He studied at Breslau and Munich, and became professor in the former university. His specialty was Vedic mythology. Varuna und Mitra, ein Beitrag Zur Exegese des Veda (Breslau, 1877) was a prologue to his great work Vedische Mythologie (1891-1902). Hillebrandt also wrote: Das altindische Neu- und Vollmondsopfer (The old Indian new and full moon sacrifices, 1880), Vedachrestomathie (1885), a section on religious antiquities in Buhler's Grundriss der indo-arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde (1897), and Alt-Indien, Kulturgeschichtliche Skizzen (Historical culture sketches of old India, 1899).
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