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Wach, Joachimlocked

(25 January 1898–27 August 1955)
  • Alan L. Miller


Wach, Joachim (25 January 1898–27 August 1955), historian of religions, was born in Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany, the son of Felix Wach, privy councillor to the king of Saxony, and Katherina Bartholdy. As a child he was surrounded by a cultured atmosphere, stemming in part from the loving interest taken in him by his paternal grandparents, Adolf Wach, an esteemed professor of law at Leipzig, and his wife, Lily, daughter of the famous composer Felix Mendelssohn. In fact, because his father married his own cousin, both Joachim’s mother and paternal grandmother were descended from the Mendelssohns, who traced their lineage back to the eighteenth-century Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Wach’s education was interrupted by World War I, and he saw service on the Russian front beginning in 1916. Eventually he took the degree of doctor of philosophy from Leipzig (1922) with a major in philosophy of religion and Oriental studies. His doctoral thesis was published under the title of ...

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