[INDOLOGY] French and Sanskrit: was Where can you do a BA in Sanskrit?

Richard Mahoney rmahoney at indica-et-buddhica.org
Fri Jun 25 21:31:15 UTC 2021

Dear Dean,

This might be worth going through:

AuthorJong, J. W. de (Jan Willem), 1921-2000.
TitleA brief history of Buddhist studies in Europe and America / by J.W. de
ImprintTokyo : Kōsei Pub., 1997.

Best, Richard

T +6433121699  M +64210640216  E rmahoney at indica-et-buddhica.org
IM https://t.me/rmahoney  W https://indica-et-buddhica.org/

Indica et Buddhica  Littledene  Bay Road  Oxford  NZ

-----Original Message-----
From: "Hueckstedt, Robert A (rah2k) via INDOLOGY"
<indology at list.indology.info>
Reply-To: "Hueckstedt, Robert A (rah2k)" <rah2k at virginia.edu>
To: indology at list.indology.info <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] French and Sanskrit: was Where can you do a BA
in Sanskrit?
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2021 18:30:40 +0000
X-Spam-Score: 0.0

I'm sure many universities in the US offer an undergraduate major in
Sanskrit, if that is also what is meant by an undergrad BA. Here at
the University of Virginia we have an undergraduate major in South
Asian Languages and Literatures in which the student may choose
Sanskrit as the language. In my time here, though, we have had only a
handful of such students.

Bob Hueckstedt

From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Dean
Michael Anderson via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2021 10:43 AM
To: Isabelle Ratie <isabelle.ratie at gmail.com>; Jan E.M. Houben
<jemhouben at gmail.com>
Cc: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] French and Sanskrit: was Where can you do a BA in

Dear Jan,

Thank you for this informative post. One question. You wrote that
French was:"the language which was the first occidental language of
the scientific study of Sanskrit"

Could you please give me more information on this? I was recently
briefly covering the history of Sanskrit in the West and, while I was
aware that France was one of the major players, I was not aware that
it was the "first" in this sense.

I am not doubting you, since you no doubt know more about this than

Could you please point me to some publications on this? Sadly, though,
French is not one of my main languages and is only at the tourist

Of course, in today's climate in the US, even that is enough that some
might consider it un-American. I've heard that more than one person
said, "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me."



On Friday, June 25, 2021, 7:16:48 PM GMT+5:30, Jan E.M. Houben via
INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

Dear Dominik, 
Thanks for asking this useful question. 
In addition to Isabelle's earlier contribution to this thread I would
like to add a few elements: the BA in Sanskrit at the Sorbonne
Nouvelle is pedagogically one of the best in the world -- the only
limitations I would add are: in the occidental world, for a Western
public, because the strategy to teach Sanskrit to Indian / South Asian
students can be and should be different as most of them, even if their
main subjects are IT, engineering etc., are already so much familiar
with Sanskrit and Sanskritic vocabulary which often helps but may
frequently also put the student on a wrong or deceptive track. 
Hence during my stay at IIT-Bhubaneswar as visiting professor in 2019
(teaching, among other things, an introductory course on Sanskrit,
German and comparative linguistics specially for IIT-students with an
Indian linguistic background), I planned and organized a seminar on
"Functional and Communicative Sanskrit" on 21 December 2019 with
contributions by Godabarish Mishra, Amba Kulkarni, Siniruddha Dash and
others. My plan to help to develop this further, in 2020, to an
introductory course on Sanskrit and comparative linguistics specially
for these students could not be realized due to the Corona crisis. 
As for the BA in Sanskrit at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, another plus is
that it is in French, so that the student at the same time can develop
familiarity with the language which was the first occidental language
of the scientific study of Sanskrit, extensively used also by the
earlier generation of German Sanskrit scholars such as the brothers
von Schlegel and Franz Bopp. 
As for the Sorbonne Nouvelle, the manual used, or one of the major
manuals used, isLe Sanskrit by Nalini Balbir (Paris, 2013) of which an
English version is in preparation. The specialty ofLe Sanskrit is that
it presents, for the first time, the language not only in its
grammatical structure but also as a living means of expression and
communication,entirely on the basis of examples attested in Sanskrit
literature (fiction, fables, dramas) -- hence it is different both
from classical occidental introductions to Sanskrit and from modern
introductions to "spoken Sanskrit". It is a worthy contribution to the
series "Assimil" in which Le Sanskrit is published, as it follows
throughout the "assimilation" method (nipāna-rīti) of language
When it appeared I composed a brief verse: 
निपानरीतिमार्गेण  संस्कृताध्यापनार्थकम् ।
चकार नलिनी शास्त्रम्  अतोऽध्येता प्रसिध्यति ॥
nipānarītimārgeṇa   saṁskṛtādhyāpanārthakam |
cakāra Nalinī śāstram  ato’dhyetā prasidhyati || 
Jan Houben

N.B. Specifically topractice and read Sanskrit there is a yearly
"stage de Sanskrit" organized by Sylvain Brocquet at the Université de
Provence et Aix-en-Provence
(https://cpaf.cnrs.fr/spip.php?article423&lang=fr); another "stage de
Sanskrit" is expected soon at the new institute ILARA, here in

On Fri, 25 Jun 2021 at 08:46, Isabelle Ratie via INDOLOGY
<indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Dear Dominik,
> That our BA in Sanskrit includes a few courses without Sanskrit
> requirement does not disqualify our BA as one in Sanskrit! It
> definitely focuses on the Sanskrit language, as is specified on the
> first page to which I sent a link:
> > son objet principal est le sanskrit et ses littératures, dont elle
> > met en évi­dence la richesse: l’apprentissage du sanskrit s’y fait
> > avant tout par la lecture et la traduction in­tensives de textes
> > appartenant à des genres très différents (contes, épopée, poésie
> > savante, litté­ra­ture historiographique, traités philosophiques,
> > traités d’esthétique, etc.).
> With all best wishes,
> Isabelle
> Le ven. 25 juin 2021 à 04:44, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>
> a écrit :
> > What about 
> > 
> > l’histoire de la société, des philosophies et des religions
> > indiennes, ou encore l’histoire de la con­nais­sance de l’Inde.
> > 
> > Those would not be courses involving reading Sanskrit as such,
> > would they?  They would be in French, about India?
> > 
> > Similarly at UT Austin, it looks like students have to take lots
> > of courses called,
> > 
> > Asian Studies related to South Asia
> > 
> > Again, that wouldn't be actual reading of Sanskrit texts, would
> > it?  And there appear to be a lot of courses under "Core" that are
> > not Sanskrit. (US History; Social and Behavioural Science, etc.). 
> > Presumably students take a few of these?  So it's a general
> > humanities degree with a high Sanskrit content.  Would that be
> > right, or am I misunderstanding?
> > 
> > I was thinking about a degree that focussed on Sanskrit language
> > and literature, not a course where Sanskrit was a component (even
> > a large component).  I'm thinking of the Oxford BA, or the BA at
> > SOAS, when it existed, in the days when it was taught by Mr J. E.
> > B. Gray with his legendary cyclostyled, typewritten, four-year
> > course.  Or the courses taught at German universities in the days
> > of the old MA system.
> > 
> > Best,
> > Dominik
> > 
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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 
Groupe de recherches en études indiennes (EA 2120)
johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu
LabEx Hastec OS 2021 --L'Inde Classique augmentée: construction,
et transformations d'un savoir scientifique

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