A SHORT HISTORY OF INDOLOGY AND
INDOLOGICAL LIBRARIANSHIP IN
Dr. George Baumann
Very likely many of you may be hedging the question, just where
is Tuebingen? Being a rather small city by Indian standards, it is not
as well known as some other German university towns like Berlin,
Muenchen, or even Heidelberg. Yet it is one of the oldest universities
in Germany today, having been founded in 1477. The city of
Tuebingen lies in the southwestern corner of the Federal Republic
of Germany on the eastern edge of the famous Black Forest about
120 kilometres north of the Swiss/German border and about 100
kilometres east of the French/German border. It lies within the
province of Wuerttemberg, which today, together with the province
of Baden, forms the state called Baden-Wuerttemberg, whose
capital city, Stuttgart, is only about 40 kilometres north of Tuebingen.
Perhaps you now can visualize a bit better just where Tuebingen lies.
The library of Tuebingen University has been in existence for
nearly 500 years. In the first 300 of these the oriental literature
acquired consisted for the most part of works on and in the Hebrew
language. This is scarcely surprising since Tuebingen has always
been a byword for the study of theology. Tuebingen University,
unlike most other German universities, has a seminary for both
Protestant and Catholic theology.
There has also been a comparatively long tradition of oriental
studies in Tuebingen and, as in most other European countries,
these oriental studies grew out of the theologian's interest in oriental
languages connected with biblical studies, as already pointed out.
At the beginning of the 19th century a new discipline, 'Indian
Studies', was instituted in several German universities. With the
growing interest in India and the Indian subcontinent German
missionaries soon placed themselves at the disposal of the English
Church with a view to gaining entry into India. Foreign access to this