On August 30, 1906, when requesting the librarian of the Lehranstalt für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin to dispatch some books to him, Martin Schreiner, who had been diagnosed with mental illness in April 1902, at the age of 39, and was writing from the Sanatorium Berolinum in Berlin Lankwitz where he was hospitalized, expresses the hope to be released soon. The letter is Schreiner's last written testimony. His mental disorder put a painful and sudden end to the rich, albeit brief, career of a prolific and versatile scholar, and one of the most important representatives of the Science of Judaism who was at the same time engaged in the study of Islam. The talk outlines Schreiner’s intellectual trajectory from his time as a student in Budapest until his active time in Berlin, December 1893 through 1902, when the rich manuscript holdings of the Königliche Bibliothek opened up entirely new vistas to him.
Sabine Schmidtke is Professor of Islamic Intellectual History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ. Her research interests include Shīʿism (Zaydism and Twelver Shīʿism), intersections of Jewish and Muslim intellectual history, the Arabic Bible, the history of Orientalism and the Science of Judaism, and the history of the book and libraries in the Islamicate world. Her recent publications include Traditional Yemeni Scholarship amidst Political Turmoil and War: Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl b. al-Muṭahhar al-Manṣūr (1915-2016) and His Personal Library (Cordoba 2018), Muslim Perceptions and Receptions of the Bible: Texts and Studies (Atlanta 2019, with Camilla Adang), Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy (New York 2017, with Khaled El-Rouayheb), and Imāmī Thought in Transition: An Archaeological Inquiry into Texts and their Transmission (Cordoba: UCO; with Hassan Ansari; volume one currently in press).