Glaser, Eduard

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GLASER, EDUARD (1855–1908), scholar, archaeologist, and explorer. Born in Deutsch-Rust (Czech Republic), Glaser was, along with another Jewish scholar, Joseph *Halévy, the leading 19th century scholarly researcher in south Arabia and the pioneer of Sabaean studies and pre-Islamic history. His thorough knowledge of the Arabic language, of Oriental customs, and especially of Islam was the secret of his research success. His journeys through *Yemen represent the most important scholarly research ever carried out in this part of the world after Halévy. Despite great financial problems and dangers, he undertook four expeditions to Yemen between 1882 and 1895, disguised as a Muslim. He reached remote historical places in Yemen never visited before by Western scholars, such as Mārib, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Sheba. The southern Arabian inscriptions he collected are of fundamental importance for all research on ancient Yemen. The analysis of his still unpublished scholarly works is far from finished. The collection of almost 660 objects from southern Arabia that he brought back from his fourth journey into Yemen in 1895 formed the nucleus of the "Oriental" or Near Eastern section in the Kunsthistorischen Museum in Vienna; he also brought hundreds of Yemeni-Arabic manuscripts to the National Library in Vienna. He was a great lover of the Jewish people and the Zionist movement. He corresponded with *Herzl and proposed to him the establishment of the Jewish state in Yemen. In Sana he became close to the local Jewish scholar, R. Yiḥye *Kafaḥ and strengthened his enlightened attitude toward the Jewish religion. In a series of articles published in the rej, written as a part of his spirited debate with Halévy, Glaser expressed his uncompromising view that the pre-Islamic Himyari kingdom was indeed a Jewish kingdom, based on his interpretation of some on the inscriptions he found in Yemen.


E. Glaser, "Meine Reise durch Arhab und Haschid," in: Petermanns Mitteilungen 30 (1884), 170–83, 204–13 (Eng. tr. with intro., notes, and indices by D.M. Varisco, "My Journey through Arhab and Haashid" (1993)); C.J. Robin, "Le judaïsme de Himyar," in: Arabia, 1 (2003), 98–99; idem, "Von Hodeida nach Sanaa vom 24 April bis 1 May 1885," in: Petermanns Mitteilungen, 32 (1886), 1–10, 33–48; idem, Ethnographica Jeminica: Auszuege aus den Tagebuechern Eduard Glasers, ed. Walter Dostal (1993); S.D. Goitein, in: Shevut Teman (1945), 149–59; Y. Nini, in: Ha-Ẓiyyonut, 5 (1975), 299–310; Y. Tsurieli, in: Le-Ammim, 65 (1996), 57–76.

[Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]

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Glaser, Eduard

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