History of the Oriental Studies Department


Duration: 16.10.2021–31.01.2022 r.
Opening: 15.10.2021r., godz. 18:30
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The starting point for the exhibition is the Department of Oriental Studies, which until World War II functioned at the John II Casimir University, today the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. A characteristic feature of this department was the research and teaching of Eastern languages. The Orientalist tradition in Lviv was started in the 17th century by the Catholic missionary Michał Boym, but it was not before 1784, i.e. the moment when Oriental Studies appeared at the Faculty of Theology, that a more serious approach to the discipline appeared. The imperial ordinance on the merging of the University of Lviv with the University of Krakow from 1805 asserted the expansion of the Theological Faculty and new chairs of Oriental languages (Hebrew, Chaldean, Syrian and Arabic), ​​as well as in Hebrew antiquities and Old Testament exegesis were to be established. In 1815 the Council of the Faculty of Theology passed a similar resolution to open the chair of Eastern languages ​​(Hebrew, Syrian, Chaldean) and Biblical archaeology, and of the philology and exegesis of the Old Testament.[1] Until the beginning of the 20th century, however, there were no regular studies of this type in Lviv. In 1916, thanks to the efforts of Moses Schorr, the first Extraordinary Department of Semitic Languages ​​and History of the Ancient Semitic East[2] was established. From that moment on, the so-called Oriental School of Lviv began to develop, largely thanks to Andrzej Gawroński, who was employed there a year later to head the Department of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics and Indian Philology. What is worth noting is that not only Lviv, but also Krakow had an outstanding department of Oriental Studies, so the best specialist in the field, such as Andrzej Gawroński, Franciszek Machalski or Tadeusz Lewicki, usually taught at both the Krakow and Lviv departments. What distinguished the University of Lviv, however, was its orientation towards the sciences connected with the Far East. The successful development of the department was interrupted by World War II and the subsequent shift of borders, which forced a significant part of the local academic staff to leave Lviv and seek employment with Krakow and Warsaw centres. Among them were very talented and

[1] See <https://ioo.filg.uj.edu.pl/our-institute> [accessed on 28 Aug 2021].

[2] K. W. Olszowska, Orientalistyka lwowska i krakowska – dwa ośrodki naukowe oraz ich wzajemne powiązania [Oriental Studies in Lviv and Cracow: Two Academic Centres and Their Relationships], in Prace Historyczne, no. 145, 2018 [online].

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