HEINRICH FERDINAND WÜSTENFELD
Born on 31 July 1808 in Hannoversch-Münden
Died on 8 February 1899 in Hannover
• Son of a sugar manufacturer
• spent almost his entire academic life in Göttingen
• 1831 – received his Doctor of Philosophy
• 1832 – received his second doctoral degree (habilitation)
• 1842 – appointed Professor
• 1854–1879 – appointed Professor and Chair
• his main appointment was as Director of the University Library; he did almost no academic teaching.
Wüstenfeld dedicated almost all his time to the study of Arabic, and the longer he studied, the more he focused exclusively on the Arabic language, despite the fact that he had initially studied all Oriental languages, including Sanskrit. Next to the Vergleichungstabellen (the last edition was prepared by B. Spuler in 1961) and other outdated reference works on genealogy, historical writing, and the history of medicine, Wüstenfeld produced a number of most important editions of classical Arabic texts (with indices) such as those by Ibn Hisham, Ibn Qutayba’s Ma‘arif, Ibn Khallikan, Bakri’s Mu‘jam, Yaqut’s Buldan, Qazwini’s ‘Aja’ib, and others. As these editions do not follow the principles of classical Arabic philology, their value varies depending on the manuscripts on which they were based. Nonetheless, Arabic and Islamic studies owe a debt to Wüstenfeld’s extraordinary fervour and his works have been truly indispensable for a long time, and some remain so even today.