Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 4

True and False Vedas

Ludo Rocher has pointed our that for many Europeans the word Vedam (which is Veda pronounced the Tamil way) signified the sacred scripture or Bible of the Indians. La Croze, for example, defined it as "a collection of ancient sacred books of the Brachmans" that "has among these idolaters the same authority the Holy Scripture has among us" (Rocher 1984:65). However, for Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, the word "Veda" "does not signify exclusively a sacred book but implies in general as much as a sacred law, whether observed by Indians or other nations" (p. 65). Of course, Paulinus famously (and wrongly) [??!] argued that "the Vedas" do not exist as a specific set of ancient Indian scriptures and that the Indians call many texts, even non-Indian ones, "Vedas." But modern southern Indian usage agrees with Paulinus's view about the word, as the entries in the University of Madras Tamil Lexicon cited by Rocher (1984:65) show:

vetam: 1. The Vedas; 2. The Jaina scriptures; 3. The Bible; ...
veta-k-karan: Christian (the only meaning!)
veta-pustakam: 1. The Vedas; 2. The Bible.
veta-vakkiyam: 1. Vedic text; 2. Gospel truth.
veta-vakkiyanam: 1. Commentaries on the Vedas; 2. Expounding the Bible.

As mentioned above, Calmette defined the word "Veda" as "divine scriptures [divines Ecritures]" and explained this use in a letter of the year 1730, which is when he got hold of the Vedas (Le Gobien 1781:13-384). But in order to understand how the author of the Ezour-vedam understood this word, we need to examine its use in the Ezour-vedam and in the notes published by those researchers who saw the originals of the other Pondicherry Vedas before they vanished in the 1930s (Rocher 1984:75). In the Ezour-vedam's first book, the fourth chapter is titled "Of the Vedams," and it is here that we can find the best expression of the Ezour-vedam author's overall view of the Vedas. In this chapter, Biache asks Chumontou how the vedams have come to humankind and who its authors are. Chumontou's explanation begins as follows:

At the outset, God dictated them [the vedams] to the first man, and ordered that he communicate them to the other men so that they might learn in that way to do good and avoid evil. These are the names that one gave to them: the first is called Rik, the second Chama, the third Zozur, and the fourth Adorbo. (Sainte-Croix 1778:1.200)12

Though the first man was in the Ezour-vedam's previous chapter called Adimo ("Adimo is the name of the first man to come from the hands of God," p. 195), we readily identify him as Adam. Instead of letting Biache ask immediately about the fate of these vedams, the Ezour-vedam's author makes him first inquire about the origin of evil.

Biache. One sees that on earth vice as well as virtue reign; God, who is author of all things, is thus the author of both; at least that's what I thought until now. But how could this God, whose goodness is his essence, create vice? That's a problem that weighs on me and that I cannot resolve.

Chumontou. You're wrong about that; God never created vice. He cannot be its author; and this God, who is wisdom and holiness itself, was author of nothing but virtue. He has given us his law in which he prescribes to us what we have to do. Sin is a transgression of this law and is expressly prohibited by this very law. Our bad inclinations have made us transgress God's law. From that [transgression] the first sin was born, and once the first sin was committed it entailed many others. (pp. 201-2)

The (Christian) reader will find this association of the first man with the first sin natural, but the Ezour-vedam's author used it ingeniously to create the basis for his transmission scenario of the Vedas. Thanks to evil and sin, God's original divine revelation (the vedams he dictated to Adimo) could get into the wrong hands:

Biache. You've told me the names of the Vedams that God communicated to the first man. Tell me now to whom the first man communicated them in turn?

Chumontou. The most virtuous children were the first to whom he communicated them, because they were the only ones who could appreciate them [prendre gout]. Sinners into whose hands these sacred books fell have abused and corrupted them, going so far as to have them serve as foundation for their fables and musings [reveries]. That's what you yourself have done. (pp. 202-3)

This conversation leaves no doubt that the author of the Ezour-vedam thought that the Indians and their purported Veda author Vyasa (Biache) used a corrupt version of the original divine revelation. In other words, what the Indians and Vyasa consider to be the true Veda is in reality a degenerate imitation Veda. For Chumontou (who speaks for the Ezour-vedam's author), the true Veda maintained its purity only in a single transmission line. A long time ago, this line had also reigned in India, and the "teachers" in the Ezour-vedam as well as the other Pondicherry Vedas represent this correct transmission.

By contrast, the "pupils" such as Biache (Vyasa) are transmitters of the corrupted tradition. Their Veda is thus for the most part degenerate, though its original pure source is still apparent in a few vestiges of genuine revealed truth. In the words of Calmette's 1735 letter, the Vedas in use by the Indian Brahmins are a "pile of dirt" since they contain "the principle of all Indian sects, and maybe the details of all errors that make up their body of doctrines"; but they also contain a few "specks of gold" (Le Gobien 1781:13.437). These specks could be used to highlight how degraded the original pure teaching has become. They could thus be used as a weapon for "the advancement of [our Christian] religion," which, of course, is the crown of the genuine transmission line. Calmette's view of the Vedam appears to be strikingly similar to both de Nobili's and Chumontou's.

To return to the Ezour-vedam's chapter on the Vedas, like a Catholic priest in a confessional, Chumontou now sternly reproaches Biache for having "abused and corrupted" the sacred books:

That's what you yourself have done, but you've promised me that you won't do it anymore. It's only on this condition, remember, that I will continue to teach you the Vedam, and you will only be in a position to profit from this [teaching] if you renounce these gross errors. (Sainte-Croix 1778:1.203)

With this the stage is set for the final question and answer of the Vedam chapter. It concerns the genuine Veda transmission:

Biache. I will not be satisfied if you do not tell me the names of those to whom the Vedams were entrusted for the first time, or who were its first authors.

Chumontou. Poilo was the author of the Rik-Vedam; Zomeni of the Chama-Vedam; Chumontou of the Ezour-Vedam; and finally, Onguiro composed the Adorbo-Vedam. Each of them communicated it to his children and made them learn it. And those [children] in turn communicated them to their descendants. That is how they have come down to us. (pp. 203-5)

What is important to keep in mind here is the fundamental narrative of the Pondicherry Vedas. It sets a pure, "teacher" transmission line of divine revelation against a degenerate "pupil" transmission line. Both teachers and pupils, of course, had to be Indian and not foreign Pranguis. Famous "pupils" were desirable, and authors of the Vedas or other sacred scriptures were an optimal choice. It is true that the author of the Ezour-vedam was far less knowledgeable and consistent than modern Indologists would wish, but in exchange, he was very systematic in his black-and-white vision. For him the objective was not the satisfaction of some scholar or Brahmin but rather the hammering in of a basic message conveyed to the people in the Telugu language by catechists. Each time the "teacher" insists on something, the famous "pupil" has to admit his error and promise to be a good boy from now on. The obvious objective was to pave the way for the "true Veda" and for conversion, and pupil Biache in the Ezour-vedam demonstrates what the desired outcome was: the rejection of his traditional creed and sacred scriptures, the confession of his sins, a place at his teacher's feet, and the permission to ask questions about the true transmission of God's teachings. For the author of the Ezour-vedam, the true Veda had to open the door for the Good News, the "science of salvation" at whose sight those suffering from bad transmission disease (especially the authors of the Indian Vedas) were to cry out: "Adoration to the Supreme Being! We have hitherto lived in ignorance, but you have now, great God, put us into the hands of the science of salvation!" (p. 205). It was pure praeparatio evangelica. But not all Indians reacted so enthusiastically, as the unfortunate catechist who read from his book about the degeneration of Indian religion had to learn the hard way.

Enhanced Genealogies

The problem of how to present a new religion as the origin of an older one is ubiquitous in Ur-tradition movements. Early Christianity had this problem in an acute form, and eminent early Christians such as Eusebius of Caesarea, Lactantius, and Augustine struggled with it. All three were among the favorite authors of missionaries since they faced similar problems in defining the relationship of their "new" religion to far older ones. The example of Eusebius is particularly illuminating and pertinent because he is also the source of much ancient information about Indian religion that was carefully studied by the missionaries. Eusebius created a scheme that made sure that Christianity was both oldest and newest. The studies of Jean Sirinelli (1961) and especially Jorg Ulrich (1999) show that Eusebius did this by portraying his religion not only as a reform of Judaism, which of course it was, but also as the pure transmission of a pre-Judaic original monotheism. In this scheme, Judaism was seen as an increasingly degenerate successor to the religion of a number of "just ones" that included Enoch and Abraham. These just men had received the correct transmission of the original divine revelation. On the other hand, there was, due to the fall, also a kind of Ur-atheism (Sirinelli 1961:170- 207) that developed into various well-known forms of ancient religion: astral cults, hero worship and divination, polytheism, and so on. But the central argument of Eusebius was that of a bifurcated transmission of original divine revelation. On the "pure" transmission side were not as usual Moses and Judaism but rather a more ancient line of "patriarchs" who had received divine revelation straight from the founder God via Adam.

In this manner, Christianity could, so to speak, jump the line and appear as a reform of Judaism and its ancestor. This was a truly ingenious scheme that Eusebius had worked out in intricate detail in one of the greatest displays of erudition of antiquity: his Praeparatio evangelica. This huge, early fourth-century work of preparation for the Good News is without any doubt the highest peak of early Christian apologetics, and it was supplemented by the Demonstratio evangelica and Eusebius's Church history (Historia ecclesiastica), which made him the founder of this field (Winkelmann 1991). For Jesuits, and even more for Jesuits dispatched to the missions, the Praeparatio evangelica was a must-read.

A very similar scheme, I believe, was adopted by the author of the Ezour-vedam and the other Pondicherry Vedas
and helps explain a difficulty many commentators have felt. Julien Bach and Senator Lanjuinais put it this way:

What embarrassed the critics a bit was that the author of the Pseudo-vedas spoke of the four vedas of the brahmins to refute them; he described their origin and even gave the names of their authors. "It is something inexplicable," said M. Lanjuinais, "that the missionary [who wrote the Ezour-vedam] did not shy away from inserting in his work what could convict him of his imposture." (Bach 1848:63)

"It is an inexplicable thing, the missionary was not afraid to insert in his work which was capable of a convincing impostor. There is perhaps something more inexplicable still, it is that men of wit and taste allow themselves to be dominated by their prejudices to the point of closing their eyes to the evidence."

-- The Father Calmette and the Indianist Missionaries, by Father Julien Bach

Based on Christianity's direct link to the pure transmission of God's original teaching, Eusebius had called Christianity verus Israel, the true Israel (Ulrich 1999:119); so could the Ezour-vedam's author not call Christianity the vera India? In the Ezour-vedam's scheme of things, the authors of the "true Veda" transmission would belong to the "just men" lineage that jumps straight to Christianity, whereas the Brahmins with their Vedas would suffer gradual degeneration, just like Eusebius's Jews with their Old Testament. In Figure 18 this Indian component is indicated by dashed lines; the rectangle would represent Hinduism, which in this perspective is a form of degenerated monotheism similar to Judaism in Eusebius's scheme.

The overall character of the Ezour-vedam as praeparatio evangelica is similar to that of Eusebius's eponymous work since its aim is to refute the other religions as degenerate transmissions and to link one's own religion to the correct transmission of the original, pure doctrine. For Eusebius the pre-Judaic "just men" and Hebrews had to take the role of patriarchs of the correct transmission line. But the author of the Ezour-vedam could not risk inserting Pranguis anywhere along the path. He had to get his patriarchs, whether he liked it or not, from the pool of Indian "just men" rather than biblical patriarchs; and this was a problem that must have bugged him as much as it irritated Western readers who found these Indian patriarchs "inexplicable."

The Anti-Vedic Vedas

Figure 18. Christianity's transmission line in Eusebius of Caesarea (Urs App).

In 1816, Francis Ellis found in Pondicherry a total of eight manuscripts (including the Ezour-vedam) among the remains of the old Jesuit library. His description of these texts, published in 1822, was fortunately rather detailed and must be used here because the texts from the old Jesuit library that Ellis saw have all vanished. The last person to hold the Pondicherry texts in his hands appears to be the Jesuit Castets who examined them some time before 1935 (Rocher 1984:75). All we thus have at our disposal today are the Ezour-vedam manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and a number of descriptions of other "Pondicherry Veda" texts (see below) by Ellis and others.13

These texts all employ the same basic scheme popular in mission literature: a conversation between a teacher and a pupil (Ellis 1822:43). As in the Ezour-vedam, the teacher figure represents the "cult of the genuine God" and the pupil the
degenerate cult (p. 14).
The teachers criticize the pupil's degenerate religion and urge a return to the faith of even earlier times. Both the style and content of these texts seem designed for easy memorization by catechists and maximum impact in debates and recitation before a public that needed to be convinced and prepared for the real Good News. The role of the Pondicherry Vedas was to prepare the ground by denouncing the reigning religion and undermining its claim to genuine transmission of divinely revealed teachings. This implied of course a frontal attack on the Vedas and its traditional guardians.

Once more, the comparison with Eusebius is helpful. He saw the exclusivity of Judaism and its sacred scripture as a symptom of degeneration, and Christianity as a liberation from such limits: it is a law for all peoples, not just for a small group or caste.

First of all, Christ is for Eusebius the telos [goal] of the law because he abolishes exactly those limitations that were inherent in the Jewish law: in Christ, the revelation of the divine will to save is directed at all mankind, not just at the Jews; and [it is directed] at the entire earth, not just at the narrow confines of Palestine. (Ulrich 1999:155)

Chumontou makes a similar argument. While deploring the "evils with which the earth is inundated in this unfortunate century," he regards it as more fortunate than past ones; and though Chumontou is supposedly speaking in the distant past, we hear through his mouth very distinctly the voice of a desperately optimistic French missionary in eighteenth-century India:

If in the first centuries virtue was easier to achieve, there were also more demands than today. Each profession, each caste was subject to particular ceremonies which are [now] abolished and no more in use. There were particular places, temples, and designated persons to offer sacrifices and carry out the other principal functions of religion. Only they could perform this. It would have been a crime for anybody else to interfere. Today one is no more subjugated to all this. Every person that has piety can carry out the functions of religion, and one can do this at any time and place. Furthermore, in the first centuries one could not teach the Vedan to the Choutres [Sudra] and the general population; it would even have been a sin to do this. Now one can do this without fear and scruples. It is on account of this that this century has some advantage over earlier ones. (Rocher 1984:171-72)

A Brahmin would immediately understand that this was a frontal attack on his religion, caste, and the Veda; and the editor of the Ezour-vedam's printed edition wrote in a note: "All that the author reports here can only apply to the times after the Mahommedan invasions and proves that his work is not of great antiquity" (Sainte-Croix 1778:2.81). Sainte-Croix [Guillaume Emmanuel Joseph SAINTE CROIX (de) ] could have gone a bit further, but he still clung to the belief that the Ezour-vedam was a translation of an Indian text.

Guillaume Emmanuel Joseph SAINTE CROIX (de)

The Ezur-Vedam or Old Commentary on Vedam. Containing the exhibition of religious and philosophical views of Indians. Translated from Samscretan by a Brame.

In the Imprimerie de M. de Felice, Yverdon 1778
, in-12 (9.5x16cm), xij 13-332pp. and 264pp., 2 bound volumes.

First edition of this religious pastiche composed by Jesuit missionaries in India. Printed on the presses of Fortune Barthelemy Felice in Yverdon, it was published by the Holy Cross baron.

Binding post (1840) full fair calf. Back with five nerves decorated with gilded boxes and nets, as well as parts of title and volume number of long grain brown morocco. Triple gilt fillets in coaching contreplats. Quadruple threads and golden floral spandrels framing of paper contreplats to the tank. All edges gilt.

Pretty nice copy binding Niédrée, whose name is registered in pen on the first guard of the first volume.

-- Guillaume Emmanuel Joseph SAINTE CROIX (de), by


Veda transmission / 1st Veda (Rik; Rg) / 2nd Veda (Chama; Sama) / 3rd Veda (Ezour/Zozur; Yajur) / 4th Veda (Adorbo; Atharva)

Genuine (teacher) / Poilo/Poilapado / Zoimeni / Chumonrou (Sumanta) / Otri/Atri
Degenerate (pupil) / Narada / Naraion (Narayana) / Biache (Vyasa) / Ongira (Angiras)

The Pondicherry Vedas

Having thus gotten a taste of the genuinely anti-Vedic spirit of these "true Vedas," it is time to look at the Ezour-vedam's sister texts. Ellis's 1822 descriptions of the Pondicherry Vedas permit establishing the arrangement of the heroes and villains in the axes of the genuine and the corrupt transmission of divine revelation shown in Table 13.

Since the Ezour-vedam and its content were already to some degree discussed in Chapter I, I will here focus on Ellis's description of the fifth Pondicherry manuscript. It contained the Pondicherry Chama Vedam, traditionally the second Veda (Sama), and features in the first section Zoimeni as teacher and Naraion as disciple. Naraion can only be Narayana or Narayan, that is, the god Vishnu. So much for name recognition of the disciple! But in several parts of this text, the roles are reversed (p. 24), which may be a symptom of the author's "Indian patriarch" problem. According to Ellis, this fifth manuscript contained in the margins on the French side a sequence of abstracts that appear to be either the grid on which the author constructed his text or its summary by an astute reader or copyist. These comments are extremely interesting because they so clearly express intentions that often remain hidden in a finished text; but in this case, the finished text is lost, and we only possess these notes as recorded by Ellis. They begin as follows.

Book I. Chapter 1. Contains the introduction [exorde] of the whole work, the aim of ZOIMENI in composing it. -- Dedication of his book to the Supreme Being -- character of the genuine guru and his functions.

Chapter 2. Contains a grand idea of God and his attributes and refutes the false idea that the false Vedas give of the divinity. Summary of the creation of the world.

Chapter 3. Treats of the imaginary [fabuleuse] creation of the false Vedas, undertakes their refutation. It then treats of the virtue of those who are able and unable to read the Vedam.

Chapter 4. Speaks of the true God and of the cult that must be given to him -- in establishing the cult of the true God he condemns the cult which Naraion wants people to give to Vishnu and Shiva. (Ellis 1822:14)

Like the Ezour-vedam, this text also sets a "false Veda" transmission against the genuine one. The "false Vedas" convey a false idea of God, his attributes, and his cult, while the true Vedas explain the correct conception of these things. Chapter 3 is about the origin and transmission of both true and false Vedas and may also have discussed the caste restrictions regarding the reading and recitation of their "false" Veda in contrast with the "true" Veda that is open for all. This effort to undermine the authority of the Indian Vedas (and thus also that of the Brahmins) was sure to enrage Indian clergy, who must have been astonished by this kind of brazen hijack attempt by outcaste Johnny-come-latelies who had no idea of the Vedas. For the missionary author and the "teacher" of this text, on the other hand, the genuine tradition was now coming back to India, the cult of the true God was about to be restored, and the reigning cults of Vishnu and Shiva were on their way to extinction.

The Chama Vedam's second book starts by digging deeply into what Calmette called "dirt":

Book II. Chapter 1. Speaks of five mythical [fabuleuses] opinions of creation: the first called Padmokolpo, attributed to VICHNOU; the second into the tortoise; the third into the pig; the fourth into GONECH; the fifth into the goddess BIROZA; then the second creation, attributed to the tortoise, of the deluge, of the metamorphosis of the Supreme Being into the tortoise, of the creation of a maiden whom the tortoise marries ... [additional details omitted here but not in Ellis, p. 15]

Chapter 2. Includes the refutation of the preceding [chapter] -- beautiful idea of God drawn from the true Vedam.

Chapter 3. Contains the continuation of the metamorphosis of the Supreme Being in a tortoise; it includes the system of total and partial metamorphoses, that is to say that comprise the entire divinity; a system that one will find well developed in the Odorbo Bedo or fourth Ved, a book which treats of this ex professo, refutation of this system -- beautiful character of the true god. ZOIMENI makes in this chapter NARAION the author of the false Chama Ved, essential remark. (pp. 15-16)

Indian creation myths, incarnations, and metamorphoses of the "false" Chama Ved whose author is Naraion are contrasted with the pure gold of the true Vedam. This true Vedam is understood as the true "word of God," as Calmette had heard his Indian experts explain, and this is laid down in the genuine Chama Ved that is none other than this second Pondicherry Veda!

The third book of the Chama Vedam continues to expose the creation myths of Brahma and Shiva in order to refute them on the basis of the true revelation tradition as laid down in the Pondicherry Vedas.

Book III. Chapter 1. Contains the creation attributed to the boar, it is BRAMMA or the Supreme Being under the name of CHIB which metamorphoses itself into a boar; and Parvati his wife into a sow to withdraw and sustain the earth, description of the place where CHIB lived.

Chapter 2. Contains the refutation of the precedent.

Chapter 3. Contains the description of the creation brought about by the Boar God, the substance of this creation is found in the body of the true Ezour Ved.

Chapter 4. Is the refutation of the precedent. (p. 16)

The "true Ezour Ved," clearly refers to the Pondicherry text of the Ezour-vedam containing the creation account that is here alluded to (Rocher 1984:133). If there still was any doubt whether the author or commentator really identified the "true Vedam" as the Pondicherry Vedas, it is here resolved. The whole configuration and content of these Pondicherry Vedas make Rocher's idea that "Ezour stands for Y-ezus, i.e. Jesus" (p. 66) very unlikely and shows that it was not de Guignes who invented the identification of the Ezour-vedam with the third Veda.

The fourth and final book introduces a theme that will play a role later in this chapter, namely, emanation.

Book IV. Chapter 1. Contains the marriage of CHIB the Supreme Being[,] the birth of his son GONECH, the loss of his head, which CHIB substituted with that of an elephant and the beginning of the creation attributed to GONECH.

Chapter 2. Is the refutation of the fables of the preceding.

Chapter 3. Speaks of the manner in which GONECH made the 3 worlds with his 3 eyes: [ ... details ... ) This chapter ends with the two opinions about the nature of the soul [;] the first want it to be immortal, without principle and subjected to the Gounalous and that it reunites and identifies itself with God at the time of deluge, that is to say, at the end of each age; the second that it [the soul] is mortal and that it is compared to God what the reflection of the sun on water is to the sun.

Chapter 4. Is the refutation of the precedent. ZOIMENI author of the true Chama Vedam combats as false the system which makes the soul an emanation of God, that unites itself with God at the end of each age; system that Onguira, author of the true Odorbo Bedo, appears to adopt as one can see at that place.

N. Evident PROOF that the true Chama Vedam and the true Odorbana Vedam have not come from the same hand and that the Brame who has communicated them is not their author. (Ellis 1822:16-17)

The final note by the author or annotator of the Chama Vedam is hard to figure out but seems to be part of an attempt to justify the missionary's choice of "true Veda" authors. It is a pity that the manuscript is lost because this would throw light into a shady corner.

The Authorship of the Pondicherry Vedas

Ludo Rocher (1984:28-52, 57-60) has extensively discussed previous opinions about the Ezour-vedam's authorship, and there is no need to repeat this here. In most contributions, questions about the regional pronunciation of Sanskrit terms and regional information indicating either southern or Bengal origin play central roles. Often the Sanskrit translations and even the fate of the Ezour-vedam in Europe form part of the discussion of authorship. But we need to keep the issues separate.

First, the Ezour-vedam and its sister texts were created by one or several French missionaries, but as far as we know these missionaries did not have a European public in mind. Based on our analysis, we must conclude that these texts were written for an Indian audience. For a European readership, the link of ancient Indian figures in the texts to antediluvian patriarchs or to Noah and his sons would have been obligatory; but in the Ezour-vedam and its sister texts, such Prangui connections had to be avoided at all cost -- a clear indicator of the intended public. Some confusion about the identities of the Indian patriarchs suggests that this was no easy task. This first phase is the only truly relevant one for the authorship question. One must be careful not to muddle the issue by confusing the question of authorship with issues such as who later added Sanskrit translations, who gave the text to Maudave, who transcribed Indian words in certain ways, and other considerations.

The second level of media activities of the U.S. government are the covert operations in the traditional sense. In theory, these deception operations are directed at influencing foreign, not domestic, opinion. Prior to December 1981, domestic activities were theoretically forbidden by the CIA's charter and by the Executive Orders governing CIA behavior. For all practical purposes, however, the charter was systematically violated. But now under President Reagan's Executive Order 12333, the CIA can operate within the United States so long as what it does is not "intended" to influence public opinion domestically. Who or what determines CIA "intentions" is not specified, leaving a wide open field for more blatant manipulation of U.S. public opinion.

Even operations conducted entirely abroad are liable to cause "blowback," the situation wherein the U.S. media picks up reports from overseas, disseminating them at home, without realizing (or caring) that the reports are false and emanate from U.S. intelligence in the first place. Blowback is very dangerous; in Vietnam there was so much CIA disinformation being spread that U.S. military intelligence reports were often unwittingly based on complete fabrications which had been produced at CIA Headquarters. In other cases, the CIA itself performed as an anti-intelligence agency in which the covert operators had to supply the information that the policy makers wanted. Government thus became the victim of its own disinformation line, compounding the original damage and leading officials to be twice removed from reality. (Numerous examples of this are documented in Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA, a recent book by Ralph W. McGehee [Sheridan Square Publications, New York: 1983].)

One of the most graphic examples of an intentional blowback operation was cited by former CIA officer John Stockwell in his book about Angola, In Search of Enemies. In order to discredit the Cuban troops who were aiding the MPLA government forces in that country's war with South Africa, CIA propagandists in Kinshasa, Zaire, came up with a story about Cuban soldiers raping Angolan women. Using an agent/stringer for a wire service, the Agency had the story passed into the world media. Subsequently it was embellished by further spurious reports of the capture of some of the Cubans by the women they had raped, of their trial, and of their execution by their own weapons. The entire series, spread out in the U.S. press over a period of several months, was a complete CIA fabrication...

In the third instance of press manipulation, the U.S. disguises its handiwork by engaging in the double whammy: accusing the Soviet Union of disseminating the phoney documents it has itself produced. Given the widespread coverage these charges receive, the "proof" is astonishingly contradictory. Last year, for example, a supposedly bogus letter from President Reagan to King Juan Carlos of Spain was publicly denounced by the State Department as a Soviet forgery because it had errors in language and, as one officer noted, "it fits the pattern of known Soviet behavior." The previous year, another document was called a Soviet forgery because it was "so good" it had to be a Soviet product. Periodically the government will call forth one of their stable of "defectors" to confirm that something is a forgery and the U.S. media buy it without much question...

The greatest assistance in disinformation -- especially during the current Administration -- is always forthcoming from the Reader's Digest. In 1977 the Times series exposed Digest editor John Barron as having worked hand in glove with the CIA on a book about the KGB. Other fraudulent journalists like Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Daniel James, Claire Sterling, and Michael Ledeen, among others, seem to pick up disinformation themes almost automatically. In fact, coordination between the development of propaganda and disinformation themes by the covert media assets, the overt propaganda machine, and the bevy of puppet journalists is quite calculated. A theme which is floated on one level -- a feature item on VOA about Cuba for example -- will appear within record time as a lead article in Reader's Digest, or a feature in a Heritage Foundation report, or a series of "exposes" by Moss and de Borchgrave or Daniel James in some reactionary tabloid like Human Events or the Washington Times or Inquirer. Then they will all be called to testify by Senator Denton's Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, repeating one another's allegations as "expert witnesses."

After that they are given credibility by the "respectable" Cold War publications like the National Review, Commentary, and the New Republic. And finally, since they have repeated the theme so many times it must be true, they are given the opportunity to write Op Ed pieces for the New York Times or the Washington Post...

It is well established that all intelligence agencies will forge and plant documents and lie where practicable, so that from at least one of them it is possible to obtain virtually any desired "fact." Former CIA officer Ralph W. McGehee, for example, states that the CIA has "lied continually" and that "Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies" (Deadly Deceits, p. 192). This is commonplace...

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Church Committee), reporting later in 1976, found two "reasons for concern" with the CIA's use of journalists. One was the problem of "fallout" [blowback] -- "the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. "The second was that all U.S. journalists and media would be discredited as the relationship between the CIA and some of them became known. The committee expressed no concern for the foreign victims of CIA lies...

In his recent book, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA, Ralph W. McGehee has shown that "the American people are the primary target audience of [the CIA's] lies," not simply an unfortunate, incidentally affected group.

-- The CIA and the Media, by CovertAction Information Bulletin

Speakes declined repeatedly to say whether CIA disinformation -- that is, false and-or misleading information -- was planted in foreign media.

It is a common CIA practice, according to both McGehee of Herndon, Va., and John Stockwell of Elgin, Texas, another former CIA agent. In 1976, the Senate Intelligence Committee estimated that 900 foreign journalists, or agents posing as journalists, helped the agency plant propaganda.

The phony news story "could be an article we'd write and just give to a reporter under contract," said McGehee. "Or we'd give them guidelines, saying, 'Here's the story we want generated; you write it in the local context.'

"Once you'd planted an article successfully, you'd clip it and airmail it around the world, get it placed in news media everywhere," he continued.

-- CIA Has Global Media Machine, Ex-Aides Say, by Frank Greve

Second, since the Ezour-vedam's original target public was speaking Telugu, Sanskrit translations must have been made later when some missionaries -- possibly but not necessarily including the author of the original French text -- decided to try to render some of the French text into as good a Sanskrit as they could manage. This individual or group of individuals may have studied Sanskrit in different regions of India, which helps explain the mixed transliterations,14 and these individuals may also have edited the original French text to some extent. Every copyist could modify the text, as the three extant manuscripts of the Ezour-vedam show. Since we have no way of knowing how many times and by whom these texts were copied or edited, all we can do is speculate. We may never know what the intentions of the Sanskrit translator(s) were; it may just have been a pastime of some retired missionary Sanskritists like Pons or Antoine Mozac. At any rate, there is no indication whatsoever that these Sanskrit translation drafts were ever intended for public consumption; otherwise, they would have been corrected with the help of an Indian Sanskritist and properly edited. The second production stage, therefore, involves editing and copying of the French text and adding Sanskrit translation exercises on the facing pages of some texts.

Third, two of these texts (the Ezour-vedam and Voltaire's Cormo-veidam) may have undergone some clean-up editing (for example, eliminating passages like the "Telugu place name" remark in the Haday manuscript) before being sent to Europe. The Ezour-vedam, which today is the only extant Pondicherry Veda, reached Europe in several somewhat different manuscript versions and thus entered, with the significant help of Voltaire and then Sainte-Croix, a new career stage. This issue was to some degree discussed in Chapter 1.

Special Pleading (Stacking The Deck):

using the arguments that support your position, but ignoring or somehow disallowing the arguments against.

Uri Geller used special pleading when he claimed that the presence of unbelievers (such as stage magicians) made him unable to demonstrate his psychic powers.

Excluded Middle (False Dichotomy, Faulty Dilemma, Bifurcation):

assuming there are only two alternatives when in fact there are more. For example, assuming Atheism is the only alternative to Fundamentalism, or being a traitor is the only alternative to being a loud patriot.

Short Term Versus Long Term:

this is a particular case of the Excluded Middle. For example, "We must deal with crime on the streets before improving the schools." (But why can't we do some of both?) Similarly, "We should take the scientific research budget and use it to feed starving children."

Burden Of Proof:

the claim that whatever has not yet been proved false must be true (or vice versa). Essentially the arguer claims that he should win by default if his opponent can't make a strong enough case.

There may be three problems here. First, the arguer claims priority, but can he back up that claim? Second, he is impatient with ambiguity, and wants a final answer right away. And third, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Argument by Rhetorical Question:

asking a question in a way that leads to a particular answer. For example, "When are we going to give the old folks of this country the pension they deserve?" The speaker is leading the audience to the answer "Right now." Alternatively, he could have said "When will we be able to afford a major increase in old age pensions?" In that case, the answer he is aiming at is almost certainly not "Right now."

-- A List Of Fallacious Arguments, by Don Lindsay

Figure 19. Stages of Ezour-vedam creation and dissemination (Urs App).

STAGE 1: Creation by French Jesuits for Telgu translation; debate use, catechists. Pondicherry.

STAGE 2: Edition of French text, copying, Sanskrit draft translations for private use. Pondicherry.

STAGE 3: Ezour-vedam and Cormo-vedam copies & maybe edited: leaked & sent to Europe Geneva/Paris.

STAGE 4: Edition by Ste-Croix, 1778 publication. Discussed & edited by scholars. Europe.

STAGE 5: Use of manuscripts by Cocurdoux, Paulinus, and Dubois (plagiarism). Pondicherry, Paris, London.

Fourth, the Ezour-vedam was edited by the Baron of Sainte-Croix on the basis of Voltaire's and Anquetil-Duperron's manuscripts and published in 1778 as "the first original work published to date on the religious and philosophical dogmas of the Indians" (Sainte-Croix 1778:1.xii). Sainte-Croix's vision of the text and its authorship will be discussed below.

Fifth, the manuscripts of the Pondicherry Vedas (and possibly additional notes and related study materials) were from 1770 onward used and plagiarized by several persons and ended up directly and indirectly influencing the nineteenth-century image of Indian religion.

As explained above, the question of authorship of the French text concerns only the first of the stages shown in Figure 19. The author worked in the environment of the Malabar mission where Telugu was the target language. What he had in mind was not producing a fake Veda translation because he was inspired by La Croze's wish to see a European-language translation of the Vedas (Rocher 1984:73), nor did he have any intention of committing a literary forgery and a "religious imposition without parallel" (Ellis 1822:1). Rather, a missionary had the idea to create such texts for the education and conversion of heathens and designed a format that made them easy to memorize and use for missionaries and catechists and, of course, also easy to understand by the native audience who must for the most pan have been illiterate. There were no Voltaires sitting at the catechists' feet in those villages near Pondicherry. The main point of these entertaining repartees was to prepare Indians for instruction in Christianity by undermining their trust in the native religion and its clergy and squarely attacking the authority of the Veda by calling it "false." This meant digging up much "dirt" about the indecent adventures of Indian gods and goddesses, gods turning into boars, and the like; but other educational content was also mixed in, for example, how to construct a water clock from a simple copper tube (Sainte-Croix 1778:1.267) and, as we have seen, geography lessons. This was part of instruction in the tradition of the "genuine Vedas." At this stage, nothing could have been further from the author's mind than an elaborate plan to mislead a generation of budding Orientalists in Europe about India's ancient religion. His focus on undermining the Vedas and on conveying information to natives who knew little of the world is all too evident.

Among all the letter-writing Jesuit missionaries active in India in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries hitherto mentioned as possible authors of the Ezour-vedam, there is no one who comes even close to matching the profile of Jean Calmette with regard to motivation, eagerness, and ability to study Indian religions from primary materials; determination to use such materials as "weapons" in disputes; activity in the Telugu-speaking area; inspiration by de Nobili's conception of satya vedam; and other characteristics described above. Calmette has been on the authorship shortlist since Julien Bach's perceptive articles of 1847 and 1848 that were less concerned with linguistic issues than with questions of motivation and content. In his 1868 book, Bach summarized his argument as follows:

If we accept with the missionary that Indian superstitions derive from primitive traditions altered by ignorance or their taste for fables, and we give the term veda its real meaning revelation, we have the entire work of the missionary in a nutshell: there was a Veda, a primitive revelation, and its tradition spread as far as India; but you, brahmans, have corrupted the Veda by mistakes of all kinds. I shall destroy these mistakes. (Bach 1868:23; trans. Rocher 1984:44)

Calmette also found support for his view from a witness whom we will meet again later in this chapter: the famous Abbe Jean-Antoine Dubois. Bach reported:

What I said above made me suspicious not only that the Ezour-Vedam is a French work but also that Calmette was its author. To acquire certitude I thought of contacting the person in Paris who had to be most familiar with the question. I said to myself that the venerable Abbe Dubois -- who had spent forty years as a missionary in India, lived with the last remaining Jesuits, and stayed in Pondicherry -- had without any doubt seen these odd manuscripts that created such a brouhaha. I went to see him and asked him, without telling him my opinion, if he knew the author of the Ezour-vedam. -- It is Father Calmette, he said immediately. But, he added, several missionaries have had a hand in it. (Bach 1868:23)

Actually, Abbe Dubois was far more familiar with these Pondicherry materials than Father Bach could imagine. Rocher noted shortly before his book on the Ezour-vedam went to press that "long passages in the EzV [Ezour-vedam] correspond to Dubois' text" and that "these correspondences, even in Dubois' French version, are never verbatim, but too close to be accidental" (1984:87). In the meantime, Sylvia Murr (1987) has shown that Dubois systematically plagiarized the writings of Father Gaston Laurent Coeurdoux that he had found in the remains of the Jesuit mission library at Pondicherry; and we know that the Pondicherry Vedas were also there. So the conclusion that Dubois also plagiarized these manuscripts is not difficult to draw. This also means that, in Julien Bach's time, there was nobody in the world who knew these manuscripts better than Dubois -- yet Bach who questioned him had no idea of this fact. Dubois's opinion was thus incomparably more informed than that of Anquetil-Duperron and others who did not even know that several texts of the kind existed.

Bach's opinion convinced numerous library catalogers, but in the twentieth century, Julien Vinson rejected Calmette's authorship mainly with arguments related to Bengali transliterations and the fate of the text in Europe (Vinson 1902:293), which, as noted above, need to be separated from the authorship question. The objections of Castets (1935:40), too, are related to his idea that the Ezour-vedam must be of Bengali origin because of the transliterations. Additionally, Castets claims that "one can find nothing in this unpublished correspondence of Father Calmette that reminds one the slightest bit [de pres ou de loin] of the famous Ezour Vedam" (p. 40). But the letters by Calmette quoted by Castets actually offer excellent support for Calmette's admiration for and inspiration by de Nobili, and we have seen that this inspiration ties in very well with Calmette's published letters as well as the general trend of the Pondicherry Vedas. Objections by other people that were listed by Rocher (1984:45) are equally beside the point, and one must conclude that-unless one would like to have a single-author manuscript with no further interference by others -- so far not a single objection to Calmette's authorship has merit.

Now if other missionaries "had a hand in it," as Dubois put it, who was he thinking of? There is an interesting passage in the Ezour-vedam that can provide a hint. For some reason the text's author wanted to educate the Telugu-speaking audience not just about the construction of a simple waterclock and the geography of our earth but also about other religions, such as that of the evil "Baudistes":

Chumantou: ... The most criminal of all are those called Baudistes. They are really abominable people who are so impious and blasphemous as to seek to destroy and annihilate even the idea of divinity.

Biach: Tell me, Sir, what are these Baudistes?

Chumantou: The Baudistes are dominant in different countries. Their system is to not recognize any purely spiritual substance and no god except for themselves, which is the greatest and most horrible of all crimes. (Rocher 1984:171)

The author of these lines is likely to have read La Croze's book of '724 that contained, as discussed in Chapter 2, an early synthesis of information about Buddhism and argued mainly on the basis of Ziegenbalg's and La Loubere's information that Buddhism was a religion founded by an Indian man called Boudda who is called by various other names depending on the country, for example, "Fo" or "Foto" in China. This religion was long ago eradicated in India because of its atheism but found its way to various Asian countries including Siam, Tibet, China, and Japan. But the remark that the Baudistes do not recognize any purely spiritual substance is not found in La Croze and must come from another source. Now we have another very short description of this religion that stems from the very region in which the Pondicherry Vedas must have been written. It is by Father Pons who was from 1733 to 1740 with Calmette a member of the Malabar mission (Castets 1935:47) and had studied Sanskrit in the Bengal region. In this famous letter of November 23, 1740, about Sanskrit and Indian philosophy, Pons wrote:

The Bauddistes, whose doctrine of metempsychosis has been universally adopted, are accused of atheism and admit only our senses as principles of our knowledge. Boudda is the Photo revered by the people of China, and the Bauddistes are of the sect of the Bonzes and Lamas. (Le Gobien 1781:14.79)


Theme / Ezour-vedam on Buddhism / Pons on Buddhism

atheism / recognize no god except for themselves, seek to annihilate even idea of divinity / accused of atheism

sensualism / do not recognize purely spiritual substance / admit only senses as principles of knowledge

presence / dominant in different countries / China, Tibet, Japan (Lamas and Bonzes)

founder / -(no point to explain this to Indians?) / Boudda = Photo  

metempsychosis / -(too trite for Indians?) / doctrine of metempsychosis universally adopted

The very brief remarks about this religion in the Ezour-vedam and in this letter could be miles apart, given that so little was known about it at the time. But in spite of their extreme brevity, they show a similar vision, as shown in Table 14.

Pons and Calmette, who came from the same little town of Rodez in southern France, had both been eager to find the Vedas, and both collaborated closely with Abbe Bignon in procuring precious Indian books for the Royal Library in Paris. In the 1730s, these two men were the only missionaries in the region capable of studying the Vedas and related texts, and it would be strange indeed if they had not worked together. After Calmette died in 1739 in Pondicherry, Pons was for a decade busy in Karikal (1740-50), but he returned to Pondicherry in 1750, more than a year before his death (1751). He was by then retired, and it is conceivable that he used his leisure to try his hand not only at reading Sanskrit, as he had done for a quarter-century, bur also at practising his writing. What better texts to try his hand at translating than his friend Calmette's Pondicherry Vedas? I agree with Castets that Father Pons, the author of a treatise on Sanskrit prosody who had been both a superior in the Bengal mission from 1728 to 1733 and a longtime resident of the Malabar mission in the South, may have "distracted himself, reduced by his age and his tiring work, to forced leisure at the siege of the Pondicherry mission" (Castets 1935:46); but instead of just annotating the Pondicherry Vedas, I think he may have employed his great talents, instead of on the eighteenth-century equivalent of crossword puzzles, for some active mindsport that resulted in fragmentary, unrevised, unsystematic translations of Calmette's French texts into Sanskrit-translations that were full of mistakes, as is to be expected of someone who reads a language but never writes it. It is hard to imagine that such jottings were designed for mission use or for public consumption. Pons's interest in the real Vedas was limited, as a letter written in 1740 just after the death of Calmette shows:

The four Vedan or Bed are, according to them, of divine authority: one has them in Arabic at the Royal Library; accordingly the brahmins are divided in four sects of which each has its own law. Roukou Vedan or, according to the Hindustani pronunciation, Recbed, and the lajourvedam are the most followed on the Indian subcontinent between the seas, and the Samavedan and Latharvana or Brahmavedam in the North. The Vedan contain the theology of the brahmins; and the ancient Pouranam or poems the popular theology. The Vedan, as far as I can judge by the little I have seen of it, are nothing but a collection of different superstitious and often diabolical practices of the ancient Richi, penitents, or Mouni, or anachorets. Everything, even the gods, is subjected to the intrinsic power of sacrifices and Mantram; these are sacred formulae they use to consecrate, offer, invoke, etc. I was surprised to find the following: om Santih, Santih, Santih, harih. You surely know that the letter or syllable om contains the Trinity in Unity; the rest is the literal translation of Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus. Harih is a name of God which signifies Abductor. (Le Gobien 1781:14.75)
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Part 3 of 4

Editors and Copyists of the Ezour-vedam

With regard to the time of origin of the Pondicherry Vedas, Ellis reported: "At the end of this manuscript [No.7] are two dates on a slip of paper, on which the concluding lines of the translation are written, one is 'Annee 1732,' the other 'Annee 1751'" (1822:27). Castets, who was the last man to see the Pondicherry Vedas, wrote that in 1923 when he first examined these manuscripts, the slip of paper documented by Ellis had disappeared (1935:33) but commented:

These two dates are interesting in several respects. The second one shows that the Vedams from No. 3 to No. 8 existed in collected and translated form before 1751, as the watermark of 1742 on the paper already sufficiently indicated. We do not talk about the numbers 1 and 2 which were probably much anterior to these latter ones and represented only copies of unknown originals that were evidently written by the French missionaries themselves. Furthermore, these two dates which were written by the annotator of the whole collection, seemed to interest him personally and, by their conjunction, evoke in him emotions of contrast between the interest that he had for these Vedams, or at least some of them, in 1732, and that which his critical inspection of the same inspired in 1751. (Castets 1935:34)

This sounds a bit too emotional, but neither this emotionality nor Castets's absurd conclusion that the Pondicherry Vedas were translations of the forged Vedas bought in 1726 by Pons (p. 46) should distract us from his valuable first-hand observations. He noted that the first two manuscripts -- the Ezour-vedam (whose original tide, Zozur Bedo, was crossed our in red ink and replaced by Ezour-Vedam, p. II) and the Zozochi Kormo Bed (which in Castet's opinion was the Kormo Vedam described by Voltaire; p. 13) -- appeared to be much older than the others and must have been copies of even older originals. Manuscripts 3-8, on the other hand, appeared to be from a later date and were written on paper with a 1742 watermark. In the year 1732, Calmette was in the midst of studying the newly acquired Vedas, and I speculate that the first number on Ellis's slip of paper may refer to the year when Calmette wrote the first texts. By 1735 or 1736, the time of the "broken teeth" event, some texts could well have existed in a Telugu version. After his transfer back to the Malabar mission in 1733, Father Pons might well have collaborated, if the Ezour-vedam's Buddhism passage is a sign; and this would explain some Bengali influence on pronunciation and also the inclusion of information that suggests an author familiar with that region. After Calmette's death in 1739, Pons could have worked on other texts by Calmette and annotated them (if Castets's guess is correct).

I would rather hypothesize that Pons found these texts again on his return to Pondicherry in 1750 and spent his last year reworking them and brushing up his Sanskrit. But possibly other fathers with some knowledge of Sanskrit like Calmette and Mozac also tried their hand at that. The second date noted on that slip of paper, 1751, is the year at whose end Pons died. By this time, all the Pondicherry Vedas probably existed, possibly with partial Sanskrit translations. This does nor mean that they remained unchanged because Father Mozac, as we will see below, had-apart from copying the whole corpus-also added some revisions, and the copying of manuscripts must have continued. The first Ezour-vedam to be brought to Europe was, according to Rocher (1984:86), present in the Harlay Collection by 1755. If this is correct, then only two or three years passed between Pons's death and the arrival of the first Ezour-vedam manuscript in France.

To what degree the manuscript was edited (possibly with the removal of Sanskrit translations and tell-tale signs of its original target public, one of which -- the one with the map-was overlooked) must remain unknown until the vanished Pondicherry Vedas make their reappearance. Bur I would guess that it must have been an inside job by one of the members of the Jesuit mission who looked through the Pondicherry Vedas after Pons's death and between 1752 and circa 1754 prepared two of them, the Ezour-vedam and its Oupo-vedam, the Cormo-vedam, for recycled use on a different target public. It is interesting and perhaps significant that this should have happened exactly when the first volumes of the Encyclopedie appeared in France (from 1751). Was a senior person in the mission, for example, its superior Lavaur or Father Coeurdoux, sufficiently concerned to give the go-ahead for refurbishing these two texts and their recycled use as weapons-only this time against the skeptics and atheists who were about to take over the French information industry? Would this help in convincing them about the existence of original monotheism in ancient India? And might it be an effective weapon against the continuing critique of Malabar Rites?

The rite problem was intimately linked to the idea of original pure monotheism, to the presence of its vestiges in ancient cultures, and to the kind of transmission scheme invented by Eusebius that the Pondicherry Veda's author had adapted for Indian use. If the most ancient religion of India was so excellent and the Ur-transmission of divine revelation to India proven, then it should certainly nor be problematic to let the Indians continue performing some of their ancient rites, should it? The papal bull Omnium sollicitudinum of 1744 had once more confirmed the exclusivist hard line of the Vatican, which gradually grew into a threat not only to the Jesuit mission in the Malabar region bur to the Jesuit order as a whole. It was a situation of crisis because thousands of Indian Christians began to return to their native creed right at the moment when the foundations of the Jesuit order were shaking. During the 1750s, this pressure was building up, and in 1760, there was the first major earthquake: the dissolution of the Portuguese Jesuit mission in India and repatriation of all its missionaries (Launay 1898:I.cxxii). Four years later, King Louis XV signed an edict that ordered "that the Jesuit order shall no more exist in France" (p. 12), and in 1773, the papal bull Dominus ac Redemptor dissolved the entire Jesuit order.


Stage 1 / Stage 2 / Stage 3 / Stage 4 / Stage 5

Creation of French texts; Telugu translations for local use 1732-30. Calmette. / Edition of French texts; annotation; Sanskrit pages 1739-51. Pons; later Mozac? / Edition of Ezour- and Cormo-vedam for Western use; leaking c. 1752-54. Coeurdoux? / Western dissemination of Ezour-vedam. Printed edition. Mozac copying, translating 1760s/80s. c. 1755-78. Voltaire, Ste. Croix Mozac, Coeurdoux. / Western reaction, doubts, controversy. Plagiarism. Discovery in Pondicherry. 1778-1825. Dubois, Ellis.

In the 1750s, time seemed to be running out: the Jesuit mission team was losing the game in India, and the Christian side in Europe began to crumble under the onslaught of rampant secularism, skepticism, and outright atheism. Was the leaking of the Ezour-vedam, to use an American sports metaphor, a Hail-Mary pass? It might well have been. On the other hand, one cannot exclude the possibility that some missionary talked to a countryman in Pondicherry and casually mentioned manuscripts he had found in Father Pons's room, making the Frenchman so curious that he had to lend him a manuscript or two for perusal at home, whereupon the manuscript was copied without permission and sent to Europe as a curiosity. Be this as it may, in the scenario I propose here (see Table 15), there are five different stages that each have their listed main actor but certainly also various co-stars that go unmentioned.

Zoroastrian Victory from the Jaws of Vedic Defeat

After Anquetil-Duperron's return from India following a five-year stay, he wrote a detailed report about his voyage that was published in abbreviated form in 1762 in French and the following year in English under the title of "A brief account of a voyage to India, undertaken by M. Anquetil du Perron, to discover and translate the works attributed to Zoroaster."15 The Annual Report hails Anquetil-Duperron's journey for the purpose "of extending the bounds of virtue and learning" and calls the Frenchman, who "in so small a period, and in such circumstances, could learn so many languages, utterly unconnected with those already known in Europe, and copy and translate so many books written in them," "a true virtuoso, who braves every danger and difficulty in order to promote useful knowledge, and to increase the materials of speculation in the learned world" (Anquetil-Duperron 1787b:103). However, his chief hagiographer, Raymond Schwab, discerned a rather different heroic enterprise:

If Voltaire wanted from Asia -- in bad faith really -- arguments against the fabrications of revelation, Anquetil hoped -- blindly, for that matter -- to draw from it materials for the confirmation of the dogma, because he was one of those believers in whose eyes the image of the world is divided in two halves, Christians and idolaters. However, the idolaters appeared to him like unconscious depositaries of a tradition that had come from Israel and that was to be recovered. What he wanted to snatch from the Hindus were "the oldest monuments of religion." He went to Asia to seek scientific proof of the primacy of the Chosen People and of the biblical genealogies: but it so happened that his investigations suddenly opened the way to a critique of the books accepted as revealed. (Schwab 1934:4)

We have seen that long before Anquetil-Duperron's trip to India, his early manuscript "Le Parfait Theologien" already showed signs of such critique. Schwab also accepted Anquetil-Duperron's basic narrative about the primary aim of his journey to India as stated in the title of the 1762 report: "to discover and translate the works attributed to Zoroaster."

In 1754, I happened to see a fragment of the Vendidad Sade, which had been sent from England to M. Fourmont,16 and I immediately resolved to enrich my country with that singular work. I formed a design of translating it, and of going with that view to learn the ancient Persic in Guzarate or Kirman; an undertaking which would necessarily enlarge the ideas I had already conceived, concerning the origin of languages, and the several changes to which they are subject, and probably throw a light upon Oriental antiquity, which was unknown to the Greeks and Romans. (Anquetil-Duperron 1787b:104)

This narrative became gospel. While the Encyclopaedia Iranica does not mention dramatic details such as that his only baggage was a small knapsack with "two handkerchiefs, two shirts, a pair of stockings, a mathematics case, a Hebrew Bible, and a copy of Montaigne" and that he left France on a prisoner ship almost like in a scene from Manon Lescaut (Schwab 1934:23-24), it conveys the essence of the myth as historical fact:

After distinguishing himself in classical studies, Anquetil-Duperron went to Holland to study Oriental languages, especially Arabic, with the Jansenists exiled at Amersfoort. Back in Paris, he was appointed to the Bibliotheque du Roi (now the Bibliotheque Nationale). In 1754, he was shown a few lines copied from a fragment of the Avesta brought in 1723 to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, by Richard Colbe. He decided to go to India to retrieve the sacred book, which Colbert, Louis XIV's minister, had ordered Father J. F. Petis de la Croix, a Capuchin, to bring back from Iran without success. In order to hasten his departure he enrolled as a soldier in the Compagnie des Indes and walked all the way to Lorient on the Atlantic in the company of recruits from Parisian prisons. But before embarking on 7 February 1755 he received an allowance of 500 pounds from the Bibliotheque and thus was able to travel as a free passenger. (Duchesne-Guillemin 1987:2.100-101)

However, I found that Anquetil-Duperron already planned to go to India around the end of 1753 -- that is, no less than eighteen months before his departure and before he ever saw the Avesta fragment. He told Abbe Jean-Baptiste Ladvocat "at the beginning of 1754 about the voyage that I counted on making to India," and the Abbe then showed the young man the reports of the Danish missionaries of Tranquebar (Anquetil-Duperron 1771:1.2. ccccxcix).17 This account contradicts Anquetil-Duperron's self-publicized myth that he made this decision in 1754 "on the spot [sur le champ]" (Anquetil-Duperron

In the first report after his return from India (1762), he wrote of embarking in 1755 "with a resolution of bringing back the laws of Zoroaster and the Bramins" (p. 105) and added that, before leaving France, he promised "to make myself master of the religious institutions of all Asia" (p. 107). This did not mean that he would study them all, but rather that he would study their common basis: the Vedas. And for this he needed to know Sanskrit:

There is a Samskretam of different ages, and I was desirous of having examples of it thro' all its variations, that I might fix the language in which all the books which are held sacred in that part of Asia which reaches from Persia to China are written. (p. 107)

This gives us a sense of the true objective of Anquetil-Duperron's India adventure. The books that are "held sacred" in most of Asia, from Persia to India and China, and are written in Sanskrit are certainly no Zoroastrian texts. By piecing together information from Anquetil-Duperron's travelogues and letters, one gains the distinct impression that the acquisition and study of the Vedas rather than of Zoroastrian texts was his primary objective and that he later mischaracterized his objectives in order to be seen as having achieved the exact goal that he had proposed. His travelogue is rich in information that disproves the reprioritized narrative that became part of his standard biography. At the very beginning of his stay in Pondicherry, he had the following plan: "After having become familiar with Persian, I wanted to go educate myself in the Malabar region, visit the Brahmes, and learn the Samskretan at some famous pagoda" (p. xxvi). In February 1756, half a year after his arrival in Pondicherry, Anquetil-Duperron was intent on "living from milk, rice, and vegetables in order to be able to afford from my savings the purchase of books and payment of Brahmes of which I planned to become the disciple" (pp. xxix-xxx). He also wanted to devote himself "more freely to the study of Indian books" (p. xxxi) and decided for this reason to travel to the Bengal region. In April 1756 he arrived in Chandernagor, fell ill, and remained for several months in the hospital built by the Jesuit Antoine Mozac, the very man who (probably after joining the Malabar mission) copied all the Pondicherry Vedas. Father Mozac told Anquetil-Duperron about the nearby city of Cassimbazar where he had studied Sanskrit and where several Brahmins resided. Anquetil-Duperron hoped to "stay there for an extended period without toO many expenses" (p. xxxviii). But his illness was so grave that he had to remain in the Jesuit hospital until the fall of 1756. Now more than a year had passed since his arrival in India, and Anquetil-Duperron seriously "thought about renouncing my projects and embracing the priesthood to which I always had been inclined"; even becoming a Jesuit was an option because the order's activity "corresponded sufficiently to the plan for whose execution I had come to India" (p. xxxix). In March 1757, he was still in Chandernagor; around this time he got news from a Frenchman in Surate that the Parsee doctors had "the books of Zoroaster" and were willing to explain it" to Anquetil-Duperron and to teach him the ancient languages (p. xl). Chandernagor being under attack and war in the air, Anquetil-Duperron made a trip to Cassimbazar but "did not find affairs in the state that I had expected" (p. xlii). His passport mentioned his "project in Benares" (p. L) -- which was, of course, to study Sanskrit and translate the Vedas -- but due to the war, this was impossible. It is only at this point that Anquetil-Duperron, fearing for his life and having lost most of his possessions, decided to travel to Surat via Pondicherry to study Zoroastrian texts (p. xlix). This course of events suggests that the principal objective of his voyage to India was not the acquisition and translation of Zoroastrian texts but the acquisition and translation of the Vedas. Not the Zoroastrian texts but the Vedas seemed to be the key to "all the religious institutions of Asia." But why was young Anquetil-Duperron so convinced that the Vedas contained "the sacred laws of all of Asia" (Anquetil-Duperron 1771:I.2.ccclxiv)?

Freret, de Visdelou, and Deshauterayes

Through his employment at the Royal Library, before his India journey, Anquetil-Duperron came into contact not only with Deshauterayes, who showed him the famous Avesta fragment, but also with Fourmont's other disciple Joseph de Guignes. In the year 1753, at whose end Anquetil-Duperron decided to go to India to study Sanskrit and the Vedas-and thus to acquire the key to the sacred laws that anciently reigned in all lands between Persia, India, and China-there were several events of importance for Paris orientalists. One was de Guignes's presentation on July 24 at the Royal Academy about the Samaneens. De Guignes claimed that the Brachmanes and the Samaneens were in fact two sects of one religion that he called "la religion Indienne" (the Indian religion). This religion had metempsychosis as its central tenet and regarded the Samaneens as the ultimate stage of purification (see Chapter 4). But de Guignes left open many questions regarding the history of this religion and its relationship to the Vedas.

The idea of an Indian religion reigning in most of Asia was, as we have seen, rather old. But it had gained new relevance through Johann Jacob Brucker's multi-volume history of philosophy (Brucker 1742-44) and through the ideas of an erstwhile rival of de Guignes's and Deshauterayes's teacher Fourmont. This man was Nicolas FRERET(1688-1749), famous as the first Frenchman in Paris to study Chinese and even more as an expert on chronology and ancient history.18 In the last years of his life, Freret showed acute interest not only in the chronologies of Asia but also in their religions, and on February 7, 1744, he presented some findings to the Royal Academy that he planned to include in a book. But this book never appeared, and four years after Freret's death, a summary of his 1744 presentation was published under the title of "Researches on the religious and philosophical traditions of the Indians, to serve as preparation for the examination of their chronology" (Freret 1753:34). Freret not only thought, like many others, that "the Indian religion is very widespread in the Orient" but also spoke of two major branches. The first branch is "the religion of the Brahmes which encompasses almost all ancient inhabitants of the lands between the Indus and the Ganges," and the second branch consists of the religion "dominating the region to the North and East of the Ganges" as far as Tibet and Bhutan. This second branch of Indian religion is the one that "the Chinese have adopted in the year 64 of the Christian era and is also dominant in Japan" as well as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and other Asian countries (p. 36).

Freret's second branch of "Indian religion" clearly refers to what we today call Buddhism, and in his 1744 presentation to the Academy, he emphasized the importance of scientific research and language study to gain a better understanding of this religion that appeared to be the largest in the world. Like de Guignes a decade later, Freret sought to associate specific sacred texts with this "branch." Instead of the Anbertkend and the Forty-Two Sections Sutra that de Guignes in the 1750s was to regard as foundational for this widespread branch of Indian religion, Freret opted for the Vedas. Since the Vedas were not available to him, he relied -- like Holwell after him -- on the report about their content in the sixth book of the Decada Quinta of do Couro (see Chapter 6). Freret quoted do Couro's assertion that Indian religion has a creator God named Scharoues Zibari, who is surrounded by pure spirits who contemplate him (p. 38). Unlike Holwell who interpreted Couto's good spirits as angels serving God, however, Freret connected them with the quietist notion of supreme beatitude. In his view this state corresponds to "what the Siamese call Niveupan, the Peguans Niban, the Japanese Safene, and the Chinese Coung-hiou" (p. 38).19

Freret thus relied on the reports by Couto, Roger, and Baldaeus for the first "branch of Indian religion" -- the one that dominates the Indian subcontinent-and the descriptions by de la Loubere, Pierre Bayle, La Croze, and others for the other "branch" that dominated most of the rest of Asia. He weaved all this into his portrait of a gigantic religion that worships God in the form of Vishnu. Since he had read that Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu, which marks the beginning of the fourth world age, the link between these two branches seemed obvious. Freret explained:

We omit here all that concerns the eight previous apparitions of Vishnu that do not belong to the present historical period. In the ninth [apparition] which belongs to our age, he came on earth in human form. In the Indies and on the island of Ceylon he is called Boudhe or Boudhan; in Siam Ponti-tchaou which is the same as Sommonacodon, translated in de la Loubere's report as Talapoin of the woods. In China he is called Po or Fo or according to Portuguese orthography Foe, and sometimes Chekia or Chaka. The Japanese honor him under the title of Amida;20 this is throughout Vishnu under different names. (p. 44)

Freret's report that was published in 1753, the year of Anquetil-Duperron's decision to travel to India, presented this "Indian religion" as "an extremely ancient system in the Indies" that radiated far toward East and West. He saw clear traces of it in the system of Pythagoras, and even "Plato adopted a part of Indian ideas." They also found their way into Christianity through Origen who "pretended to adapt them to Christianity" (p. 45). Freret was convinced that "the Indian religion, like all the others, had at its origin the primary truths that are generally known by all men and that form the body of natural revelation that is as old as the universe" (p. 45). This view of "Indian religion" was surprisingly long-lived and influential. For example, in 1777, the huge Dictionary of Classical Authors furnished under the heading "The religion of the Indians" exclusively information from Freret's summary, adopting it almost word for word (Sabbathier 1777:22.241-26).

But Freret's vision also deeply influenced de Guignes, Deshauterayes, and young Anquetil-Duperron. From Freret's viewpoint, there was nothing more urgent than the study of the Vedas. They had to contain not only the basis of the subcontinental "branch" of India's religion but also the second branch that we now call Buddhism. The Vedas were thus most likely to furnish the "key" that young Anquetil-Duperron had in mind when he wrote of making himself "master of the religious institutions of all Asia" through the study of ancient Sanskrit texts (Anquetil-Duperron 1787b:107). Exactly because he, like Freret and de Guignes, thought that the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent and most other Asian countries had the same "Indian" root, he thought of China as a possible avenue for information about it. Unable to gain access to the Vedas even after four years in India, Anquetil-Duperron planned to travel via Tibet to China where he hoped to find ancient Indian texts that the Brahmins or polomen might have brought there.21 So he wrote two letters to the Jesuit Antoine Gaubil in Peking (who had been recommended to him by Deshaurerayes) to inquire about this. Though Anquetil-Duperron's letters are no longer extant, Gaubil's response forms part of Anquetil-Duperron's manuscript dossier at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris:22

I have received five days ago the letter that you made me the honor of writing from Goa on 20 March of 1758, [but] I have not received the one you said you wrote from Pondicherry. The polo men or brahmes came to China from the Indies more than 1600 years ago. More than 1300 years ago several Chinese put them into Chinese characters and in a Chinese language. What they learned from the polomen about the religion, astronomy, geometry, etc. -- these books are lost, and what remains consists only of a few truncated and confused fragments. The Chinese bonzes then took care to translate into Chinese the Indian doctrine, and in their prayer books, etc., they transcribed in Chinese characters many terms and phrases that nobody understands.23 ... If you execute your plan to come to China by way of Tartary, you will have quite some expenses to incur, quite some obstacles to overcome, and more than once you will be in need of heroic patience. Add to this many life-threatening dangers.

To judge from Father Gaubil's letter, Anquetil-Duperron was discouraged by Brahmin unwillingness to teach foreigners Sanskrit and was intent on finding materials in Chinese for the study of Sanskrit and ancient Indian doctrine. But Gaubil informed him in a postscript: "Even if in the past the Chinese have learned the rules of the Sanscroudang [Sanskrit] by way of the polomen, one does not find these books at all, and I do not believe that there is someone who would have read such [books]."

Thus, Athanasius Kircher's and Claude de Visdelou's ideas of Brahmin missionaries in the Fat East teamed up with Freret's two-branched Asian monotheism to form a powerful motive for the search for ancient texts of "Indian" religion in countries other than India. But there was yet another hidden avenue of de Visdelou's influence on Anquetil-Duperron. On October 8, 1755, his mentor Deshauterayes wrote a long letter to India to inform the young man about several issues of interest.24 He sent Anquetil-Duperron a reading list of literature about Indian religion (NAF 8872:70r) in which he particularly recommended books by Abraham Roger and La Croze. With regard to languages, Deshaurerayes insisted that "one must learn the language of a people of which one wants to speak and critically read its writings" (p. 73r) and recommended the study of the "Baly [Pali] language which is the only language of the Indies, along with the Tibetan, that I strongly exhort you to learn" (p. 70v). Deshauterayes had told Anquetil-Duperron before his departure for India about an unpublished paper about the Samaneens that he had written. In the letter, Deshauterayes informs his protege about some of its content. One passage in particular attracted my attention when I first read it. Deshauterayes informs Anquetil-Duperron that the Samaneens are monotheists worshipping a God called Aruguen and teach everywhere moral virtues and the transmigration of souls:

The God Aruguen whom they worship has given the Vedam, which is why he is called adi Veden the legislator, and Veda-niden, the Lord of the Law. These titles are also attributed to Vichnou by his devotees; but there is nothing surprising about this because, for the Indians, the ninth incarnation of Vishnu was in Boudha, and Boudha, I believe, is not different from Aruguen. One still gives to this God Aruguen the epithet of Siva cadigu'irveiven, that is, Lord of the glory of God Shiva, and that of Puten which I believe derived from the term Boudha. (p. 70v)

Deshauterayes had a very similar argument printed more than twenty years later in 1778:

Arugen, the god of the Samanes, is the same as Boudha; he has given the divine law of the Vedam, and this is why he is called Adi-veden, the first legislator, Veda-niden, the lord of the law; titles which are also attributed to Vichenou by his devotees, which is not surprising because, according to the Indians, Vichenou in his ninth incarnation became Boudha, and Boudha seems not at all different from Aruguen. (Mailla 1778:5.52)

These "Samanes" who believe in Buddha = Aruguen appear to be monotheists of the purest kind whose religion is very ancient. The following passage is not in the letter of 1755 but clarifies Deshauterayes's view of these pure ancient monotheists:

The Samanes are probably as ancient in the Indies as the Brahmes and have left many monuments of their genius, had a religion which was not different from that of the Gymnosophistes and knowledge of an infinitely perfect being that they called Aruguen and to whom they gave the most excellent attributes. They call him god of virtue, pure, infinite, eternal god, immovable, very wise god, very kind, very powerful, etc. They add that he reigned happily in the heavens in the shadow of a tree Asogu or Pindi. Since the Samanes completely neglected the cult of other gods in favor of Aruguen, they were usually called Aruguer; but those among them who distinguished themselves through their spirituality and the sanctity of their life were called Saraner. (p. 51)

Deshauterayes clearly thought that the sectarians of Buddha are monotheists; that they are no different from Vaishnavas; that the Veda is their sacred scripture; and that the Veda is a thoroughly monotheist text revealed by the god Buddha = Vishnu = Aruguen. I kept wondering where Deshauterayes got these ideas and words like Adi-veden from, until in the summer of 2008, I went through the papers of a De Guignes folder25 at the Bibliotheque Nationale. Someone wrote in small letters on the cover sheet: "These papers were mixed with those of Fourmont. One can, on account of the handwriting and their content, attribute more or less all of them to De Guignes." Only the first sheet is dated "3 May 1754"; it is an introduction to the history of the Samaneens. On page 4 begins a long document titled "Letter from Pondicherry. On the Sammaneens" which on page 7V has the following familiar passage:

The God Aruguen worshiped by the Sammaneens is also called Puten. One gives him also the epithet of Siva cadigu 'irveivem, that is, Lord of the glory of God Chiven. They say that this God Aruguen gave the divine Law or Vedam: that is why he is called Adi veden, that is first legislator, and vedaniden, the Lord of the Law: yet it is true that these names are also given to Vichnou by his devotees.

Deshauterayes letter to Anquetil / Copy of Pondicherry letter. Figure 20. Handwriting comparison of NAF 8872 and NAF 279.

The dossier contains a fragment of one more letter from Pondicherry (pp. 11r-12v), and the content of both letters indicates that there must have been a total of three letters written by a French-speaking missionary in Pondicherry. The first letter cites La Croze and was thus written after 1724. The third letter cites Engelbert Kaempfer and was thus written after 1729. The writer could read Chinese (he cites Ma Duanlin and various Chinese texts) and was familiar with Indian terminology. He also knew southern Indian literature and criticized a text dating by the Danish missionaries. And, of course, the writer of the letters resided in Pondicherry in the early 1730s, just around the time when Calmette wrote the Ezour-vedam. Given these data, the only author I can think of is Claude de Visdelou, who died in Pondicherry in 1737. The letters were thus probably sent to Paris between 1730 and 1737. The addressee is unknown (he is once called "mon cher Osman"), but there is little doubt that the precise references to Chinese texts were meant for Fourmont and that someone had copied parts or all of these letters. The copied first letter and part of the third letter somehow ended up in Fourmont's files at the Bibliotheque Nationale, and later someone decided that they are from de Guignes, which is why they ended up in his dossier (NAF no. 279).

However, a handwriting comparison (see Figure 20) shows that the copyist of these letters from Pondicherry was Deshauterayes and not de Guignes.26 Deshauterayes' quotations from de Visdelou's letters in his missive to Anquetil- Duperron show, as does his note in de Mailla's history, that he was just as good as his rival de Guignes and their teacher Fourmont at plagiarizing the writings of missionaries. Having copied these Pondicherry letters, Deshaurerayes used parts of them in his letter to Anquetil-Duperron as if these were his own findings, adding "I believe" and "I concluded," etc., to de Visdelou's text! He also asked Anquetil-Duperron to find out some things that he found intriguing in de Visdelou's letters, for example, the identity of the Parajacechatam sect that supposedly destroyed the sect of the Sammaneens in India (NAF no. 8872=72). The Pondicherry of the 1730s was a truly amazing hub of information!

Abbe Mignor's Blueprint

On March 14, 1762, Anquetil-Duperron returned to Paris after a stay of nearly six years in India, and the next day he deposited his manuscripts at the Royal Library. In June his report appeared in the Journal des Sravans, and he became an instant celebrity. The tide of his report indicated that he had gone to India "to discover and translate the works attributed to Zoroaster." At age 31, Anquetil-Duperron was hailed in the Annual Register as a "a true virtuoso" who braved "every danger" for the sole purpose of increasing "the materials of speculation in the learned world" (Anquetil-Duperron 1787b:103). Just after the publication of his report, he was invited to a dinner where he saw de Guignes again and also met a guest who had the distinction of being Voltaire's nephew and a very erudite man: Abbe Vincent MIGNOT. That very month Mignot was reading his fourth paper on the ancient philosophers of India at a session of the Royal Academy, and there can be no doubt that Anquetil-Duperron artended it. Mignot had read the three earlier papers while Anquetil-Duperron was preparing for his return or was on his way back to Europe.

Mignot's first paper, read on February 27, 1761, had dealt mainly with the question of whether the Egyptians had influenced the Indians or vice versa. Mignot concluded that Buddha, who is considered the father of Indian philosophy, lived about 1000 B.C.E. and that this makes his religion too ancient to have been influenced by Greeks or Egyptians (Mignot 1768:81-113). The second paper, read on June 2 of the same year, showed that features of Indian religion that were considered to be of Egyptian origin (transmigration, lingam and cow cult, and such) could be explained without Egyptian influence and that La Croze's and Kaempfer's ideas about the Egyptian origin of Buddha's religion were built on sand because the association of Buddha and Mercury with Wednesday is much younger than they had believed (pp. 114- 52). The third paper rejected early Egyptian influence on India by arguing that there simply was no commercial or other link between the two countries at such an early point (pp. 153-211).

For someone like Anquetil-Duperron who did not believe in the theories of Egyptian origins that were so fashionable among collaborators of the Encyclopedie, these three papers (which he might have read only in 1768 when they were printed together with numbers 4 and 5) were less interesting than the last two of Mignot's lectures that he could actually attend. Mignot continued to discount early Egyptian influence on India. In the fourth paper, read on June 15, 1762, he mainly sought to show the differences-all in India's favor -- between a number of Indian and Egyptian religious doctrines. With respect to strict monotheism, for example, Mignot regarded the Indians as fat superior to the Egyptians. Citing do Couro, La Croze, Francois Bernier, and also Indians' letters to Ziegenbalg, Mignot found that even the "successors of the ancient Brachmanes are intimately persuaded about the unity of God"; and so is "the sect of Gnanigueuls who are regarded as the sages and saints of India." They reject openly the "cult of idols and all superstitious practices of the nation in order to worship only God whom they call the being of beings" (p. 219). The Buddha, too, was called upon for the support of Indian monotheism:

It is to express this perfect simplicity of God that Budda, the author of Indian philosophy, when he explained his true feelings to his dearest disciples, told them that the principle and end of all things was emptiness or nothingness [le vide ou le neant]; this nothingness or this emptiness was, according to his doctrine, a real being [un etre reel] because he gave it attributes and taught that it was admirable, pure, infinite, and the principle and perfection of all beings. By calling it empty or nothing [vide ou neant] he adapted himself to the conventions of common people [vulgaire grossier] who use the term "nothing" for anything that has no coarse parts, does not fall, or is not perceived by its senses. The disciples of these philosophers, who remained faithfully attached to the doctrine of their master, recognize until today that God is a pure spirit and an infinite immaterial intelligence; this is how they put it in the comprehensive theology that was given in Couto, the continuator of Barros; and in one of their books entitled Panjangam, which is their almanach, one reads this prayer: I adore this being whose nature is indivisible, and whose simplicity does not admit any composition of qualities. (pp. 224-25)[/quote]

The five papers Mignot read at the Royal Academy, and particularly the fourth and fifth whose presentation Anquetil-Duperron could attend in person, were almost like a blueprint for Anquetil-Duperron's further work on India. Both men were convinced that India and its Vedas had preserved the most complete vestiges of man's Ur-religion, opposed the encyclopedists's ideas of Egyptian origin, and somehow wanted to build their Indian Ur-religion on the bedrock of the main events and chronology described in the book of Genesis. In the "triangle of origin narratives," the biblical corner was still dominant and very crowded. In exchange, the Egyptian corner could boast of some famous names of intellectuals and encyclopedists. The Indian corner was at this point still almost empty, but in the 1760s, the situation began to change. Merely four decades later, Friedrich Schlegel was to write enthusiastically in a letter: "alles, alles stammt aus Indien, ohne Ausnahme" [Everything, everything comes from India, without exception]" (Schlegel 1864:3.329). The Ezour-vedam's deposition at the Royal Library, Voltaire's 1761 edition of the Essai sur les moeurs with its stunning vista of an Indian origin of civilization, Abbe Mignot's India papers with their monotheistic Buddha, and Anquetil-Duperron's return from India all seemed to ring in a new era. Long before the beginning of the European colonial domination of India, "Indian religion" was seen as a pan-Asian phenomenon with "Brahmanic" and "Buddhist" branches. Diderot and many others thought it had Egyptian roots and associated it with polytheism, idolatry, atheism, materialism, or fatalism. But a second major line of interpretation was gathering steam in the 1750s and 1760s. Inspired by Brucker,27 Freret, de Guignes, and Mignor, it interpreted even the Buddha's "inner" teaching of emptiness and nothingness as a (possibly degraded) vestige of ancient monotheism and identified Asia's dominant "Indian religion" with humankind's universal, god-given ancient theology. At the beginning of the nineteenth century this became one of the core ideas of the indomaniac Romantic age in which Anquetil-Duperron's translations played a key role. But in the 1760s, when Voltaire and Holwell peddled their "proofs" of ancient Indian monotheism, this second line of interpretation was still in its infancy.

The Holwell Shock

What bothered both Mignot and Anquetil-Duperron was that there were descriptions of the Vedas bur hardly any translated material. Instead of being able to quote the Vedas themselves, Mignot had to rely on bits and pieces from do Couto, Jesuit letters, communications by Danish missionaries, Roger, La Croze, and, of course, the newly arrived Ezour-vedam. But this text was no Veda either but rather a commentary by someone who criticized the Vedas. On August 27 of 1766, Anquetil-Duperron received a visit of Antoine Court de Gebelin from Geneva who told him about another copy of the Ezour-vedam brought back from Pondicherry by a Mr. Tessier (Rocher 1984:8). From this manuscript, Anquetil-Duperron made his own copy and noted that it had a chapter at the end that was missing in Voltaire's copy. In the margins of his copy, he made several remarks that are signs of frustration. He would have liked to see Vedic quotations; but instead of citing textual authority, Chumontou keeps appealing to reason. One of Anquetil-Duperron's comments reads:

This is how the Br[ahman] Chumontou proceeds. Later in this treatise he refutes the legends told by Biache, either because they are contrary to good sense, or because they are not found in the ancient books, and he provides a moralistic explanation for those that are based on facts which he agrees to. However, these legends are accepted throughout India (see Abrah. Roger), and Chumontou does no more than confront them with the doubts of a philosopher which cannot be held to represent the religion of India. To prove that they are, he ought to combat authority by authority. (Rocher 1984:8-9)

But soon afterward, in 1767, a sensational translation of an ancient Indian text arrived in France: Holwell's Shastah. It created quite a stir and was almost immediately publicized by Voltaire and published in French (1768). A major reason for the commotion was its introduction, which presented a four-stage genealogy of India's sacred literature, claimed that the "Vedam" was used only in southern India, and called it a late and degenerate source that was absolutely inferior both in age and quality to the Shastah presented and translated by Holwell (see Chapter 6). The matter bothered Anquetil-Duperron so much that he bought a second copy of the French edition of Holwell's book and sent it to Father Antoine MOZAC (1704-C.1784) in India asking for his opinion. In his parcel he also included the Royal Academy volume containing Abbe Mignot's five papers.

Anquetil-Duperron was full of big questions, but in his letter to Gaston Laurent COEURDOUX(1691-1779) that was included in the same package, he played down their scope: "I would like to ask you two small clarifications about matters that you surely know perfectly. The first is about the nature of the Paraparavastou, the supreme Being, the first cause in Indian theology; and the second concerns the nature, origin, and antiquity of the Vedams, or Vedes, Beids. We would be very interested in seeing what you have collected about this" (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:672). His letter to Fr. Mozac, who had studied Sanskrit and given Anquetil-Duperron advice about this while he was for many months at the mission hospital at Chandernagor, was more explicit. Since his stay at Chandernagor, he had never contacted Mozac again, but now, eleven years later, he was desperate: everything he thought he knew about the Vedas had been torpedoed by Holwell's stunning assertions.

Holwell had, in fact, been second in command at Cassimbazar, the very city where Mozac had studied Sanskrit and where Anquetil-Duperron had wanted to follow in Mozac's footsteps. There was this strange link between the fate of Holwell, who apparently had managed to learn from the Brahmins at Cassimbazar, Mozac who had studied Sanskrit there, and Anquetil-Duperron, who had wanted to do the same but ended up having to embrace what really was h is second choice, namely, the study of Zoroastrian texts. "It seems that his plan is to elevate the Indian religion above all other known religions," he wrote to Mozac about Holwell, "and if his work presents some exceptions in favor of Christianity, one sees well that they are only due to the author's profession of this religion" (p. 675). Anquetil-Duperron had carefully compared the French translation to the English original and noted some translation mistakes in the margins of the copy he sent to Father Mozac. He also sent a list of contradictions that he had noted: Holwell's claim that this religion is purely monotheistic, while the text contains numerous examples of polytheism; various problems in the relationship of God and the Trimurti; strange contradictions with regard to Holwell's angels; the list goes on (pp. 675-76). Anquetil-Duperron's most urgent questions, however, concerned the relationship between Holwell's Shastah and the Vedas:

The fourth point that strikes me as particular about M. Holwell is that he reports, based on the words of Brahmes, about the origin of the Vedam which he makes younger by 1,500 years than the Chartah Bhade Shastahs of Brahma. First of all, it seems to me that one should have written schastra and not schastah. In malabar schastiram, in telougou schastram signify science, doctrine; and under this name is comprised what is in the Vedam. Second, the author distinguishes the Bhades from the Vedam; yet I find nothing in the books at my disposal that authorizes this distinction. (p. 677)

Anquetil-Duperron had never heard that the Vedas are only used in the south and the Shastah in the north and wondered how this was compatible with the description of the Vedas by do Couto (p. 677). Another doubt he presented to Father Mozac concerned Holwell's angels. Noting that do Couto had also described the second class of higher intelligences as prisoners in bodies that are on earth for purification, he asked Mozac, "Are these ideas about metempsychosis taken from ancient books of the Indians? Is what the author says about the fall of the angels and the apparitions of good genies on earth really found in the text that he calls the Schartah Bhade of Bramah?" (p. 678).

Anquetil-Duperron also felt that Holwell's ideas about metempsychosis were contradicted by Indian animal sacrifices. To make sure that Father Mozac's reply would cover his major doubts, he added a summary at the end with the title "Questions to clarify":

1. About the first principle recognized by the Indians; about Bram, Birmah; the allegorical explanations, etc.

2. On the origin and the nature of the Vedes or Bhades or Vedams;

3. On the fall of the angels, the origin of metempsychosis, and the [origin of] the custom obliging women to burn themselves, etc.

4. About bloody sacrifices in use or not with the Indians; the Sanskrit dictionary mentions sacrificial horses. (p. 680)

These were indeed good questions, but Father Mozac never responded. While Anquetil-Duperron finished his Zend Avesta translation and prepared it for publication, two other works with translations of Indian texts came to his attention: Dow's History of Hindostan (1768) and the manuscript of Maridas Poulle's Bagavadam translation that he could borrow for two or three days in 1770 (Anquetil-Duperron 1787a:2.64).

In February 1771, Coeurdoux at last responded with a gentle criticism of Abbe Mignot's idealization of Indian religion and his misunderstanding of the lingam cult and wrote that Abbe Mignot might profit from "following in the footsteps of another scholar and spending a few years in India" while promising, should he do that, to show him "the unity of God and the great event of the deluge in the Indian books" (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.68[- 82). He also responded to Anquetil-Duperron's central question about the Vedas:

I must now respond to your questions about the Vedams. We name them in Telugu and in the Samscroutane script of this region, Sama vedam, Ezour vedam, Roug vedam, Adharvana vedam. Several people say that this last Vedam is lost; I believe nothing of it. It is, one is assured, a book of magic; and this sort of books least of all gets lost in a heathen country where there are people everywhere who play themselves up as magicians. I saw a book of magic secrets that began with the first lines of the Adharvana vedam; but there was nothing more ... There are Brahmes of every Vedam, and each knows of which Vedam he is. Does it seem possible that those of the fourth could have permitted theirs to get lost? (pp. 684-85)

But now Coeurdoux added two remarks that not only confounded Anquetil- Duperron but puzzled many readers, including this writer:

I will add here what I have heard Father Calmette-who knew the samscroutam [Sanskrit] and had much studied the books of Indian science -- utter more than once: that the true Vedam [le vrai Vedam] is of such an ancient samscroutam that it is almost unintelligible, and that what one cites is of the Vedantam, that is, of introductions and commentaries that were made of the Vedam. In effect, in a famous prayer named gai'tri, one understands only the word savitourou, the sun. (p. 685)

But it is the remark that immediately follows that led to accusations of lies and deception. Since this is a crucial passage, I quote also its original French:

D'un autre cote, le P. Mosac, qui n'a pas moins etudie la langue Samscroutane, pretend avoir decouvert le vrai Vedam. II Ie fait posterieur a la gentilite Indienne, dont il est la refutation detaillee. Cet ouvrage a pour auteur un vrai philosophe ennemi du polytheisme, tel que toute la terre en eut long-temps apres le deluge. Ce vaste ouvrage a ete traduit par le P. Mosac; et quel tresor pour vous, s'il vouloit vous le communiquer.

On the other hand, the Father Mosac, who has studied the Samscroutane language not less [than Father Calmette], pretends to have discovered the true Vedam. He makes it posterior to Indian heathendom, of which it is a detailed refutation. This work has as its author a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism of the kind that the whole earth had for a long time after the deluge. This vast work has been translated by Fr. Mosac; and what treasure [would it be] for you if he were willing to communicate it to you! (p. 685)

Coeurdoux's juxtaposition of two "true" Vedas is breathtaking. He clearly takes the side of Fr. Calmette, who talked about the difficulty of the Veda's language and about its Vedanta commentaries. The second "true" Veda, by contrast, seems to be genuine only for Father Mozac who pretends to have discovered it and makes it posterior to heathendom. Yet Coeurdoux lauds Mozac's Veda author as a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism and calls it a vast work that Father Mozac has already translated.

Anquetil-Duperron, who added some comments on other pages of this letter, did not write anything in the margins of this page. But in the printed version of 1808, he explained in a note, "This work must be the Ezourvedam" and added a reference to his Zend Avesta (where he first quoted the Ezourvedam) and to the printed edition by Sainte-Croix of 1778.

It is clear that Coeurdoux, who had attentively studied Mignot's articles and provided some detailed criticisms, knew that the Ezour-vedam was in the Royal Library in Paris and that it was now used and cited by academics like Mignot. What he probably did not know was that Voltaire had sent it there; Mignot had mentioned only the librarian's name. This remark about Mozac's Veda was not in answer to any question, since Anquetil-Duperron had written nothing in his letters about the Ezour-vedam. Coeurdoux clearly was in the loop about the content of Mozac's Veda because he knows that it is "a detailed refutation" of Indian heathendom written by "a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism." We must therefore assume that the reason why Coeurdoux even mentioned Mozac's Veda and described it in a way that would immediately point to the Ezour-vedam was linked to his knowledge that the Ezour-vedam was making waves in educated Paris.

Had Coeurdoux known at this point that it was being used by Voltaire for his anti-Christian propaganda campaign, he would very likely have kept mum; he could have mentioned some information about the real Vedas and left it at that. But he decided, for some intriguing reason, to advertise Mozac's Vedas in such a manner that Anquetil-Duperron was certain to associate it with the Ezour-vedam. Not only that: he wanted Anquetil-Duperron to think that it is a genuine, though later text than the Veda described by Calmette and that it forms part of a different Vedam. There is no doubt that he must have anticipated that this unsolicited remark about a "vast work" in the generous hands of a missionary (who for many months had taken care of Anquetil-Duperron at me Chandernagor hospital and almost drew him into the Jesuit fold) would provoke me curiosity of the researcher who, as Coeurdoux knew, had been passionately chasing after the Vedas for years. There was no doubt that Anquetil-Duperron's next letter would bring a demand for this "vast work" that Coeurdoux dangled so conspicuously in front of the seeker of Ur-monotheism.

This is exactly what happened. In his reply of February 8, 1772, Anquetil-Duperron wrote again to Coeurdoux because Mozac never responded, and he made an attempt at flattering the silent father:

Even though the Father Mosac has not honored me with his response, I do not doubt for a minute of his friendship for me and that the communicative character that I know him to have will cause him to share with us his important research on the languages, the history, and the mythology of North India. We wait, among other works by this erudite missionary, for the translation of what he calls the true Vedam, which includes the refutation of polytheism. We count on Father Mosac to join the original to his translation and to accompany this precious treasure, as you justly call it, with critical discussions of the nature, author, and age of this Vedam, the country in which it was composed, and the regions where it is the law in preference to the four Vedas accepted on the Malabar coast, Coromandel, the Gujarat, etc. (p. 688)

Anquetil-Duperron also made a connection that Coeurdoux might not have anticipated: he suspected that the Vedam of Father Mozac was the corpus of texts that contained Holwell's Shastah!

Father Mosac has worked in Bengal, like Mr. Holwell; the one close to Cassimbazar and the other in Cassimbazar itself. Both speak of a Vedam or Bhade that is different from the four that we know: the Bengal and me neighboring countries seem the only regions of Hindostan where this Vedam is current. (p. 688)

But no amount of pleading could budge Father Mozac who never responded with a single word and did not even thank Anquetil-Duperron for the books he kept sending at great expense. Coeurdoux explained this silence as follows:

I have read to Father Mozac the part of your letter which regards him. My eloquence, combined with yours, has been useless to persuade him to communicate his vast and erudite collections. (p. 690)

This was the last word Anquetil-Duperron heard from the Pondicherry missionary about this question; after this, he never received another letter.
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Part 4 of 4

Coeurdoux's Missing Link

The question why Coeurdoux advertised Mozac's Veda is intriguing, and it is linked to another mysterious manuscript that Hans Rothschild, the owner of the Amsterdam bookshop Antiqua, sold in 1954 to the India Office Library in London. The manuscript is now in the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections of the British Library (APAC: Mss Eur D 22). In her fascinating two-volume study and edition of this 1987 manuscript, Sylvia Murr proved that its content stems from Father Coeurdoux and that a similar manuscript must have been plagiarized by Abbe Dubois for his famous book Description of the Character, Manners, and Customs of the People of India (1817). In the nineteenth century, Dubois's book became a classic about Indian religions and dominated the public image in the West for many decades, and Murr's discovery showed how information gathered by missionaries in the eighteenth century was still very much in use in the nineteenth. Here we are only interested in a small part of her fascinating story. The manuscript is in the handwriting of a French artillery officer named Desvaulx. The young man, accused of having traveled without permission and neglected his duties in India, had to return to Paris in 1777 to explain his case and justify his actions. When he showed up before the authorities, he produced this manuscript and claimed that he had not been idly traveling but had spent much of his time doing research on Indian customs and religion. Whatever the plan was, it seems to have gone awry and the manuscript, which was written in Pondicherry around 1775-76, left no trace until it resurfaced through unknown avenues in Amsterdam and was bought by the India Office half a century ago.

Since this manuscript contains entire parts that are virtually identical with texts that Coeurdoux had included in letters to Anquetil-Duperron, there is no doubt that Desvaulx's manuscript, though written in the officer's hand, consists of material authored by Coeurdoux that was modified and shortened by the officer. One of the intriguing questions raised by this is whether Coeurdoux, whose eyesight was deteriorating to the point of blindness, had used Desvaulx as his secretary and planned to have his work published in France, or whether he wanted Desvaulx to publish the book under Desvaulx's name. Murr (1987:2.50) thinks that Desvaulx could not have used Coeurdoux's work without the missionary's approval. But did Coeurdoux want Desvaulx to copy and publish his original manuscript? Or did he "consent to let him abbreviate and modify it" (p. 50) in view of a goal that both agreed upon, namely, the defense of Christianity? Murr thinks it more likely that Coeurdoux and Desvaulx worked as author and secretary and that abbreviations and modifications were made with Coeurdoux's blessing (p. 51). Still, the question remains: did Coeurdoux also agree to modifications clearly designed to erase traces of authorship that were incompatible with Desvaulx's stay in India-for example, the elimination of earlier dates and of events in towns that Desvaulx had never visited? This would mean that Coeurdoux consented to publication of his writings under Desvaulx's name -- in other words, a leak of his work for a good cause without implicating his name.

And this possibility is exactly what made me first think that Coeurdoux could have leaked not just this manuscript but also another one: the Ezourvedam. Both texts were slipped into Europe to be published by someone not associated with the Pondicherry Jesuits; both were relatively carefully edited to erase traces of original authorship and purpose; and both were directed at Europeans who undermine Christianity-deists like Voltaire, for example. Voltaire was read in Pondicherry: after all, Maudave had studied Voltaire's 1756 edition of the Essai sur Lesmoeurs in India. Murr speculates that there could be a causal connection between the arrival of Desvaulx in Pondicherry at the end of 1772 and the abrupt end of Coeurdoux's correspondence with Anquetil-Duperron in October of that year. In her opinion, Desvaulx "substituted himself for Anquetil-Duperron, Jansenist and academician, who was suspected of furnishing to Voltaire and to the Encyclopedia scientific informations that were then utilized against the Church and its institutions" (p. 53).

But I think there is a less convoluted explanation that involves another leak, namely, that of the Ezour-vedam. When Coeurdoux wrote his advertisement for Mozac's Veda -- which implied the genuineness of the texts in spite of their younger age and praised them as "great treasures" -- he probably was not yet aware of Voltaire's perversion of the Ezour-vedam. But Desvaulx, whom Murr describes as an ardent defender of Christianity and the Bible, must have informed Coeurdoux and Mozac after his arrival in the fall of 1772 about the latest brouhaha in France: Baron d'Holbach's System of Nature, rampant skepticism and atheism in the salons of Paris, and, of course, Voltaire's "Indian campaign," which must have confounded the missionaries. Both Coeurdoux and Mozac knew perfectly that the Pondicherry Vedas were authored by Jesuit missionaries; after all, the handwriting of these texts was, according to Henry Hosten, certifiably that of Mozac. According to my hypothesis, what happened was the following: Coeurdoux, for reasons described above, in the early 1750s, either leaked the Ezour-vedam himself or authorized it in order to confound European doubters with a "proof" of ancient Indian monotheism and possibly also to support or justify Jesuit mission methods. He thought it would be a kind of vaccine against skepticism and atheism. Bur in 1772 he learned that the vaccine not only did not prevent the disease bur actually helped spread it. Indomania with its inflated world ages and idealization of Indian Ur-religion was infectious, and it rapidly appeared as a threat to biblical authority. Coeurdoux, of course, could not imagine that less than twenty years later Langles would openly declare that the Pentateuch was plagiarized from the Vedas; but he might have seen such horror scenarios in his nightmares. The main threat was that the biblical narrative, and in particular the story of the flood,28 would be undermined by alternative scenarios that would show the Old Testament to be a record of local events and-even worse-show God as a local divinity propped up by a local myth. The Ezour-vedam, from that perspective, had indeed a certain nocuous potential because, due to its origin as a non-Prangui missionary tool, it tried to keep things Indian and did not feature any link to the biblical line of patriarchs. Even Adimo, the Adam of the Ezour-vedam, was Indian, as Voltaire remarked with much glee before accusing me Jews of having plagiarized their creation Story from Indian sources.

Bur unmasking the Ezour-vedam was our of the question. The last thing the Jesuits needed in their dire straits29 was an indictment for forgery of ancient Indian texts. So Coeurdoux decided to encode the truth in those two paragraphs that have caused reactions ranging from consternation to outrage. I will now cite them once more and try to decode them. First of all, the Pondicherry Veda's real author, Calmette, needed to be protected, and this was best done by citing him (and not Pons or someone else) as the one who told the truth about the true Vedas:

I will add here what I have heard Father Calmette -- who knew the samscroutam [Sanskrit] and had much studied the books of Indian science -- utter more than once: that the true Vedam [le vrai Vedam] is of such an ancient samscrouram that it is almost unintelligible, and that what one cites is of the Vedantam, that is, of introductions and commentaries that were made of the Vedam. In effect, in a famous prayer named gai'tri, one understands only the word savitourou, the sun. (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.685)

The next paragraph on the same page contains the tricky part and is dissected in Table 16 where the left column contains Coeurdoux's statement and the right my interpretation of it.


On the other hand, the Father Mosac, who has studied the Samscroutane language not less [than Father Calmette], pretends to have discovered the true Vedam. / Calmette is out of the game since he represents the real "true Vedam" which is difficult to read and ancient. But Mozac is also an expert of Sanskrit; which suggests (without stating it and thus lying) that the texts he pretends to have discovered must be Indian. Coeurdoux does not say that Calmette really discovered them, which would also be a lie.

He makes it posterior to Indian heathendom, of which it is a detailed refutation. / This also has the appearance of truth and is Coeurdoux's way of telling Anquetil that the Ezourvedam is part of this body of texts. The content of the Pondicherry Vedas is described accurately. Coeurdoux knows it.

This work has as its author a true philosopher and enemy of polytheism of the kind that the whole earth had for a long time after the deluge. / This "true philosopher" is not named, but Coeurdoux knows that his name is Jean Calmette, S. J. He was a true enemy of polytheism who forged weapons against it (such as the Pondicherry Vedas) and, like all missionaries, belongs to those numerous men involved in this fight since the deluge.

This vast work / This signals to Anquetil that the Ezour-vedam is part of a larger body of texts, which is true.

has been translated by Father Mosac; / Coeurdoux only says that Mozac "translated" this vast work, not from what language. Only for those who (unlike Anquetil) know that Mozac translated from French to Sanskrit this is a true statement.

and what treasure [would it be] for you if he were willing to communicate it to you! / This tells Anquetil how extremely valuable these texts are (always tacitly including, of course, the Ezour-vedam). Coeurdoux knows very well that Mozac will not send them; thus he adds the big IF.

Having skillfully encoded the truth and proclaimed both the genuine and the Jesuit Vedas "true," Coeurdoux turned to the crux of the problem that was partly responsible for the mess: the need to establish a solid link between Noah's ark and ancient India, thus filling in some of the dotted lines in the Eusebius-related graph above (Fig. 18). This was one of those friendly takeover attempts that the famous forger ANNIUS of Viterbo (c. 1432-1502) had brought into fashion in Europe. Thanks to Annius, the invented founder of France, "Francus," got a pedigree that linked him to Japhet (Asher 1993), and a "Tuisco" with a long beard became Germany's mythical founder (Hutter 2000). In a sense this was an antidote to a virus contained in the Ezourvedam that Voltaire's incubator had set loose. It was not the Ezour-vedam itself that was the problem, only the missing link that Voltaire had so cunningly exploited.

The link to the biblical transmission line was thus the appropriate antidote, and it was administered to Europe in two doses: first via Anquetil- Duperron and via the Academy to Abbe Mignot and the learned society of Paris, and second to a larger public through Desvaulx's book. The first dose reached its target and strengthened Anquetil-Duperron's (and Sainte-Croix's) belief that the Ezour-vedam is a genuine Indian text that was possibly a bit mangled in the translation and copying process. The second dose, however, was for some reason a dud; Desvaulx might have guessed that such a publication would raise questions that he could never answer; or his distracted superior said, "I shall have a look at it" and forgot to put it even into the administration files; or someone from Desvaulx's family sold the manuscript- who knows? At any rate, it ended up in Amsterdam, and its neat handwriting can now be admired at the British Library. But a larger dose of the antidote remained in Pondicherry: Coeurdoux's complete manuscript. It was first extensively used by Paulinus a Saneto Bartholomaeo and then plagiarized in its entirety by Abbe Dubois. Dubois, the very man who had introduced smallpox vaccination in southern India, was an ideal host who succeeded not only in introducing Coeurdoux's antidote to readers of English and French but in inoculating an entire generation through insertion into the textbooks and university classrooms of nineteenth-century Europe.

Father Coeurdoux's dose for Anquetil-Duperron consisted, apart from that bit of encoded truth, in a small treatise that also is contained "except for six words and some commas" in Chapter 46 of the Desvaulx manuscript and in Dubois (Murr 1987:2.30). It is a convincing proof that Coeurdoux was the author of the Desvaulx manuscript. The theme of Coeurdoux's treatise is exactly that missing link berween Noah's ark and the earliest Indians. He makes them migrate from the plains of Shinar via the mountains in the north to India and lets the Indians descend from Noah's son Japher. This is said to have happened at the beginning of the fourth yuga, which was within the chronological safety margin of the Septuagint's flood, and the patriarchs chosen for transmission of Noah's religion are "seven penitents" who are India's seven rishis:

The epoch of the beginning of this new age is exactly the end of the deluge, very distinctly marked in all Indian books. It destroyed all men except the seven famous penitents of India with their wives. Some [sources] add Manouvou, of whom 1 have already spoken and who appears to be Noah himself. They escaped the universal ruin by means of a ship whose builder was Vishnu himself. I do not believe that one finds the universal deluge more clearly arrested to in the diverse authors of antiquity from almost all nations who have mentioned this great event, nor in a more similar manner to the recital of Moses. (Anquetil-Duperron 1808:49.693)

This is the antidote designed for the Ezour-vedam's soft spot that Voltaire had exploited, and by extension for the entire indomaniac vision of India as the cradle of civilization. Coeurdoux's Indian history confirms biblical history, and his portrayal of Indian religion exposes those of Voltaire and Holwell as completely baseless. The seven rishis of India are the country's ancient legislators and, as descendants of Noah's son Japhet, they guarantee that Ur-monotheism reached India long before the reigning polytheistic cults developed. This treatise thus reinforces the vision of a monotheistic pre-Vedic religion that forms the core of the Ezour-vedam and of Chumontou's teaching. Fat from rejecting the Ezour-vedam, Coeurdoux sees its author Calmette as an excellent philosopher and as a fighter in true postdiluvian tradition against polytheism. But Coeurdoux was directing his attack not only at Voltaire. He was possibly even more concerned about Holwell, whose work, as we have seen, he also received courtesy of Anquetil-Duperron. Holwell had built his edifice almost entirely on an Indian basis and presented fragments of an Indian Old Testament that seemed designed to replace the Pentateuch. But Coeurdoux's reaction is not as dismissive as Joseph Priestley's Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with those of the Hindoos and other Ancient Nations two decades later (1799). At the end of the century, Priestley was already reacting against rampant indomania supported by the first translations of Sanskrit texts, especially Charles Wilkins's Bhagavad gita of 1785, and he saw no room whatsoever for a friendly takeover. By contrast, Coeurdoux tried to integrate India gently into his sacred history and to find "a gangway between the universal history of Bossuet and the Indians," as Murr (1987:2.173) put it. But his ultimate intention in releasing these materials certainly was the defense of biblical authority; and he was right in sensing, like Priestley, that both Voltaire's and Holwell's ventures were in the final analysis direct attacks on the Bible. As the fate of the Ezour-vedam shows, India had become much more than an exotic working field of missionaries. It was on the best way to turn into a battleground where not only the Jesuit order was at risk but the entire biblical basis of Christianity. And this danger seemed real. In 1771, the Swiss librarian Jean-Rodolphe SINNER von Ballaigues (1730-87) adduced all available "primary" sources he knew (Lord's Shaster, Roger, the Ezour-vedam, Holwell's Shastah, Dow's History of Hindostan, Hyde's Historia religionis veterum persarum) to prove that "the most part of the dogmas taught in the mysteries of the Egyptians and the Greeks appear to be drawn from the theology of the ancient Brachmanes of India" and to show "how these dogmas have passed from the Orient to Egypt and from there to Europe until the northern countries, and that it is very probable that the Purgatory of St. Patrick in Ireland is a vestige of this doctrine" (Sinner 1771:135-36)!

Sainte-Croix's Buddhist Veda

To the relief of Voltaire's many fans in Europe who had read about this text for almost two decades, the year of the writer's death finally saw the Ezour-vedam appear in print. Once again Switzerland was the stage of Ezour-vedam promotion. Voltaire's Indian campaign headquarters had been at Ferney near Geneva, and now the Ezour-vedam was printed in Yverdon in 1778. It was a long-awaited work, and its German translation appeared the following year in the Swiss capital of Berne. The preface to this German edition (Ith 1779:22) divulged the identity of the unnamed editor, Guillaume E. J. G. de Cleremont-Lodeven, baron de SAINTE-CROIX (1746-1809). The Bernese philosopher Johann ITH (1747-1813), who translated the text from the French, hailed this publication as a milestone:

We expect full light from the publication of primary sources of Indian religion that are found in various European libraries, but particularly from the great number stored at the Royal Library of France. Such a work we present to the German public through this translation of the Ezour-Vedam (pp. 13-16).

The Monthly Review (Griffiths 1780:500-505) struck a similar tone and compared the Ezour-vedam favorably to the publications by Roger (1651), Dow (1768), and Holwell (1765-71):

The relations of Rogers, however interesting, have only for their object the popular religion of India: the accounts of Dow and Holwell contain, indeed, the most ingenious explications of the Indian fables, which they allegorize into a pure and rational series of theological doctrines; but these explications are destitute of sufficient authority; they seem to have been the inventions of certain Brahmins, who were ashamed of their absurd mythology; and they are contradicted by the commentaries and explications of others. It is only a translation, of the canonical books of Indians (of which, many extol the wisdom and antiquity, without knowing much about them) that can fix our ideas on this subject. (pp. 500-501)

Finally, the time seemed to have arrived when not just speculations but real translations from primary sources became available. The Monthly Review informed its many readers that Baron de Sainte-Croix had made a first step by publishing a translation "made by a Brahmin of Benares, who was a correspondent of that Academy [the Royal Academy of Inscriptions in Paris]" whose manuscript, a gift of Voltaire to the king's library, had been compared and supplemented "from another copy of the same translation, made by M. Anquetil du Perron, from one in the possession of the nephew of M. Barthelemy" (p. 501). But the title page of the Ezour-vedam only states that the book "contains the exposition of the religious and philosophical opinions of the Indians, translated from the Samscretan by a Brahmin." On page ix, this translator is identified by Sainte-Croix as the "grand-pretre ou archi-brame de la pagode de Cheringham," but the English reviewer promoted him to the status of correspondent of the illustrious Royal Academy in Paris. Not even Voltaire would have dared to go that far; he left it at "correspondent of the French Compagnie des Indes." Ith, who published the German translation, was skeptical about Sainte-Croix's claim and noted that it depends "almost entirely on the reputation of such an unreliable writer as Voltaire" (Ith 1779:25-26). But Sainte-Croix had apparently discussed this with Anquetil-Duperron and assured Ith that he was personally convinced of the text's authenticity (pp. 26-27). Regarding Ith's doubts about the francophone Indian translator, Sainte-Croix informed him that, according to Anquetil-Duperron's opinion, the office of correspondent of the French Compagnie des Indes was not incompatible with the position of chief Brahman (pp. 27-28). Coeurdoux's antidote was effective.

Sainte-Croix begins his two-volume edition of the Ezour-vedam with some remarks about previous work on Indian religion that show his familiarity with most of the available literature in European languages. He criticized "Holwell and Dow who, penetrated by admiration for the philosophy of the Brames and zealous defenders of the purity of their dogmas, published interesting excerpts of some Shasters that they believed to be sacred and authentic" (Sainte-Croix Sainte-Croix, by contrast, could proudly present the Ezour-vedam, "the first original work published until today about the religious and philosophical dogmas of the Indians" (p. xii).

His "Preliminary observations" open with the following declaration of faith:

Theism has been the primitive religion of humankind. The progressive march of polytheism would suggest this truth even if other facts were not demonstrating it. With the Indians, as with all other peoples on earth, one perceives, behind fables and fictions of the most bizarre kind, a cult that was pure in its origin and corrupted in its course. (pp. 13-14)

This statement already presents the Ezour-vedam's content in a nutshell since, as we have seen, the teacher Chumontou stands for the pure monotheism of the origin, and his interlocutor Biache for the bizarre cult into which it degenerated. Sainte-Croix was perfectly in tune with Calmette on this basic point. In no less than 160 introductory pages, Sainte-Croix then presents his vision of the origin and history of Indian religion. This is his attempt to synthesize an enormous amount of often contradictory information about Indian religion and fashion a coherent Story line that explains the history and content of Chumontou's and Biache's teachings, while addressing the question of the text's authorship.

Sainte-Croix was fundamentally in accord with de Guignes, whose papers on Indian religion, which were published in 1781, he was able partially to consult in manuscript form (pp. 52-53, 59). Rejecting Mignot's opinions, Sainte-Croix followed La Croze and de Guignes in discerning Egyptian influence on India (pp. 32-34). He did not mention the biblical narrative of the deluge or the dispersion of people even once. Nevertheless, the region north of Mesopotamia, where according to tradition the ark landed, had (as later in William Jones) a special role (App 2009). It is in Ariana and Bactria, that is, in the region linking Persia to India, that he located the cradle of two groups, "members of one family," which had migrated to India (Sainte-Croix 1778:1.45). The first to arrive were "the brachmanes who seemed to have made their principal residence near the Ganges and in the adjoining mountains" where some of their descendants have maintained their independence to this day in a "district to the west of Burdwam" (pp. 46-47). Sainte-Croix's source for this country "governed by the ancient laws" is, the reader might have guessed it, the ideal country around Bisnapore (see Chapter 6) from Holwell's first volume (p. 47).

The second group that came from Ariana via Bactria to India were the Samaneens, whose founder was "without any doubt Boutta or Budda" (pp. 47-48) and whose religion stretches from that region all across Asia to Japan (pp. 55-56). Sainte-Croix mentions many countries including Ceylon, Siam, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia where the religion of Budda now reigns; and he thought, following La Croze, that they had brought literacy to India. They also "showed great disdain for the cult of Vishnu and Shiva and did not want to subject themselves to the ancient Indianism which they sought to destroy" (p. 70). They fought against the superstitions and polytheism that had disfigured the once pure patriarchal religion. These valiant reformers who wanted to reestablish original monotheism were unjustly accused "by the ignorant and fanatic priests that were then the brachmanes" of being "philosophers of atheism, gross idolaters, and worshippers of their master Budda" (pp. 71-72). Eventually, as reported by Ziegenbalg via La Croze, the Brachmanes even "made a horrible massacre of the unfortunate Baudistes" (p. 72), whereupon some of them carried their religion to other countries in Asia.

If for La Croze the Buddhists had turned into atheists, the roles were here reversed: for Sainte-Croix the Brachmanes had become degenerate polytheists, whereas the Buddhists had preserved their original monotheism. This was based on Brucker's interpretation of esoteric Buddhist doctrine as a kind of mystical monotheism, de Guignes's assertion of the monotheism of the Samaneens (supported by his mistaken translation of the term "world-honored one" at the beginning of the Forty-Two Sections Sutra), Freret's conception of a monotheism professed by both the Buddhist and Brahmanic "sects of Indian religion," and Mignot's monotheistic interpretation of Buddhist emptiness. Convinced by such views, Sainte-Croix believed that the Buddha's esoteric doctrine, a monotheism of the purest kind, had also survived in India:

In spite of the efforts of the brames and the feeling of horror that they wanted to inculcate for the Baudistes or Samaneens, several books of these philosophers are still respectfully preserved on the Malabar coast, and the different coasts of India have, if we may dare to say so, shared their doctrine. The Ganigueuls, the Wanaprasthas, the Avadoutas, the Jogis and the Saniassis have adopted the manner of living of the Baudistes and openly profess the majority of their dogmas. (pp. 76-77)

Since the Baudistes or Samaneens brought literacy to India, they were, of course, also the authors of the sacred scriptures of India:

The first books of the Samaneens were with great likelihood written in this [Sanskrit] language. We know that the sectarians of Budda, who sometime after the birth of Jesus Christ went to China, took along a book which explained their principles in a language and characters that differed from those of the Chinese. Three hundred years passed before the bonzes translated the doctrine of the Indians into Chinese. (pp. 108-9)

Sainte-Croix had picked up such information from de Guignes's still-unpublished manuscripts whose content was described in Chapter 4. He criticized that, instead of translating the most ancient Indian texts, Holwell and Dow had presented the systems of the sects of their informants rather than "the doctrine of the ancient books" (p. 139). The ancient doctrine and books he referred to were brought by the Samaneens from Ariana to India where they were safeguarded by small groups of strictly monotheistic philosophers like the Gnanigols or Ganigueuls (see Chapter 2).

Everywhere in the Ezour-vedam, we find the principal articles of the doctrine of the Ganigueuls which we will discuss, and consequently one cannot doubt that a philosopher of this sect has composed this work. In it, a man enveloped by the gloom of idolatry reports, under the name of Biache, the most accredited fables of India and exposes the entire system of popular theology of his country. (p. 146)

By contrast, Chumontou represents for Sainte-Croix the true original monotheism transmitted by the Samaneens to the Ganigueuls. In this way the Tamil Siddhas identified by Ziegenbalg as Gnanigols (see Chapter 2) became -- at least in Sainte-Croix's scenario that was heavily inspired by de Guignes yet unpublished "Chinese Veda" papers -- successors of the Buddha's strict monotheism whose teaching is preserved ... you have guessed it ... in the Ezour-vedam!

Responding to the questions of Biache, the Ganigueul philosopher [Chumonrou] explains his doctrine about the unity of God, creation, the nature of the soul, the dogma of punishment and recompense in a future state, the cult appropriate for the supreme Being, the duties of all classes [etats], and so forth. Particularly those [duties] of the contemplatives attract Chumonrou's attention; and in this respect his principles entirely conform with those of the Samaneens and the ancient sectarians of Budda. (pp. 147-48)

Of course, Sainte-Croix does not fail to refer here to the two texts that de Guignes had associated with the Samaneens: "the extract from the Anbertkend" and "the translation of the work attributed to Fo, or Budda" -- the Forty-Two Sections Sutra in de Guignes's History of the Huns (see Chapter 4). Though the attentive reader might suspect he or she is hallucinating, there is no doubt-based on what we have learned about all this in Chapters 2, 4, and 7 -- that Fr. Calmette, who through his Ezour-vedam authorship had already shed his black Jesuit attire for an Indian disguise and a Brahmin tuft of hair, thanks to Sainte-Croix now appears before us with the shaved pate of a Buddhist monk who is indoctrinating us about the mystical meaning of the ultimate teaching of the Buddha: God's emptiness!

The Ezour-vedam's Amazing Career

In sum, the Ezour-vedam is one of the most interesting and revelatory documents of nascent Orientalism. Created by European residents of India who pioneered the study of the Vedas, it is an extraordinary window to diverse premodern views of Asian religions and a mirror of Europeans' anxieties, hopes, passions, and obsessions as they struggled to understand their own origin and worldview. After humble beginnings as mission material for catechetes in South India, it soon became obsolete. Some missionary must have decided to give it a second lease on life and a new mission in the struggle against European deists, skeptics, and atheists by letting French laymen make copies of it. After its arrival in France this mission backfired when Voltaire turned the text into a weapon against Judeo-Christianity and for his brand of deism. In defense, Coeurdoux attempted to link the text via the seven rishis to the biblical patriarchs. But Mignot and Anquetil-Duperron saw it as a testament of Ziegenbalg's monotheistic Gnanigols. Sainte-Croix concurred but regarded these Gnanigols as representatives of the ancient esoteric doctrine of Buddhism that in his view was a mystical form of Ur-monotheism. Soon enough, various doubters raised their voices and called the text a fake or "Pseudo-Veda." In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this opinion prevailed, and the Jesuits were accused of a heinous act. Now, however, the text is about to acquire a new valuation as a fascinating record of the early Western study of Indian scriptures, a testament to the diversity and extreme changes characterizing eighteenth-century European views of Asian religions, and a showcase for the twisted fate of religious texts. The biography of the Ezour-vedam presents us with a sequence of events that even a novelist might have trouble imagining: the mystical marriage of a wrongly translated, pieced-together, fifth-century Chinese Buddhist text, tuned up and put into the Buddha's mouth by an eighth-century Chinese Zen master, with the fake -- yet oh so true! -- Yajur Veda (Ezour-vedam) authored by a French Jesuit calling himself Sumantu who criticizes the Veda and whom Sainte-Croix portrayed as a Gnanigol heir of the Buddha's deathbed teaching of God's emptiness. The mind-boggling fate of this text deserves a place of honor in the history-of-ideas hall of fame and is a perfect embodiment of a bon mot of the great researcher of Zen to whom this book is dedicated, the late Seizan Yanagida: "Fact is fiction, and fiction is fact" (App 2008b:7).

The Perfect Theology

In December 1776, Anquetil-Duperron received a package from India sent by his friend colonel Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil, the French envoy at Oudh (Awadh). It contained a voluminous Persian manuscript entitled Sirr-i akbar, the Great Secret. While reading its preface, Anquetil-Duperron already sensed that his search for the Veda, that most ancient record of divine revelation and master key to the "Indian religion" that had conquered Asia, was coming to an end. He translated the Persian preface by Prince Dara (see Chapter 3), written in 1657, word for word to make sure that he did not miss anything. It brought the confirmation that the book's fifty Upanishads contain the very essence of the Vedas.


Anquetil's draft French translation (Bibliotheque Nationale, NAP 8857, Jols.4-5) / English translation of Anquetil's draft French translation (App) / English translation by Hasrat from the Persian (de Bary 1958:440)

Apres la certimde de ces degres (de cela), il a ere scu que dans certe secre ancienne, avant tous les Livres celestes quarre Livres celestes qui (sont) le Ragbeid er le Djedjer Beid, et le Sam Beid, et l'Athrban Beid, aux Prophetes de ce tems que le plus grand d'eux est Brahma qui est Adam choisi de Dieu, sur lequel soit le salut, avec tous les preceptes de conduite: et ce sens est paraissant de ces livres memes / After the certitude of these degrees (of that), it was known that in this ancient sect, before all the heavenly books, four heavenly books which (are) the Ragbeid, and the Djedjer Beid, and the Sam Beid, and the Athrban Beid, to the prophets of this time that the greatest of them is Brahma who is Adam chosen by God, on whom be salvation, with all the precepts of conduct: and this meaning is apparent from these books themselves. / And after verifications of these circumstances, it appeared that among this most ancient people, of all their heavenly books, which are the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda, together with a number of ordinances, descended upon the prophets of those times, the most ancient of whom was Brahman or Adam, on whom be the peace of God, this purport is manifest from these books.

Et l'essentiel (la partie la plus pure, la substance) de ces quatre livres, tout les secrets de conduite (religieuse) et la meditation sur l'unite pure y sont renfermes, et on le nomme Oupnek'hat. / And the essence (the purest part, the substance) of these four books, all the secrets of (religious) conduct and the meditation on the pure unity are included in it, and it is called Oupnek'hat. / And the summum bonum of these four books, which contain all the secrets of the Path and the contemplative exercises of pure monotheism, are called the Upanekhats [Upanishads].

The first two columns of Table 17 provide a taste of Anquetil-Duperron's style. His Latin has been called cryptic and impossible to understand, but sometimes it is clearer than his French in these translations, whose grammar sometimes has even native speakers scratching their heads. The Latin summary of this preface made the central point of this preface much clearer: after having studied the three celestial books (the Books of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Evangile of Christ), Prince Dara found the four Vedas, which he saw as God's earliest revelation to Brahma (who is identical with Adam). These four Vedas contain the truth of unity (unitatis veritas), and their essence (cremor) is found in the book called Oupnek'hat, the Upanishads (Anquetil-Duperron 1801:7).30 Anquetil-Duperron first announced his discovery in a 1778 book on Oriental legislation:

Schahdjehan [Shah Jahan, 1592-1666], son of Djehanguir Uahangir, 1569-1627] permits all religions as long as they serve the growth of his empire. Dara Shako [Mohammed Dara Shikuh, 1615-59], the eldest son of Shahdjehan, shows publicly his indifference for Islam. In Delhi in 1656, this prince has brahmins of Benares translate the Oupnekat, a Sanskrit work whose name signifies The Word that must not be enounced (the secret that must not be revealed). This work is the essence of the four Vedas. It presents in 51 sections the complete system of Indian theology of which the result is the unity of the supreme Being [premier Etre] whose perfections and personified operations have the name of the principal Indian divinities, and the reunion [reunion] of the entire nature with this first Agent. I plan to publish as soon as possible the translation of [his important work which I received in 1776 from North Bengal from Mr. Gentil, Chevalier of St. Louis and Captain of cavalry in the service of France. This work appears for [he first rime in Europe; no traveler has mentioned it until now. (Anquetil-Duperron 1778:21)

Nine years later, on March 18, 1787, he finished his French translation of all fifty Upanishads with the exclamation "oum oum oum oum oum," and the revision of the entire 862-page manuscript took him until July 3.31 In the same year, he inserted his translation "into barbaric French" of four Upanishads into a book on Indian geography with the excuse that it would offer the reader "a break from the course of the Ganges" at Benares, the city of philosophers (Anquetil-Duperron 1787a:2.297). The translation's title clearly shows what the Persian Upanishads of Prince Dara represented for him: "The Basis of Indian Theology, drawn from the Vedas" (p. 297). Anquetil-Duperron's first four Upanishads of 1787 appeared in German translation in 1791 in a book published in Zurich by an anonymous editor; I suspect that it was the very Johann Ith who in 1779 had already proved his interest in Asian religions by translating Sainte-Croix's Ezour-vedam into German. They were contained in Europe's first collection of religious texts from the "Indian religion" that Freret, de Guignes, Diderot, and numerous other authors had described, which was the very religion in search of whose key Anquetil-Duperron had gone to India.

The editor's emphasis of the need to present to the public not so much interpretations but rather translations of primary sources was a sign of a new age, while his view that his "Indian religion" is "about the same with the peoples hither and yonder the Ganges" (Anon., Sammlung asiatischer Original- Schriften, 1791:xiii) marks the end of a period. This Zurich collection appeared just before the effect of the first volumes of the Asiatick Researches on the European continent began. The editor planned a series of volumes with "original scriptures of Asia" and even suggested publishing these texts also in their original languages by using print shops in London for Sanskrit, Paris for Persian, and Berlin for Tamil texts (p. x). But probably because of the Orientalist revolution triggered by the work of the British in India (see Chapter 8), only one volume of the planned collection ever appeared under the title Indische Schriften (Indian Scriptures). In conformity with the editor's conception of "Indian religion," we find in this interesting volume German translations of Maridas Poulle's Bagavadam (pp. 1-216); La Loubere's Life of Tewetat and his Buddhist monastic rules "Patimuk" (pp. 217-56);32 de Guignes's "Book of Fo" (the Forty-Two Sections Sutra; pp. 257-68)33 and his summary of the Anbertkend (pp. 361-76); Anquetil-Duperron's four Upanishads (pp. 269-316); the Dirm Schaster and Neadirsen by Dow (pp. 389-410); the Schastah-Bhade by Holwell (pp. 419-32); Henry Lord's Schaster (pp. 433-52); and some additional materials, including text translations from the Danish India mission (pp. 453-94).

The editor of this Swiss book was a bit skeptical about Anquetil-Duperron's claims that the Upanishads represent the essence of the Vedas, and he commented that the words of the "four Bedes" [Vedas] seem only to be cited sporadically; but he gave Anquetil-Duperron the benefit of the doubt by stating that "if it is as [Anquetil-Duperron says], these Upnekhat will be doubly important because part of the content of the Vedas will then be no more subject to doubt" (pp. xiv-xv). For Anquetil-Duperron, by contrast, no doubt was possible; and he saw his view reinforced by comparing the "system" he had discovered in Prince Dara's Upanishads with the first European translation from a classical Sanskrit text: Charles Wilkins's The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon (1785). Anquetil-Duperron had received a copy of it just before delivering his 1787 manuscript with the four Upanishads to press and decided to add an "Appendix about the Bhagvat Ghita" in which he asserts that Wilkins has not quite understood the true import of the text he translated (Anquetil-Duperron 1787a:571).

Anquetil-Duperron subsequently decided to translate the whole book into cryptic Latin. In some sense, this brings home to Europeans the exclusivity of the ancient Sanskrit text in India; after all, this book was a secretum tegendum and not food for hoi polloi! This is reflected in its esoteric mix of languages where cryptic Latin is explained by Greek: "Nomen Dei semper (X) in ore Brahmanum, et propria lingua, [x], id est, samskretice pronunciatum, est Oum" (The name of God always in the mouth of the Brahmins, and pronounced in their own language, their own voice, in Sanskrit, is Oum) (Anquetil-Duperron the content of this explanation is also emblematic: both for Anquetil-Duperron and for Prince Dara, the Oupnek'hat's theology is the true message of Oum = Allah = God to humankind, his first and most perfect revelation to Brahma = Adam as recorded in the world's oldest book, the Veda, whose essence they happened to hold in their hands. It is a record of God's Ur-message whose traces are found in all ancient sacred texts. In his introduction to the Oupnek'hat, Anquetil-Duperron therefore stresses that "the very same dogma of a single parent of the universe and unique spiritual principle" is described "clearly and transparently" in "the books of Solomon, the ancient Chinese Kims [Ch. jing, classics], the sacred Beids [Vedas] of the Indians, and the Zend-avesta of the Persians" (p. viii).34

This is why, in his defense of the genuineness of the Ezour-vedam at the very end of his life, Anquetil-Duperron insisted that "in the Oupnek'hat one finds the supreme Being, his word, his spirit" (1808:3-419). Even if he had not become the perfect theologian and had to strike through the word "perfect" from the dream of his youth, he had been blessed to find the oldest extant record of God's revelation, the "doctrina orientalis" par excellence, the perfect theology, his religion. OUM!
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:06 am

Fortunato de Felice, 2nd Count Panzutti
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/15/20

Guillaume Emmanuel Joseph SAINTE CROIX (de)

The Ezour-Vedam or Old Commentary on Vedam. Containing the exhibition of religious and philosophical views of Indians. Translated from Samscretan by a Brame.

In the Imprimerie de M. de Felice, Yverdon 1778
, in-12 (9.5x16cm), xij 13-332pp. and 264pp., 2 bound volumes.

First edition of this religious pastiche composed by Jesuit missionaries in India. Printed on the presses of Fortune Barthelemy Felice in Yverdon, it was published by the Holy Cross baron.

Binding post (1840) full fair calf. Back with five nerves decorated with gilded boxes and nets, as well as parts of title and volume number of long grain brown morocco. Triple gilt fillets in coaching contreplats. Quadruple threads and golden floral spandrels framing of paper contreplats to the tank. All edges gilt.

Pretty nice copy binding Niédrée, whose name is registered in pen on the first guard of the first volume.

-- Guillaume Emmanuel Joseph SAINTE CROIX (de), by

Fortunato Bartolomeo de Félice
Count di Panzutti
Born: Fortunato Bartolomeo de Félice, Rome, Italy
Nationality: Italian
Occupation: Nobleman, Author, Scientist
Spouse(s) Agnese Arcuato, Countessa di Panzutti ​(m. 1759)​
Children: 13
Parent(s): Gennaro de Félice and Catarina Rossetti

Fortunato de Felice

Fortunato Bartolomeo de Felice (24 August 1723 – 13 February 1789), 2nd Comte de Panzutti, also known as Fortuné-Barthélemy de Félice and Francesco Placido Bartolomeo De Felice, was an Italian nobleman, a famed author, philosopher, scientist, and is said to have been one of the most important publishers of the 18th century.[1] He is considered a pioneer of education in Switzerland, and a formative contributor to the European Enlightenment.


Fortunato Bartolomeo de Félice was born in Rome to a Neapolitan family as the eldest of six children on 24 August 1723. He was confirmed in 1733 in the parish of St. Celso e Giuliano. At the age of 12, he studied at Rome and Naples under the Jesuits, taught by the Franciscan Fortunato da Brescia.

On 28 May 1746 he was ordained by papal dispensation, whilst also teaching philosophy. Through his studies at the monastery of San Francesco in Ripa, he discovered a love of Physics, becoming friends with Celestino Galiani. In 1753, Galiani appointed de Félice chair of Ancient and Modern Geography, and the chair of experimental physics and mathematics at Naples University. There he became friends with the Prince Raimondo di Sangro...


Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero (30 January 1710 – 22 March 1771) was an Italian nobleman, inventor, soldier, writer, scientist, alchemist and freemason best remembered for his reconstruction of the Chapel of Sansevero in Naples...

Its origin dates to 1590 when John Francesco di Sangro, Duke of Torremaggiore, after recovering from a serious illness, had a private chapel built in what were then the gardens of the nearby Sansevero family residence, the Palazzo Sansevero. The building was converted into a family burial chapel by Alessandro di Sangro in 1613 (as inscribed on the marble plinth over the entrance to the chapel). Definitive form was given to the chapel by Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, who also included Masonic symbols in its reconstruction. Until 1888 a passageway connected the Sansevero palace with the chapel...

The chapel houses almost thirty works of art, among which are three particular sculptures of note. These marble statues are emblematic of the love of decoration in the Rococo period and their depiction of translucent veils and a fisherman's net represent remarkable artistic achievement.



The Veiled Truth (Pudicizia, also called Modesty or Chastity) was completed by Antonio Corradini in 1752 as a tomb monument dedicated to Cecilia Gaetani dell'Aquila d'Aragona, mother of Raimondo...

The original floor (most of the present one dates from 1901) was in black and white (said to symbolize good/evil) in the design of a labyrinth (a masonic symbol for "initiation")...

Head of the male model

The chapel also displays two early examples of what was long thought to be a form of plastination in its basement. ].. The exhibit consists of a mature male and a pregnant woman. Their skeletons are encased in the hardened arteries and veins which are colored red and blue respectively.

-- Cappella Sansevero, by Wikipedia

From the age of ten he was educated at the Jesuit College in Rome...

In 1730, at the age of 20, he returned to Naples. He became a friend of Charles Bourbon, who became king of Naples in 1734, for whom he invented a waterproof cape.

In 1744 he distinguished himself at the head of a regiment during the Battle of Velletri, in the war between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. While in command of the military he built a cannon out of lightweight materials which had a longer range than the standard ones of the time, and wrote a military treatise on the employment of infantry (Manuale di esercizi militari per la fanteria) for which he was praised by Frederick II of Prussia.

His real interests, however, were the studies of alchemy, mechanics and the sciences in general. Among his inventions were:

• An hydraulic device that could pump water to any height
An "eternal flame", using chemical compounds of his own invention
• A carriage with wood and cork "horses" which, driven by a cunning system of paddlewheels, could travel on both land and water
• Coloured fireworks
• A printing press which could print different colours in a single impression.

The Prince spoke several European languages, as well as Arabic and Hebrew. After returning to Naples he set up a printing press in the basement of his house where he printed both his own works and those of others, some of which he translated himself. As some of these were censored by the ecclesiastical authorities he also wrote anonymously. Some of his publications were clearly influenced by Freemasonry, and he communicated with fellow masons such as the Scot Andrew Michael Ramsay, whose Voyages of Cyrus he translated and published, and the English poet Alexander Pope, whose Rape of the Lock he translated and published (although, due to condemnations by the Jesuits, he had to deny these activities). He was head of the Neapolitan masonic lodge until he was excommunicated by the Church, making an enemy of the Neapolitan cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli. The excommunication was later revoked by Pope Benedict XIV, probably on account of the influence of the di Sangro family.

Whilst in Naples, he forged a friendship with Fortunato-Bartolommeo de Félice, 2nd Count di Panzutti, who had been appointed chair of experimental physics and mathematics at Naples University by Celestino Galiani and later set up the famous publishing press at Yverdon in 1762. Together the Prince and the Count translated the physicist John Arbuthnot's works from Latin.

Many legends grew up around his alchemical activities: that he could create blood out of nothing, that he could replicate the liquefaction of blood of San Gennaro, that he had people killed so that he could use their bones and skin for experiments. The Chapel of Sansevero was said to have been constructed on an old temple of Isis, and di Sangro was said to have been a Rosicrucian. To justify this, locals pointed to a massive Statue of the God of the Nile, located just around the corner from his home.

To add to the sense of dread, di Sangro's family home in Naples, the Palazzo Sansevero, was the scene of a brutal murder at the end of the 16th century, when the composer Carlo Gesualdo caught his wife and her lover in flagrante delicto, and hacked them to death in their bed.

The last years of his life were dedicated to decorating the Chapel of Sansevero with marble works from the greatest artists of the time, including Antonio Corradini, Francesco Queirolo, and Giuseppe Sanmartino (whose Veiled Christ's detailed marble veil was thought by many to be created by di Sangro's alchemy) and preparing anatomical models. Two of the models, known as anatomical machines, are still on display in the Chapel, and have given rise to legends as to how they were constructed (even today the exact method is not known). Until recently many Neapolitans believed that the models were of his servant and a pregnant woman, into whose veins an artificial substance was injected under pressure, but the latest research has shown that the models are artificial.

He destroyed his own scientific archive before he died. After his death, his descendants, under threat of excommunication by the Church due to di Sangro's involvement with Freemasonry and alchemy, destroyed what was left of his writings, formulae, laboratory equipment and results of experiments.

Raimondo di Sangro died in Naples in 1771, his death being hastened by the continuous use of dangerous chemicals in his experiments and inventions.

-- Raimondo di Sangro, by Wikipedia

who aided him in his translation of the physicist John Arbuthnot's works from Latin.


John Arbuthnot FRS (baptised 29 April 1667 – 27 February 1735), often known simply as Dr Arbuthnot, was a Scottish physician, satirist and polymath in London...

In 1702, he was at Epsom when Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne fell ill. According to tradition, Arbuthnot treated the prince successfully. According to tradition again, this treatment earned him an invitation to court. Also around 1702, he married Margaret, whose maiden name is possibly Wemyss. Although there are no baptismal records, it seems that his first son, George (named in honour of the prince), was born in 1703. He was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1704. Also thanks to the Queen's presence, he was made an MD at Cambridge University on 16 April 1705.

Arbuthnot was an amiable individual, and Swift said that the only fault an enemy could lay upon him was a slight waddle in his walk. His conviviality and his royal connections made him an important figure in the Royal Society. In 1705, Arbuthnot became physician extraordinary to Queen Anne, and at the same time was put on the board trying to publish the Historia coelestius. Newton and Edmund Halley wanted it published immediately, to support their work on orbits, while John Flamsteed, the Royal Astronomer whose observations they were, wanted to keep the data secret until he had perfected it. The result was that Arbuthnot used his leverage as friend and physician to Prince George, whose money was paying for the publication, to force Flamsteed to allow it out, albeit with serious errors, in 1712. Also as a scholar, Arbuthnot took up an interest in antiquities and published Tables of Grecian, Roman, and Jewish measures, weights and coins; reduced to the English standard in 1705, 1707, 1709, and, expanded with a preface (which indicated that his second son, Charles, was born in 1705), in 1727 and 1747...

As a Scotsman, Arbuthnot served the crown by writing A sermon preach'd to the people at the Mercat Cross of Edinborough on the subject of the union. Ecclesiastes, Chapter 10, Verse 27. The work was designed to persuade Scots to accept the Act of Union. When the Act passed, Arbuthnot was made a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He was also made a physician in ordinary to the Queen, which made him part of the royal household.

Arbuthnot returned to mathematics in 1710 with An argument for Divine Providence, taken from the constant regularity observed in the births of both sexes (linked below) in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions. In this paper, Arbuthnot examined birth records in London for each of the 82 years from 1629 to 1710 and the human sex ratio at birth: in every year, the number of males born in London exceeded the number of females. If the probability of male and female birth were equal, the probability of the observed outcome would be 1/282, a vanishingly small number. This is vanishingly small, leading Arbuthnot that this was not due to chance, but to divine providence: "From whence it follows, that it is Art, not Chance, that governs." This paper was a landmark in the history of statistics...

In 1712, Arbuthnot and Swift both attempted to aid the Tory government of Harley and Henry St. John in their efforts to end the War of the Spanish Succession. The war had profited John and Sarah Churchill, and the Tory ministry sought to end it by withdrawing from all England's alliances and negotiating directly with France. Swift wrote The Conduct of the Allies, and Arbuthnot wrote a series of five pamphlets featuring John Bull. The first of these, Law Is a Bottomless Pit (1712), introduced a simple allegory to explain the war. John Bull (England) is suing Louis Baboon (i.e. Louis Bourbon, or Louis XIV of France) over the estate of the dead Lord Strutt (Charles II of Spain). Bull's lawyer is the one who really enjoys the suit, and he is Humphrey Hocus (Marlborough). Bull has a sister named Peg (Scotland). The pamphlets are Swiftian in their satire, in that they make all of the characters hopelessly flawed and comic and none of their endeavour worth pursuing (which was Arbuthnot's intent, as he sought to make the war an object of scorn), but it is filled with homespun humour, a common touch, and a sympathy for the figures that is distinctly non-Swiftian.

In 1713, Arbuthnot continued his political satire with Proposals for printing a very curious discourse... a treatise of the art of political lying, with an abstract of the first volume. As with other works that Arbuthnot encouraged, this systemizes a rhetoric of bad thinking and writing. He proposes to teach people to lie well...

When George I came to the throne, Arbuthnot lost all of his royal appointments and houses, but he still had a vigorous medical practice...

In 1719 he took part in a pamphlet war over the treatment of smallpox. In particular, he attacked Dr Woodward, who had again presented a dogmatic and, Arbuthnot thought, irrational opinion. In 1723, Arbuthnot was made one of the censors of the Royal College of Physicians, and as such he was one of the campaigners to inspect and improve the drugs sold by apothecaries in London. In 1723, the apothecaries sued the RCP, and Arbuthnot wrote Reasons humbly offered by the ... upholders (undertakers) against part of the bill for the better viewing, searching, and examining of drugs. The pamphlet suggested that the funeral directors of London might wish to sue the Royal College of Physicians as well to ensure that drug safety remained poor. In 1727, he was made an elect of the Royal College of Physicians.

In 1726 and 1727, Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope reunited at Arbuthnot's house during visits, and Swift showed Arbuthnot the manuscript of Gulliver's Travels ahead of time. The detailed parody of on-going Royal Society projects in book III of Gulliver's Travels likely came from "hints" from Arbuthnot...

CHAPTER III. A phenomenon solved by modern philosophy and astronomy. The Laputians’ great improvements in the latter. The king’s method of suppressing insurrections.

I desired leave of this prince to see the curiosities of the island, which he was graciously pleased to grant, and ordered my tutor to attend me. I chiefly wanted to know, to what cause, in art or in nature, it owed its several motions, whereof I will now give a philosophical account to the reader.

The flying or floating island is exactly circular, its diameter 7837 yards, or about four miles and a half, and consequently contains ten thousand acres. It is three hundred yards thick. The bottom, or under surface, which appears to those who view it below, is one even regular plate of adamant, shooting up to the height of about two hundred yards. Above it lie the several minerals in their usual order, and over all is a coat of rich mould, ten or twelve feet deep. The declivity of the upper surface, from the circumference to the centre, is the natural cause why all the dews and rains, which fall upon the island, are conveyed in small rivulets toward the middle, where they are emptied into four large basins, each of about half a mile in circuit, and two hundred yards distant from the centre. From these basins the water is continually exhaled by the sun in the daytime, which effectually prevents their overflowing. Besides, as it is in the power of the monarch to raise the island above the region of clouds and vapours, he can prevent the falling of dews and rain whenever he pleases. For the highest clouds cannot rise above two miles, as naturalists agree, at least they were never known to do so in that country.

At the centre of the island there is a chasm about fifty yards in diameter, whence the astronomers descend into a large dome, which is therefore called flandona gagnole, or the astronomer’s cave, situated at the depth of a hundred yards beneath the upper surface of the adamant. In this cave are twenty lamps continually burning, which, from the reflection of the adamant, cast a strong light into every part. The place is stored with great variety of sextants, quadrants, telescopes, astrolabes, and other astronomical instruments. But the greatest curiosity, upon which the fate of the island depends, is a loadstone of a prodigious size, in shape resembling a weaver’s shuttle. It is in length six yards, and in the thickest part at least three yards over. This magnet is sustained by a very strong axle of adamant passing through its middle, upon which it plays, and is poised so exactly that the weakest hand can turn it. It is hooped round with a hollow cylinder of adamant, four feet yards in diameter, placed horizontally, and supported by eight adamantine feet, each six yards high. In the middle of the concave side, there is a groove twelve inches deep, in which the extremities of the axle are lodged, and turned round as there is occasion.

The stone cannot be removed from its place by any force, because the hoop and its feet are one continued piece with that body of adamant which constitutes the bottom of the island.

By means of this loadstone, the island is made to rise and fall, and move from one place to another. For, with respect to that part of the earth over which the monarch presides, the stone is endued at one of its sides with an attractive power, and at the other with a repulsive. Upon placing the magnet erect, with its attracting end towards the earth, the island descends; but when the repelling extremity points downwards, the island mounts directly upwards. When the position of the stone is oblique, the motion of the island is so too. For in this magnet, the forces always act in lines parallel to its direction.

By this oblique motion, the island is conveyed to different parts of the monarch’s dominions. To explain the manner of its progress, let A B represent a line drawn across the dominions of Balnibarbi, let the line c d represent the loadstone, of which let d be the repelling end, and c the attracting end, the island being over C; let the stone be placed in the position c d, with its repelling end downwards; then the island will be driven upwards obliquely towards D. When it is arrived at D, let the stone be turned upon its axle, till its attracting end points towards E, and then the island will be carried obliquely towards E; where, if the stone be again turned upon its axle till it stands in the position E F, with its repelling point downwards, the island will rise obliquely towards F, where, by directing the attracting end towards G, the island may be carried to G, and from G to H, by turning the stone, so as to make its repelling extremity to point directly downward. And thus, by changing the situation of the stone, as often as there is occasion, the island is made to rise and fall by turns in an oblique direction, and by those alternate risings and fallings (the obliquity being not considerable) is conveyed from one part of the dominions to the other.

But it must be observed, that this island cannot move beyond the extent of the dominions below, nor can it rise above the height of four miles. For which the astronomers (who have written large systems concerning the stone) assign the following reason: that the magnetic virtue does not extend beyond the distance of four miles, and that the mineral, which acts upon the stone in the bowels of the earth, and in the sea about six leagues distant from the shore, is not diffused through the whole globe, but terminated with the limits of the king’s dominions; and it was easy, from the great advantage of such a superior situation, for a prince to bring under his obedience whatever country lay within the attraction of that magnet.

When the stone is put parallel to the plane of the horizon, the island stands still; for in that case the extremities of it, being at equal distance from the earth, act with equal force, the one in drawing downwards, the other in pushing upwards, and consequently no motion can ensue.

This loadstone is under the care of certain astronomers, who, from time to time, give it such positions as the monarch directs. They spend the greatest part of their lives in observing the celestial bodies, which they do by the assistance of glasses, far excelling ours in goodness. For, although their largest telescopes do not exceed three feet, they magnify much more than those of a hundred with us, and show the stars with greater clearness. This advantage has enabled them to extend their discoveries much further than our astronomers in Europe; for they have made a catalogue of ten thousand fixed stars, whereas the largest of ours do not contain above one third part of that number. They have likewise discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars; whereof the innermost is distant from the centre of the primary planet exactly three of his diameters, and the outermost, five; the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half; so that the squares of their periodical times are very near in the same proportion with the cubes of their distance from the centre of Mars; which evidently shows them to be governed by the same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly bodies.

They have observed ninety-three different comets, and settled their periods with great exactness. If this be true (and they affirm it with great confidence) it is much to be wished, that their observations were made public, whereby the theory of comets, which at present is very lame and defective, might be brought to the same perfection with other arts of astronomy.

-- Gulliver’s Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World, by Jonathan Swift, D.D., Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin

In 1730, Arbuthnot's wife died. The next year, he produced a work of popular medicine, An essay concerning the nature of aliments, and the choice of them, according to the different constitutions of human bodies. The book was quite popular, and a second edition, with advice on diet, came out the next year. It had four more full editions and translations into French and German. In 1733 he wrote another very popular work of medicine called An Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies. As with the former work, it went through multiple editions and translations. He argued that the air itself had to have enormous effects on the personality and persons of humanity, and he believed that the air of locations resulted in the characteristics of the people, as well as particular maladies. He advised his readers to ventilate sickrooms and to seek fresh air in cities.

-- John Arbuthnot, by Wikipedia

After rescuing the imprisoned Countess Panzutti,[2] Félice and his new wife fled to Bern, with the help of his friend Albrecht von Haller, due to religious persecution from the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. He then converted to Protestant.

In 1758, he founded with de:Vincenz Bernhard Tscharner the Typographic Society of Bern
, and was an Italian-speaking ( l'Estratto de la europea letterature until 1762) and a Latin (l'Excerptum totius Italicae nec non Helveticae literaturae, to 1766) literary and scientific journal.

In 1762, after the death of the Countessa di Panzutti to influenza at Tscharner's residence Château Lansitz, he moved to Yverdon where he founded an educational institute for young people from all over Europe and a printing press. The latter quickly developed into one of the most distinguished in Switzerland, producing the Yverdon Encyclopedia, for which he is now famous. In, 1769 he became a citizen of Yverdon and thus Swiss.

He was married four times and had 13 children: in 1756 to Countess Agnese Arcuato, Countessa di Panzutti (1720-1759)[2] (whereby his Earldom was received suo jure, confusing Arcuato's late husband is recorded as the first Count Panzutti), in 1759 to Susanne de Wavre Neuchâtel (1737-1769), in 1769 to Louise Marie Perrelet († 1774), and in 1774 to Jeanne Salomé Sinet.[3]

He died in Yverdon-les-Bains.


De Felice is considered a significant contributor to education in Switzerland. As editor and translator of Burlamaqui's Principes du Droit Naturel, his name became synonymous with natural law throughout Europe. His most important work is the Encyclopédie d'Yverdon, which he headed as editor and for which he wrote more than 800 articles. From 1770 to 1780 he published 58 volumes, and as the Encyclopédie of Paris in a new version of the Protestant perspective.

His other work consists of half a dozen educational, philosophical and scientific books. He translated the works of René Descartes, d'Alembert, Maupertuis and Newton into Italian.

In de Felice's famous printing house, as well as the Encyclopedia, he translated into French works of Elie Bertrand, Charles Bonnet,...


Charles Bonnet (French: [bɔnɛ]; 13 March 1720 – 20 May 1793) was a Genevan naturalist and philosophical writer...

He made law his profession, but his favourite pursuit was the study of natural science. The account of the ant-lion in Noël-Antoine Pluche's Spectacle de la nature, which he read in his sixteenth year, turned his attention to insect life. He procured RAF de Réaumur's work on insects, and with the help of live specimens succeeded in adding many observations to those of Réaumur and Pluche. In 1740, Bonnet communicated to the Academy of Sciences a paper containing a series of experiments establishing what is now termed parthenogenesis in aphids or tree-lice, which obtained for him the honour of being admitted a corresponding member of the academy. During that year he had been in correspondence with his uncle Abraham Trembley who had recently discovered the hydra. This little creature became the hit of all the salons across Europe once philosophers and natural scientists saw its amazing regenerative capabilities. In 1741, Bonnet began to study reproduction by fusion and the regeneration of lost parts in the freshwater hydra and other animals; and in the following year he discovered that the respiration of caterpillars and butterflies is performed by pores, to which the name of stigmata (or spiracles) has since been given. In 1743, he was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society; and in the same year he became a doctor of laws—his last act in connection with a profession which had ever been distasteful to him. In 1753, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and on 15 December 1769 a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

His first published work appeared in 1745, entitled Traité d'insectologie, in which were collected his various discoveries regarding insects, along with a preface on the development of germs and the scale of organized beings. Botany, particularly the leaves of plants, next attracted his attention; and after several years of diligent study, rendered irksome by the increasing weakness of his eyesight, he published in 1754 one of the most original and interesting of his works, Recherches sur l'usage des feuilles dans les plantes. In this book, he observes that gas bubbles form on plant leaves that have been submerged in water, indicating gas exchange; and among other things he advances many considerations tending to show (as was later done by Francis Darwin) that plants are endowed with powers of sensation and discernment. But Bonnet's eyesight, which threatened to fail altogether, caused him to turn to philosophy. In 1754 his Essai de psychologie was published anonymously in London. This was followed by the Essai analytique sur les facultés de l'âme (Copenhagen, 1760), in which he develops his views regarding the physiological conditions of mental activity. He returned to physical science, but to the speculative side of it, in his Considerations sur les corps organisées (Amsterdam, 1762), designed to refute the theory of epigenesis, and to explain and defend the doctrine of pre-existent germs. In his Contemplation de la nature (Amsterdam, 1764–1765; translated into Italian, German, English and Dutch), one of his most popular and delightful works, he sets forth, in eloquent language, the theory that all the beings in nature form a gradual scale rising from lowest to highest, without any break in its continuity. His last important work was the Palingénésie philosophique (Geneva, 1769–1770); in it he treats of the past and future of living beings, and supports the idea of the survival of all animals, and the perfecting of their faculties in a future state...

Bonnet's philosophical system may be outlined as follows. Man is a compound of two distinct substances, mind and body, the one immaterial and the other material. All knowledge originates in sensations; sensations follow (whether as physical effects or merely as sequents Bonnet will not say) vibrations in the nerves appropriate to each; and lastly, the nerves are made to vibrate by external physical stimulus. A nerve once set in motion by a particular object tends to reproduce that motion; so that when it a second time receives an impression from the same object it vibrates with less resistance. The sensation accompanying this increased flexibility in the nerve is, according to Bonnet, the condition of memory. When reflection—that is, the active element in mind—is applied to the acquisition and combination of sensations, those abstract ideas are formed which, though generally distinguished from, are thus merely sensations in combination only. That which puts the mind into activity is pleasure or pain; happiness is the end of human existence.

Bonnet's metaphysical theory is based on two principles borrowed from Leibniz: first, that there are not successive acts of creation, but that the universe is completed by the single original act of the divine will, and thereafter moves on by its own inherent force; and secondly, that there is no break in the continuity of existence. The divine Being originally created a multitude of germs in a graduated scale, each with an inherent power of self-development. At every successive step in the progress of the universe, these germs, as progressively modified, advance nearer to perfection; if some advanced and others did not there would be a gap in the continuity of the chain. Thus not man only but all other forms of existence are immortal. Nor is man's mind alone immortal; his body also will pass into the higher stage, not, indeed, the body he now possesses, but a finer one of which the germ at present exists within him. It is impossible, however, to reach absolute perfection, because the distance is infinite.

In this final proposition, Bonnet violates his own principle of continuity, by postulating an interval between the highest created being and the Divine. It is also difficult to understand whether the constant advance to perfection is performed by each individual, or only by each race of beings as a whole. There seems, in fact, to be an oscillation between two distinct but analogous doctrines—that of the constantly increasing advancement of the individual in future stages of existence, and that of the constantly increasing advancement of the race as a whole according to the successive evolutions of the globe. In Philosophical Palingesis, or Ideas on the Past and Future States of Living Beings (1770), Bonnet argued that females carry within them all future generations in a miniature form. He believed these miniature beings, sometimes called homonculi, would be able to survive even great cataclysms such as the biblical Flood; he predicted, moreover, that these catastrophes brought about evolutionary change, and that after the next disaster, men would become angels, mammals would gain intelligence, and so on.

-- Charles Bonnet, by Wikipedia

Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui,...


Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui (French: [byʁlamaki]; 24 June or 13 July 1694 – 3 April 1748) was a Genevan legal and political theorist...

Born in Geneva, Republic of Geneva, into a Calvinist family (descended from the wealthy 16th-century Italian merchant Francesco Burlamacchi of Lucca executed for his Republican sentiments) who had taken refuge religionis causa, he studied law and at 25 he was designated honorary professor of ethics and the law of nature at the university of Geneva. Before taking up the appointment, he travelled through France and England, and made the acquaintance of the most eminent writers of the period...

Burlamaqui's treatise The Principles of Natural and Politic Law was translated into six languages (besides the original French) in 60 editions. His vision of constitutionalism had a major influence on the American Founding Fathers: "Early American thought also drew on ideas circulating on the Continent. The author who played the greatest part in transmitting those ideas over the Atlantic was the Swiss writer Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, now almost forgotten, but at one time a best-selling author." For example, his understanding of checks and balances was much more sophisticated and practical than that of Montesquieu, in part because Burlamaqui's theory contained the seed of judicial review. He was frequently quoted or paraphrased, only sometimes attributed, in political sermons during the pre-revolutionary era. He was the first philosopher to articulate the quest for happiness as a natural right, a principle that Thomas Jefferson later restated in the Declaration of Independence.

Burlamaqui's description of European countries as forming "a kind of republic the members of which, independent but bound by common interest, come together to maintain order and liberty" is quoted by Michel Foucault in his 1978 lectures at the Collège de France in the context of a discussion of diplomacy and the law of nations.

-- Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, by Wikipedia

Albrecht von Haller,...


Albrecht von Haller (also known as Albertus de Haller; 16 October 1708 – 12 December 1777) was a Swiss anatomist, physiologist, naturalist, encyclopedist, bibliographer and poet. A pupil of Herman Boerhaave, he is often referred to as "the father of modern physiology."

Haller was born into an old Swiss family at Bern. Prevented by long-continued ill-health from taking part in boyish sports, he had more opportunity for the development of his precocious mind. At the age of four, it is said, he used to read and expound the Bible to his father's servants; before he was ten he had sketched a Biblical Aramaic grammar, prepared a Greek and a Hebrew vocabulary, compiled a collection of two thousand biographies of famous men and women on the model of the great works of Bayle and Moréri, and written in Latin verse a satire on his tutor, who had warned him against a too great excursiveness. When still hardly fifteen he was already the author of numerous metrical translations from Ovid, Horace and Virgil, as well as of original lyrics, dramas, and an epic of four thousand lines on the origin of the Swiss confederations, writings which he is said on one occasion to have rescued from a fire at the risk of his life, only, however, to burn them a little later (1729) with his own hand.

Haller's attention had been directed to the profession of medicine while he was residing in the house of a physician at Biel after his father's death in 1721. While still a sickly and excessively shy youth, he went in his sixteenth year to the University of Tübingen (December 1723), where he studied under Elias Rudolph Camerarius Jr. and Johann Duvernoy. Dissatisfied with his progress, he in 1725 exchanged Tübingen for Leiden, where Boerhaave was in the zenith of his fame, and where Albinus had already begun to lecture in anatomy. At that university he graduated in May 1727, undertaking successfully in his thesis to prove that the so-called salivary duct, claimed as a recent discovery by Georg Daniel Coschwitz (1679–1729), was nothing more than a blood-vessel. In 1752, at the University of Göttingen, Haller published his thesis (De partibus corporis humani sensibilibus et irritabilibus) discussing the distinction between "sensibility" and "irritability" in organs, suggesting that nerves were "sensible" because of a person's ability to perceive contact while muscles were "irritable" because the fiber could measurably shorten on its own, regardless of a person's perception, when excited by a foreign body. Later in 1757, he conducted a famous series of experiments to distinguish between nerve impulses and muscular contractions...

[ I]n 1728 he proceeded to Basel, where he devoted himself to the study of higher mathematics under John Bernoulli. It was during his stay there also that his interest in botany was awakened; and, in the course of a tour (July/August, 1728), through Savoy, Baden and several of the cantons of Switzerland, he began a collection of plants which was afterwards the basis of his great work on the flora of Switzerland. From a literary point of view the main result of this, the first of his many journeys through the Alps, was his poem entitled Die Alpen, which was finished in March 1729, and appeared in the first edition (1732) of his Gedichte. This poem of 490 hexameters is historically important as one of the earliest signs of the awakening appreciation of the mountains, though it is chiefly designed to contrast the simple and idyllic life of the inhabitants of the Alps with the corrupt and decadent existence of the dwellers in the plains.

In 1729 he returned to Bern and began to practice as a physician; his best energies, however, were devoted to the botanical and anatomical researches which rapidly gave him a European reputation, and procured for him from George II in 1736 a call to the chair of medicine, anatomy, botany and surgery in the newly founded University of Göttingen. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1743, a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1747, and was ennobled in 1749...

[H]e conducted a monthly journal (the Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen), to which he is said to have contributed twelve thousand articles relating to almost every branch of human knowledge. He also warmly interested himself in most of the religious questions, both ephemeral and permanent, of his day...

[H]e also found time to write the three philosophical romances Usong (1771), Alfred (1773) and Fabius and Cato (1774), in which his views as to the respective merits of despotism, of limited monarchy and of aristocratic republican government are fully set forth.

In about 1773, his poor health forced him to withdraw from public business. He supported his failing strength by means of opium, on the use of which he communicated a paper to the Proceedings of the Göttingen Royal Society in 1776; the excessive use of the drug is believed, however, to have hastened his death.

Haller, who had been three times married, left eight children...

In his Science of Logic, Hegel mentions Haller's description of eternity, called by Kant "terrifying" in the Critique of Pure Reason (A613/B641). According to Hegel, Haller realizes that a conception of eternity as infinite progress is "futile and empty". In a way, Hegel uses Haller's description of eternity as a foreshadowing of his own conception of the true infinite. Hegel claims that Haller is aware that: "only by giving up this empty, infinite progression can the genuine infinite itself become present to him."

-- Albrecht von Haller, by Wikipedia

Gabriel Seigneux de Correvon, Samuel-Auguste Tissot,...


Samuel Auguste André David Tissot (French: [tiso]; 20 March 1728 – 13 June 1797) was a notable 18th-century Swiss physician.

A well reputed Calvinist Protestant neurologist, physician, professor and Vatican adviser who practiced in the Swiss city of Lausanne. He wrote on the diseases of the poor, on masturbation, on the diseases of the men of letters and of rich people, and nervous diseases.

He devoted an 83-page chapter to the study of migraine in his Traité des nerfs et de leurs maladies (Treatise on the nerves and nervous disorders).
He used his own observations and the existing medical treatises of the day...

In 1760, he published L'Onanisme, his own comprehensive medical treatise on the purported ill-effects of masturbation. Citing case studies of young male masturbators amongst his patients in Lausanne as basis for his reasoning, Tissot argued that semen was an "essential oil" and "stimulus" that, when lost from the body in great amounts, would cause "a perceptible reduction of strength, of memory and even of reason; blurred vision, all the nervous disorders, all types of gout and rheumatism, weakening of the organs of generation, blood in the urine, disturbance of the appetite, headaches and a great number of other disorders."

His treatise was presented as a scholarly, scientific work in a time when experimental physiology was practically nonexistent. The authority with which the work was subsequently treated — Tissot's arguments were even acknowledged and echoed by luminaries such as Kant and Voltaire — arguably turned the perception of masturbation in Western medicine over the next two centuries into that of a debilitating illness...

On 1 April 1787, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to Dr. Tissot complimenting him for spending his “days in treating humanity” noting that his “reputation has reached even into the mountains of Corsica” and describing “the respect I have for your works…"

-- Samuel-Auguste Tissot, by Wikipedia

Johann Joachim Winckelmann ...


Johann Joachim Winckelmann (/ˈvɪŋkəlˌmɑːn/; German: [ˈvɪŋkl̩man]; 9 December 1717 – 8 June 1768) was a German art historian and archaeologist. He was a pioneering Hellenist who first articulated the difference between Greek, Greco-Roman and Roman art. "The prophet and founding hero of modern archaeology", Winckelmann was one of the founders of scientific archaeology and first applied the categories of style on a large, systematic basis to the history of art. Many consider him the father of the discipline of art history. He was one of the first to separate Greek Art into periods, and time classifications. His would be the decisive influence on the rise of the Neoclassical movement during the late 18th century. His writings influenced not only a new science of archaeology and art history but Western painting, sculpture, literature and even philosophy. Winckelmann's History of Ancient Art (1764) was one of the first books written in German to become a classic of European literature. His subsequent influence on Lessing, Herder, Goethe, Hölderlin, Heine, Nietzsche, George, and Spengler has been provocatively called "the Tyranny of Greece over Germany."...

Winckelmann was homosexual, and open homoeroticism formed his writings on aesthetics. This was recognized by his contemporaries, such as Goethe...

With the intention of becoming a physician, in 1740 Winckelmann attended medical classes at Jena. He also taught languages. From 1743 to 1748, he was the deputy headmaster of the gymnasium of Seehausen in the Altmark but Winckelmann felt that work with children was not his true calling. Moreover, his means were insufficient: his salary was so low that he had to rely on his students' parents for free meals. He was thus obliged to accept a tutorship near Magdeburg. While tutor for the powerful Lamprecht family, he fell into unrequited love with the handsome Lamprecht son. This was one of a series of such loves throughout his life. His enthusiasm for the male form excited Winckelmann's budding admiration of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.

In 1748, Winckelmann wrote to Count Heinrich von Bünau: "[L]ittle value is set on Greek literature, to which I have devoted myself so far as I could penetrate, when good books are so scarce and expensive". In the same year, Winckelmann was appointed secretary of von Bünau's library at Nöthnitz, near Dresden. The library contained some 40,000 volumes. Winckelmann had read Homer, Herodotus, Sophocles, Xenophon, and Plato, but he found at Nöthnitz the works of such famous Enlightenment writers as Voltaire and Montesquieu. To leave behind the spartan atmosphere of Prussia came as a great relief for him. Winckelmann's major duty involved assisting von Bünau in writing a book on the Holy Roman Empire and helping collect material for it. During this period he made several visits to the collection of antiquities at Dresden, but his description of its best paintings remained unfinished. The treasures there, nevertheless, awakened in Winckelmann an intense interest in art, which was deepened by his association with various artists, particularly the painter Adam Friedrich Oeser (1717–1799)—Goethe's future friend and influence—who encouraged Winckelmann in his aesthetic studies. (Winckelmann subsequently exercised a powerful influence over Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).

In 1755, Winckelmann published his Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst ("Thoughts on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture"), followed by a feigned attack on the work and a defense of its principles, ostensibly by an impartial critic. The Gedanken contains the first statement of the doctrines he afterwards developed, the ideal of "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur" (edle Einfalt und stille Größe) and the definitive assertion, "[t]he one way for us to become great, perhaps inimitable, is by imitating the ancients". The work won warm admiration not only for the ideas it contained, but for its literary style. It made Winckelmann famous, and was reprinted several times and soon translated into French. In England, Winckelmann's views stirred discussion in the 1760s and 1770s, although it was limited to artistic circles: Henry Fuseli's translation of Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks was published in 1765, and reprinted with corrections in 1767.

In 1751, the papal nuncio and Winckelmann's future employer, Alberico Archinto, visited Nöthnitz, and in 1754 Winckelmann joined the Roman Catholic Church. Goethe concluded that Winckelmann was a pagan, while Gerhard Gietmann contended that Winckelmann "died a devout and sincere Catholic"; either way, his conversion ultimately opened the doors of the papal library to him. On the strength of the Gedanken über die Nachahmung der Griechischen Werke, Augustus III, king of Poland and elector of Saxony, granted him a pension of 200 thalers, so that he could continue his studies in Rome.

Winckelmann arrived in Rome in November 1755. His first task there was to describe the statues in the Cortile del Belvedere—the Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoön, the so-called Antinous, and the Belvedere Torso—which represented to him the "utmost perfection of ancient sculpture."

Originally, Winckelmann planned to stay in Italy only two years with the help of the grant from Dresden, but the outbreak of the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) changed his plans. He was named librarian to Cardinal Passionei, who was impressed by Winckelmann's beautiful Greek writing. Winckelmann also became librarian to Cardinal Archinto, and received much kindness from Cardinal Passionei. After their deaths, Winckelmann was hired as librarian in the house of Alessandro Cardinal Albani, who was forming his magnificent collection of antiquities in the villa at Porta Salaria.

With the aid of his new friend, the painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–79), with whom he first lived in Rome, Winckelmann devoted himself to the study of Roman antiquities and gradually acquired an unrivalled knowledge of ancient art....

Winckelmann's masterpiece, the Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums ("The History of Art in Antiquity"), published in 1764, was soon recognized as a permanent contribution to European literature. In this work, "Winckelmann's most significant and lasting achievement was to produce a thorough, comprehensive and lucid chronological account of all antique art—including that of the Egyptians and Etruscans." This was the first work to define in the art of a civilization an organic growth, maturity, and decline. Here, it included the revelatory tale told by a civilization's art and artifacts—these, if we look closely, tell us their own story of cultural factors, such as climate, freedom, and craft. Winckelmann sets forth both the history of Greek art and of Greece. He presents a glowing picture of the political, social, and intellectual conditions which he believed tended to foster creative activity in ancient Greece.

The fundamental idea of Winckelmann's artistic theories are that the goal of art is beauty, and that this goal can be attained only when individual and characteristic features are strictly subordinated to an artist's general scheme. The true artist, selecting from nature the phenomena suited to his purpose and combining them through the exercise of his imagination, creates an ideal type in which normal proportions are maintained, and particular parts, such as muscles and veins, are not permitted to break the harmony of the general outlines...

Winckelmann's writings are key to understanding the modern European discovery of ancient (sometimes idealized) Greece, neoclassicism, and the doctrine of art as imitation (Nachahmung). The mimetic character of art that imitates but does not simply copy, as Winckelmann restated it, is central to any interpretation of Enlightenment classical idealism.Winckelmann stands at an early stage of the transformation of taste in the late 18th century.

-- Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Wikipedia

and other Enlightenment authors.

The two magazine projects of the Typographic Society Bern aimed at an international exchange of knowledge. This allowed Tscharner and de Felice to create a correspondent network all over Europe.


An 18th-century depiction of de Félice is held by the Achenbach Foundation in the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts. A Latin and 18th century French inscription by one of his sons, Carolus de Félice reads:

Fortunatus De Felice
Roma 24 Augusti 1723. Natus: ibidem, deinceps.
Neapoli Phil. Phys. exp. et Mathem. quondam
Professor: Mundi, hominisque legum sedulus Inda-
gator, et felix qua Voce, qua Scriptus Interpres
Encyclopediae Ebrodunensis Contaborator et Editor

Cet Auteur, distingué par un profond Génie,
Dans le sein de l'Erreur trouva la Vérite;
Et sachant la montrer dans l'Encyclopédie,
S'est fait un titre sür à l'Immortalité.
Offerebat Obseq. et Devot. Filius
Carolus de Felice

Fortunato de Felice
Born: Rome, 24 August 1723
Naples – Philosophy, Physics and Maths
Professor – World, a zealous investigator
by this love of speech wrote
the Yverdon Encyclopaedia editor and contributor

This author, distinguished by a profound genius,
In the bosom of wandering found truth
And searching that in the encyclopedia
Immortalised himself
Offered dutifully by his devoted son, Carolus De Felice


He also had a portrait commissioned, done by an unknown artist. The current holder of the portrait, the de Felice Duchi Estate, puts this painting as the best representation of de Felice in existence.


• Etrennes aux désœuvrés ou Lettre d'Quaker à ses frères et à un grand docteur. 1766th (In this work Felice railed against the so-called philosophers and Voltaire )
• Mémoires de la Société oeconomique de Berne (24 volumes, 1763–72)
• Essay manière la plus sûre d'un système de police établir of grains. Yverdon 1772nd
• Dictionnaire géographique, historique et politique de la Suisse. 2 vols. Neuchâtel 1775th
• Dictionnaire de justice naturelle et civile. 1778th 13 volumes
• Tableau philosophique de la religion Chrétienne, considérée dans son ensemble dans sa morale et dans ses consolations. Yverdon 1779th
• Eléments de la police générale d'un Etat. Yverdon 1781st
• Le développement de la raison . Oeuvres posthumous. Yverdon 1789th
• Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire universel raisonné of connaissances humaines. 42 volumes and 6 supplementary volumes. Yverdon 1770–1776. Reissue: Fischer Verlag, Erlangen 1993, ISBN 3-89131-069-2 . (38,000 pages on 257 microfiches.)

Further reading

• Full Biography and works of Fortunato De Felice
• De Felice Estate Website


• Encyclopédie, ou, Dictionnaire universel raisonné des connoissances humaines (Yverdon, Switzerland. 42 volumes, 6 volumes Supplement, and 10 volumes of plates, 1770–1780), with the assistance of Leonhard Euler, Charles François Dupuis, Jérôme Lalande, Albrecht von Haller, et al.
• Mémoires de la Société oeconomique de Berne (24 volumes, 1763–72)
• Le Bacha de Bude (1765)
• De Newtonian Attractione, adversus Hambergen (1757)
• Quadro filosofico della religione cristiana (1757)
• Sul modo di formare la mente ed il cuore dei fanciuli (1763)
• Principii del diritto della natura a delle genti (1769)
• Lezioni di logica (1770)
• Elementi del governo interiore di uno stato (1781)[3]


1. Donato, Clorinda (1992). "The Letters of Fortunato Bartolomeo De Felice to Pietro Verri". MLN. 107 (1): 74–111. doi:10.2307/2904677. JSTOR 2904677.
2. Archived January 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Rewriting Heresy in the Encyclopedie d'Yverdon 1770–1780
3. ... Felice.doc
4. ... cord=25735[permanent dead link] ... 9633021935 - Link to the print in the Achenbach Foundation
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:09 pm

Guillaume de Sainte-Croix, antique dealer, member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres
by Wikipedia France
Accessed: 9/22/20

Guillaume de Sainte-Croix
Birth: January 5, 1746, Mormoiron
Death: March 11, 1809 (at 63), Thiais
Nationality: French
Activities: Writer, historian
Member of: Academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres

Guillaume-Emmanuel-Joseph de Guilhem de Clermont-Lodève de Sainte-Croix, born on January 5, 1746 in Mormoiron in Comtat Venaissin, and died in Thiais le March 11, 1809, is a French historian, “antiquarian” and literator.


Coming from a family established in the Comtat from the xivth century, young St. Croix Baron made his training with the Jesuits of Avignon [note 1]. At the beginning of 1761, he enlisted in the service of the armies with a captain's certificate and followed as aide-de-camp the French commander-general, the Chevalier de Sainte-Croix, his uncle, in an expedition which took him to the Windward Islands, colonies still disputed by the English [note 2]. Unfortunately, his uncle died in Cap Français [note 3] shortly after their arrival, the August 18, 1762. While he was thinking of making a career in the navy, he abandoned his projects and returned to France, where he was attached to the Grenadiers de France regiment. He will not leave the service until 1770 to settle in Avignon and marry a young lady from Elbène, from an old family in the country, who will give him two sons and a daughter.

In the end, he was not sorry to return without further concerns to his dear studies for which he had a strong natural inclination. He therefore devoted himself to literary works, developed a passion for Antiquity and gathered a great deal of material. A competition of the Academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres launched in 1772 will make him known. His thesis was crowned and, in 1777, he was admitted to the same Academy as a foreign free associate [note 4]. In relation with the best scholars of his time, his works are appreciated and he befriended Paul-Louis Courier, Silvestre de Sacy, Foncemagne and Abbé Barthélemy with whom he often worked in concert and for whom he assumed, in 1798, the posthumous edition of various works in 2 volumes.

Sainte-Croix had the keenest interest in religion and did not hesitate to fight at every opportunity the incredulity which was beginning to progress in his century. However, in 1784, although Catholic, he had defended with all his will the franchises of the communes of the Comtat that the ecclesiastical administration wanted to ignore. The papal authority asked for his arrest in order to imprison him at the Château Saint-Ange, but as he had already taken refuge in France, his property was temporarily placed under sequestration and he was ousted from the Assembly of States.

In 1789, the events will precipitate. Sainte-Croix, a “supporter of reforms”, was elected to the assembly of the Comtadin States, but in April 1791, in a time of famine, spirits are heated and the population is rising up against the Pope. The attachment of the Comtat to France will be requested and accepted in September of the same year. His domain was ransacked, his farms burned down and his rich and precious library completely looted. His two courageous but reckless sons will be thrown into the dungeon. Imprisoned himself by rioters, he redeems his life and fled to the Paris region. His sons will also owe their salvation only to their mother's dedication and her strength of character. His wife joined him in 1794 in Thiais where he settled down without being worried. They will soon learn that their boys have perished. Their daughter, who for her part was already married, died shortly after [note 5].

In 1803, the Imperial Institute was reformed and the old members were taken over. Sainte-Croix is ​​accepted since the Comtat is now attached to France. He finds himself in third class, that is to say the section which corresponds to the old academy of inscriptions. Supported by a wife of great dedication and full of concern, he will seek consolation in studies, striving to forget, in his own words, "of having only populated tombs". We owe him a number of memoirs and editions of scholarly works, especially on the ancient world, which will be authoritative. He had just been appointed member of the commission responsible for continuing the Literary History of France when the physical ailments including a complicated bladder disease come back to harass him and will never let him rest again. He died after a long agony.

Main works edited

Ezour-Védam or Old commentary on Vedam, containing the exposition of the religious and philosophical opinions of the Indians (2 volumes) 1778
On this work, see the detailed study by Ludo Rocher (1984): Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century (University of Pennsylvania Studies on South Asia 1; Amsterdam / Philadelphia; J. Benjamins; 1984; (ISBN 9780915027064); and the new evidence presented that the author of Ezour Vedam is Jean Calmette (1692-1740) (Urs App: The Birth of Orientalism; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2010; pp. 372-407; ( ISBN 978-407) 0-8122-4261-4.
• On the state and fate of the colonies of ancient peoples, 1779
• Observations on the peace treaty concluded in 1763 between France and England, 1780
• History of the Progress of the Naval Power of England, 1786 (reissue augmented by that of 1783)
• Memoirs to serve the history of the secret religion of ancient peoples or Research and criticism on the Mysteries of paganism, 1784 (the initial, less developed memoir was crowned in 1777 by the Academy. The edition was entrusted to Ansse de Villoison which compromised itself with insertions and remarks which derogated from the author's text and which provoked the indignation of specialists. A new edition by the executor, Simonde Sismondi, in 1817, restored the work left by the author.
• Memoir on a new edition of Les Petits Géographes Anciens, 1789
• Memoir on the course of the Araxe and the Cyrus, 1797
• Historical and Geographical Memories of the Countries Between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, 1797
• Refutation of a literary paradox by MFA Wolf on Homer's poems, 1798
• Of the old federal governments and legislation of Crete, 1799
• Critical examination of the historians of Alexander the Great, 1805 (re-edition enriched with a work published in 1775, crowned by the Academy in 1772)


1. For others, from Grenoble. Avignon cited by his friend Silvestre de Sacy seems more logical since Grenoble was located abroad.
2. This uncle had previously capitulated at Belle-Isle, the June 7, 1761, after a resistance of 2 months in front of the English forces too superior, honorable capitulation which tried to sully D'Aiguillon, then in favor with the king.
3. From an old wound received during the attack on Weissembourg in summer 1744.
4. He lives in a land which at that time was not French.
5. Silvestre de Sacy who first mentions the release of the sons, then the death of the children does not specify the cause.


• Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy, Notice on M. de Sainte-Croix, member of the Institute, 1809
• Collective, work edited by Michaud, Old and Modern Universal Biography, Volume 39, 1825
• Ferdinand Hoefer, New General Biography, Volume 43, 1864

external links

• Authority records :
• Virtual international authority file
• International Standard Name Identifier
• National Library of France ( data )
• University documentation system
• Library of Congress
• Gemeinsame Normdatei
• Royal Library of the Netherlands
• University Library of Poland
• Vatican Apostolic Library
• WorldCat
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:19 pm

Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres [Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/22/20

Jean Chapelain, one of the five founding members of the Académie

The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (French pronunciation: ​[akademi dez‿ɛ̃skʁipsjɔ̃ e bɛl lɛtʁ]) is a French learned society devoted to the humanities, founded in February 1663 as one of the five academies of the Institut de France.


Institut de France in Paris, the seat of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres

The Académie originated in 1663 as a council of four humanists, "scholars who were the most versed in the knowledge of history and antiquity": Jean Chapelain, François Charpentier, Jacques Cassagne, Amable de Bourzeys, and Charles Perrault.[1] In another source, Perrault is not mentioned, and other original members are named as François Charpentier and a M. Douvrier.[2] The organizer was King Louis XIV's finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Its first name was the Académie royale des Inscriptions et Médailles, and its mission was to compose or obtain Latin inscriptions to be written on public monuments and medals issued to celebrate the events of Louis' reign. However, under Colbert's management, the Académie performed many additional roles, such as determining the art that would decorate the Palace of Versailles.[3]

In 1683 Minister Louvois increased the membership to eight.[2] In 1701 its membership was expanded to 40 and reorganized under the leadership of Chancellor Pontchartrain. It met twice a week at the Louvre, its members began to receive significant pensions, and was made an official state institution on the king's decree.[4] In January 1716 it was permanently renamed to the Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres with the broader goal of elevating the prestige of the French monarchy using physical symbols uncovered or recovered through the methods of classical erudition.

The Académie produced a catalogue of medals created in honor of Louis XIV
, Médailles sur les événements du règne de Louis le Grand, avec des explications historiques, first published in 1702. A second edition was published in 1723, eight years after Louis' death. Each page of the catalogue featured engraved images of the obverse and reverse of a single medal, followed by a lengthy description of the event upon which it was based.[5] The second edition added some medals for events prior to 1700 which were not included in the first volume, and in some cases the images of medals in the earlier edition were altered, resulting in an improved version. The catalogues may therefore be seen as an artistic effort to enhance the king's image, rather than as an accurate historical record.[6]


In the words of the Académie's charter, it is:

primarily concerned with the study of the monuments, the documents, the languages, and the cultures of the civilizations of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the classical period, as well as those of non-European civilizations.

Today the academy is composed of fifty-five French members, forty associate foreign members, fifty French corresponding members, and fifty foreign corresponding members. The seats are distributed evenly among "orientalists" (scholars of Asia and the Islamic world, from ancient times), "antiquists" (scholars of Greece, Rome, and Gaul, including archaeologists, numismatists, philologists and historians), "medievalists", and a fourth miscellaneous group of linguists, law historians, historians of religion, historians of thought, and prehistorians.[4]

The Volney Prize is awarded by the Institut de France, based on the proposal of the Académie. It publishes Mémoires.

Prizes, grants and medals awarded by the Académie


• Prix Ambatielos
• Prix d'histoire des religions de la fondation "Les Amis de Pierre-Antoine Bernheim"
• Prix des antiquités de la France
• Prix Emile Benveniste
• Prix Bordin
• Prix du budget
• Prix Honoré Chavée
• Prix Croiset
• Prix Duchalais
• Prix Paule Dumesnil
• Prix Roman et Tania Ghirshman
• Prix Gobert
• Prix Hirayama
• Prix de la Grange
• Prix Serge Lancel
• Prix Raymond et Simone Lantier
• Prix Marie-Françoise et Jean Leclant
• Prix Gaston Maspero
• Prix Jean-Charles Perrot
• Prix George Perrot
• Prix Jeanine et Roland Plottel
• Prix Saintour
• Prix Emile Senart
• Prix Léon Vandermeesch
• Prix de l'Institut de France 2018
• Prix de la Fondation Colette Caillat
• Grand Prix d'archéologie de la Fondation Simone et Cino del Duca
• Prix Jean_Edouard Goby
• Prix Hugot
• Prix Stanislas Julien


• Subvention Louis de Clercq
• Bourse Courtois
• Subvention de la Fondation Dourlans
• Subvention Garnier-Lestamy
• Subvention Max Serres de la Fondation Eve Delacroix
• Bourse Jacques Vandier


• Médailles des Antiquités de la France
• Médaille Jean-Jacques Berger
• Médaille Clermont-Ganneau
• Médaille du Baron de Courcel
• Médaille Delalande-Guérineau
• Médaille Drouin
• Médaille Alfred Dutens
• Médaille Fould
• Médaille Gobert
• Médaille Stanislas Julien
• Médaille le Fèvre-Deumier
• Médaille Gustave Mendel
• Médaille Gabriel-Auguste Prost

Prominent members

For a list of the Academy's members past and present, see Category:Members of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres

• Eugène Albertini
• Antoine Anselme
• Jean Sylvain Bailly
• Anatole Jean-Baptiste Antoine de Barthélemy
• Charles Batteux
• Pierre Louis Jean Casimir de Blacas
• Michel Bréal
Antoine Leonard de Chézy
• Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau
• Jean-Baptiste Colbert
• Henri Cordier
• André Dacier
• Léopold Delisle
• Jean Denis, comte Lanjuinais
• Gabriel Devéria
• Louis Duchesne
• Émile Egger
• Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès
• André Félibien
• Jean François Boissonade de Fontarabie
• Nicolas Fréret
• Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle
• Étienne Fourmont
• Antoine Galland
• Ernst Hoepffner
• Pierre Amédée Jaubert
• Stanislas Julien
• Alexandre Maurice Blanc de Lanautte, Comte d'Hauterive
• Pierre Henri Larcher
• Jean Lebeuf
• Edmond Le Blant
• Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance
• Jean Leclant
• Émile Littré
• Jean Mabillon
• Louis Ferdinand Alfred Maury
• Joachim Menant
• Franz Miklosich
• Agénor Azéma de Montgravier
• Jean Marie Pardessus
• Alexis Paulin Paris
• Claude-Emmanuel de Pastoret
• Armand-Pierre Caussin de Perceval
• Charles Perrault
• Francois Pouqueville
• Louis Racine
• Charles-Frédéric Reinhard
• Jacques Nicolas Augustin Thierry
• Jacques de Tourreil
• Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune
• Joseph Vendryes
• William Henry Waddington
• Charles Athanase Walckenaer
• Henri-Alexandre Wallon


• Publications of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1710-1843)

See also

• French art salons and academies


1. Perrault, Charles (1989). Zarucchi, Jeanne Morgan (ed.). Charles Perrault: Memoirs of My Life. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. pp. 42-43. ISBN 0826206670.
2. Etienne Fourmont, 1683–1745: Oriental and Chinese languages in eighteenth ... By Cécile Leung, page 51
3. "Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Literature." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Reed Benhamou. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2003. (accessed April 1, 2015). Originally published as "Academie Royale Des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 1:52 (Paris, 1751).
4. "Membres". Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (in French). Archived from the original on 3 December 2001. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
5. Zarucchi, Jeanne Morgan (1994). "Ludovicus Heroicus: The Visual and Verbal Iconography of the Medal". EMF: Early Modern France. 1:1: 131–42.
6. Zarucchi, Jeanne Morgan (1998). "Medals Catalogues of Louis XIV: Art and Propaganda". Source: Notes in the History of Art. 17:4 (4): 26–34. doi:10.1086/sou.17.4.23205144.
7. "Palmarès 2018". Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (in French). 9 January 2017.

External links

• Official website
• Notes on the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres from the Scholarly Societies project
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:07 am

Part 1 of 2

Ezour-Védam: Europe’s illusory first glimpse of the Veda
by Dermot Killingley
This is a pre-publication version of an article published in Religions of South Asia Vol. 2, No. 1 (2008), pp. 23 43. The published version is available online from the publisher Equinox,

This article1 is about a Sanskrit text that no longer exists, and perhaps never did exist, except in a French version. It has been variously called a copy of the four Vedas (Voltaire, letter of 21 October 1760, Figueira 1993: 203; 224 n. 12), the most precious manuscript in the East (Voltaire Défense (1984)), an ancient brahmin book written long before Alexander the Great (Voltaire Mœurs (1963, 1: 62)), an abridgment of a commentary on the Veda (Voltaire Mœurs (1963, 1: 240)), a forgery (Ellis 1822), and a missionary tract (Sonnerat 1782). None of these descriptions is exact, though the last is the nearest to its true character, so far as we can ascertain it.

The most reliable research on this text has been done already by Ludo Rocher (1984), and before him by Francis Ellis (1822); I am very much indebted to both these. However, in this article study I propose to review the subject, to place it in its Indian and European contexts, and to bring out some points which were not clear to me from previous studies.

The Pondicherry collection of texts

The book called Ezour-védam is one of a collection of manuscript dialogues which existed in the French Jesuit mission at Pondicherry, but are now lost (Rocher 1984: 74). Most of them were in Sanskrit and French versions on facing pages, though the Ezour-védam itself is only in French. They were composed in ślokas in Purānic style, but with faulty metre.2 It was not always possible to read the exact Sanskrit text, because they were in roman script in French spelling, influenced by Bengali pronunciation, and not always consistently or accurately written. The Bengali influence is clear from forms such as Chamo Bedo for Sāma-Veda, with o for the short vowel a, b for v, and ch (representing a ‘sh’ sound) for s.3 The other texts in the collection also have the word veda or beda in their titles (see below, p. 000), but none of them is what indologists would usually call a Vedic text.

The Ezour-Védam

The Ezour-Védam was the only part of this collection to circulate in Europe. The original title, in the Pondicherry collection, was Jozour Béd.4 This again reflects Bengali pronunciation, in which initial y is pronounced j , which in these manuscripts is often written z ; the pronunciation of j as z is common in North Indian languages. But the title Jozour Béd had been crossed out, and replaced in another hand with Ezour Védam. That is, the romanization based on Bengali pronunciation was replaced by one based on Tamil pronunciation.5 The title is thus a form of Yajur-Veda.6

However, the text has nothing to do with the Yajur-Veda. It is a dialogue between two speakers Vyāsa (romanized as Biach) and Sumantu (romanized as Chumantou or Chumontou).7 Vyāsa is the name of the legendary compiler of the Vedas, who was also the author of the Mahābhārata and Purānas. It is his role as author of the Purānas which is most relevant, since his contribution to the dialogue represents Purānic ideas. More specifically, it represents the Vaisnavism of the Bhāgavata Purāna and the Caitanya tradition, in which Krsna is not just an avatāra but the supreme God, and Vṛndāvan is his heaven (EV 151). Sumantu in the Mahābhārata is one of Vyāsa’s pupils.8

In the Ezour-Védam, Sumantu’s contributions to the dialogue are the longer and more interesting part. Vyāsa, as already mentioned, presents Purānic cosmology, mythology and ritual, saying that this is what he has taught people. Sumantu berates him for his ignorance and stupidity, and his sinfulness in deceiving others, and presents doctrines of his own which contradict Vyāsa’s. Vyāsa then confesses his error and becomes Sumantu’s pupil, reversing the roles in the Mahābhārata. This pattern is repeated throughout the Ezour-Védam. The form is thus similar to that of the dialogues in the Purānas, except that Vyāsa’s speeches are longer than those of a typical Purānic pupil, and he does far more than ask questions. Sometimes Sumantu asks questions about Vyāsa’s doctrines, just so that he can tell him how wrong they are. For instance, there is a long passage on the churning of the ocean of milk (EV 162-7), in which Sumantu repeatedly asks Vyāsa for more details, which he then ridicules.

Sumantu’s doctrines are sufficiently imbued with European thought to indicate a missionary source, although they are not entirely those of Catholic Christianity. God is almighty, invisible, infinite and merciful. A plurality of gods is denied (EV 161), there is only one God, and the supposed gods are only human. The soul is immortal, and the souls of the virtuous are rewarded with everlasting bliss (EV 159-60). There is no rebirth, and there is a firm line dividing humankind from animals: plants and animals are created to serve humankind, and only human beings are capable of sin (EV 149-50). Accordingly, the suffering of animals is not the fruit of sin but is a necessary consequence of their subservience to humankind (EV 50). The three gunas are taught with reference to their role in human character, but they are not inherent but accidental (in the philosophical sense of not being part of the essence), and one guṇa can be eliminated by cultivating another (EV 148-9). This amounts to an insistence on freewill.

There is a suggestion of the Fall, and of original sin, since the first people lived virtuously and blissfully (EV 114). ‘The first sin, once committed, led to many others’ (EV 115). But this does not mean that the tendency to sin is inherited by birth; it comes from association with evil people, and virtue can similarly be cultivated by associating with the good (EV 115). Sin is an offence against God, and only God can forgive it; this is urged against Vyāsa’s account of expiations (EV 157 8). Suicide – for instance by expiatory fasting – is the worst of crimes (EV 158).

One example which differentiates Sumantu’s doctrines from Christianity is that in rejecting avatāras he repeatedly denies that God can ever be incarnate. God creates and destroys by an act of will; it is therefore absurd that he should need a physical body to defeat any enemy (EV 153, 159). As was pointed out already by Ellis in 1817 (Ellis 1822: 35n.; see p. 000 below), this would make it difficult to introduce the Christian doctrine of the incarnation. Sumantu also denies the resurrection of the body. While the soul is immortal, the body decays, so there is no possibility of an incorruptible body (EV 159 60).

Vyāsa’s teachings contain some specifically Hindu9 ideas, but there are some interesting departures from their usual form. The guṇas, as mentioned already, are not innate in a person. The four yugas are mentioned, but each is followed by a deluge and a new creation (EV 132). The advantage of the Kali Yuga, which in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (11, 5, 36; cf. Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6, 2) is that merit can be obtained by merely praising Kṛṣṇa, is that anyone can perform religious functions and learn the Veda regardless of caste (EV 171). The birth of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva is related, but they are all three born from the original man. Brahmā is born from his navel – not from Viṣṇu’s; Viṣṇu is born from his right side and Śiva from his left (EV 113).10 These departures, particularly the one concerning the guṇas, which as suggested above protects the notion of freewill, seem to be modifications in the direction of European ideas.

Although its literary form places it in a traditional Hindu cultural context, the Ezour-védam contains indications that it was written by and for people to whom this context is foreign [Europeans!]. In an account of the measurement of time, which largely but not entirely follows the one in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, after a statement that 15 laghus (‘Logou’) make an hour (‘une heure’, but in the BhP the word is nārikā), we find an explanatory remark that the Indian hour contains only 24 minutes, before the series continues with the statement that two hours make a muhūrta (‘Muhurto’, EV 131). Later in the same account, it is explained that eight prahāras (‘prohor’) make ‘our 24 hours’. Though the hour (Skt. horā) is used in Sanskrit astronomical works, it is not part of the system presented in the Purāṇas and related texts. It is possible that these two references to the system of hours familiar in Europe were added as glosses at some stage in the transmission of the text. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that the eighteenth-century advocates and opponents of the antiquity of the Ezour-védam did not notice this clear indication that the text as it stands occupies a liminal position between two cultures.

Natural religion, Jesuits and non-Christian traditions

We cannot describe this document as teaching Christianity. We can, however, see it as a presentation of natural religion, as envisaged by many in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Catholic theologians (Lagrée 1991). It was commonly held, though sometimes disputed, that every nation had some idea of a single, almighty, formless God, a common core of morality, and, according to some, an immortal soul which is rewarded and punished after death. Natural religion was believed to result from general revelation (as opposed to the special revelation of the Bible and the Church), or from the human mind and the evidence of nature. Polytheism and idolatry resulted from historical causes, summed up as corruption or perversion.

Natural religion included natural law, the scriptural basis for which is Romans 2.14, where St. Paul speaks of Gentiles who act according to the law although they do not have the law as the Jews do. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20.2 17), with the exception of the fourth which refers to the culturally specific institution of the Sabbath, were sometimes taken as a summary of natural law, and we find the first five of them, with the same exception, in the Ezour-Védam. Vyāsa asks Sumantu what kinds of sins one can commit, and Sumantu’s answer consists mainly of neglect of the worship of God (the first commandment). The greatest sin of all is to give any being or thing the worship due to God (the second commandment, against idolatry, and also the first, against other gods). To use the name of God as an easy way to gain his mercy is a sin which God rarely forgives (the third, against taking the name of God in vain).11 Next to God, we should honour our father and mother (the fifth) (EV 155).

Natural religion was important for the missionary strategy of the Jesuits. Their readiness to find evidence of natural religion in non-European cultures inspired both their literary contribution to these cultures and their work in bringing knowledge of them to Europe. Besides Roberto di Nobili (1577-1656) and Constantine Joseph Beschi in South India and their contributions to Tamil literature, the English Jesuit Thomas Stephens (1549-1619) in western India wrote a Khrista purāna in Konkani in 1616.12 Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) engaged similarly with the Chinese tradition, not merely learning the language—in itself a great achievement—but operating within the literary tradition, using Confucian concepts, though he rejected those of Buddhism and Daoism. His Tiānzhŭ shíyì (‘true doctrine of God’) was ‘a treatise in natural theology ... a preparatory step towards the faith, not an epitome of the faith’ (Witek 1982: 147); his Jiāoyóu lùn (‘discourse on friendship’) and Érshíwŭ yán (‘twenty-five statements’) inaugurated ‘a type of moralising literature in which specifically Christian themes are absent or no more than marginal, and which therefore could easily appeal to Confucian literati’ (Zürcher 1996: 332).

Other Jesuits were able to operate within non-literate cultures, even those which others regarded as spiritual and intellectual vacuums. Francisco Pinto (1552-1608) was a missionary to the Tupí of Brazil, who were cited as a counter-example against the claim that all peoples had some form of religion (Lagrée 1991: 31; cf. Castelnau-l’Estoile 2006: 616). He became sufficiently acquainted with Tupí culture to be accepted by them as a shaman and rain-maker, and justified his method by telling his superiors that ‘Indians had to be taken to God slowly and progressively. First, they should be seduced and attracted by means of indigenous practices, which could be given a Christian meaning later’ (Castelnau-l’Estoile 2006: 622). Such dealing with non-Christian cultures was controversial, but was accepted by some as praeparatio evangelica—a preparation for the gospel. It was a speciality of the Jesuits, whose founder Ignatius Loyola held that ‘God could be found in all things — even, indirectly, in pagan customs’ (Castelnau-l’Estoile 2006: 623).

The Ezour-Védam is an example of this approach. It is not a Christian siddhānta, but a refutation of a series of Vaisnava pūrvapakṣas. A missionary faced with the difficulty of evangelizing high-caste Hindus may have decided that the difficulty arose from their following a polytheistic and idolatrous perversion of natural religion, and that to restore natural religion would make them receptive to Christian ideas. It was a commonplace of the French philosophes that a primitive Indian monotheism had been corrupted in the course of history by idolatry and superstition (Weinberger-Thomas 1983: 193-4). There are indeed places where Sumantu provides escape clauses which hint that his doctrines are not final. In his account of the yugas, he says that this is what they say about the duration of the yugas, but it is all pure fiction (EV 132). After describing svarga (‘heaven’) with its palaces, jewels, trees, rivers and apsarases, he adds: ‘That is what they say, but I don’t vouch for its truth’ (EV 129).13

The Jesuits in South India had fled to Pondicherry from Siam (Thailand) in the late 17th century, and were supported by King Louis XIV and Louis XV and by the Compagnie des Indes. They followed the principles introduced by Roberto di Nobili (1577 1656), who gained the respect of brahmins by learning their traditions and following their rules of purity. This notable instance of the Jesuit method of operating within a culture, had been controversial from the outset, and in the eighteenth century it led to what was called the Malabar rites controversy. ‘Malabar’ meant Tamil, and the Malabar rites were forms of Catholic liturgy adapted to Tamil brahmin culture: an example of what is known to later missionary strategists and theorists as inculturation. The Jesuit missionaries considered that the Tamil features of these adaptations belonged to culture and not to religion, and were therefore compatible with Christianity; others in the church disagreed. After a series of setbacks in the 1730s, the Jesuit missionaries were defeated in this controversy by a Papal bull of 1744. Converts who had been attracted by the Malabar rites defected; and since the supply of texts depended on such converts, none were sent to Paris after 1735.

The same group of Jesuits had brought knowledge of the brahmin tradition to France through the Lettres Édifiantes, a series of missionary reports from different parts of the world which were published from 1702 to 1758. Intended to gain respect for the Jesuits in their controversies with Jansenists, Protestants and freethinkers, and to raise funds, these reports were an important source of knowledge of India in France, and thence in Europe. However, the Jesuit order was suppressed in France in 1761 4, and was abolished by the Pope in 1773. Henceforth the missionaries in India, referred to as the former Jesuits, belonged to the Société des Missions Étrangères. At the same time, French power was declining in India as British power expanded.

Eighteenth-century France, the Veda, the Ezour-Védam and Voltaire

The Veda was known by name in Europe since Abraham Roger’s book on the brahmins of South-Western India (first published in Dutch in 1651, translated into German in 1667 and into French in 1670). His description of it as a book of law containing all the beliefs and ceremonies of the brahmins remained standard at least to the end of the eighteenth century (Weinberger-Thomas 1783: 217).

In October 1760 a copy of the Ezour-Védam reached the hands of Voltaire,14 and for twenty years or more it was taken by him and some others as an example of ancient Indian wisdom. Other texts with better claims to be called Veda had come to Europe earlier.
In the 1730s, the French Jesuits in Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, and in Chandernagor in Bengal, had sent hundreds of Sanskrit manuscripts, obtained through the agency of Christian brahmins, 15 to the royal library (now the Bibliothèque Nationale) (Omont 1902; Filliozat 1954; Murr 1983: 235). In 1769 they sent a French translation, by Maridās Piḷḷai, of a Tamil version of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, which became an important source in France (e.g. Ste Croix 1778 vol. 2: 201).

Since the texts in the royal collection were in Sanskrit, they lay unread. The French text called Ezour-Védam which reached Voltaire had been brought to France by Louis Laurent de Féderbe, Comte de Modave or Maudave (1725-77),16 one of several French soldiers of fortune in India who were a source of knowledge in addition to the Jesuits (Lafont 2000: 24). He had served various Indian states from 1773, and died at Masulipatam (Machilipatnam, on the Andhra Pradesh coast north of the Krishna delta, at that time a French trading station) in 1777. It seems that he had obtained a copy of the Ezour-Védam without the knowledge of the former Jesuits, since Father Cœurdoux in 1771 thought the text was in the sole possession of Father Mozac in Chandernagor.17 Either Mozac had given Modave a copy unknown to Cœurdoux, or Modave had obtained it by fraud. Voltaire gave it to the royal library, after having a hasty and faulty copy made for his own use.18

Voltaire’s interest in India was passionate but hardly thorough; he acquired fifty-eight books on the subject (listed Hawley 1974: 175-8)—surely a high proportion of those available in his time and place—but drew most of his material from only three of them: the Ezour-Védam, Holwell, and to a lesser extent Dow (Hawley 1974: 145-7; 174). However, his interest in India was subordinated to a higher aim: to break the monopoly of the Abrahamic traditions on the monotheistic ideas which Voltaire upheld, and to dispute the claims to divine favour both of the Catholic church and of the Jews. He was confident of having found in India a form of monotheism at once more ancient and morally purer than that of the Bible, and based on universal reason. For Voltaire, Christianity could only be a pale imitation and perversion of the wisdom of ancient India.

Voltaire, who had been educated by Jesuits, shared their enthusiasm for natural religion.
His Essai sur les Mœurs is an attempt at universal history, designed to counter Bossuet’s Discours de l’histoire universelle (1681). While Bossuet (1627-1704) saw history as guided by divine providence, Voltaire saw it as under the sway of human activities such as commerce, politics and culture, including religion. In the field of religion the great nations are monotheistic, but in some nations natural religion has been corrupted by polytheism -– or by Catholicism. He gained some information from the Lettres édifiantes, though these assumed that influence had been in the opposite direction: India had learnt everything from the West (Hawley 1974: 142-3). The Ezour-Védam was for Voltaire his first and only opportunity to draw directly on Indian wisdom, and from 1761 onwards he used it enthusiastically, as confirmation of his views on the origins of civilization and of religion.

Voltaire refers to and quotes from the Ezour-Védam in the 1761 edition of his Essai sur les mœurs,19 his Additions à l’essay sur l’histoire générale (1763, a supplement to a work published in 1756), La philosophie de l’histoire par feu l’abbé Bazin (1765),20 Défense de mon oncle (1767), and, more briefly, in his Dictionnaire philosophique 1764). He does not seem quite sure of its status as a Veda; he calls it variously a commentary or an abridgment of a commentary, but also says it reports the words of the Vedam; in a letter of 21st October 1760 he calls it ‘a copy of the four Vedams’ (Figueira 1993: 203; 224 n. 12). He later explains the title as meaning ‘commentary on the Vedam’.21

While Voltaire is uncertain about the relation of the text to the Veda, he is sure that it predates Alexander the Great’s invasion of India, perhaps by four hundred years.22
He has two reasons for this dating. The first depends on the idea of a primitive Indian monotheism already mentioned (p.000). Sumantu, Voltaire argues, describes the uncorrupted monotheistic religion of ancient India, combatting the idolatry which was beginning to infect it. The ancient Greek sources show that Indian religion was already corrupted by idolatry, superstition and fables before Alexander, and this is corroborated by the history of religion in China, whither the corruption had spread from India; the text must therefore be considerably earlier. Voltaire’s second reason, which he says is equally strong, is that the place-names mentioned are Sanskrit ones,23 not those in the Greek sources. Thus we have Zomboudipo (Jambu-dvīpa) for India, Zanoubi (Jāhnavī) for Ganges, and Meru for the mountain which the Greeks knew as Immaos. ‘Not one of the names given by the Greeks to the lands they conquered is to be found in the Ezour-Védam’ (Voltaire, Défense (1984: 222)).

Both these reasons are not only feeble in the extreme, it is hard to see what Voltaire means by them. There is nothing in the Ezour-Védam to suggest that the beliefs and practices which Sumantu and Voltaire condemn are new. On the place names, it is not true that none of those known to the ancient Greeks is in the Ezour-Védam: Gaṅgā is named several times (EV 112; 120; 198), and identified with Zannobi (Jāhnavī) (EV 120). Indeed, unless Voltaire had read this identification he would have no reason to say that the Ganges is called Zanoubi; while his mistaken identification of Meru with Immaos or Himalaya is quite groundless. Even if it were true that the names known to the Greeks did not appear in the text, that would tell us nothing about its date, unless we were to suppose that Alexander somehow successfully banned the use of any other names. Voltaire’s proofs show only that he is a master of the non sequitur, and that he has not thoroughly read the book he admires so much.24 As Filliozat remarked (1954: 278), Voltaire treated available knowledge as a ragbag (fatras) from which he could pick what he needed for his arguments, with no way of telling which of his contemporaries were real scholars. Sceptics can be incredibly credulous.

The Ezour-Védam after Voltaire

While Voltaire was repeatedly citing the Ezour-védam from his own hastily made copy, another, containing additional material, was obtained from Pondicherry by Tessier de la Tour, nephew of M. Barthélemy, an official at Pondicherry who had also been the source of the copy brought by Modave to Voltaire. This document reached the hands of Anquetil Duperron, who had learnt of its existence in 1766 (Rocher 1984: 8). Anquetil quotes from it in his preface to the Avesta (Anquetil 1771, 1: lxxxiii-lxxxvii),25 and became ‘the staunchest champion of the authenticity of the EzV’ (Rocher 1984: 15). A third copy, also in the Bibliothèque Nationale, was in a private French collection at least as early as 1755 (Rocher 1984: 85 86). All three of these copies are in French; no Sanskrit original has been found. The French text was printed in 1778 at Yverdon, Switzerland, from Voltaire’s copy supplemented by Anquetil’s, with a long introduction and notes which are anonymous, but known to be by Guillaume de Clermont Lodève, baron de Ste Croix (1746-1809) (Hawley 1974: 173; Rocher 1984: 10). By rejecting Voltaire’s claims for the antiquity of the Ezour-Védam, by introducing French readers to Halhed’s Code of Gentoo Laws (published in 1776), and by criticizing Holwell and Dow, Ste Croix considerably advances the knowledge of ancient India available in French. A German translation of the Yverdon version soon followed (Ith n.d.).26

The first serious challenge to the genuineness of the Ezour-Védam came from Pierre Sonnerat, who posited a Christian origin. Sonnerat had travelled in the Indian Ocean and as far as the Philippines from 1768 to 1774, and on his return was sent to explore India. The outcome was his Voyages aux Indes orientales et à la Chine, fait par ordre du roi depuis 1774 jusqu’en 1781, published in two volumes in Paris in 1782: a book which goes beyond the bounds of a travel book, and beyond the natural history which was his main subject, into an enquiry on the cultural and physical history of humankind, in the philosophe tradition; it also contains much that is second-hand, taken from unacknowledged sources (Weinberger-Thomas 1983: 178-182). There, he describes the Ezour-Védam as a book of controversy written at Masulipatam by a missionary. Why he should locate the author there is not clear, but the inference that he was a missionary is reasonable. The Austrian Carmelite missionary Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo (1749 1806) also rejected it. Ste Croix continued to believe it a genuine Indian document, though not as ancient as Voltaire claimed. Silvestre de Sacy (1758-1838), a pioneer of Arabic and Persian studies, also accepted it, pointing out that ‘whatever the learned missionary [Paulinus] may say, this book, which is directed against the idolatrous cult of the Indians, would be a very strange catechism of the Christian religion’ (Rocher 1984: 15). Anquetil mentions it again as a source for Indian philosophy in his preface to his translation of the Upaniṣads published in 1801 2, where he accuses Sonnerat and Paulinus of ignorance of India. The question was becoming a point of conflict between textual scholars and observers in the field.

Francis Ellis’ research

The text was difficult to assess because it was neither Hindu nor Christian, and indeed neither exclusively Indian nor exclusively European. The distinctive Europeanness of some of its ideas would not be apparent to believers in natural religion, and it was hard to test its claim to be a Veda, when before Colebrooke’s survey of 1802 there was little knowledge of what a Veda or the Veda was. The person who did the most to settle the matter was Francis Whyte Ellis (1777 1819), who like Colebrooke was an official of the East India Company doing research in his spare time. The Ezour-Védam, like India itself, passed from the French-speaking to the English-speaking world.

In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a [French] Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão… Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the samhitas of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, [which] are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

It is perhaps significant that it was in a royal library, rather than in a Brahmin pathasala, that Polier found manuscripts of the Vedas. But the same is not true of the manuscripts acquired in Banaras only fifteen years later by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, during the period (1795–97) when he was appointed as judge and magistrate at nearby Mirzapur…
I cannot conceive how it came to be ever asserted that the Brahmins were ever averse to instruct strangers; several gentlemen who have studied the language find, as I do, the greatest readiness in them to give us access to all their sciences. They do not even conceal from us the most sacred texts of their Vedas.

The several gentlemen would likely have included General Claude Martin, Sir William Jones, and Sir Robert Chambers. These were all East India Company employees who obtained Vedic manuscripts (Jones from Polier) in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Why was it so much easier for Polier, Colebrooke, and others to obtain what it had been so difficult for the Jesuits and impossible for the Pietists?...

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

The two greatest empires were the British and the French; allies and partners in some things, in others they were hostile rivals. In the Orient, from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to Indochina and Malaya, their colonial possessions and imperial spheres of influence were adjacent, frequently overlapped, often were fought over. But it was in the Near Orient, the lands of the Arab Near East, where Islam was supposed to define teal and racial characteristics, that the British and the French countered each other and “the Orient” with the greatest intensity, familiarity, and complexity. For much of the nineteenth century, as Lord Salisbury put it in 1881, their common view of the Orient was intricately problematic: “When you have got a ...faithful ally who is bent on meddling in a country in which you are deeply interested -- you have three courses open to you. You may renounce -- or monopolize -- or share. Renouncing would have been to place the French across our road to India. Monopolizing would have been very near the risk of war. So we resolved to share.”10

And share they did, in ways that we shall investigate presently. What they shared, however, was not only land or profit or rule; it the kind of intellectual power I have been calling Orientalism. In a sense Orientalism was a library or archive of information commonly and, in some of its aspects, unanimously held. What bound the archive together was a family of ideas11 and a unifying set of values proven in various ways to be effective. These ideas explained the behavior of Orientals; they supplied Orientals with a mentality, a genealogy, an atmosphere; most important, they allowed Europeans to deal with and even to see Orientals as a phenomenon possessing regular characteristics.

-- Orientalism, by Edward W. Said

Ellis was employed in the East India Company’s base at Fort St. George (Madras / Chennai). His greatest scholarly achievement was to show the existence of a Dravidian family of languages, distinct from the Indo-Aryan family -– an idea that is taken for granted now, but which was not widely accepted until it was developed further by Robert Caldwell some forty years later. Ellis presented it in an introduction to someone else’s book, a grammar of Telugu written by A. D. Campbell for the company’s trainees in the College of Fort St. George, the South Indian counterpart to the College of Fort William in Calcutta.

In 1816, Ellis visited the former Jesuit mission in Pondicherry, and examined a collection of eight books of manuscript, in romanized Sanskrit reflecting Bengali pronunciation and French spelling, with a French version on the facing page. Some of the books contained more than one text, some contained part of one and part of another, and one contained a fair copy of the contents of some of the others. Some of the paper had a watermark with the date 1742. Some passages lacked the translation, while one, which is the Ezour-Védam, had the French but no Sanskrit. From the samples given by Ellis, we find that the Sanskrit is in ślokas, often irregular, and the French version is abridged -– or else, if the French was the original, the Sanskrit was expanded. The titles all contain the word Veda, e.g. Zozochi kormo bédo (apparently yajuṣ-karma veda), Zosur Beder Chakha27 (yajur-vedasya śākhā), La chaka du Rik et de28 Ezour védam (ṛg-veda śākhā, yajur-veda śākhā) Chama Védan (sāma-veda), Odorbo Bedo Chakha (atharva-veda-śākhā). One text, Rik Opo Bédo (perhaps ṛg-upaveda) has the title also in Tamil script reflecting Tamil pronunciation, irukku-vedam (ṛg-veda). He describes them as ‘an instance of literary forgery, or rather, as the object of the author or authors, was certainly not literary distinction, of religious imposition without parallel’ (Ellis 1822: 1).

Ellis’ description was read in a paper to the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1817, and published in 1822. It is all the more important because, as mentioned already, the manuscripts are now lost (Rocher 1984: 74); Ellis’ article is the source of Rocher’s description as well as mine. They were last described at first hand by J. Castets, S.J., in a monograph published in Pondicherry in 1935; he says they have deteriorated since Ellis’ time, and even his description is mainly based on Ellis.

There are still many uncertainties about these texts:

Who wrote the Sanskrit ślokas, and why?

Why were the ślokas transcribed in an inconsistent and ambiguous romanization, instead of being preserved in an Indic script?

Who wrote the French version, and why?

Why are they called Vedas?

The first and second of the above questions do not apply to the Ezour-Védam, which has no Sanskrit version, but only to the other texts in the collection, which are now lost except for the samples published by Ellis. In the case of the Ezour-Védam, Rocher argues that there was no Sanskrit original; the text was written in French, by any one of a number of Jesuit missionaries, in order to be translated into Sanskrit.29 The author must have been someone familiar with European ideas, and with a knowledge of Purānic tradition, but probably a faulty knowledge, since there are so many oddities in Vyāsa’s accounts.30
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 2

Veda and Ezour-Védam

This leaves the question of why these curious texts, neither Hindu nor Christian, should be called Vedas. The author of the Ezour-Védam seems to see it as teaching doctrines superior to those of the Hindus, but in a Hindu form. Sumantu tells Vyāsa that the original four Vedas were dictated by God to the first man,31 who taught them to the most virtuous of his descendants. But they later passed into the hands of sinners who corrupted them. Vyāsa himself, Sumantu tells him, has taught corrupted versions of the Vedas, but if he promises to give up these, Sumantu will continue to teach him the Vedas. Thus what commonly pass for Vedas -– that is, the supposed Vedic source of the Purānic Vaisnavism which Vyāsa represents -– are false Vedas, and the teachings with which Sumantu strives to replace them are true Vedas.

To understand this, we have to put aside the philological way of thinking which seeks an authentic ancient text. The word veda in the Indian tradition does not just designate a text or even a class of texts; it refers also to the eternal truth which those texts embody.
The same is true of the Christian term gospel, or the Jewish term torah. Accordingly, texts can be called Veda which are not Vedic in the philological sense, such as the Mahābhārata and the Bhāgavata Purāna, though nobody (to my knowledge) calls them forged Vedas. The Jesuit missionaries used the word veda in the titles of their own works, such as Di Nobili’s Satya-veda-saṃgraha (‘compendium of the true veda’), or Beschi’s Veda-vilakkam ‘elucidation of the veda’; in such contexts we might translate it ‘gospel’. They sometimes translate it as ‘law’ (e.g. ‘Vedasaram signifie Suc de la loy ou du Vedam’, in a book list from Pondicherry, January 1734 (Omont 1902: 1190)), understanding this word in terms of eternal divine law rather than of human enactments. According to Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, writing in 1796, in India ‘the law or religious system of the so-called Nazarenes, or Christians of St. Thomas, is called Nasrànni Vèda, and the Jewish law Judhavèda’ (Rocher 1984: 65).

If we set these Christian uses of the word veda alongside Hindu uses, and look at them with an uncommitted eye, the word becomes a relative term: one person’s Veda is another person’s false Veda. This is illustrated by the abstracts which accompanied some of the texts in the collection seen by Ellis. These abstracts, which as Ellis remarks (1822: 14) show the (Christian) author’s views more explicitly than the texts themselves, repeatedly refer to the Vedas as ‘faux Véds’, contrasting them with the ‘vrai Védam’.32 In the view of the missionary author of the abstracts, the Pondicherry dialogues reject the false knowledge accumulated in the Hindu tradition and replace it with true knowledge: not the completely true knowledge which can only be found within the Church, but knowledge derived from natural religion which can make a person receptive to the Church’s teaching.

This helps us to understand why the Ezour-Védam should be called ‘veda’, but not why it should be called ‘Yajurveda’, or why the other texts seen by Ellis should be called by the names of the other three Vedas. A clue is in the Ezour-Védam itself, which tells us that Sumantu is the author of the Yajurveda, Paila of the Ṛgveda, Jaimini of the Sāmaveda, and Aṅgiras of the Atharvaveda.33 This is matched by the interlocutors in the companion texts as reported by Ellis. In the Sāmaveda (Chamo Bedo), Jaimini (Zoimini) instructs Nārāyana; in the Atharva Veda (Odorbo Bedo Chakha) Angiras instructs Atri; while in the Yajurveda (Ezour Vedam) Sumantu instructs Vyāsa. (Ellis does not name the interlocutors in the Ṛgveda, but if they followed the same pattern the instructor would be Paila.). Thus each of the Pondicherry texts is a dialogue in which a teacher of the ‘faux Védam’ of Purānic Hinduism is instructed by the author of one of the four vedas (as listed in the Ezour-védam) in the ‘vrai védam’ of natural religion. There is nothing to indicate that the material in each text is particularly appropriate to the Veda whose name it bears; the four Vedas are merely treated as empty boxes into which the arguments are distributed.

Ellis (1822: 31) refers to these texts as ‘pseudo-Védas’, and others after him use similar expressions. But while some in Europe were unable to tell the difference between any one of these dialogues and the Veda whose name it bears, a brahmin pandit would have known, and the missionaries were probably aware of this. Ellis’ description of the Pondicherry texts as forgery or imposition is therefore misleading, since they were not well calculated to deceive.

The Veda has occupied an ambiguous position in Hinduism. On the one hand, many Hindus have proclaimed it their most authoritative and sacred body of literature. On the other, for the past two thousand years its contents have been almost completely unknown to the vast majority of Hindus, and have had virtually no relevance to their religious practices. In the last centuries before the Common Era, access to the Vedic texts was limited to male members of the three highest social classes, and since at least the second century CE, Hindu law-makers have declared that only male Brahmins are eligible to study the Veda. Between then and now, the great majority of the people we retrospectively identify as “Hindu” have been deliberately excluded from the Veda, and for most of this period we have little means of knowing whether such people accepted its authority. In ancient India, the maintenance of the Veda’s exclusivity was largely dependent on two factors: first, that it was prohibited to commit the Vedic texts to writing; second, that Brahmins were the guardians not only of the Vedas, but also of Sanskrit. By excluding all except male Brahmins from learning Sanskrit, the Veda was kept out of the majority’s reach. However, after the Sanskrit of the Vedas had developed, in the last centuries BCE, into the distinct, post-Vedic “Classical Sanskrit”, the content of the Vedas became inaccessible even to many Brahmins. Already in the Mānavadharmaśāstra, a Brahminical text composed probably around the 2nd century CE (Olivelle 2004), there is a reference to Brahmins who recite the Veda but do not understand it, and ethnographies attest to the existence of such persons today. This neglect of the content of the Vedas, together with the sustained emphasis on their correct recitation, signals the prevalent belief that the sacredness of these texts is in their sounds rather than their meaning. Thus, to recite correctly, or to hear such a recital, is intrinsically efficacious.

-- A religion of the book? On sacred texts in Hinduism, by Robert Leach

Calmette's objective in studying the Vedas was not a translation of any part of them. That would definitely have been impossible after just a few years of study, even with the help of Pons. The language of these texts, particularly that of earlier Vedas, was a tough nut to crack even for learned Indians. In a letter dated September 16, 1737, Calmette wrote to Father Rene Joseph de Tournemine in Paris:
I think like you, reverend father, that it would have been appropriate to consult original texts of Indian religion with more care; but we did not have these books at hand until now, and for a long time they were considered impossible to find, especially the principal ones which are the four Vedan. It was only five or six years ago that, due to [the establishment of] an oriental library system for the King, I was asked to do research about Indian books that could form part of it. I then made discoveries that are important for [our] Religion, and among these I count the four Vedan or sacred books. But these books, which even the most able doctors only half understand and which a brahmin would not dare to explain to us for fear of a scandal in his caste, are written in a language for which Samscroutam [Sanskrit], the language of the learned, does not yet provide the key because they are written in a more ancient language. These books, I say, are in more than one way sealed for us. (Le Gobien 1781:14.6)

-- Anquetil-Duperron's Search for the True Vedas, Excerpt from The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

The author writes within a Purāṇic tradition in which ancient sages are frequently given words which reflect relatively recent ideas. His grasp of the details of that tradition is faulty, but his use of the dialogue form is not. The main innovation is that the teacher repeatedly insists on the pupil’s errors, and urges him to repent of them. This reflects a binary opposition of truth and falsehood typical of European theological and philosophical discourse, while Purāṇic narratives generally lead the pupil from imperfect or incomplete knowledge to further knowledge.

In view of the missionary purpose of the Ezour-Védam, Rocher proposes to read the title as representing Tamil *ēcur-vētam, as ‘Veda of Jesus’. This would be ‘a subtle and disguised way of indicating what the book is really meant to be: “the Gospel of Jesus”’ (Rocher 1984: 66). If Rocher is right, the Ezour-Védam is no more a forged Veda than The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is a forged gospel. However, Rocher’s interpretation is open to many objections, several of which he himself reports. It applies only to the one Pondicherry veda that reached Europe. It fails to account for the fact that Ezour-Védam was used in sources emanating from South India with clear reference to the Yajurveda, and that according to Ellis the Ezour-Védam was previously called Jozour Bed, the franco-Bengali form of yajurveda which appears also in the Ezour-Védam itself alongside Ezour vedan (EV 114-5).34 It also ignores the total absence from the text of any reference to Jesus, not to mention its denial of the possibility of incarnation or bodily resurrection. Rocher’s hypothesis not only fails to show why this one occurrence of the phrase Ezour-Védam should be understood differently from its many other occurrences which clearly mean yajurveda, but requires a Christian missionary to put the name of Jesus on to a text which presents natural religion, not Christianity.

The story of the forged Veda

Most of the early writers on the subject, including Ellis, were in no doubt of the motive of the author: it was to deceive Hindus by presenting non-Hindu ideas under the pretence of giving the content of the Veda. They were also in no doubt that the author was a Jesuit, and that Jesuits were unscrupulous practitioners of pious fraud. Sonnerat was the first to use this explanation. After saying that the author was a missionary, he adds: ‘We see that the author wanted to bring (ramener) everything to the Christian religion, while still leaving some errors [that is, some differences from Christian doctrine] so that the missionary would not be recognized under his brahmin cloak’ (Sonnerat 1782, 1: 11).

The idea that Di Nobili himself had produced a forged Veda was already current before the Ezour-védam appeared in Europe. The Lutheran church historian Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1694-1755), in his Institutiones Historiae Ecclesiasticae (1726, but published posthumously in 1764), writes that Di Nobili became so learned in Sanskrit and the Vedas that he could impose on the brahmins themselves. Specifically, he accuses him of producing an old parchment certificate declaring that all the Jesuits were descendants of the brahmins’ god, and forging a new Veda so cleverly that thousands of brahmins became his disciples. Parchment, being made from animal skin, is an improbable material for anyone at all familiar with the culture who wished to impose on South Indian brahmins. Nevertheless, the story was repeated by other Protestant historians. James Hough (1839, 2: 231), a former chaplain to the East India Company in Madras presidency, repeats it, including the tell-tale detail of the parchment as well as much vilification of the Jesuits’ method of inculturation.

Sumantu’s doctrines are sufficiently imbued with European thought to indicate a missionary source, although they are not entirely those of Catholic Christianity. God is almighty, invisible, infinite and merciful. A plurality of gods is denied (EV 161), there is only one God, and the supposed gods are only human. The soul is immortal, and the souls of the virtuous are rewarded with everlasting bliss (EV 159-60). There is no rebirth, and there is a firm line dividing humankind from animals: plants and animals are created to serve humankind, and only human beings are capable of sin (EV 149-50). Accordingly, the suffering of animals is not the fruit of sin but is a necessary consequence of their subservience to humankind (EV 50).

-- Ezour-Védam: Europe’s illusory first glimpse of the Veda, by Dermot Killingley

Ellis dissociates himself from this view of Di Nobili, noting that ‘it is the fashion for Protestants to calumniate indiscriminately the Jesuits’ (Ellis 1822: 31n.). He does suggest, on the authority of the ‘respectable natives’ of Pondicherry, that Di Nobili himself was the author. However, he does not think that Di Nobili called the texts Vedas; he suggests that he merely wrote some points of controversy and refutations of them, and someone else arranged them in their present form, gave them false titles, and transcribed and translated them (Ellis 1822: 30-32).

While not questioning Di Nobili’s honesty, Ellis does permit himself a comment which questions the Jesuits’ prudence:

The intention is evidently to destroy the existing belief without regarding consequence or caring whether a blank be substituted for it or not. To the doctrine here taught, as preparatory to a system of deism, nothing can be objected; but, after the teacher has succeeded in convincing his pupil that the deity never was incarnated, how is he to instruct him in the mysteries of the Christian faith? (Ellis 1822: 35n).

He may be implicitly supporting the view, common in conservative British circles in India, that interference in religion was dangerous, or the related view that free thought or deism would lead to revolution and anarchy as they had in France.

A misunderstanding in connection with Ellis

Though Ellis’s paper was read to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on 6th August 1817, it was not published until 1822, after his early death in 1819. However, a report appeared in the Government Gazette on 14th August 1817, summarizing parts of the paper including the conjecture of Di Nobili’s authorship and the note about the danger of destroying existing belief:

The whole scope of the pseudo-vedas is evidently the destruction of the existing belief of the Hindoos, without regarding the consequences, or caring whether a blank be substituted for it or not. The writings of Ram Mohun Roy seem to be of precisely the same tendency as the discussions of Robertus de Nobilibus (Government Gazette, supplement, 14th August 1817).

The remark about Rammohun is the journalist’s own comment, and has nothing to do with Ellis.35 But this is not made clear, since the remark is not separated from the paraphrase of Ellis. This was pointed out in the Calcutta Monthly Journal, which reprinted the report. It also added its own comment defending Rammohun against the charge –- regardless of who made it.

Unless the recommendation to worship the Supreme Being instead of 330,000,000 Idols be a Blank, –- or the adoption of that recommendation, be a mischievous consequence, we are wholly at a loss to comprehend how the writings of Ram Mohun Roy, can deserve the censure which they have received (Calcutta Monthly Journal, Vol. XXXI No. 274, p. 120).

While the Calcutta Monthly Journal was unable to state who had made the charge against Rammohun, it was clear about the nature of the charge: that he, like Di Nobili, disregarded the likely pernicious consequences of his teachings. However, in 1941 the editor of a collection of records relating to Rammohun reprinted both the report and the comment from the Calcutta Monthly Journal, under the heading ‘A charge of literary forgery against Rammohun Roy by Mr Ellis of Madras’ (Majumdar 1941: 6), although the charge is not one of forgery and the Calcutta Monthly Journal’s comment points out that it may not have been made by Ellis. A biographer of Rammohun then reprinted the report, omitting the part pointing out that the charge may have originated with the Government Gazette, and again misrepresenting the charge of imprudence as one of forgery (Singh 1958: 142 4). He does not seem to be aware of Ellis’ importance as a scholar, or even who he was; he describes him as ‘a member of the Madras Literary Society with some pretensions to being an orientalist’. It is interesting to see this word being used so early as a means of controlling the scholarship of the past without the need to understand it, in the manner of the late twentieth-century hegemonic construct of orientalism.


Majumdar and Singh do not mention the Ezour-védam, and are probably unaware of it, but their indignation at a non-existent accusation, and their failure to look critically even at the meagre sources available to them, as well as Singh’s use of ridicule as substitute for argument, may remind us of Voltaire. It seems that this obscure text has received more than its due share of misunderstanding, speculation, credulity, spurious claims to knowledge, and misplaced indignation. Its interest lies partly in its obscurity: the unavailability, and probable non-existence, of the Sanskrit original which its form presupposes, and the unlikelihood that the rest of the collection will be seen again.

It was written as part of a programme of missionary activity, though it does not in itself inculcate Christian doctrine. Rocher’s hypothesis that it was written in French, and never existed in an Indian language, is probable; his hypothesis about the title is not.

But the Ezour-védam, together with the careful but limited information Ellis has given us about its companion texts, tells us something about how French Jesuits attempted to communicate with brahmin pandits, while its reception in Europe tells us about the expectations and assumptions of French and other European scholars and controversialists in the eighteenth century. We know that until the suppression of the Malabar rites, the successors of Di Nobili enjoyed a co-operative relationship with pandits. They may have had too much respect for them to wish to deceive them, and too much confidence in the pandits’ learning to expect to have any success in doing so. Rather, they may have attempted to contribute to the development of the brahmanical tradition, using some of its literary forms and devices. The form of the purāṇic dialogue, and the device of letting ancient sages express what to the historian may be new ideas, but to the participant in the tradition are eternal truths, are used with some skill. On the evidence of the Ezour-védam the attempt is not very successful, however, because of the inaccuracy of the author’s Purāṇic knowledge.36 Rocher in another work (1986) has shown how inappropriate concepts such as forgery and authenticity are when dealing with such a living and growing body of texts as the Purāṇas. I suggest that they are also inappropriate when dealing with the missionaries’ attempts to contribute to that body.

Though the Ezour-védam may not be a forgery, and may not have deceived anyone in India, it became fraudulent in Europe because its nature and purpose were not understood there. The same may be said, in different ways, of the Vedic texts themselves, which were taken to be a corpus of texts like the Bible, and to be, as the Bible was supposed to be, a substantive source of doctrine and law. Understanding the Veda, in all its philological, hermeneutic and social complexity, is still an unfinished task.



1. This study was given as a research paper at the conference on the Sanskrit Tradition in the Modern World at Manchester University, and as a lecture at the University of Vienna, both in 2007. I am grateful to colleagues who discussed it, particularly Prof. John Brockington and Prof. Karin Preisendanz.
2. This is apparent in the sample given by Ellis (1822: 5) from the beginning of the ‘Chama Bedo’ (Sāma-veda).
3. In Bengali, the short vowel a is pronounced o, and s is regularly pronounced as ś, which is represented in French spelling as ch. Besides the French features of the spelling (ch for the ‘sh’ sound, ou for u), the occasional use of x for ‘sh’ (Chrixnou for Kṛṣṇa, Pouxkoro for Puṣkara) suggests Portuguese influence. In Chrixnou for Kṛṣṇa, the Ch may be an assimilation to Christ.
4. Castets (1935: 11), purporting to report Ellis, gives this title as Zosur Béd. This seems to be an error, but one of the manuscripts in the collection did have the title Zosur Beder Chakha (see below, p. 000 [[p. 10]]).
5. In Tamil (in India but not in Sri Lanka), written initial e is regularly pronounced ye . In a list of books sent from the Jesuit mission in Pondicherry to Paris in 1732 (Omont 1902: 1189), there is an entry ‘Trois livres du Ezour Vedam’. The form du implies an initial consonant, although no consonant is written; before a vowel the form would be de l’. The entry seems to have been written by someone who spoke both Tamil and French, which is what we should expect in eighteenth-century Pondicherry. Jean Calmette, S.J., who acquired and sent these books, spelt the title Ejour Védam; however, he treats the E as an initial vowel in the usual way: ‘des Brames de l’Ejour Védam’ (letter of Calmette, 25 August 1732, Dahmen 1934: 112. I am grateful to Dr Will Sweetman for a copy of this article). The spelling Ezour Védam occurs also in the Jesuit missionary Coeurdoux’s Mœurs des Indiens, the book which later became well known as Manners and Customs of the Hindoos by the Abbé Dubois (Murr 1987: 22; 135). It is used in the Ezour-Védam itself (EV 114, 115), as an alternative to the Bengali-based Zozur (EV 114). For the Tamil suffix am, as well as the spelling without initial y , compare eghniam for yajña (Murr 1987, 1: 22; 127; 135); also ‘ENGHIAM [yajñam] ou YÂGAM les plus fameux des sacrifices Indiens’ (Murr 1987, 1: 127).
6. For Rocher’s interpretation as ‘Veda of Jesus’, see below, p. 000 [[p. 13]]. Figueira (1993: 204; 224 n. 20) fails to recognize that Zozur Bédo and Ezour-védam are forms of yajur-veda, and consequently misrepresents Ellis.
7. For ch representing s in these two names, see note 3 above. The vowel u is usually represented in the French spelling as ou, but sometimes (as in the first syllable of Chumantou/ Sumantu) as u.
8. Vyāsa taught the Vedas and MBh to Sumantu, Jaimini, Paila and his own son Śuka (MBh 1.57.74). In another account he taught the Vedas to Sumantu, Vaiśampāyana, Jaimini and Paila (MBh 12.314.24); see also n. 33 below.
9. I hope the use of the word Hindu in this article will not raise theoretical problems. I find it useful to understand it in opposition to other terms such as Vedic, Buddhist or Muslim, depending on the context (Killingley 2003: 13). Here, the implied opposition is with Christian.
10. There is some relation between this and various iconographic representations of three deities. In the Śaiva ekapādamūrti (‘one-footed form’), Viṣṇu comes from Śiva’s left side and Brahmā from his right, but there are many variants of this theme (Banerjea 1974: 124; 231-2).
11. This may be a recollection of the saying of Jesus that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is never forgiven (Mark 3.29; cf. Matthew 12.32; Luke 12.10).
12. The Scottish Episcopalian John Muir’s Mataparīkṣā of 1839 (Young 1981) is a later example of missionary engagement with the Sanskrit tradition; but before the nineteenth century such engagement was the special concern of the Jesuits.
13. ‘voilà ce qu’on a dit, je ne t’en garantis pas la verité’ (sic, for vérité; the French is irregularly spelt and very deficient in accents).
14. His first reference to it is in a letter to Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, dated 8th October (1860): ‘M. le chevalier de Maudave m’a donné des commentaires sur le Veidam qui en valent bien d’autres.’ (‘... has given me some commentaries on the Veda which are worth a good many others’) (Besterman 1972a: 187, letter No. D9289). The rest of the letter is on other subjects.
15. Calmette (see above, n. 5), in a letter to Cartigny, 24 January 1733 (Murr 1987 vol. 2: 116 n. 299), says it was through their trickery. This may be true, but it may also reflect a widely accepted idea that the brahmins would never willingly part with their secret knowledge.
16. In the Pondicherry records he is plain Monsieur Modave (Castets 1935: 1n.).
17. Letter from Cœurdoux to Anquetil Duperron, February 1771, in Murr 1983: 273 n. 63; 1987: 117).
18. ‘une copie très informe, faite à la hâte’. Letter from Voltaire to Jacob Vernes, 1 October 1761 (Besterman 1972b: 12, letter No. D10051 (cited by Rocher 1984: 4 as Besterman No. 9262, from an earlier edition). Vernes was a pastor in Geneva; another letter to him from Voltaire indicates they had views in common on religion (Besterman 1969: 346; 484).
19. This work first appeared as Abrégé de l’histoire universelle in 1753, and was repeatedly revised, going through 27 editions until 1778. La philosophie de l’histoire par feu l’abbé Bazin was incorporated in it as an introduction in 1769 (Hawley 1974: 168).
20. Voltaire, having published La philosophie de l’histoire pseudonymously as the work of the fictitious deceased Abbé Bazin, edited by his nephew (Besterman 1969: 463 n. 30), wrote this defence of it under the mask of the same anonymous nephew.
21. Letter to Vernes, see note 18 above.
22. In the letter to Vernes (note 18 above; cf. Hawley 1974: 149), the text is several centuries older than Pythagoras (6th century BCE).
23. By this Voltaire means only that the names are not known in Greek; he has no way of positively recognizing a Sanskrit name.
24. Ste Croix (1778, vol. 2: 205 6) points out Voltaire’s inconsistency in denying that the EV mentions deluges, when he himself had quoted passages in which they are mentioned. His statement that such inadvertence must be attributed to the author’s secretary may be a polite fiction, as when modern reviewers attribute an author’s errors to the publisher’s editor.
25. Castets (1935: 4) states that Anquetil’s introduction to the Avesta (Anquetil 1771, 1: 83; 364 6; 540; page numbers in the original are in roman numerals) expresses doubts as to the genuineness of the EV. However, in none of these places does Anquetil do so. The first is the beginning of five-page footnote consisting mainly of a quotation from the EV; the other two places relate to Anquetil’s own attempts to collect Vedic material.
26. This is dated by Rocher (1984: 96) as 1779; the Vienna university library copy is dated by hand as 1778. It was written by Professor J. Ith of Bern and published in Leipzig. Vol. 2 begins with an ‘Einleitung’, translating Ste Croix’s ‘Observations préliminaires’, followed by ‘Anhang zur Vorrede’ translating his ‘Addition aux Observations Préliminaires’; the ‘Erläuterungen’ translate his ‘Éclaircissements’. I am grateful to Dr Thomas Kintaert of the University of Vienna for finding and and photocopying Ste Croix’s edition, and for finding me Ith’s translation and Anquetil’s Zend-Avesta..
27. Usually aspirated stops are not distinguished in this romanization; this is a rare instance of aspiration being marked by h. er is the Bengali genitive ending.
28. For the form de before a written vowel, compare du Ezour Vedam in the Pondicherry book lists (above, n. 5).
29. This implicitly rejects Ste Croix’s judgment that the faults of French style in the translation inspire confidence in the reader by preserving the impression of a foreign author (‘conservent à l’auteur Indien cet air étranger qui inspire de la confiance aux lecteurs’) (Ste Croix 1778, 1: x).
30. Filliozat (1954: 280) suggests that the author was a Bengali convert. But the oddities in the Purāṇic material are against this hypothesis.
31. The first man’s name is Ādima, the masculine of an adjective formed from ādi ‘beginning’ with the superlative ending ma. The word is not usual; the citations given by Böhtlingk and Roth are all from grammatical and lexical texts. It is probably chosen because of its resemblance to the name Adam. Since Ādima’s wife is Prakṛti, he seems to be a version of Puruṣa or Ādipuruṣa.
32. As Murr (1987, vol. 2: 117) puts it, vrai is used in a quasi-epistemological sense; for the missionaries, the true Veda is the one that tells the truth (le vedam qui dit la vérité).
33. Like many pieces of Purāṇic lore in Ezour-Védam, this is only approximately what we find in the tradition. tatra rgvedadharaḥ pailaḥ sāmago jaiminiḥ kaviḥ | vaiśampāyana evaiko niṣṇāto yajuṣām uta || atharvāṅgirasām āsīt sumantur dāruṇo muniḥ | itihāsapurāṇānāṃ pitā me romaharṣaṇaḥ || ‘Paila was the carrier of the Ṛgveda, the poet Jaimini sang the sāmans, the skilful Vaiśampāyana alone was immersed in the yajuṣes, the rough Sumantu was the sage of the Atharvans and Aṅgirases, and my father Romaharṣaṇa of the epics and purāṇas’ Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.4.21-22.
34. Further, one of the Pondicherry texts (No. 6 in Ellis’ list) ends with a colophon which calls it both Zozochi kormo bédo (apparently yajuṣ-karma veda) and Ezour Védam.
35. Ellis mentions Rammohun only in connection with the genuine Vedas, giving his translation of the Kena Upaniṣad as an example of the increasing availability of such texts.
36. Some of the oddities might be accounted for as adaptation to Western ideas, such as the generations of Adimo, and others by the variability of Purāṇic mythology. But some are just hopelessly wrong, such as the account of the numbers of human years in the four yugas: 1st 162000, 2nd 129600 (the only correct figure), 3rd 64000, 4th 420300 (EV 132).
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Suppression of the Society of Jesus
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/23/20

The suppression of the Jesuits was a politically instigated removal of all members of the Society of Jesus from most of the countries of Western Europe and their colonies, beginning in 1759, and ultimately approved by The Holy See in 1773. In 1814, Pope Pius VII restored the Society to its previous provinces and Jesuits began resuming their work in those countries.[1]

Jesuits had been serially expelled from the Portuguese Empire (1759), France (1764), the Two Sicilies, Malta, Parma, the Spanish Empire (1767) and Austria and Hungary (1782). Analysis of the reasons is complicated by the political maneuvering in each country which, although not transparent, has left some trail of evidence. The papacy reluctantly went along with the demands of the various Catholic kingdoms involved, but produced no theological reasoning for the suppression.

The Suppression of the Society could be attributed to causes arguably similar to those which later brought about the French Revolution. They varied in detail in the different countries. In France it was a combination of many influences, from Jansenism to Free-thought, to the then prevaling impatience with the old order of things.[2] Monarchies attempting to centralise and secularise political power viewed the Jesuits as supranational, too strongly allied to the papacy, and too autonomous from the monarchs in whose territory they operated.[3] With his Papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor (21 July 1773) Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus, as a fait accompli. The Chinese Empire, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the United States allowed the Jesuits to continue their work, while Catherine the Great allowed the founding of a new novitiate in Russia.[4]

Background to suppression

Prior to the eighteenth-century suppression of the Jesuits in many countries, there had been earlier bans such as in territories of the Venetian Republic between 1606 and 1656/7, begun and ended as part of disputes between the Republic and the Papacy, beginning with the Venetian Interdict.[5]

By the mid-18th century, the Society had acquired a reputation in Europe for political maneuvering and economic success. Monarchs in many European states grew increasingly wary of what they saw as undue interference from a foreign entity. The expulsion of Jesuits from their states had the added benefit of allowing governments to impound the Society's accumulated wealth and possessions. However, historian Charles Gibson cautions, "[h]ow far this served as a motive for the expulsion we do not know."[6]

Various states took advantage of different events in order to take action. The series of political struggles between various monarchs, particularly France and Portugal, began with disputes over territory in 1750 and culminated in the suspension of diplomatic relations and the dissolution of the Society by the Pope over most of Europe, and even some executions. The Portuguese Empire, France, the Two Sicilies, Parma and the Spanish Empire were involved to a different extent.

The conflicts began with trade disputes, in 1750 in Portugal, in 1755 in France, and in the late 1750s in the Two Sicilies. In 1758 the government of Joseph I of Portugal took advantage of the waning powers of Pope Benedict XIV and deported Jesuits from South America after relocating them with their native workers, and then fighting a brief conflict, formally suppressing the order in 1759. In 1762 the Parlement Français, (a court, not a legislature), ruled against the Society in a huge bankruptcy case under pressure from a host of groups – from within the Church but also secular notables such as Madame de Pompadour, the king's mistress. Austria and the Two Sicilies suppressed the order by decree in 1767.

Lead-up to suppression

First national suppression: Portugal and its empire in 1759

There were long-standing tensions between the Portuguese crown and the Jesuits, which increased when the Count of Oeiras (later the Marquis of Pombal) became the monarch's minister of state, culminating in the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1759. The Távora affair in 1758 could be considered a pretext for the expulsion and crown confiscation of Jesuit assets.[7] According to historians James Lockhart and Stuart B. Schwartz, the Jesuits' "independence, power, wealth, control of education, and ties to Rome made the Jesuits obvious targets for Pombal's brand of extreme regalism."[8]

Portugal's quarrel with the Jesuits began over an exchange of South American colonial territory with Spain. By a secret treaty of 1750, Portugal relinquished to Spain the contested Colonia del Sacramento at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata in exchange for the Seven Reductions of Paraguay, the autonomous Jesuit missions that had been nominal Spanish colonial territory. The native Guaraní, who lived in the mission territories, were ordered to quit their country and settle across the Uruguay. Owing to the harsh conditions, the Guaraní rose in arms against the transfer, and the so-called Guaraní War ensued. It was a disaster for the Guaraní. In Portugal a battle escalated with inflammatory pamphlets denouncing or defending the Jesuits who for over a century had protected the Guarani from enslavement through a network of Reductions, as depicted in The Mission. The Portuguese colonizers secured the expulsion of the Jesuits.[9][10]

On 1 April 1758, Pombal persuaded the aged Pope Benedict XIV to appoint the Portuguese Cardinal Saldanha to investigate allegations against the Jesuits.[11] Benedict was skeptical as to the gravity of the alleged abuses. He ordered a "minute inquiry", but so as to safeguard the reputation of the Society, all serious matters were to be referred back to him. Benedict died the following month on May 3. On May 15 Saldanha, having received the papal brief only a fortnight before, declared that the Jesuits were guilty of having exercised "illicit, public, and scandalous commerce," both in Portugal and in its colonies. He had not visited Jesuit houses as ordered, and pronounced on the issues which the pope had reserved to himself.[10]

Pombal implicated the Jesuits in the Távora affair, an attempted assassination of the king on 3 September 1758, on the grounds of their friendship with some of the supposed conspirators. On 19 January 1759, he issued a decree sequestering the property of the Society in the Portuguese dominions and the following September deported the Portuguese fathers, about one thousand in number, to the Pontifical States, keeping the foreigners in prison. Among those arrested and executed was the then denounced Gabriel Malagrida, the Jesuit confessor of Leonor of Távora, for "crimes against the faith". After Malagrida's execution in 1759, the Society was suppressed by the Portuguese crown. The Portuguese ambassador was recalled from Rome and the papal nuncio expelled. Diplomatic relations between Portugal and Rome were broken off until 1770.[11]

Suppression in France in 1764

The suppression of the Jesuits in France began in the French island colony of Martinique, where the Society of Jesus had a commercial stake in sugar plantations worked by black slave and free labor. Their large mission plantations included large local populations that worked under the usual conditions of tropical colonial agriculture of the 18th century. The Catholic Encyclopedia in 1908 said that missionaries occupying themselves personally in selling off the goods produced (an anomaly for a religious order) "was allowed partly to provide for the current expenses of the mission, partly in order to protect the simple, childlike natives from the common plague of dishonest intermediaries."

Father Antoine La Vallette, Superior of the Martinique missions, borrowed money to expand the large undeveloped resources of the colony. But on the outbreak of war with England, ships carrying goods of an estimated value of 2,000,000 livres were captured, and La Vallette suddenly went bankrupt for a very large sum. His creditors turned to the Jesuit procurator in Paris to demand payment, but he refused responsibility for the debts of an independent mission – though he offered to negotiate for a settlement. The creditors went to the courts and received a favorable decision in 1760 obliging the Society to pay, and giving leave to distrain in the case of non-payment. The Jesuits, on the advice of their lawyers, appealed to the Parlement of Paris. This turned out to be an imprudent step for their interests. Not only did the Parlement support the lower court on 8 May 1761, but having once gotten the case into its hands, the Jesuits' opponents in that assembly determined to strike a blow at the Order.

The Jesuits had many who opposed them. The Jansenists were numerous among the enemies of the orthodox party. The Sorbonne, an educational rival, joined the Gallicans, the Philosophes, and the Encyclopédistes. Louis XV was weak; his wife and children were in favor of the Jesuits; his able first minister, the Duc de Choiseul, played into the hands of the Parlement and the royal mistress, Madame de Pompadour, to whom the Jesuits had refused absolution for she was living in sin with the King of France, was a determined opponent. The determination of the Parlement of Paris in time bore down all opposition.

The attack on the Jesuits was opened on 17 April 1762 by the Jansenist sympathizer the Abbé Chauvelin who denounced the Constitution of the Society of Jesus, which was publicly examined and discussed in a hostile press. The Parlement issued its Extraits des assertions assembled from passages from Jesuit theologians and canonists, in which they were alleged to teach every sort of immorality and error. On 6 August 1762, the final arrêt was proposed to the Parlement by the Advocate General Joly de Fleury, condemning the Society to extinction, but the king's intervention brought eight months' delay and in the meantime a compromise was suggested by the Court. If the French Jesuits would separate from the Society headed by the Jesuit General directly under the pope's authority and come under a French vicar, with French customs, as with the Gallican Church, the Crown would still protect them. The French Jesuits, rejecting Gallicanism, refused to consent. On 1 April 1763, the colleges were closed, and by a further arrêt of March 9, 1764, the Jesuits were required to renounce their vows under pain of banishment. At the end of November 1764, the king signed an edict dissolving the Society throughout his dominions, for they were still protected by some provincial parlements, as in Franche-Comté, Alsace, and Artois. In the draft of the edict, he canceled numerous clauses that implied that the Society was guilty, and writing to Choiseul he concluded: "If I adopt the advice of others for the peace of my realm, you must make the changes I propose, or I will do nothing. I say no more, lest I should say too much."[12]

Decline of the Jesuits in New France

Following the British 1759 victory against the French in Quebec, France lost its North American territory of New France where Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth century had been active among indigenous peoples. British rule had implications for Jesuits in New France, but their numbers and sites were already in decline. As early as 1700, the Jesuits had adopted a policy of merely maintaining their existing posts instead of trying to establish new ones beyond Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa.[13] Once New France was under British control, the British barred the immigration of any further Jesuits. By 1763 there were only twenty-one Jesuits still stationed in what was now the British colony of Quebec. By 1773 only eleven Jesuits remained. In the same year the British crown laid claim to Jesuit property in Canada and declared that the Society of Jesus in New France was dissolved.[14]

Spanish Empire suppression of 1767

Events leading to the Spanish suppression

The Suppression in Spain and in the Spanish colonies, and in its dependency the Kingdom of Naples, was the last of the expulsions, with Portugal (1759) and France (1764) having already set the pattern. The Spanish crown had already begun a series of administrative and other changes in their overseas empire, such as reorganizing the viceroyalties, rethinking economic policies, and establishing a military, so that the expulsion of the Jesuits is seen as part of this general trend known generally as the Bourbon Reforms. The aim of the reforms was to curb the increasing autonomy and self-confidence of American-born Spaniards, reassert crown control, and increase revenues.[15] Some historians doubt that the Jesuits were guilty of intrigues against the Spanish crown that were used as the immediate cause for the expulsion.[16]

Contemporaries in Spain attributed the suppression of the Jesuits to the Esquilache Riots, named after the Italian advisor to Bourbon king Carlos III, that erupted after a sumptuary law was enacted. The law, placing restrictions on men's wearing of voluminous capes and limiting the breadth of sombreros the men could wear, was seen as an "insult to Castilian pride."[17]

When an angry crowd of those resisters converged on the royal palace, king Carlos fled to the countryside. The crowd had shouted "Long Live Spain! Death to Esquilache!" His Flemish palace guard fired warning shots over the people's heads. An account says that a group of Jesuit priests appeared on the scene, soothed the protesters with speeches, and sent them home. Carlos decided to rescind the tax hike and hat-trimming edict, and to fire his finance minister.[18]

The monarch and his advisers were alarmed by the uprising, which challenged royal authority and the Jesuits were accused of inciting the mob and publicly accusing the monarch of religious crimes. Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes, attorney for the Council of Castile, the body overseeing central Spain, articulated this view in a report the king read.[19] Charles III ordered the convening of a special royal commission to draw up a master plan to expel the Jesuits. The commission first met in January 1767. It modeled its plan on the tactics deployed by France's Philip IV against the Knights Templar in 1307 – emphasizing the element of surprise.[20] Charles's adviser Campomanes had written a treatise on the Templars in 1747, which may have informed the implementation of the Jesuit suppression.[21] One historian states that "Charles III never would have dared to expel the Jesuits had he not been assured of the support of an influential party within the Spanish Church."[19] Jansenists and mendicant orders had long opposed the Jesuits and sought to curtail their power.

Secret plan of expulsion

Manuel de Roda, adviser to Charles III, who brought together an alliance of those opposed to the Jesuits
King Charles's ministers kept their deliberations to themselves, as did the king, who acted upon "urgent, just, and necessary reasons, which I reserve in my royal mind." The correspondence of Bernardo Tanucci, Charles's anti-clerical minister in Naples, contains the ideas which, from time to time, guided Spanish policy. Charles conducted his government through the Count of Aranda, a reader of Voltaire, and other liberals.[12]

The commission's meeting on 29 January 1767 planned the expulsion of the Jesuits. Secret orders, to be opened at sunrise on April 2, were sent to all provincial viceroys and district military commanders in Spain. Each sealed envelope contained two documents. One was a copy of the original order expelling "all members of the Society of Jesus" from Charles's Spanish domains and confiscating all their goods. The other instructed local officials to surround the Jesuit colleges and residences on the night of April 2, arrest the Jesuits, and arrange their passage to ships awaiting them at various ports. King Carlos' closing sentence read: "If a single Jesuit, even though sick or dying, is still to be found in the area under your command after the embarkation, prepare yourself to face summary execution."[22]

Pope Clement XIII, presented with a similar ultimatum by the Spanish ambassador to the Vatican a few days before the decree would take effect, asked King Charles "by what authority?" and threatened him with eternal damnation. Pope Clement had no means to enforce his protest and the expulsion took place as planned.[23]

Jesuits expelled from Mexico (New Spain)

In New Spain, the Jesuits had actively evangelized the Indians on the northern frontier. But their main activity involved educating elite criollo (American-born Spanish) men, many of whom themselves became Jesuits. Of the 678 Jesuits expelled from Mexico, 75% were Mexican-born. In late June 1767, Spanish soldiers removed the Jesuits from their 16 missions and 32 stations in Mexico. No Jesuit, no matter how old or ill, could be excepted from the king's decree. Many died on the trek along the cactus-studded trail to the Gulf Coast port of Veracruz, where ships awaited them to transport them to Italian exile.[24]

There were protests in Mexico at the exile of so many Jesuit members of elite families. But the Jesuits themselves obeyed the order. Since the Jesuits had owned extensive landed estates in Mexico – which supported both their evangelization of indigenous peoples and their education mission to criollo elites – the properties became a source of wealth for the crown. The crown auctioned them off, benefiting the treasury, and their criollo purchasers gained productive well-run properties.[25][26] Many criollo families felt outraged at the crown's actions, regarding it as a "despotic act."[27] One well-known Mexican Jesuit, Francisco Javier Clavijero, during his Italian exile wrote an important history of Mexico with emphasis on the indigenous peoples.[28] Alexander von Humboldt, the famous German scientist who spent a year in Mexico in 1803-04, praised Clavijero's work on the history of Mexico's indigenous peoples.[29]

Due to the isolation of the Spanish missions on the Baja California peninsula, the expulsion decree did not arrive in Baja California in June 1767, as in the rest of New Spain. It got delayed until the new governor, Gaspar de Portolá, arrived with the news and decree on November 30. By 3 February 1768, Portolá's soldiers had removed the peninsula's 16 Jesuit missionaries from their posts and gathered them in Loreto, whence they sailed to the Mexican mainland and thence to Europe. Showing sympathy for the Jesuits, Portolá treated them kindly even as he put an end to their 70 years of mission-building in Baja California.[30] The Jesuit missions in Baja California were turned over to the Franciscans and subsequently to the Dominicans, and the future missions in Alta California were founded by Franciscans.[31]

The change in the Spanish colonies in the New World was particularly great, as the far-flung settlements were often dominated by missions. Almost overnight in the mission towns of Sonora and Arizona, the "black robes" (Jesuits) disappeared and the "gray robes" (Franciscans) replaced them.[32]

Expulsion from the Philippines

The royal decree expelling the Society of Jesus from Spain and its dominions reached Manila on 17 May 1768. Between 1769 and 1771, the Jesuits were transported from the Spanish East Indies to Spain and from there deported to Italy.[33]

Exile of Spanish Jesuits to Italy

Spanish soldiers rounded up the Jesuits in Mexico, marched them to the coasts, and placed them below the decks of Spanish warships headed for the Italian port of Civitavecchia in the Papal States. When they arrived, Pope Clement XIII refused to allow the ships to unload their prisoners onto papal territory. Fired upon by batteries of artillery from the shore of Civitavecchia, the Spanish warships had to look for an anchorage off the island of Corsica, then a dependency of Genoa. But since a rebellion had erupted on Corsica, it took five months before some of the Jesuits could set foot on land.[12]

Several historians have estimated the number of Jesuits deported at 6,000. But it is not clear whether this figure encompasses Spain alone or extends to Spain's overseas colonies (notably Mexico and the Philippines) as well.[34] Jesuit historian Hubert Becher claims that about 600 Jesuits died during their voyage and waiting ordeal.[35]

In Naples, king Carlos' minister Bernardo Tanucci pursued a similar policy: On November 3 the Jesuits, with no accusation or trial, were marched across the border into the Papal States and threatened with death if they returned.[10]

Historian Charles Gibson calls the Spanish crown's expulsion of the Jesuits a "sudden and devastating move" to assert royal control.[25] However, the Jesuits became a vulnerable target for the crown's moves to assert more control over the church; also some religious and diocesan clergy and civil authorities were hostile to them, and they did not protest their expulsion.[36]

In addition to 1767, the Jesuits were suppressed and banned twice more in Spain, in 1834 and in 1932. Spanish ruler Francisco Franco rescinded the last suppression in 1938.[citation needed]

Economic impact in the Spanish Empire

The suppression of the order had longstanding economic effects in the Americas, particularly those areas where they had their missions or reductions – outlying areas dominated by indigenous peoples such as Paraguay and Chiloé Archipelago. In Misiones, in modern-day Argentina, their suppression led to the scattering and enslavement of indigenous Guaranís living in the reductions and a long-term decline in the yerba mate industry from which it only recovered in the 20th century.[37]

With the suppression of the Society of Jesus in Spanish America, Jesuit vineyards in Peru were auctioned, but new owners did not have the same expertise as the Jesuits, contributing to a decline in production of wine and pisco.[38]

Suppression in Malta

Malta was at the time a vassal of the Kingdom of Sicily, and Grandmaster Manuel Pinto da Fonseca, himself a Portuguese, followed suit, expelling the Jesuits from the island and seizing their assets. These assets were used in establishing the University of Malta by a decree signed by Pinto on 22 November 1769, with lasting effect on the social and cultural life of Malta.[39] The Church of the Jesuits (in Maltese Knisja tal-Ġiżwiti), one of the oldest churches in Valletta, retains this name up to the present.

Expulsion from the Duchy of Parma

The independent Duchy of Parma was the smallest Bourbon court. So aggressive in its anti-clericalism was the Parmesan reaction to the news of the expulsion of the Jesuits from Naples, that Pope Clement XIII addressed a public warning against it on 30 January 1768, threatening the Duchy with ecclesiastical censures. At this, all the Bourbon courts turned against the Holy See, demanding the entire dissolution of the Jesuits. Parma expelled the Jesuits from its territories, confiscating their possessions.[12]

Dissolution in Poland and Lithuania

The Jesuit order was disbanded in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1773. However, branches in the lands of the Russian Partition of the First Partition of Poland were not disbanded, as Russian Empress Catherine did not acknowledge the Papal order.[40] In the Commonwealth, many of the Jesuit order possessions were taken over by the Commission of National Education, the world's first Ministry of Education. Lithuania complied with the suppression.[41]

Papal suppression of 1773

After the suppression of the Jesuits in many European countries and their overseas empires, Pope Clement XIV issued a papal brief on 21 July 1773, in Rome titled: Dominus ac Redemptor Noster. That decree included the following statement.

Having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those abundant the present case, we are determining upon the fate of a society classed among the mendicant orders, both by its institute and by its privileges; after a mature deliberation, we do, out of our certain knowledge, and the fullness of our apostolical power, suppress and abolish the said company: we deprive it of all activity whatever... And to this end a member of the regular clergy, recommendable for his prudence and sound morals, shall be chosen to preside over and govern the said houses; so that the name of the Company shall be, and is, for ever extinguished and suppressed.

— Pope Clement XIV, Dominus ac Redemptor Noster[42]

Resistance in Belgium

After papal suppression in 1773, the scholarly Jesuit Society of Bollandists moved from Antwerp to Brussels, where they continued their work in the monastery of the Coudenberg; in 1788, the Bollandist Society was suppressed by the Austrian government of the Low Countries.[43]

Continued Jesuit work in Prussia

Frederick the Great of Prussia refused to allow the papal document of suppression to be distributed in his country.[44] The order continued in Prussia for several years after the suppression, although it dissolved before the 1814 restoration. Many individual Jesuits continued their work as Jesuits in Quebec, although the last one died in 1800. The 21 Jesuits living in North America signed a document offering their submission to Rome in 1774.[45] In the United States, schools and colleges continued to be run and founded by Jesuits.[44]

Russian resistance to the suppression

In Imperial Russia, Catherine the Great not only refused to allow the papal document of suppression to be distributed, she openly defended the Jesuits from dissolution and the Jesuit chapter in Belarus received her patronage. It ordained priests, operated schools, and opened housing for novitiates and tertianships. Catherine's successor, Paul I, asked Pope Pius VIII in 1801 to formally approve of the Jesuit operation in Russia, which he did. The Jesuits, led first by Gabriel Gruber and after his death by Tadeusz Brzozowski, continued to expand in Russia under Alexander I, adding missions and schools in Astrakhan, Moscow, Riga, Saratov, and St. Petersburg and throughout the Caucasus and Siberia. Many former Jesuits throughout Europe traveled to Russia to join the sanctioned order there.[46]

Although Alexander I withdrew his patronage of the Jesuits in 1812, but with restoration of the Society in 1814 this had only a temporary effect on the order. Alexander eventually expelled all Jesuits from Imperial Russia in March 1820.[40][41][47]

Russian patronage of restoration in Europe and North America

Under the patronage of the "Russian Society", Jesuit provinces were effectively reconstituted in the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1803, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1803, and the United States in 1805.[46] "Russian" chapters were also formed in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.[48]

Acquiescence in Austria and Hungary

The Secularization Decree of Joseph II (Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790) issued on 12 January 1782 for Austria and Hungary banned several monastic orders not involved in teaching or healing and liquidated 140 monasteries (home to 1484 monks and 190 nuns). The banned monastic orders: Jesuits, Camaldolese, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, Carmelites, Carthusians, Poor Clares, Order of Saint Benedict, Cistercians, Dominican Order (Order of Preachers), Franciscans, Pauline Fathers and Premonstratensians, and their wealth was taken over by the Religious Fund.

His anticlerical and liberal innovations induced Pope Pius VI to pay him a visit in March 1782. Joseph received the Pope politely and presented himself as a good Catholic, but refused to be influenced.

Dissolution in Switzerland

After the Sonderbund War of 1847 the Jesuits were banished from Switzerland. The ban was lifted on 20 May 1973 via referendum.[49]

Restoration of the Jesuits

As the Napoleonic Wars were approaching their end in 1814, the old political order of Europe was to a considerable extent restored at the Congress of Vienna after years of fighting and revolution, during which the Church had been persecuted as an agent of the old order and abused under the rule of Napoleon. With the political climate of Europe changed, and with the powerful monarchs who had called for the suppression of the Society no longer in power, Pope Pius VII issued an order restoring the Society of Jesus in the Catholic countries of Europe. For its part, the Society of Jesus made the decision at the first General Congregation held after the restoration to keep the organization of the Society the way that it had been before the suppression was ordered in 1773.

After 1815, with the Restoration, the Catholic Church began to play a more welcome role in European political life once again. Nation by nation the Jesuits became re-established.

The modern view is that the suppression of the order was the result of a series of political and economic conflicts rather than a theological controversy, and the assertion of nation-state independence against the Catholic Church. The expulsion of the Society of Jesus from the Catholic nations of Europe and their colonial empires is also seen as one of the early manifestations of the new secularist zeitgeist of the Enlightenment.[50] It peaked with the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution. The suppression was also seen as being an attempt by monarchs to gain control of revenues and trade that were previously dominated by the Society of Jesus. Catholic historians often point to a personal conflict between Pope Clement XIII (1758–1769) and his supporters within the church and the crown cardinals backed by France.[10]


1. "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Restored Jesuits (1814-1912)". Retrieved 2017-03-21.
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3. Ida Altman et al., The Early History of Greater Mexico, Pearson 2003, p. 310.
4. Great Events in Religion. Denver: ABC-CLIO. 2017. p. 812. ISBN 9781440845994.
5. Review by Giuseppe Gerbino (Department of Music, Columbia University) of Edward Muir, The Culture Wars of the Late Renaissance: Skeptics, Libertines, and Opera, Harvard University Press, 2007, ISBN 9780674024816, Published on H-Italy (June, 2008)
6. Charles Gibson, Spain in America, New York: Harper and Row 1966, p. 83 footnote 28.
7. James Lockhart and Stuart B. Schwartz, Early Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1983, p. 391.
8. Lockhart and Schwartz, Early Latin America, p. 391.
9. Ganson, Barbara (2003). The Guarani under Spanish Rule in the Rio de la Plata. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-5495-8.
10. Pollen, John Hungerford. "The Suppression of the Jesuits (1750-1773)" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 26 March 2014 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
11. Prestage, Edgar. "Marquis de Pombal" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 26 March 2014
12. Vogel, Christine: The Suppression of the Society of Jesus, 1758–1773, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: November 11, 2011.
13. J.H. Kennedy. Jesuit and Savage in New France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950), 49.
14. J.H. Kennedy. Jesuit and Savage in New France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950), 53.
15. Virginia Guedea, "The Old Colonialism Ends, the New Colonialism Begins", in The Oxford History of Mexico, edited by Michael Meyer and William Beezley, New York: Oxford University Press 2000, p278..
16. James Lockhart and Stuart Schwartz, Early Latin America, New York: Cambridge University Press 1983, p. 350.
17. D.A. Brading, The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots, and the Liberal State, 1492-1867. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1991, 499.
18. Manfred Barthel. The Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus. Translated and adapted from the German by Mark Howson. William Morrow & Co., 1984, pp. 222-3.
19. D.A. Brading, The First America, p. 499.
20. Manfred Barthel. The Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus. Translated and adapted from the German by Mark Howson. William Morrow & Co., 1984, p. 223.
21. Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes, Dissertaciones históricas del orden, y Cavallería de los templarios, o resumen historial de sus principios, fundación, instituto, progressos, y extinción en el Concilio de Viena. Y un apéndice, o suplemento, en que se pone la regla de esta orden, y diferentes Privilegios de ella, con muchas Dissertaciones, y Notas, tocantes no solo à esta Orden, sino à las de S. Juan, Teutonicos, Santiago, Calatrava, Alcantara, Avis, Montesa, Christo, Monfrac, y otras Iglesias, y Monasterios de España, con varios Cathalogos de Maestres. Madrid: Oficina de Antonio Pérez de Soto.
22. Manfred Barthel. The Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus. Translated and adapted from the German by Mark Howson. William Morrow & Co., 1984, pp. 223-4.
23. Manfred Barthel. The Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus. Translated and adapted from the German by Mark Howson. William Morrow & Co., 1984, pp. 224-6.
24. Don DeNevi and Noel Francis Moholy. Junípero Serra: The Illustrated Story of the Franciscan Founder of California's Missions. Harper & Row, 1985, p. 7.
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26. Ida Altman et al., The Early History of Greater Mexico, Pearson 2003, pp. 310-11.
27. Susan Deans-Smith, "Bourbon Reforms", Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society, Culture, volume 1. Michael S. Werner, ed., Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, pp. 153-154.
28. D.A. Brading, The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots, and the Liberal State, 1492-1867. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1991, pp. 453-58.
29. D.A. Brading, The First America, pp. 523-24, 526-7.
30. Maynard Geiger. The Life and Times of Fray Junípero Serra: The Man Who Never Turned Back. Academy of American Franciscan History, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 182-3.
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35. Hubert Becher, SJ. Die Jesuiten: Gestalt und Geschichte des Ordens. Munich, 1951.
36. Clarence Haring, The Spanish Empire in America, Oxford University Press, 1947, p. 206.
37. Daumas, Ernesto (1930). El problema de la yerba mate (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Compañia Impresora Argentina.
38. Lacoste, Pablo (2004). "La vid y el vino en América del Sur: el desplazamiento de los polos vitivinícolas (siglos XVI al XX)". Universum (in Spanish). 19 (2). doi:10.4067/S0718-23762004000200005.
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42. Pope Clement XIV, Dominus ac Redemptor Noster July 21, 1773
43. "The Bollandist Acta Sanctorum", Catholic World, Volume 28, Issue 163, Oct 1878; p. 81
44. Casalini 2017, p. 162.
45. Schlafly 2015, p. 201.
46. Schlafly 2015, p. 202.
47. Schlafly 2015, pp. 202–203.
48. Maryks & Wright 2015, p. 3.
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50. "Order Restored: Remembering turbulent times for the Jesuits". America Magazine. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2017-03-21.


• Casalini, Cristiano (2017). "Rise, Character, and Development of Jesuit Education". In Županov, Ines G. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Jesuits. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190639631.
• Maryks, Robert A.; Wright, Jonathan (2015). "Introduction". In Maryks, Robert A.; Wright, Jonathan (eds.). Jesuit Survival and Restoration: A Global History, 1773-1900. Boston: Brill. ISBN 9789004282384.
• Schlafly, Daniel L. Jr. (2015). "General Repression, Russian Survival, American Success: The 'Russian' Society of Jesus and the Jesuits in the United States". In Burson, Jeffrey D. (ed.). The Jesuit Suppression in Global Context: Causes, Events, and Consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107030589.
Further reading[edit]
• Chadwick, Owen (1981). The Popes and European Revolution. Clarendon Press. pp. 346–91. ISBN 9780198269199. also online
• van Kley, Dale. The Jansenists and the Expulsion of the Jesuits from France (Yale UP, 1975).

External links

• Catholic Encyclopedia
• Charles III of Spain's royal decree expelling the Jesuits
• Vogel, Christine: The Suppression of the Society of Jesus, 1758–1773, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: November 11, 2011.
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Christianity in Puducherry [Christianity in Pondicherry]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/23/20

Christianity in Puducherry [Pondicherry] originated with the Capuchins from Madras who began their missionary activity here. By 1689, the Jesuits began their activity. In 1773, the Paris mission Society took up the mission. At that time there were 30,000 Catholics in Pondicherry. However lack of missionaries and opposition from Padroado mutated the mission.


The Pondicherry vicariate was established in 1845, and in 1887, it became an Archdiocese.[1] Christianity accounts for 6% of Puducherry's [Pondicherry's] population.[2]

Christians in Puducherry [Pondicherry]

Year / Number / Percentage

2001[3] / 67,688 / 6.95
2011[4] / 78,550 / 6.29


With a land area of 11,348 square kilometers, the Archdiocese of Pondicherry–Cuddalore extends over the Pondicherry and Karaikal civil districts of the Puducherry Union Territory and the civil districts of Cuddalore and Vilpuram of Tamil Nadu State. In 2001, the total population of the area was 6,151,891. Ethnic groups in the territory include Tamils and French.

The mission of the Jesuits and the Capuchins

It is said that Saint Francis Xavier, during his travels to Japan and China had briefly stayed at what is now called Uppalam. A Church commemorating his visit now stands at Uppalam, Netaji Nagar, Pondicherry.

The great ancestor of this Archdiocese is the Carnatic Mission, which was started around the year 1700 as Mission sui iuris. This Carnatic Mission was known as Missions of the Coromandel Coast and also as the Malabar Mission.

Before the establishment of the Carnatic Mission in 1700, the Jesuit Fathers of the Madurai Mission, especially St. John de Brito came into The Gingee Kingdom after 1660 and preached the Gospel up to the Palar river, South of Madras. Also, members of various religious orders, looked after the spiritual needs of the European communities in their trading centres along the coastal areas like Cuddalore, Porto Novo etc. The French Capuchins first settled in Pondicherry in 1674 and the French Jesuits, expelled from Siam (Thailand) also took refuge in Pondicherry in 1688. But, in 1693, the Dutch chased away all the religious from Pondicherry and they could come back only in 1699. While the Capuchins were looking after the Europeans in Pondicherry, the French Jesuits organized the Carnatic Mission for the Indian people.

The boundaries of Carnatic Mission

The boundaries of the Carnatic mission were as follows:

• On the South and West, the Ponnaiyar River, beyond which were the Madurai Mission and the Mysore mission.
• On the East, the Bay of Bengal, and
• On the North, Kurnool including the Krishna and Godavari areas near the sea shore.

Jesuits replaced by foreign mission fathers

The continual wars in the 18th century, the ruin of Pondicherry in 1761 and the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, hit badly this vast Carnatic Mission.

In 1776, the French Jesuit fathers were replaced at the order of Rome by the foreign Mission French Fathers.
Although the Bishop of these new Missionaries had all the power of jurisdiction, he was not given the title 'Vicar Apostolic', but called as the 'Superior of the Mission of the Coromandel Coast'. Rome successively gave him the jurisdiction over the Madurai, Coimbatore and Mysore areas, affected by the suppression of the Society of Jesus. So, around 1800, the extent of the Carnatic Mission was immense, but the laborers were very few.

The first Vicar Apostolic and the first Archbishop

The Carnatic Mission was reorganized when new Vicariates Apostolic were created: Vicariate Apostolic of Madras in 1832, of Madurai in 1836 and the Vicariates of Visakhapatnam, Mysore and Coimbatore in 1845.

Pondicherry became a Vicariate Apostolic of the Coromandel coast, on 1 September 1836, with Mgr. Bonnand as its first Vicar Apostolic.
This Vicariate Apostolic was raised to an Archbishopric on 01-09-1886, with Mgr. Laouenan as the first Archbishop.

Subsequently, subdivisions of the Archdiocese took place, erecting the new Dioceses of Kumbakonam in 1899 and Salem in 1930. In 1928 a great part of the present diocese of Vellore was separated from the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and attached to the Archdiocese of Madras. On a reorganization of the Archdiocese by Rome in 1969, Madurantagam Taluk of Chingleput District was transferred to the Archdiocese of Madras and the Tiruvannamalai Taluk to Vellore.

The final formation

As the Archdiocese of Pondicherry extended over the Puducherry Union territory and the South Arcot District of Madras State, it was given a new title by Rome: "Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore" on 7-8-1953.

Originally, the Archdiocese was looking after the ex-French settlements of the Puducherry Union territory namely Karaikal, Chandranagore, Mahe, and Yanam. Another ex-French settlement was also looked after by the MSFS Fathers in Vizagapattinam. Chandranagore was re-allocated to the Archdiocese of Calcutta and Mahe to the Diocese of Calicut in Kerala in 1949.

The present Archdiocese of Pondicherry & Cuddalore extends over the Pondicherry and Karaikal districts of Puducherry and the Cuddalore district (excluding Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil Taluks) and Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu.


1. Thirusabhacharithram, Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodappuzha
2. ... igion.aspx
3. "Total population by religious communities". Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
4. "Indian Census 2011". Census Department, Government of India. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
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