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Der Islam

Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East

Ed. by Heidemann, Stefan / Hagen, Gottfried / Kaplony, Andreas / Matthee, Rudi

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.100

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Volume 95, Issue 2


Georg Pilder’s Arabisches Lexicon of 1772 The Oldest Known Comprehensive Arabic-German Dictionary Rediscovered

Christian Mauder
Published Online: 2018-11-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2018-0033


In 1772, the Moravian Protestant Georg Pilder (1716‒1793) finished his work on an Arabic-German-Italian dictionary with the title Arabisches Lexicon. This dictionary, which has so far escaped scholarly attention and survives in a single manuscript copy, represents the earliest comprehensive Arabic-German lexicographic work known to scholarship. Based primarily on Pilder’s experiences as a missionary in Cairo, it includes valuable material on diglossia and everyday language use in 18th-century Cairo. The article discusses Pilder’s biography against the background of Moravian activities in the Middle East, sheds light on when, why and based on which materials he composed his dictionary and studies how Pilder’s authorial intentions are reflected in the work’s content and structure. It moreover addresses the question of the dictionary’s relevancy in the contexts of missionary history, the history of Arabic Studies and contemporary linguistic research.

Keywords: Lexicography; Ottoman Egypt; Missionary history; History of Arabic Studies; Coptic Church; Christian Arabic

About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-09

Published in Print: 2018-11-08

Citation Information: Der Islam, Volume 95, Issue 2, Pages 524–548, ISSN (Online) 1613-0928, ISSN (Print) 0021-1818, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2018-0033.

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