Albrecht Dieterich was born the son of schoolteacher Albrecht Dieterich and Henriette born Münscher ( daughter of the high school director Friedrich Münscher ). After attending the local grammar school he studied classical philology at the Universities of Leipzig and Bonn, where he closely joined to Hermann Usener. Under its influence, he turned to the ancient religion and a doctorate in 1888 with a thesis on the Leyden papyrus spells. Three years later his habilitation in Marburg with a thesis on the Orphic hymns. In the next few years, he specialized in the folk beliefs and undertook journeys to Greece and Italy. In 1895 he was appointed extraordinary professor in Marburg and Giessen appointed in 1897 as the successor to Edward Schwartz to the chair of classical philology.
In the following years, Dieterich equally devoted to folklore and classical philology. In 1899 he married Maria Usener, the daughter of his teacher Hermann Usener. With her he went to Heidelberg in 1903, where he had received a call to full professor. A professor at the University of Halle (1907 ) he refused. After his death, his colleague Richard Wünsch issued in 1911 his Lesser Writings with biography and portrait. The grave at the Heidelberg Bergfriedhof is a high towering pillars of white marble. On the stele stem is a representation of Pallas Athene, as they are also found in the grave of Gustav Radbruch, near Dieterich's grave. Next to him, resting his wife Marie ( geb.Usener, a niece of the philosopher Dilthey ) and other family members.
His students included among others the philologist Ludwig Deubner, Friedrich Pfister and Otto Weinreich, the historian and folklorist Wilhelm Weber Eugen Fehrle.
Writings (selection )
- Prolegomena ad Papyrum magicam Musei Lugdunensis Batavi. Leipzig 1888 ( dissertation)
- Abraxas. Studies on the history of religion of the later antiquity. Leipzig 1891. Reprint Aalen 1973
- Nekyia. Contributions to explain the newfound Apocalypse of Peter. Leipzig 1893. 2nd edition 1913. Reprint Stuttgart 1969
- The grave of the font Aberkios. Leipzig 1896
- Pulcinella, Pompeian murals and Roman satyr plays. Leipzig 1897. Reprint Aalen 1982
- About The nature and objectives of folklore. Leipzig 1902
- A Mithrasliturgie. Leipzig 1903. 2nd edition 1910. 3rd edition 1923. Reprints Darmstadt and Stuttgart 1966
- Mother Earth. An attempt to folk religion. Leipzig 1905. 2nd edition 1913. Third, expanded edition in 1925. Reprint Stuttgart 1973
- Small fonts. Leipzig 1911