[INDOLOGY] Stefano Zacchetti (1968–2020)
Vincent.Eltschinger at oeaw.ac.at
Thu Apr 30 20:39:13 EDT 2020
Although I share my friend Jonathan Silk’s incapacity to write anything meaningful in the tragic circumstance of Stefano Zacchetti’s untimely (and, to me at least, still unbelievable) death, I would like to say just a few words as a token of my deep gratitude to and high admiration for him as an exquisite man and an exemplary scholar.
Stefano and I had been reading Chinese together and, more recently, Sanskrit. I owe him the little Chinese I know. Besides offering me the privilege of reading Kumārajīva’s translations once a week (via Skype, already), he had been patiently answering all my questions with the wealth and breadth of textual, philological and linguistic information that characterized him. Stefano certainly was, at least in Europe and in America, the highest authority on Buddhist Chinese, but one could only be struck by his humility towards a(?) language the study of which was, in his opinion, still in its infancy and could bring much to the historical understanding of the evolution of literary Chinese. There was not a book or an opinion he was not aware of – Stefano often quoted the much missed Seishi Karashima’s ideas on the meaning of such and such a word or the proper interpretation of such and such a grammatical or syntactic feature. He was one of the most generous and humble persons I have ever met with in this field, one of the sweetest, too, a highly learned man to whom nothing was indifferent, and who took delight in the conversations he had with his fellows at Balliol College, Oxford, more often than not with specialists of entirely different fields of research. The very idea of a border was something decidedly unintelligible and indecent to him. Although Stefano was deeply in love with his birthplace in the mountainous regions of northern Italy, he was, like any respectable person, a cosmopolitan mind who regarded Brexit and other eruptions of nationalistic pride as the most perfect expressions of stupidity and narrow-mindedness.
Several among my friends have been infected by the coronavirus. All of them managed to save their lives. Except Stefano, one of the most exquisite persons I knew of. He was almost my age, and for the first time in this terrific, not to say apocalyptic period, I have been able to see myself dead. It could just have been me. Unfortunately, it was him, and many of us in the field of Buddhist Studies are going to mourn his passing for the rest of our fragile lives.
Stefano, you’ll be with us forever.
Take good care, this thing is devilish.
Vincent Eltschinger, korrespondierendes Mitglied der OeAW
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des sciences religieuses
Patios Saint-Jacques, 4-14 rue Ferrus - 75014 Paris
vincent.eltschinger at ephe.sorbonne.fr
0033 1 56 61 17 34 / 0033 7 85 86 84 05
Von: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> im Auftrag von Jonathan Silk via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 30. April 2020 16:08:57
Betreff: [INDOLOGY] Stefano Zacchetti (1968–2020)
It is with inconsolable grief that I write to inform you that my dear friend and close colleague Stefano Zacchetti, Professor at the University of Oxford, passed away yesterday.
An appropriate homage and remembrance will appear in due course. I find myself simply unable to write more now.
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
2311 BZ Leiden
copies of my publications may be found at
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