Making the Argument for Sanskrit

Herman Tull hwtull at MSN.COM
Thu Jan 11 21:45:19 UTC 2007

Leonard Bloomfield, W. D. Whitney, A. B. Keith, and F. Max Mueller, are all known to us as Sanskritists.  But, let's not forget the significant contributions they made in fields outside Sanskrit: Bloomfield and Whitney to the study of language; Keith to constitutional law, and Max Mueller to the science of religion ("comparative religions") and the study of mythology.  Indeed, I imagine the world largely knows these scholars through their "other" (non-Sanskrit) contributions to knowledge.

Others in this category are M. Eliade, a prolific novelist as well as an important figure in the history of religions, and (to a lesser degree) Joseph Campbell, mythologist and James Joyce analyst.

Herman Tull

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Richard Salomon<mailto:rsalomon at U.WASHINGTON.EDU> 
  To: INDOLOGY at<mailto:INDOLOGY at> 
  Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2007 4:23 PM
  Subject: Re: Making the Argument for Sanskrit

  Also of course T.S. Eliot who studied Sanskrit at Harvard, whence his 
  Upanisad citation in "The Wasteland." (I think Gary Tubb knows the details 
  of his Sanskrit coursework.)

  Rich Salomon

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: "Donald R. Davis, Jr." <drdavis at WISC.EDU<mailto:drdavis at WISC.EDU>>
  To: <INDOLOGY at<mailto:INDOLOGY at>>
  Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:18 AM
  Subject: Re: Making the Argument for Sanskrit

  Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) the famous French sociologist and member of the
  Année Sociologique studied Sanskrit.


  Don Davis
  Dept of Languages & Cultures of Asia
  University of Wisconsin-Madison

  Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
  > Further to David's point below, it could be useful to compile a list of 
  > particularly famous people who had Sanskri, sometimes unexpectedly, in 
  > their backgrounds.  Using such a list would be purely a rhetorical device, 
  > but could still be effective in winning some hearts and minds.
  > examples off the top of my head:
  > Hermann Grassmann (1809-1877), famous mathematician.
  > Leonard Bloomfield (1887--1949), structural linguist, behaviourist,
  >   scholar of American Indian languages, and founder of the Linguistic
  >   Society of America.
  > Ferdinand de Saussure (1857--1913), linguist, founder of structuralism.
  > Dominik
  > On Thu, 11 Jan 2007, David Rustin Mellins wrote:
  >> I certainly agree with Andrea and others that the most effective
  >> immediate response to the current crisis is to send letters in
  >> support of the Sanskrit program in Berlin. As a component of a more
  >> comprehensive strategy to redress cutbacks in Sanskrit programs
  >> throughout the world, would it be feasible or helfpul to conduct
  >> studies to investigate whether studying Sanskrit expedites
  >> linguistic capacity more generally? Statistical evidence might well
  >> strengthen the argument for Sanskrit studies.
  >>                          David Mellins

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