Müller, Max

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Müller, Max

(Friedrich Maximilian Müller, Friedrich Max Müller, or Friedrich Max-Müller) (mäks mül`ər;frē`drĭkh mäk'sēmēl`yän), 1823–1900, German philologist and Orientalist, b. Dessau; son of the poet Wilhelm MüllerMüller, Wilhelm
, 1794–1827, German lyric poet; father of Max Müller. His Lieder der Griechen (5 vol., 1821–24) was inspired by the Greek struggle for independence.
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. After specializing in Sanskrit in Germany, he went to Oxford, where he lived for the remainder of his life. Müller did more than any other scholar to popularize philology and mythology, particularly in his lectures Science of Language (1861, 1863). He advanced the theory that myths originated from metaphors describing natural pnenomena. Greatly interested in comparative religion, he wrote works on Indian religion and philosophy, including the standard edition of the Rig-Veda with Commentary (6 vol., 1849–73). From c.1875 until his death Müller was engaged in his greatest work, the editing of Sacred Books of the East (51 vol.), being translations of important Asian religious writings.


See his memoirs (tr. 1906); studies by J. H. Voigt (1967) and R. Neufeldt (1980).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Müller, Max


(Friedrich Max Müller). Born Dec. 6, 1823, in Dessau; died Oct. 28, 1900, in Oxford. English philologist. Specialist in general linguistics, Indology, and mythology. Professor at Oxford University (1854–76).

Müller belonged to the naturalistic school of linguistics; however, unlike A. Schleicher, he regarded language not as a self-sufficient organism but only as a necessary function of the human organism. According to Müller, the development of language is in its growth, its natural development; linguistics, on the other hand, is a natural science. Even before the neogrammarians, Müller emphasized the importance of studying unwritten languages; he pointed out the leading role of living dialectal speech in language development.

Müller translated and published the Rig-Veda (6 vols., 1849–74) and edited the series The Sacred Books of the East (55 vols., 1879–1924).


History of the Ancient Sanskrit Literature. London, 1859.
In Russian translation:
Lektsii po nauke o iazyke. St. Petersburg, 1865.
Sravnitel’naia mifologiia. Moscow, 1863.
Nauka o iazyke, issues 1–2. Voronezh, 1868–70.


Chikobava, A. S. Problema iazyka kak predmeta iazykoznaniia. Moscow, 1959. Pages 51–61.
Müller, G. M. The Life and Letters of F. M. Müller, vols. 1–2. London, 1902.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.