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

Walter Slaje walter.slaje at gmail.com
Mon Nov 4 14:02:56 EST 2019

 Dear Professor Lusthaus,

I agree with what you say. It was exactly for this reason that I had put
the adjective "scholarly" in the only context of "Rigvedic translations":
"[Ludwig ...] 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 [...]".
Translating "Sāyaṇa's" interpretation from classical Sanskrit is an
admirable achievement in itself. But it is different from a Rigveda
translation. I do not doubt Wilson will retain his esteem in this very
lineage quite as demanded by you and of course as deserved.

Kind regards,

Am Mo., 4. Nov. 2019 um 19:50 Uhr schrieb Dan Lusthaus <prajnapti at gmail.com

> Dear Prof. Slaje,
> I am well aware of the opinion held by Vedicists of Wilson’s pioneering
> effort, and, for the most part, I agree with it. But “scholarly” has many
> meanings, one of them being, for instance, taking native sources, even if
> limited sources, seriously — rather than imagining meanings with little
> basis. In that sense, Wilson’s effort, however, flawed, is still scholarly,
> and deserves to be acknowledged as the first serious effort to present the
> Ṛg Veda to an English-reading audience. Additionally, “first” is a
> chronological feature, not a matter of esteem. Cutting him out of the
> “lineage” strikes me as simply wrong.
> I should have been more precise about the dating. The volumes of Wilson’s
> translation came out over many years, starting in 1850 and continued until
> posthumously complete (last volume, v.6, 1888). All six volumes are
> available on google books.
> best wishes,
> Dan Lusthaus
> On Nov 4, 2019, at 1:41 PM, Walter Slaje <walter.slaje at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> is.
> 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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