Uku Masing

Uku Masing (born 29 Julijul / 11 August 1909greg in the village of Lipa, community Raikküla, county Rapla / Estonia, .. † 25 April 1985 in Tartu) was an Estonian poet, theologian, orientalist and anthropologist.


Uku Masing (born Albert Hugo Masing ) was born in a Moravian family. From 1921 to 1926, he attended school in Tartu and subsequently studied at the Theological Faculty of the University of Tartu. In addition to Latin, Greek and Hebrew, he studied Semitic languages ​​, Assyriology, psychology and ancient literature. In 1930 he graduated with the thesis on " The ratio of Elihureden to the other words of the Book of Job " from.

1930-1933 was Masing Fellow at the University of Tübingen and Berlin, where he deepened his studies of the Old Testament as well as in Arabic, Ethiopian Studies, Jewish Studies. In addition, he learned Indian and Polynesian languages.


In the fall of 1933 he accepted a teaching position at the University of Tartu for Semitic languages ​​and Old Testament. Among his outstanding works of the 1930s include the theological treatise The Word of Yahweh ( 1937) and his two-volume doctoral thesis on the Prophet Obadiah. Masing is considered the founder of analytic philosophy in Estonia. One of his students was the Orientalist Arthur Võõbus.

From 1946 to 1964 Masing was scientific secretary of the Consistory of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and professor at the Institute for Religious Studies, he taught Buddhism and Jewish mysticism. In the 1970s and 1980s he worked on the issue of international folkloric works, among other things, Finno -Ugric, Samoyed and Caucasian peoples. He was one of the co-authors of the 12 - volume encyclopedia of the tale.


In addition to his scientific work, Uku Masing is known as a poet, exercised the decisive influence on the Estonian poetry of the 1930s to the 1960s. In 1935 he published his first volume of poetry Neemed vihmade lahte which attracted considerable attention. He was, together with Betti Alver, Bernard Kangro, Kersti Merilaas, Mart Raud, August Sang, Heiti Talvik and Paul Viiding to the group Arbujad ( German about: shaman ), who were committed to a deeper spiritual experience and strong emotional tension. Masing's work is marked by religious feeling.

After the Soviet occupation of Estonia, the most lyrical work Masing were published in the West. In addition, Masing wrote at the end of the 1930s the novel Rapanui vabastamine ehk Kajakad jumalate kalmistul, which appeared posthumously in 1989.

Righteous among the Nations

For the salvation of his Jewish colleagues Isidor Levin before the murder by the German occupying power in Estonia (1941-1944) were awarded Uku Masing and his wife Eha the title Righteous Among the Nations.

Selection of scientific papers

Lyrical works

About Uku Masing

  • Vincent B. Leitch, "Religious Vision in Modern Poetry: Uku Masing Compared with Hopkins and Eliot ." - Journal of Baltic Studies 5, 1974, pp. 281-294. doi: 10.1080/01629777400000301
  • Ivar Ivask, " Uku Masing: A poet in between east and west". - Journal of Baltic Studies 8, 1977, pp. 16-21. doi: 10.1080/01629777700000021
  • Aira Võsa, " Reflects language the soul? Some aspects in the religious identity of Estonians and Estonians in the eyes of Uku Masing ". - Journal of the European Society of Women in Theological Research 14, 2006, pp. 109-120.
  • Peeter Espak, " inim Sumerian, Hebrew דבר יהוה and Polynesian mana in the Early Theories of Uku Masing ". - Research on the anthropology and history of religion 43, 2012, pp. 71-85.
  • Urmas Nõmmik, " Uku Masing and the Old Testament." - Research on the anthropology and history of religion 43, 2012, pp. 187-198.