SPIES, Otto. Bad Kreuznach 5.4.1901 — Bonn 29.10.1981. German Semitist (Turkish and Arabic Scholar) also interested in Hindi. Professor in Bonn. Studies of Oriental languages (Ph.D. 1923 under E. Littmann) and law (Dr. juris 1924) at Bonn and Tübingen, then Assistant at Bonn under P. Kahle in 1925-32. PD 1927 Bonn for Semitic Philology and Islamic Studies. In 1932-36 Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Aligarh Muslim University. In 1936 succeeded Brockelmann as Professor at Breslau. At the end of war lost all his books and papers in Breslau, himself French prisoner of war. Then Guest Professor and from 1951 successor of R. Paret as Professor für Semitistik und Islamwissenschaft at Bonn. Emeritus 1971. Married Elisabeth.
Spies was remarkably many-sided (and yet competent) scholar who published important contributions to Arabic, Islamic and even Osman Turkic studies. He was interested in religion, law and medicine, popular literature, Oriental influences in Europe, etc. In India he learned Hindi/Urdu and acquired a lasting interest in things Indian. He was popular teacher and wrote several textbooks.
Publications: Diss. Esman und Zejdschan. Ein türkischer Volksroman aus Kleinasien. Manuscript 1923, publ. in Anthropos 1925.
– An Arab Account of India in the 14th century. Being a translation of the Chapters on India from al-Qalqashandīs Ṣubh ul-A‘shā. 4+78 p. Bonner Or. Studien 14. Stuttgart 1936.
– With E. Bannerth: Lehrbuch der Hindūstānī-Sprache. 10+203 p. Lp. – Vienna 1945.
– Orientalische Kultureinflüsse im Abendland. 72 p. Beiträge zum Geschichtsunterricht 13. Braunschweig 1949
– Orientalische Stoffe in den Kinder- und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm. 47 p. Beitr. zur Sprach- u. Kulturgesch. des Orients 6. Walldorf/Hessen 1952.
– “Türkisches Sprachgut im Hindūstānī”, Fs. Kirfel 1955, 321-343.
– Much on Turkology and Islamic studies, reviews of books on Islamic India in Der Islam.
Sources: *OC 66, 1982; *W. Hoenerbach (ed.), Der Orient in der Forschung (Fs. O.S.). Wb. 1967 with bibliography; A. Noth, Der Islam 59, 1982, 185-188 with photo; H. Schützinger, ZDMG 133, 1983, 10-17 with photo; German Wikipedia.
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