Franz August Schmölders

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Franz August Schmölders (28 November 1809 in Rhede, Münsterland – 21 February 1880 in Breslau) was a German orientalist. His focus was the Arabic language and literature.


Schmölders studied from 1830 on philosophy and theology at the University of Bonn. Under the influence of professors Christian August Brandis, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Freytag, Christian Lassen and August Wilhelm Schlegel, he soon concentrated on the oriental, especially Arabic philosophy. He learned to Hebrew, Arabic, Avestan, Persian Syriac and Sanskrit.

During his studies Schmölders dealt especially with the Arabic translations of the writings of Aristotle. In 1835, he won with a text edition of the works of the Indian philosopher Bhartrihari the price of the Faculty of Arts. On 22 July 1836 he was a Dr. phil. PhD.

A scholarship from the Prussian Academy of Sciences allowed Schmölders after studying one-half-year stay in Paris, where he deepened his studies. He attended lectures by the great French Arabist silvestre de Sacy, Joseph Toussaint Reinaud (1795-1867) and Pierre Amédée Jaubert. During his time in Paris he wrote his first book in French, in which he discussed the history of philosophy among the Arabs. It was published in 1842 by the publisher Firmin Didot. Shortly thereafter came Schmölders back to Bonn and habilitation there.

On 22 December 1842 held Schmölders his inaugural lecture at the University of Bonn. As a lecturer, he was not a steady income, but the Prussian Minister Johann Albrecht Friedrich Eichhorn gave him several state support through scholarships. After only one and a half years (1844) Schmölders was an Associate Professor of Oriental Languages and Literatures at the University of Breslau appointed. He followed this call at 29 June 1844.

In Breslau Schmölders spent 16 years at the same time working at the University and in the teaching profession. He taught part-time at Matthew Gymnasium Hebrew and French and taught with official permission also an English course, in which he recorded gifted students. His research, he continued, despite the double burden. On 1 May 1846 he became a full member in the German Oriental Society added.

After the death of his older colleague Georg Heinrich Bernstein (1860) Schmölders received on 10 October's full professor of Oriental Studies. Thus he was able to quit his teaching at the high school. He worked for twenty years as a professor at the University and received during this time many honors at home and abroad.

Because of his language skills - he mastered 22 languages - Schmölders was outside the university in high demand. As a member of the Scientific Examination he took exams in English and French, the royal city and Appellate he worked as a sworn interpreter. His many obligations, his keen interest in teaching and an abdominal illness prevented him since the 1860s extensive publications.

Writings (selection)[edit]

  • Documentation philosophiae Arabum ex codd. mss. primus edidit, Latine vertit, Commentario illustravit Dr. AS . Bonn 1836
  • Essai sur les écoles philosophiques chez les Arabes et notamment sur la doctrine d'Algazzali . Paris 1842
  • De studiis Arabum grammaticus libellus . Breslau 1862


  • Theodor Weber : Schmölders, Franz August . In: General German Biography (ADB). Volume 32, Cambridge University Press, Leipzig 1891, p 58 f