OBERMANN, JULIAN JOËL (1888–1956), Orientalist. Born in Warsaw, Obermann taught Semitic languages at the University of Hamburg from 1919 to 1922, achieving recognition with the publication of his work on the philosophy of Al-Ghazālī in 1921. He subsequently became professor of Semitic philology at the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, where he taught from 1923 to 1931. From 1933 to 1935 Obermann was visiting professor of Semitic languages at Yale University; he became professor in 1935. He served as coeditor of the Journal of Biblical Literature (1933–36). In 1944 Obermann became director of Judaic research and editor of the Yale Judaica Series, in which capacity he served until his retirement.
In the course of his career, Obermann made contributions in Semitic philology and epigraphy, Old Testament and Ugaritic studies, Islamic culture, and Arabic philosophy. His works include: Das Problem der Kausalitaet bei den Arabern (1916); Der philosophische and religioese Subjektivismus Ghazalis (1921); The Arabic Original of Ibn Shahin's Book of Comfort (1933); and Ugaritic Mythology (1948). He also edited H. Gressman's Tower of Babel (1928) and Gandz's translation of Maimonides' Sanctification of the New Moon (1956) after the death of the authors.
New York Times (Oct. 18, 1956); JAOS, 77 (1957).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.