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Subject: Franz Rosenthal, 88; Arab Scholar Taught at Yale for Nearly 30 Years

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Date Posted: April 17, 2003 4:31:05 EDT

Franz Rosenthal, 88, an Arab scholar who taught Near Eastern languages and civilization at Yale University from 1956 to 1985, died of cancer April 8 in Branford.

Born in Berlin, he earned his doctorate at the University of Berlin in 1932 after studying classics and Oriental languages and civilizations. In 1938, he completed his history of Aramaic studies.

Shortly after the infamous Kristallnacht in 1938, Rosenthal left Germany for Sweden. He came to the United States in 1940 to teach at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.

Inducted into the Army during World War II, he served in the Office of Strategic Services. After the war, he returned to Hebrew Union before moving to the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Yale faculty in 1956.

A prolific writer and scholar, Rosenthal's publications ranged from a monograph on "Humor in Early Islam" to a "Grammar of Biblical Aramaic." His "History of Muslim Historiography" in 1952 was the first study of the subject.

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