[INDOLOGY] Stenzler (was "question for European indologists)

Michaels, Axel michaels at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de
Wed Jul 3 15:53:24 UTC 2013

 Dear all,

At Hamburg, my teacher Albrecht Wezler used Perry and Stenzler. However, Stenzler is not Stenzler. As you all might know, one has to differentiate between the different editions. Albrecht rightly complained about the then available 17th edition (by Richard Pischel and Karl F. Geldner) because of the many mistakes (and because of its didactical weakness). Unfortunately, the 18th edition which he himself edited contained more than 200 new mistakes (most but not all have been removed in the 19th ed.). Manfred Mayerhofer once wrote: "How can one learn Sanskrit through `Stenzler" seems to me a conundrum." However, 'Stenzler' was designed as an "Elementarbuch der Sanskrit-Sprache" (thus its full title), i.e. as a reference grammar mainly for those who know Greek and Latin and were thus trained in a certain (and certainly partly inappropriate)  grammatical understanding of languages.

It is also interesting to note the intensity and length of the Sanskrit courses. If I remember it well, in the 19seventies, we had in Hamburg two lessons per week over one year. In Heidelberg, we now teach it in 8 lessons  on 4 days per week stretching also over one year. I always remember an anecdote of Herman Jacobi that Albrecht told in his class (but that I never got verified; perhaps its one of these Indological myths): Jacobi started his Sanskrit course only six weeks before the end of the term. When he then was asked by the Dean (or Vice Chancellor) to change this and start with the course at the beginning of the term, he allegedly said: "Spectabilis/Magifizenz, Sanskrit ist nicht mehr!" (Sanskrit isn't more).

Best, Axel

Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels

Director Excellence Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context"

Universität Heidelberg, Südasien-Institut, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, D-69120 Heidelberg
Tel. +49-6221-548917 / Fax +49-6221-546338


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