Dear Jan,

     This is a sad news indeed.  Roodbergen was a giant of a scholar, and his collaboration with Professor S.D. Joshi proved to be very productive.  Together, these two produced an enormous amount of new research on the Paninian tradition.
     I am particularly sad, as Roodbergen was my classmate in Pune during the years 1966-68, along with the Late Jayashree Gune and the Late Pandit Athalekar.  It was a class of three or four people who use to meet with Professor Joshi not only for classes at the University of Pune, but daily at his home for long intensive sessions on the Mahabhashya and the Paribhashendushekhara.  Roodbergen came to see me at the Pune train station, when I left by train for Cochin to board my ship to travel to Philadelphia in July 1968, and I have a photograph of him with me at this event.  All three of my classmates have now passed away, leaving behind lots of memories. ते हि नो दिवसा गता:.

Madhav Deshpande
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 8:05 AM, Jan E.M. Houben <> wrote:

Dear List members,

I regret to inform you that on 12 January 2017 Dr. J.A.F. Roodbergen passed away after a brief illness in a care home to which he had recently shifted. His funeral (cremation) took place yesterday in pure silence, without any public.

To his bibliography – – should be added his obituary of Dr. S.D. Joshi (1926-2013): “In memoriam Dr. Shivram Dattatreya Joshi (1926-2013)” by J.A.F. Roodbergen, pp. 5-7, with supplementary bibliographical note by J.E.M. Houben, pp. 7-12. Bulletin d’Etudes Indiennes 31 (2013): 5-12.

A brief introduction to his approach to the Pāṇinian grammatical tradition – and to the approach of S.D. Joshi, in the words of Roodbergen "il maestro di color che sanno" – is found in the article “Time for a little something” in Pāṇinian studies: Prof. S.D. Joshi felicitation volume (ed. by Madhav M. Deshpande and S. Bhate), Ann Arbor, Michigan (Michigan Papers on South and Southeast Asia 37), pp. 293-321.

His Dictionary of Pāṇinian grammatical terminology appeared in 2008 at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune (with “Supplement to Dictionary of Pāṇinian grammatical terminology”, 2011 in ABORI 90 [2011]: 127-151).
Dr. Roodbergen came to India in the early 1960s, originally in order to work on a thesis on Bhāravi’s Kirāṭārjunīya and its commentary by Mallinātha, in the line of Prof. A.A.M. Scharpé, his guide at Amsterdam University. Seeing, however, that it makes little sense to study a learned commentary like that of Mallinātha without a thorough mastery of the Sanskrit grammatical tradition, he decided first to work on a thesis on Pāṇini’s grammar for a doctoral degree at Pune university under the guidance of Prof. S.D. Joshi (obtained in 1971).

His second doctoral degree he obtained in 1981 at Amsterdam University (guide Prof. A.A.M. Scharpé) on the basis of an analysis and translation of six chapters of Mallinātha’s commentary on the Kirāṭārjunīya, later on published with E.J. Brill, Leiden (1984).

Translations of other chapters have been published in the Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, some chapters are still to appear in the same Journal.

In 1995, he published an Introduction to Pāṇini and an Elementary Grammar of Sanskrit (both in Dutch) at the India Institute, Amsterdam.

In 2010 Dr. Roodbergen donated his large library to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies:

“While living in India, Prof. Roodbergen collected many rare and valuable Sanskrit texts, which are now nearly impossible to obtain. His library contains many Sanskrit texts that have only been published once and have never been studied by Western scholars.”


Farewell to a great scholar, former associate professor (docent) at Amsterdam University, co-founder of the still thriving India Institute, Amsterdam, always a very serious and conscientious scholar and researcher of India's intellectual heritage.




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