Paul E. Kahle

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Paul Ernst Kahle (January 21, 1875 in Hohenstein, Prussia – September 24, 1964 in Düsseldorf) was a German orientalist and scholar.


Kahle studied orientalism and theology in Marburg. He attained his doctorate in 1898. He worked as a Lutheran pastor. He studied semitic philology in Cairo between 1908 and 1918. In 1918, he was promoted to a full professorship (Ordinary professor) at Gießen University, a chair previously held by Friedrich Schwally. In 1923, he switched to Bonn University, where he developed the Eastern Studies curriculum by adding a Chinese and a Japanese class.

After his wife helped a Jewish neighbor whose shop was ransacked during the Kristallnacht of 1938, the family was persecuted by the Nazis. Kahle immigrated to England where he joined the University of Oxford in 1939, having been dismissed from his university post in Bonn, owing in great part to the fact that he had a Polish rabbi (Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg) as an assistant. At Oxford he gained two further doctorates. During this period at Oxford he suffered the personal tragedy of his son Paul's early death.

Kahle returned to Germany after the war, where he pursued his research as professor emeritus. His principal academic renown is as editor of the Hebrew Bible.

Part of his work is published in the book What the Koran Really Says, edited by Ibn Warraq.


  • Textkritische und lexikalische Bemerkungen zum samaritanischen Pentateuchtargum. [Diss. phil.] Halle 1898.
  • Der masoretische Text des AT nach der Überlieferung der babylonischen Juden. [Diss. theol.] Halle 1902.
  • Masoreten des Ostens. Leipzig: Hinrichs 1913.
  • Masoreten des Westens. I, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1927; II, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1930.
  • The Cairo Geniza. (Schweich Lectures for 1941) London: Oxford University Press 1947.
  • Der hebräische Bibeltext seit Franz Delitzsch. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1961.
  • Die Kairoer Genisa. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des hebräischen Bibeltextes und seiner Übersetzungen, ed. by R. Meyer. Berlin 1962 (= The Cairo Geniza, Oxford 21959).

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