Re: [INDOLOGY] Grammatica Sanscritica by Jean-François Pons S.J. + Antoine-Léonard Chézy

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at
Wed Jun 10 23:18:49 UTC 2020

Dear Christophe,
Thanks for drawing our attention to this important publication.
Felicitations to Prof. Filliozat for this significant contribution to the
history of Sanskrit studies and Indology.
(I soon hope to have a direct view of the book when my mailbox will again
be accessible.)
The Sanskrit grammar by Father Jean-François Pons was not only contemporary
to or a little later than the Grammatica Grandonica but it also showed, I
believe, a better grasp of the subject.
The grammar by Father Heinrich Roth remained unfortunately unpublished till
1988 and it could not contribute to a better knowledge of Sanskrit in 18th
and 19th century Europe.
Jesuits such as Roberto De Nobili (1577-1656) had full receptive and active
mastery of Sanskrit (and Tamil) but wrote no Sanskrit grammar.
Hence, I summarize my preliminary evaluation in Sanskrit:
किमुरुप्रेक्षखण्डेऽस्मिन्   जज्ञौ कश्चन संस्कृतम् ।
साधुत्वेनेयतः पूर्वं   यथोद्यम्यैव पोन्स् पिता ॥
“Here in Europe, did anyone succeed in knowing
Sanskrit correctly so long ago, as Father Pons did
on account of much perseverance ?”

N.B. Thanks also for drawing attention to the volume brought out by Jérôme
Petit and Pascale Rabault-Feuerhahn and felicitations to the editors:
another significant contribution to the history of Sanskrit studies and
Indology: *Le sanctuaire dévoilé: Antoine-Léonard Chézy et les débuts des
études sanskrites en Europe, 1800-1850* (Paris: BnF - Geuthner, 2019).

On Wed, 3 Jun 2020 at 17:54, Christophe Vielle via INDOLOGY <
indology at> wrote:

> Dear List,
> I have the pleasure to inform you about the recent publication of
> Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat's new book:
> *À l'origine des études sanskrites: La Grammatica Sanscritica de
> Jean-François Pons S.J.. Étude, édition et traduction par *Pierre-Sylvain
> Filliozat*, *Paris, Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions et
> Belles-Lettres vol. 56, 2020, 226 pp.
> Three Sanskrit grammars were composed by Jesuits in India during the the
> 17th-18th centuries.
> The first one was written ca 1660-62 by Father Heinrich Roth (1620-68,
> Agra), in Latin and Devanāgarī script for Sanskrit, based on Anubhūti
> Svarūpācārya’s *Sārasvatavyākaraṇa*; the facsimile of the autograph
> manuscript was published in 1988 by A. Camps & J.-C. Muller:
> (an edition is still expected).
> The second one, entitled *Grammatica Grandonica*, was composed by Father
> Johann Ernst Hanxleden (1681-1732, Kerala), in Latin and Malayalam script
> for Sanskrit, based on the *Siddhar**ūpa* and (a cursory reading of)
> Dharmakīrti's *R**ūpāvatār**a *(H's grammar was later on plagiarized by
> Paulinus in his* Sidharubam*, 1790). The edition of the autograph
> manuscript was made by T. Van Hal and myself in 2013:
> urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-63218
> <> (an additional
> French translation and grammatical commentary, nearly completed, is due to
> appear).
> The third one, entitled *Grammatica Sanscritica*, now published, was
> composed by Father Jean-François Pons (1698-1752, Chandernagor), in
> 1730-32 for its first 5 chapters/first part based on Vopadeva’s
> *Mugdhabodha*, in Latin and Bengali script (autograph ms.), and then for
> its 6th chapter/last part (syntaxe) based on Kramadīśvara's *Sa*ṃkṣiptas
> *āra*, in French and Roman transcription of the Sanskrit (with some use
> of Telugu-Kannada script in the beginning; the preserved ms. of this part
> is a copy) (P's grammar was later on used by A.H. Anquetil Duperron, who
> translated the French part in Latin).
> Filliozat's achievement is remarkable. After a general introduction on the
> 17th-18th centuries Jesuit missionary work on Indian languages and
> civilization (pp. 9-24), a chapter is devoted to the figure of
> Jean-François Pons (pp. 25-47), another to the edition of his letters (pp.
> 49-80; of five, the last, longest one, on Brahmin knowledge had been
> previously published as one of the *Lettres édifiantes*); there follows
> the introduction to the manuscripts and the indigenous grammatical sources
> of the author (pp. 81-95), then the annotated edition of the two parts
> (with a French translation of the Latin text) (pp. 97-197), and finally the
> color-facsimile of the two manuscripts (pp. 199-282). A bibliography and
> index are given at the end. A few extracts of the book are provided here:
> On the early history of Indology, note also the volume on
> *Le sanctuaire dévoilé: Antoine-Léonard Chézy et les débuts des études
> sanskrites en Europe, 1800-1850*, éd. Jérôme Petit & Pascale
> Rabault-Feuerhahn, Paris: BnF - Geuthner, 2019, 458 pp.
> No ToC but see the programme of the 2015 Conference of which it is the
> Proceedings + paper-abstracts here:
> Best wishes
> –––––––––––––––––––
> Christophe Vielle <>
> Louvain-la-Neuve
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*Jan E.M. Houben*

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

*Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

*johannes.houben [at] <johannes.houben at>*


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