Ignaz Goldziher

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Goldziher, Ignaz

 

Born June 22, 1850, in Székesfehér-vár; died Nov. 13, 1921, in Budapest. Hungarian Arabist and Islamist. Corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1876): corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (from 1897. except for 1916–19). Assistant professor (from 1872) and professor (from 1894)at the University of Budapest. Author of classical works on the history of Islam. Arabic philology, ancient Hebrew mythology, and the folklore of the Arabs and the ancient Jews. Founder of a critical school in bourgeois Islamic studies.

Goldziher’s main scientific contribution was his critical survey of the Muslim tradition (the Sunna) and the creation of a theory of the origin of the hadith—sayings ascribed to the prophet Muhammad. Goldziher and the Dutch Islamic scholar C. Snouck Hurgronje proved that the majority of the hadith do not date to the time of Muhammad (seventh century) but were created in the first two centuries of the existence of Islam (seventh to ninth centuries). Goldziher was the first to reveal the syncretistic character of Islam, demonstrating the influence of other religions, philosophical ideas, and juridical norms on early Islam, proving that each people of the Muslim East contributed to the meaning of the term “Islam.” He presented the history of Islam in view of the evolution of ideas and religious-juridical institutions, assigning them an independent role. Goldziher’s works are especially valuable for their abundance of concrete material from eastern sources. They have had a great influence on the development of Islamic studies in prerevolutionary Russia and in the USSR.

WORKS

Muhammedanische Studien, parts 1–2. Halle. 1889–90.
In Russian translation:
Lektsii ob islame. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Kul’t sviatykh v islame. Moscow. 1938.

REFERENCES

Krachkovskii, I. Iu. Izbr. soch.. vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad. 1958. Pages 211–14.
Bartold, V. V. “Ignats Gol’dtsier.” Izv. Rossiiskoi AN, 1922, series 6, vol. 16.
Batunskii, M. A. “K voprosu ob ideino-metodologicheskikh osnovakh tvorchestva I. Gol’dtsiera.” Vestnik istorii mirovoi kul’tury, 1960. no. 6.
Ignace Goldziher Memorial Volume. Edited by S. Löwinger and I. Somogyi. Budapest, 1948. (Bibliography.)
Acta orientalia: Academiae Scientarium Hungaricae, vol. I. fasc. I.
Heller, B. Bibliographie des oeuvres d’Ignace Goldziher. Paris,1927.
Bousquet, G. H. Etudes islamologiques d’Ignace Goldziher. Leiden, 1962.