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Commission for Semitic Philology


The Commission's History


1961Foundation of the Commission. The founding members were During the following decades, the Commission’s work continued to focus on the Dictionary of the Classical Arabic Language with deliveries published about every year. Initially, the Commission’s work was supposed to concentrate on the collection of material regarding the letter mīm while Manfred Ullmann addressed the two alphabetically preceding letters kāf and lām.
1966Anton Spitaler becomes Chairman.
1972Anton Spitaler starts to expand and complete his study of sources regarding Arabic grammar and lexicography in order to develop a text base as large as possible.

Kathrin Müller starts to work as the Commission’s first employed scientific staff member.

1977Erwin Koschmieder passes away. Wilhelm Eilers, Karl Hoffmann and Manfred Ullmann join the Commission.
1979The series „Beiträge zur Lexikographie des Klassischen Arabisch“ is established in the framework of meeting reports (see Publications).
1980Reinhart Weipert is hired to fill in for Kathrin Müller, who spends a year in Beirut as a consultant for the Orientinstitut of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft DMG).
1987The library left behind by Ambassador Kurt Munzels is donated to the Commission.
1988Josef Ziegler passes away. Paul Kunitzsch becomes a new member.

Wilhelm Eilers dies.

1992Helmut Hofmann dies.
2001Manfred Ullmann leaves the Commission at his own request.
2002Paul Kunitzsch becomes Deputy Chairman. Dietz Otto Edzard and Thomas O. Höllmann join the Commission. Anton Spitaler donates his private library to the Academy.
2003The long-serving Chairman Anton Spitaler passes away. Paul Kunitzsch becomes the new Chairman, Hartmut Bobzin is now Deputy Chairman.
2004Dietz Otto Edzard passes away. Manfred Krebernik joins the Commission.
2006The project Dictionary of the Classical Arabic Language is being suspended due to the Commission’s limited resources. Instead the Commission participates in the inter-academic large-scale project Katalogisierung der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, KOHD (Cataloguing Oriental Manuscripts in Germany). It is entrusted with the task to catalogue the Arabic manuscripts in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library). Tilman Seidensticker, head of the sub-project Recording of Arabic Manuscripts joins the Commission.
2007Hartmut Bobzin becomes the Commission’s Chairman.
2012Digitisation of card index on Old Arabic poetry created by Anton Spitaler in order to transfer the index into a database. Andreas Kaplony joins the Commission.
2015The Commission is being dissolved.  


During the last years of its existence, the Commission included the following members: