Dahlmann, Joseph

views updated


Jesuit Orientalist, whose writings on Indian culture and religion, Chinese literature, and comparative linguistics furthered the field of missiology in the early 20th century; b. Coblenz, Germany, Oct. 14, 1861; d. Tokyo, June 23, 1930. After entering the Society of Jesus in 1878, and teaching briefly in Bombay, he studied philology and comparative linguistics in Holland and England, and archeology in Vienna from 1891 to 1893. He received the doctorate (1902) at Berlin, and was made a staff member of the periodical Stimmen aus Maria Laach, from which resulted his Indische Fahrten (2 v., 1908, 1927). In China, Japan, and India for the next three years, at the request of the general of the Jesuits, he began investigation regarding the return of the society to the Japanese Missions. Through his knowledge of Far Eastern conditions, he was a principal authority for the foundation of Sophia University in Tokyo. When pius x founded the Catholic College in Tokyo, Dahlmann went, in 1908, as the first German Jesuit sent to Japan. There, from 1913 to 1930, he was professor of Indology and German literature. He held the same chairs, besides that of Greek, at the Imperial Japanese University from 1914 to 1924. From this period date his works on the earliest Christian missions to the Far East and on the Far East's historic relations with Western Europe.

Bibliography: j. dahlmann, Der Auslandsdeutsche 13 (1930) 522524, a brief autobiography. l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Paderborn 1934); photoduplicated with revisions and supplements (Louvain-Heverlee 1962), 1:373374.

[j. flynn]