Rosenthal, Franz

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ROSENTHAL, FRANZ (1914–2003), Orientalist. Rosenthal was born in Berlin, where he obtained his doctorate for a thesis on Die Sprache der palmyrenischen Inschriften (1936). He was the first winner of the Lidzbarki Medal and Prize of the International Congress of Orientalists, for his book Die aramaeistische Forschung seit Theodor Noeldekes Veroeffentlichungen (1938). However, he was not granted the prize money because he was Jewish. In 1940 he became assistant professor at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and in 1948 professor at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1956 he was appointed the Louis M. Rabinowitz Professor of Semitic Languages at Yale and became a Sterling Professor in 1967. He resumed his Aramaic studies with his Aramaic Handbook (1967), in which such scholars as H. *Ritter and H.J. *Polotsky participated (1967). When he retired from teaching, he was named Sterling Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale in 1985.

Rosenthal's main interest was the history of scholarship in *Islam. Apart from many papers and editions of smaller texts, he published: The Technique and Approach of Muslim Scholarship (1947); A History of Muslim Historiography (1952, 19682); a fully-annotated translation of Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah (Bollingen Series, 3 vols., 1958); Gifts and Bribes: The Muslim View (1964); and Knowledge Triumphant (1970). He also wrote a comprehensive paper of special Jewish interest on "Judeo-Arabic work under Sufic influence" (huca, 15, 1940). Together with R. *Walzer, he published and translated into Latin al-*Fārābī's De Platonis philosophia, the Arabic original of Shem Tov b. Joseph *Falaquera's account in Reshit Ḥokhmah (Plato Arabus, 2, 1943).

His later works include: The Herb: Hashish vs Medieval Muslim Society (1971); Gambling in Islam (1975); Muslim Intellectual and Social History (1990); The Classical Heritage in Islam (1994); and Sweeter Than Hope (1997).

Among the many organizations he belonged to and the numerous honors he received, Rosenthal served as president of the American Oriental Society and in 1994 was the first recipient of the aos Medal of Merit.

[Martin Meir Plessner /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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Rosenthal, Franz

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