FRIEDRICH RÜCKERT (1788-1866)

A German poet and Orientalist. He was a professor of Oriental in Erlangen and for a time in Berlin, to which he was called by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. His chief contribution, aside from his poetry, is his translation of and Persian poetry into German. It is less well known that somewhere about 1851, while a teacher of Arabic and Persian, he was stimulated by his pupil P. de to a study of the Coptic language. Evidently Rückert achieved excellence in Coptic. Lagarde (1867, p. vi) bears witness that in July 1864, Rückert conversed with him about the Coptic and entrusted to him the perusal and publication of his coptological legacy.

Lagarde, however, did not publish this orderly legacy (on many hundreds of sheets and slips of paper) of etymological investigations, explanations, and emendations to individual biblical books and researches into Bohairic grammar. It found its way to the Royal Library in Berlin, where L. Stern, at the instance of R. Lepsius, looked through it during the work on a catalog of Coptic manuscripts and also evaluated it for his Koptische Grammatik (1880, pp. xf.) and made it known through citations. In the dedication of his Grammatik to Rückert, described him as a “grammarian of the Coptic language.” The legacy is still unpublished.

  • Engel, E. Kurzgefasste deutsche Literaturgeschichte von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, 37th ed., pp. 270-72. Leipzig, 1929.
  • Lagarde, P. de. Der koptische Pentateuch, pp. v ff. Leipzig, 1867. Prang, H., ed. Rückert-Studien. Schweinfurt, 1964.
  • Stern, L. Koptische Grammatik, pp. xf. Leipzig, 1880; repr. Osnabrück, 1971.

KRAUSE