SONTHEIMER, Günther-Dietz

SONTHEIMER, Günther-Dietz. Ulm 21.4.1934 — Dossenheim bei Heidelberg 2.6.1992. German Indologist, Specialist of Law, Popular Religion and Marathi. Professor in Heidelberg. Son of Dr. Walter S., teacher ad schooldirector, and Herma Dietz. During the war living in mother’s home area, in the former Prussian Posen. In 1945-53 Gymnasium in Stuttgart. Studies of law (father’s wish) and Indology (own intention, under v. Glasenapp) at Tübingen. Staatsexamen in law in 1957. In 1958-61 studied at Law College of Poona University, also Sanskrit under V. M. Bedekar and Marathi, and started fieldwork under D. D. Kosambi. In 1961-65 studies under Derrett at S.O.A.S. PG Diploma in Law 1962. Ph.D. 1965 London. From 1965 Assistant at Heidelberg, 1973-75 director of its New Delhi base, from 1974 PD and Universitätsdozent, from 1977 ao. Professor and from 1979 Professor there until his death. Among his students was H. Van Skyhawk.

GDS started his career as a specialist of Indian law. Later his main interest was the culture of pastoral nomads of Maharashtra, esp. Dhangars, and Hindu folk religion in general, with Marathi Literature as a side-interest. He participated in preparing several films.

Publications: diss. 1. The Concept of Dāya: a Comparative Study. MS. L. 1962; 2. The Joint Hindu Family: Its Evolution as a Legal Institution. MS. 1965, publ. 21+250 p. South Asian Studies 7. Delhi 1977.

– “Religious endowments in India: the Juristic Personality of Hindu Deities”, Z. vgl. Rechtswiss. 67, 1964, 45-100.

– “Eine Tempellegende der Dhaugars von Maharashtra”, H. berger (ed.), Mündliche Überlieferung in Südasien. Wb. 1975, 82-110.

edited with L. S. Leshnik: Pastoralists and nomads in South Asia. 291 p. 16 pl. Schriftenr. des Südasien-Inst. der Univ. Heidelberg 14. Wb. 1975 (own contribution “The Dhaugars. A nomadic pastoral community in a developing agricultural environment”, 139-170).

hab.diss. Birobā, Mhaskobā und Khaṇḍobā: Ursprung, Geschichte und Umwelt von pastoralen Gottheiten in Mahārāṣṭra. 287 p. Schriftenreihe des Südasien-Instituts der Univ. Heidelberg 21. Wb. 1976, English transl. by A. Feldhaus, Pastoral Deities in Western India. 278 p. Oxford 1989.

with J. D. M. Derrett & G. Smith: Beiträge zu indischem Rechtsdenken. 140 p. Studien zu nichteurop. Rechtstheorien 1. Wb. 1979; “Die Ethik im Hinduismus”, 87 p. in K.-H. Ratschow (ed.), Ethik der Religionen. St. 1980, 349-436.

Vyaṅkaṭeśa Māḍagūlakara: Das Dorf hiess Bangarvadi. Aus dem Marathi übers., mit einem Nachwort und Erl. versehen. 152 p. Neue Indische Bibl. 10. Freiburg 1986 (a novel).

edited with S. Settar: Memorial Stones of India. South Asian Studies 11. Dharwar & N.D. 1982; ed. with H. Kulke: Hinduism reconsidered. 238 p. South Asian Studies 24. N. D. 1989.

edited: Südasienanthologie: 44 Übersetzungen aus südasiatischen Literaturen. 312 p. Beitr. zur Südasienforschung 140. St. 1992.

King of hunters, warriors, and shepherds: essays on Khaṇḍobā. Ed. by A. Feldhaus, A. Malik & H. Bruckner. 353 p. N.D. 1997.

brief articles, translations from Hindi and Marathi, etc.

Sources: J. Lütt, ZDMG 143, 1993, 248-254 (also in English in http://www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de/abt/IND/mitarbeiter/sontheimer/sontheimer.php, with bibliography; German Wikipedia.

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