[INDOLOGY] Origin of the term "Indology"

Rosane Rocher rrocher at sas.upenn.edu
Fri Aug 22 02:08:56 UTC 2014

Dear all,

I wish I knew.  Please keep me copied if anyone knows.  The term is 
clearly linked to the professionalization of the discipline in the early 
19th century (barring an early-bird neologism in the 18th).  This most 
likely takes us to Germany or France.  The OED notes the first 
occurrence of "Indology" very late, in 1888, and tellingly, in a Trübner 
catalog.  The first use I can recall offhand, and then of the related 
term "Indologen," occurs in a letter Christan Lassen sent A. W. v. 
Schlegel from Paris on 10 June 1825: "Von den Indologen ist mir nur Herr 
Burnouf zu Gesicht gekommen," in which he used the term in the flat 
tones of a well-worn word. Might we engage in a collective game of "beat 
that date," and see how far back we might reach?

In a related question, I wonder how accepted Indology/Indologie and 
related terms are accepted in common parlance in different languages.  
In spite of the OED's listing, my spellcheck consistently flags 
"Indology" and related terms as faulty.  I also recall the concern a 
British well-wisher expressed at the prospect of a (now published) book 
going by the title "The Making of Western Indology," since "Indology is 
not a word."  We explained that it was the name of our discipline, and I 
remember pointing out that it was also the name of our professional 
listserv.  Our friend was too polite to insist, but I am afraid that it 
convinced him right there and then that our book was not intended for 
the general public!

Best wishes,
Rosane Rocher
Professor Emerita of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania

On 8/21/14 11:28 AM, Michaels, Axel wrote:
> Dear all,
> does anybody know when the term "Indology/Indologie" denoting the 
> academic discipline appeared first?
> Thanks in advance, Axel Michaels
> *Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels*| Acting Director Excellence Cluster "Asia 
> and Europe in a Global Context" | Director Dept. of Classical 
> Indology, South Asia Institute | Director Research Unit "Historical 
> Documents of Nepal" of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and 
> Humanities |*Contact *|Universität Heidelberg, 
> Südasien-Institut| Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, D-69120 Heidelberg |Tel. 
> +49-6221-548917 / Fax +49-6221-546338 |sek-michaels at uni-heidelberg.de 
> <https://exchange.uni-heidelberg.de/owa/redir.aspx?C=f1a10da1fac4416a98bc5b9c7fcac9d8&URL=mailto%3asek-michaels%40uni-heidelberg.de> (SAI 
> office) | Axel.Michaels at urz.uni-heidelberg.de 
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> and personal) | michaels at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de 
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