Weil, Gotthold

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WEIL, GOTTHOLD (1882–1960), Orientalist. Born in Berlin, Weil began his academic career at the Berlin State Library in 1906, and in 1918 became director of its Oriental department, which he had founded. Teaching post-biblical Jewish history and literature at Berlin University from 1912, he was appointed professor in 1920. In 1931 he was appointed professor of Semitic languages at the University of Frankfurt, in succession to Josef *Horovitz. Weil was dismissed by the Nazis with the rest of his Jewish colleagues in 1934. From 1935 to 1946 he was head of the National and University Library in Jerusalem and also held the chair of Turkish studies at The Hebrew University (to 1952).

Weil's main field was Arabic studies, but he had wider Jewish interests as well and was on the board of various Jewish cultural institutions in Germany, and a governor of The Hebrew University. World War i directed his interest to Turkish studies. Tatar prisoners of war gave him the opportunity to conduct linguistic research, and he also published a Grammatik der osmanischtuerkischen Sprache (1917). His work in the field of Arab philology was concerned in the main with the history of Arab grammar (Abul Barakat ibn al-Anbari, Die grammatischen Streitfragen der Basrer und Kufer, 1913), and he also wrote about Arabic prosology (Grundriss und System der altarabischen Metren, 1958). In 1953 he published Maimonides Responsum ueber die Lebensdauer (text with German translation). On the occasion of his 70th birthday a Festschrift was issued by the Institute for Oriental Studies of The Hebrew University.


Gotthold E. Weil Jubilee Volume on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (Articles in Hebrew with summaries in Eng., 1952); D. Goldschmidt, in: Yad la-Koré, 6 (1961), 172–3. add. bibliography: J.M. Landau, "Gotthold Eljakim Weil," in: Die Welt des Islams, 38/3 (1998), 278–85.

[Lothar Kopf]