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The Institute of Oriental Studies was established in 1728 when Johann Christian Clodius (d. 1745) became the first professor for Arabic language. Later, Johann Jakob Reiske (d. 1774) established the science of Arabic Studies based on his philological work. The development of Arabic studies at the University of Leipzig is strongly connected with the work of Heinrich Leberecht Fleischer (d. 1888), who wrote and edited many important books such as The Commentary of the Holy Quran by Baidawi. After the death of Fleischer, August Socin (d. 1899) became the new director of the Institute. Another inspirational director, August Fischer (d. 1949), began reorganising the structure of the Institute during the winter semester of 1900/1901. Together with his colleague, Heinrich Zimmern (d. 1931), an expert in Assyrian Studies, they founded the "Semitistic Institute", which developed into an internationally renowned institute in the area of Philology.

Hans-Georg Ebert [online source, copied by M. Feise, 18.05.2016]