[INDOLOGY] The Earliest English Translation of the Rigveda [Publication Announcement]

Walter Slaje walter.slaje at gmail.com
Mon Nov 4 13:41:42 EST 2019

Dear Professor Lusthaus,

the explanation is not difficult to give. As is well-known (at least among
Vedicists), Wilson translated more or less "Sāyaṇa's" view-point only, but
certainly not the Rigvedic text as such, as his posthumous editors E.B.
Cowell and W. F. Webster readily admit themselves in their respective
introductions. This is also briefly dealt with in my preface to this
volume, but actually, the very fact as such is not new at all. Wilson is
not reckoned among Vedicists in the strict sense, whereas Ludwig certainly

Kindly regarding,
Walter Slaje

Am Mo., 4. Nov. 2019 um 19:29 Uhr schrieb Dan Lusthaus <prajnapti at gmail.com

> Dear Prof. Slaje,
> Please explain what is meant by “first *scholarly* translation into
> English.” Horace Hayman Wilson’s English translation, which was published
> in 1866, six years after his death, predates Ludwig’s translation by a
> couple of decades. It is far from perfect, but it was a serious, pioneering
> effort.
> Dan Lusthaus
> On Nov 4, 2019, at 1:19 PM, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> I should like to draw your attention to a new publication in the field of
> Vedic studies:
> *Alfred Ludwigs englische Übersetzung des Rigveda (1886–1893)*.
> 1. Teil: Bücher I–V.
> Herausgegeben von Raik Strunz. Preface by Walter Slaje.
> [Veröffentlichungen der Indologischen Kommission der Akademie der
> Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz. 6]. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz
> Publishers 2019. pp. XXXII, 622; 1 Portrait, 1 Image. 78,00 Eur. ISBN:
> 978-3-447-11306-9
> https://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/Alfred_Ludwigs_englische_%C3%9Cbersetzung_des_Rigveda_(1886%E2%80%931893)/titel_6441.ahtml
> Alfred Ludwig, full professor of comparative linguistics at the then
> German University in Prague (born 1832 in Vienna, died 1912 in Prague), was
> a pioneer in research pertaining to the Rigveda. He translated the Rigveda
> completely into German for the very first time (1876) and was the first to
> open up the content of the Rigveda by means of a multi-volume commentary
> (1878-1888). The fact that Ludwig, in the aftermath of his German
> translation of this important literary document, had also produced an
> English translation of the Rigveda between the years 1886 and 1893, which
> at the same time proved to be the first scholarly translation into English,
> remained entirely unnoticed by the Vedicist and Indological communities.
> Ludwig could not publish his completed translation during his lifetime.
> Shortly after his death, his handwritten translation was purchased by the
> University of Oxford. It was tacitly taken into custody by the Boden
> professor at the time, Arthur Anthony Macdonell (1854-1930) and left to the
> Max Müller Memorial Fund in Oxford only after his death.
> With Maṇḍalas I-V, the first half of Ludwig’s English translation of the
> Rigveda is now brought to light. The publication of the second half,
> containing Maṇḍalas VI-X, is under preparation.
> For all titles in this series, see:
> https://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/reihenwerk_455.ahtml
> Kindly regarding,
> Walter Slaje
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