John Benjamins Publishing Company This is a contribution from Target 22:1 ? 2010. John Benjamins Publishing Company This electronic file may not be altered in any way. The author(s) of this article is/are permitted to use this PDF file to generate printed copies to be used by way of offprints, for their personal use only. Permission is granted by the publishers to post this file on a closed server which is accessible to members (students and staff) only of the author’s/s’ institute, it is not permitted to post this PDF on the open internet. For any other use of this material prior written permission should be obtained from the publishers or through the Copyright Clearance Center (for USA: ). Please contact email@example.com or consult our website: Tables of Contents, abstracts and guidelines are available at Obituary Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans J. Vermeer Heidemarie Salevsky Berlin “cuncta fluunt, omnisque vagans formatur imago;
ipsa quoque adsiduo labuntur tempora motu, non secus ac flumen;
neque enim consistere flumen nec levis hora potest: sed ut unda inpellitur unda urgeturque prior veniente urgetque priorem, tempora sic fugiunt pariter pariterque sequuntur et nova sunt semper;
nam quod fuit ante, relictum est, fitque, quod haut fuerat, momentaque cuncta novantur.” (Ovid : Metamorphoses, Book XV: 177–185) The community of translation scholars has lost one of its most distinguished members. On February 4, 2010, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Josef Vermeer died in Heidelberg, Germany. He would have turned eighty on September 24 of this year. His family placed the following words above the announcement of his death: “When an old man dies a library burns.” I would like to modify this statement somewhat: “When a scholar of Hans Vermeer’s calibre dies a library burns.” Hans Vermeer was a very special kind of person. Right until the final weeks of his life he devoted his energies to his chosen field, Translation Studies. He did pioneering work in shedding light on translating and interpreting. The announcement of his death posted by his colleagues, friends and pupils (Süddeutsche Zeitung, February 13, 2010) lists 41 names, including such well-known professors of our discipline as Rosemary Arrojo, Justa Holz-M?ntt?ri, Mary Snell-Hornby, Klaus Kaindl, Gauti Kristmansson, Franz P?chhacker, Erich Prun?, Katharina Rei?, Miriam Shlesinger, Gideon Toury and Lawrence Venuti to mention just a few. Hans Vermeer was a translation scholar who had the ability to navigate the paradigm shifts in theory, to follow the numerous different threads in history and to demonstrate how these run in parallel, croeach other, gradually intertwine or interconnect. He was at ease in adjacent disciplines such as philosophy or rhetoric, and au fait with translators’ comments on their work in the past and present, as well as with developments in literary history and Bible translations. Hans Vermeer was equally at home with the absolutization of the idea in Plato, the unsuccessful imitatio concept of the Renaissance, the culturally sensitive approaches Target 22:1 (2010), 1–5. doi 10.1075/target.22.1.01sal issn 0924–1884 / e-issn 1569–9986 ? John Benjamins Publishing Company 2 Heidemarie Salevsky of Wilhelm von Humboldt and Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher and the relapse into reductionism associated with the ostensibly rigorous scholarship of the 19th-century.