Born on 7 January 1868 in Plock, Poland
Died on 13 November 1928 in Göttingen
• Son of a merchant
• received a traditional Jewish education and left home at the age of 14
• attended High School in Posen
• 1889–1892 – studied Semitic philology in Berlin as a student of Sachau
• converted to Protestantism
• 1896 – completed his habilitation in Kiel
• 1907 – Professor and Chair at Greifswald in succession to Ahlwardt
• 1917 – Professor and Chair of Semitic Philology in Göttingen
Lidzbarski’s life was overshadowed by the contrasts between the milieu of the Hassidic-Jewish ghetto into which he was born, and the German (post-) Christian civil society in which he spent his later life. This conflict was softened, to a certain extent, by the success of his academic career wherein the study of the Talmud (that he had rejected so vehemently as a child) had been prepared by him in a particularly comprehensive manner.
After dealing in his dissertation with an Arabic Studies topic (De propheticis, quae dicantur, legendis arabicis prolegomena, 1893), he later achieved groundbreaking results in the fields of Semitic epigraphy (Handbuch der nordsemitischen Epigraphik, 1898; Ephemeris für semitische Epigraphik, 3 vols., 1902–1915) and, in particular, of Mandaic studies (Johannesbuch, 1905 edition [translated in 1915]; Mandäische Liturgien, 1920; Ginzā der Schatz, 1925). His untimely death left many more projects unfinished.