[INDOLOGY] earliest translations of Sanskrit or other Indian-language works?

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be
Tue May 16 15:31:37 UTC 2023

In addition to the 1610-1633 Jesuit Portuguese translation of Hindu legends, apparently from the Marathi, found in  J. WICKI, O Homem das trinta e duas perfeições e outras histórias (Ms. Opp. NN. 192 do Arq. Rom. S.J.). Escritos da literatura indiana, traduzidos por Dom Francisco Garcia S. J., Lisboa, Agência Geral do Ultramar, Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos, 1958,
there is also, samely edited by Joseph Wicki, the Tratado do P.e Gonçalo Fernandes Trancoso sobre o Hinduıśmo (Maduré 1616), Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos, 1973, where the ch. 18 includes a translation of the first six verses of the third chapter of the Taittirīya-Upaniṣad — see G. GISPERT-SAUCH, “The Bhṛgu-Valli of the Taittirīya Upaniṣad: an early XVII century European translation”, Indica (Journal of the Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, Bombay) 5/2 (1968), pp. 139-144 [I would be interested to find a copy of this article], and Will SWEETMAN, "The Absent Vedas", JAOS 139/4, 2019, p. 790.

Le 16 mai 2023 à 15:51, Nemec, John William (jwn3y) via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> a écrit :

Dear Indology Colleagues,

Speaking with a colleague, recently, who is not subscribed to this list, a question arose as to the first works translated from an Indian language into a Western one (including Dutch, Portuguese, Latin, French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, etc.).

I am of course aware that Charles Wilkins rendered the Bhagavadgītā into English at a relatively early date, I believe in 1785.  I found reference to 1789 for William Jones's translation of the Abhijñānaśākuntala.  Before these there was a rendering (into Dutch and not first into Latin, though there was a dispute evidently over this fact) of Bhartṛhari's poems by Abraham Roger/Abraham Rogerius, posthumously in 1651.

Could anyone provide more and/or better information about the history of the translation of Sanskrit texts and works of other Indian source languages into Western/European languages?

Thank you.


John Nemec, Ph.D. (he, him, his)
Professor of Indian Religions and South Asian Studies
Editor, Religion in Translation Series (Oxford University Press)
323 Gibson Hall / 1540 Jefferson Park Avenue
Department of Religious Studies
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
nemec at virginia.edu<mailto:nemec at virginia.edu>

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Christophe Vielle<https://uclouvain.be/en/directories/christophe.vielle>

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