Scharfe to Berlin.

Publications: Diss. Zum Lalita Vistara. 1. Über die Prosa des L.V. 55 p. Lp. 1915.

Hab.diss. Der chinesische Dharmasaṁgraha. Mit einem Anhang über das Lakkhaṇa­suttanta des Dīghanikāya. 198 p. Lp. 1923.

– “Über den Aufbau des Pāṭikasuttanta. 1. Der Pāli-Text (Dīghanikāya XXIV)”, AM Introd. Vol. 1922, 620-639; “Id. 2. Übersetzung des chinesischen Textes”, AM 5, 1928, 104-140.

Das Leben des Buddha von Aśvaghoṣa, tibetisch und deutsch. 1-2. 11+328+189 p. Lp. 1926-28; “Schauplatz und Handlung im Buddhacarita”, ZDMG 93, 1939, 306-338.

– “Über die Mandalay- und das Phayre-Ms. des Versjātaka”, ZII 4, 1926, 46-93; “Die Überlieferung des älteren buddhistischen Schrifttums”, AM 5, 1928, 149-182; “Der gedruckte mongolische Kanjur und die Leningrader Handschrift”, ZDMG 90, 1936, 399-431; other articles on Buddhism, e.g. in AM.

Edited: Tausend Buddhanamen des Bhadrakalpa. Nach einer fünfsprachigen Polyglotte, in Mandschu, Chinesisch, Sanskrit, Tibetisch und Mongolisch.  25+268 p. Lp. 1928.

Index to the Tibetan translation of the Kāśyapaparivarta. 6+252 p. Harvard Sino-Indian Sr. 1. Cambridge, Mass. 1933; Index to the Indian text of the Kāśyapa­pari­varta. 4+61 p. Harvard Sino-Indian Sr. 2:1. Cambridge, Mass. 1935; Zum Kāśyapaparivarta. 1. Mongolischer Text. 2. Verdeutschung des Sanskrit-Tibet. Textes. 122+163 p. ASAW 54:2 & 57:3. B. 1962-65; “Kp. nach der Tjin-Übersetzung verdeutscht”, WZLeipzig 13, 1964, 770-804; “Kp. nach der Han-Fassung verdeutscht”, Buddhist Yearly 1968/69, 57-221; “Die Sung-Fassung des Kp. Versuch einer Verdeutschung”, Monum. Serica 25, 1966, 207-361; articles on the language of the Mongolian Kp. e.g. in WZLeipzig 10:4, 1961, 563-602, MIO 8, 1961, CAJ 10, 1965, 3-43.

Brahmajālasūtra, Tibetischer und Mongolischer Text. 84 p. Lp. 1934, Tib. text also in AM 9, 1933, 195-332, 381-440, the same translated in ZII 10, 1935, 1-61, tr. of the Chinese version, As.St./Ét.as. 25, 1971, 202-264; “Buddhas letzte Wanderung. Aus dem Chin. übersetzt”, Monum. Serica 4, 1939-40, 40-84, 406-440.

Soghdish-Chinese Index to the Dīrghanakhasūtra. 8+72 p. Harvard Sino-Indian Sr. Cambridge, Mass. 1936; Zum soghdischen Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. 87 p. A.K.M. 22:6. 1937, on the same also in AM 10, 1935, 314-364; “Bemerkungen zur soghdischen Vajracchedikā”, AO 14, 1936, 112-146; “Bemerkungen zum soghdischen Dhyāna-Texte”, Monum. Serica 2, 1936-37 (1938), 78-129.

– “Buddhistische Einflüsse auf die christliche Kunst des europäischen Mittelalters”, WZKM 50, 1943-44, 65-146.

Zum mongolischen Tanjur. 35 p. BVSAW 97:2. B. 1949; Über den Quellenbezug eines mongolischen Tanjurtextes. 51+114 p. ASAW 45:2. B. 1950; Tibetisch-sanskritischer Index zum Bodhicaryāvatāra. 1-2. 4+611 p. ASAW 46:3 & 47:3. B. 1952-55.

Versuch einer Kritik der Kathopanisad. 230 p. Veröff. d. inst. f. Orientforschung 12. B. 1953.

Zwei zentralasiatische Fragmente des Buddhacarita. 26 p. 2 pl. ASAW 46:4. B. 1953; Zum Blockdruckfragmente des mongolischen Bodhicaryāvatāra der Berliner Turfansammlung. 31 p. ADAW 1954:2. B. 1955; Die Fragmente des Jātakamālā in der Turfansammlung der Berliner Akademie. 55 p. Veröff. d. Inst. f. Orientf. 24. B. 1955.

Die Legende von Śunaḥśepa im Aitareyabrāhmaṇa und Śāṅkhāyana-Śrautasūtra. 91 p. BVSAW 102:2. B. 1956.

Untersuchung über die textgeschichtliche Entwicklung des tibetischen Buddhacarita. 91 p. ASAW 69:3. B. 1980.

Kleine Schriften. Hrsg. von W. Rau. 1-2. 1618 p. Glasenapp-St. 26. Wb. 1987.

Sources: *J. Mehlig, Buddhist Yearly 1966, 35-58; K. Mylius, WZLeipzig 28:1, 1979, 62-65; W. Rau, ZDMG 132, 1982, 1-21 with photo and bibliography; Stache-Rosen 1990, 213-215; *M. Taube, “F.W. Ein Leben für die Erforschung der Asia Major”, Jahrb. S.A.W. 1979-80 (1982), 237-253; *M. Taube, OLZ 76, 1981, 5; German Wikipedia. Other photos in Sardesai, in Rau 119 and in Indology in G.D.R. 1978.

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