FLÜGEL,GUSTAV LEBERECHT (b. 18 February 1802, Bautzen; d. 5 July 1870, Dresden), German Orientalist. Flügel studied theology and Orientalistics in Leipzig from 1821 to 1824 with, among others, Ernst Friedrich Karl Rosenmüller. A stipend from the imperial court enabled him to take up residence in Vienna from 1827-29, where he examined the Oriental manuscripts at the royal library and in Hammer-Purgstall’s collection, and to undertake extensive travels in the Austro-Hungarian empire and Germany. In 1829 and again in 1839 he visited Sylvestre de Sacy and the (future) Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, returning to Dresden in 1830. In 1832 he was appointed professor at the Fürstenschule Saint-Afra in Meissen but due to poor health he was obliged to go into retirement in 1850. While convalescing in Vienna in 1850, he was engaged by Hammer-Purgstall to prepare a catalogue of the Oriental manuscripts in Vienna, a task which he accomplished in the summer months of 1851-54. He lived in Dresden from 1855 until his death.

Flügel was an eminent Arabist and Islamologist, who, in addition to his minor works, produced several fundamental studies on Islamic religion, philosophy, and literary history: an edition of the Koran which went through ten printings, writings on Kindī and the Hanafites, a history of the caliphate, editions of Ḥājī Ḵalīfa’s Kašf al-ẓonūn and Ebn al-Nadīm’s Fehrest (q.v.), as well as his catalogue of the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts in Vienna. Flügel was awarded many academic awards and honors for his work including the Albert Decoration in Saxony and a university degree (Lizenz) from Jena in theology. He was a member of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft in Halle and Leipzig and of the Altertumsverein of the Kingdom of Saxony; a corresponding member of the academies of Vienna and Turin; an associé étranger of the Société Asiatique in Paris; a corresponding member of the Asiatic Society in London; and a member of the Asiatic Society in Boston.

Of significance for Iranian studies are Flügel’s manuscript catalogue, his short history of Persian literature, and his works on Manichaeism and Bābak Ḵorramī (q.v.). Flügel discovered and recognized the importance of the extensive report on Mani’s life and religious doctrine preserved in Ebn al-Nadīm’s Fehrest (see FEHREST ii). The confusing assertions by St. Augustine and in the Acta Archelai, which had hitherto been the main sources, could be checked against this new source. The significance of the account in the Fehrest, which is now recognized as thoroughly objective, non-polemical, and based on authentic writings,was confirmed by the discovery of original Manichaean manuscripts in Turfan in 1902 and in Egypt in 1930 and 1969. On the basis of the material in the Fehrest, F. W. K. Müller managed to decipher the Manichean writing in Turfan-Fragments and to authenticate the report on the sect of the Dīnāvarīya (q.v.) in Central Asia. Carl Schmidt used the book titles mentioned by Ebn al-Nadīm to identify the Coptic Manichean texts (q.v.). The information about Mani’s childhood was subsequently found in the Cologne Mani Codex (q.v.). Flügel also drew attention to the novel-like description in the Fehrest of the enthronement of the Azerbaijan rebel Bābak and the Ḵorramdīn sect. Flügel’s essay on this sect continues to be of scholarly value.

Works: Editions of texts. Corani textus arabicus, ed., Leipzig, 1834 (various reprints down to 1922). Lexicon bibliographicum et encyclopaedicum, a Mustafa ben Abdallah, Katib Jelebi dicto et nomine Haji Khalfa celebrato compositum; ad codicu Vindobonensium, Parisiensium et Berolinensis fidem primum edidit..., 7 vols., Leipzig, 1835-58. Kitab al-Fihrist mit Anmerkungen, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1871-72 (publ. posthumously by J. Roediger and A. Müller).

Other works. Geschichte der Araber bis auf den Sturz des Chalifats von Bagdad, 3 vols., Dresden, 1832-40; 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1864. Concordantiae Corani arabicae, Leipzig, 1842a (reprs. down to 1991). “Perser: Persische Literatur,” in J. S. Ersch and J. G. Gruber, eds., Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Wissentschaften und Künste, Leipzig, 1842b, pp. 487-501. Al-Kindi: genannt der Philosoph der Araber, Leipzig, 1857. Die Klassen der Hanefitischen Rechtsgelehrten, Abhandlungen der Königlichen Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaft, Philologisch-Historische Klasse 3/2, Leipzig, 1861. Mani, seine Lehre und seine Schriften: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Manichäismus, Leipzig, 1862; repr. Osnabrück, 1969. Die arabischen, persischen und türkischen Handschriften der Kaiserl. Königl. Hofbibliothek zu Wien, 3 vols., Vienna, 1865-67. “Bābek, seine Abstammung und erstes Auftreten,” ZDMG 23, 1869, pp. 531-542.



N. ʿAqīqī, al-Mostašreqūn, 2 vols., Cairo, 1965, II, pp. 701-2.

Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, 25 vols, Wiesbaden, 1966-81, s.v. “Flügel.”

G. Dugat, Histoire des Orientalistes de l’ Europe, 2 vols. Paris, 1870, II, pp. 91-100.

J. Fück, Die arabischen Studien in Europa, Leipzig, 1955, pp. 157, 192.

Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon, 9 vols., Mannheim, 1971-73, p. 82, s.v. “Flügel.”

G. Pfannmüller, Handbuch der Islam-Literatur, Berlin and Leipzig, 1923, passim.

(Gerd Gropp)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 31, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 1, pp. 64-65