Orientalist, author, and editor of scholarly publications on the ancient Near East; b. Köbernitz, Upper Silesia, Dec. 1, 1890; d. Rome, Oct. 23, 1961. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1912 and studied Assyriology under Bruno Meissner from 1924 to 1930. In 1930, he went to the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome as professor of Assyriology and of ancient Oriental history. In the next decade, he published several original editions of Babylonian and Sumerian economic texts: Neubabylonische Rechtsurkunden aus den Berliner Staatlichen Museen, 2 v. (Rome 1933–34), Vorsargonische und sargonische Wirtschaftstexte (Leipzig 1935), and Rechtsund Verwaltungsurkunden der III. Dynastie von Ur (Leipzig 1937). He became dean of the Oriental faculty of the institute in 1945.
Pohl was especially known for his long and successful career as an editor. Assuming charge of Orientalia in 1932, he built it into a periodical of international stature. As editor of Analecta Orientalia, he provided scholars with a series of basic grammars and historical studies on the ancient Near East, while his furthering of the Materialien zum sumerischen Lexikon (Rome 1937–) laid the groundwork for much-needed study on Sumerian lexicography. Scholars are further indebted to him for his founding and personal compilation of the indispensable Keilschriftbibliographie (1940— ), the only comprehensive annual bibliography in Mesopotamian studies.
Bibliography: e. f. weidner, Archiv für Orientforschung 20 (1963) 302–303. s. moscati, Orientalia 31 (1962) 1–6.
[j. a. brinkman]