F.B.J. Kuiper, 1907-2003

Mi. Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Nov 21 16:37:04 UTC 2003

A few days ago, the sad news has reached me of the passing away of my
Leiden colleague, friend, and Guru,  F.B.J. Kuiper.

Franciscus Bernardus Jacobus Kuiper was born on July 7th, 1907 at 's
Gravenhage (The Hague). He was emeritus professor of  Leiden University,
Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and Member of the Royal
Academy of Sciences, Amsterdam.

He passed away quietly on the morning of November 14th, 2003. He is
survived by wife Mrs. H. Kuiper,  three  sons, a  daughter, and  his
grandchildren. The burial, attended by family and few close friends and
colleagues, took place on the19th.

With F.B.J. Kuiper one of last great Indologists of his generation has left
us. Kuiper's work spanned  a host of fields: from Indo-European linguistics
to Indo-Iranian, Vedic, Skt. drama, Prakrit, Dravidian, Munda, Pan-Indian
linguistics, the Indian Sprachbund, to Indian and Iranian mythology.

For a list of Kuiper's publications, spanning seven decades, and a for
discussion of his work, see several  lists in his journal, the Indo-Iranian
Journal, as well as in the introduction to his "Ancient Indian Cosmogony"
(ed. J. Irwin, Delhi 1983), T.Ya. Elizarenkova's essay on Kuiper  (Trudy po
vedijskoij mifologii = in Engl., Numen 34, 1987, 145-178), and in the
introduction to his "Selected Writings on Indian Linguistics and Philology"
(ed. A. Lubotsky, M.S. Oort, M. Witzel, Amsterdam 1997).

To honor his work, it is perhaps best to quote two published estimations:

T.Ya. Elizarenkova (Numen):  "The activity of Kuiper ... is uncommonly
many-sided. He is not only the author of many articles, which have opened
new perspectives for Indology, but also an active reviewer who quickly
published his reactions to important Indological and Iranistical
publications, a participant in different scholarly discussions."  And from
the 1997 linguistic collection: ".. whether he publishes a short note in
IIJ or a monograph, these contributions always contain a new approach to an
old problem, or they deal with a novel topic first discovered and treated
only by him. ... [he] represents the most innovative and at the same time,
lasting work done in our field in the Netherlands during this century."

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
1 Bow Street, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:  http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list