Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 6

Bibliotheca Malabarica
by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan
Institut Francais de Pondichery
2012
© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2012

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Ziegenbalg's Evidence

While using all these major authors, La Croze prized the information furnished by Bartholomaus ZIEGENBALG most highly: "He is preferable due to his accuracy and the care he took to report only what he had himself observed and what he read in the books written in a language that had become as natural to him as the one he sucked with his mother's milk" (p. 445). This is exactly the kind of new authority claim that, according to Trautmann, characterized the rise of a "new Orientalism" in the second half of the eighteenth century (1997:32-34). But fifty years before the publication of Holwell's dubious work [1768], La Croze had already corresponded with Ziegenbalg, who recommended the perusal of the manuscript of his Bibliotheca Malabarica (letter of February 1716; Jeyaraj 2003:317). This was an annotated list of 119 Indian texts in the Tamil language collected by Ziegenbalg in the two-year span between his arrival in India (1706) and 1708.2 A modern expert on Tamil literature, Kamil Veith Zvelebil, described this as "a relatively complete account of Tamil literature" (Zvelebil 1973:2), and we can imagine how impressed an early eighteenth-century linguist such as La Croze must have been. While the larger European public got news about the Danish Malabar mission mainly via the Malabar Correspondence and related materials that were first published in German and then partly translated into English (Philipps 1717; Ziegenbalg and Grundler 1719) and French (Niecamp 1745), La Croze enjoyed full access to all the major manuscripts that Ziegenbalg had sent to Europe: his travel account, the Bibliotheca Malabarica, the translations from Tamil morality books, the Malabar Correspondence, the manuscript of the Malabar Heathendom, and of course also the manuscript of the second main work of Ziegenbalg, the Genealogy of Malabar Divinities (Jeyaraj 2003:318).

Ziegenbalg had studied Baldaeus (1672) before arriving in India as a young man of twenty-four years, and in his first letter (September 2, 1706); he described "the content of the four books of law [Vedas] according to his opinion" (Ziegenbalg 1926:14). But he soon realized that Baldaeus "got most [of his information] from the Portuguese fathers who were forced to leave it when they were chased out of Ceylon by the Dutch" and that the rest stemmed "from his dealings with Brahmans who oftentimes know very little of their dogmas" (pp. 14-15). His own work, so the young man decided, would not be such a pastiche (Schmierewerck) cobbled together from other authors but had to be based on reliable sources: "Everything that I have written I have either transcribed word for word from their own books and translated from the Malabar language into German, or I have heard it during frequent discussions from the very mouth of the heathen and had it told to me by people of understanding" (p. 15). That Ziegenbalg knew very little about the Vedas is evident from his manuscript on Malabar heathendom (1711) where he described them as "four small books of law" called "I. Urukkuwedum. 2. Iderwedum. 3. Samawedum. 4. Adirwannawedum" (p. 34).3...

It was thus not in Vedic literature that Ziegenbalg found support for his idea of Indian monotheism but rather in certain Tamil texts (see below) and in assertions of his Indian informants. Via the Malabar Correspondence in the Hallesche Berichte, its translations and summaries, and through passages of Ziegenbalg's works quoted in La Croze, such information from southern India eventually reached the desks of men like Voltaire, Joseph de Guignes, Anquetil-Duperron, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried Herder, William Jones, and Constantin-Francois Volney.4

While partly modeling his Genealogy of Malabar Divinities of 1713 on the lists of gods in the "Diwagaram [Tivakaram]" (p. 286), Ziegenbalg omitted the "symbol of Tamil religiosity," Murukan , from his list (p. 299). Instead he began his Genealogy in the manner of a Christian theology book, with a chapter on "Barabarawastu" who in Ziegenbalg's view is "the supreme divine being and origin of all divinities" [das hochste gottliche Wesen und der Ursprung aller Gotter] (p. 37), even though it is not listed in the Tivakaram. As natural monotheists, so Ziegenbalg thought, the Indians must since antiquity have worshiped a supreme divine being who was not just one god among others but rather the very origin of all gods and the world.
These heathen know by the light of nature that there is one God. This truth has not only been communicated to them by Christians but is so firmly implanted in their mind [Gem lithe] by the evidence of their conscience that they would regard it as the greatest impiety [Gottlosigkeit] if they would learn that there are people in this world who do not posit a divine being who is the origin of everything, preserves everything, and reigns over everything-the kind of atheism [Atheistrey] that has found entry even among Christians and particularly among learned people here and there. (Ziegenbalg 2003:37).

Ziegenbalg compared such European atheists of the early eighteenth century with "heathen" Indians who are not only naturally monotheist but even profess faith in the very same God that the German pastors evoked in their sermons: "a God who created everything, reigns over everything, punishes evil, rewards good deeds, and who must be feared, loved, worshipped, and prayed to" (p. 37). The faith in this God had not only led the Indians to "establish a law and write many books of religion" but also to "introduce all kinds of sacrifices, build pagodas, and establish everywhere in their lands a formal service that in their opinion serves God" (p. 37). Because they relied exclusively on reason that "since the Fall is entirely misguided and spoiled," they eventually "let themselves be seduced by Satan in various ways." Nevertheless, from time immemorial, they fundamentally accept and worship an invisible divine being and have texts to prove this:
Such truth gained from the light of nature is not a recent thing with them but a very ancient one; they have books that are said to be more than 2000 years old. These form the basis of their opinions in these matters, and they hold that their religion is the oldest of all; it may have originated not long after the deluge. They not only believe in one God but have by the light of nature come so far as to accept no more than one single divine being as the origin of all things. Even though they worship many gods, they hold that all such gods have sprung from a single divine being and will return therein; so that in all gods only that single divine being is worshipped. Those among them who are a bit learned will defend this very obstinately even though they cannot deliver any proof of it. (pp. 37-38)

The best among the Indians regard "this Barabarawastu, which means Highest Being [Ens Supremum] or Being of beings [Ens Entium]" as an immaterial being [unmaterialisches Wesen] without any shape. They have hundreds of names for it, for example "Savuvesuren, the Lord over everything; Niddia Anander, the eternally supreme one; or Adinaiagen, the first lord of all who is supreme" (pp. 38-39).5 Asked what this supreme God or Being of all Beings (Wesen aller Wesen] is, an Indian informer wrote in a letter to Ziegenbalg:
The supreme God, or the Being of all Beings, has a form yet is without form. He cannot be compared to anything. One cannot describe him nor say that he is this or that. He is neither male nor female, neither heaven nor earth, neither man nor any other creature. This God is not subject to destruction or death. He does not need to rest or sleep. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. He is without beginning and remains unchanged in eternity. His form can neither be seen nor described nor pronounced, etc. (pp. 39-40)

Together with excerpts from Indian scriptures, such letters by Indian "heathen" to Ziegenbalg constituted evidence that deeply impressed European readers including Voltaire. The Malabar Correspondence contained numerous Indian descriptions of God and prayers that for the first time gave voice to the Indians themselves.[???!!!] Bothered by resistance both of Danish administrators in Tranquebar on India's southeastern coast and of Pietist Europeans who questioned the value of the mission, Ziegenbalg and his companion Johann Ernst Grundler had decided to drum up support by having Indians answer written questions and ended up sending translations of no fewer than 104 such letters by Indians to Europe. Ninety-nine of them were published in two installments (1714 and 1717). Some of them appeared also in English and French, and central passages (such as the one just cited) were quoted in Ziegenbalg's manuscripts and in La Croze's book. Given the deist leanings of many European intellectuals, including Voltaire, such documentation of natural monotheism in one of the world's oldest nations did not go unnoticed and substantially contributed to eighteenth-century Europe's gradual shift of interest from China to India....

Ziegenbalg's Founts of Wisdom

Since La Croze's idea of the religion of the Indies was so much based on Ziegenbalg's published and unpublished writings and on letters written by Indians, some basic questions about them need to be posed. Who were these "numerous Indians" who in a short timespan wrote so many letters to Ziegenbalg and insisted so stridently on the monotheism of Indian religion that god-fearing Europeans including Voltaire were astonished? And who were these Gnanigol, the authors of the Indian texts whose translations so much inspired Ziegenbalg, La Croze, and their readers?

When Ziegenbalg arrived in the small Danish colony of Tranquebar on the coast south of Madras (Chennai) in 1706, he first had to learn some Portuguese; but before long he decided that only a thorough knowledge of the local Tamil language would let him communicate freely with the natives. His first teacher of Tamil did not understand Portuguese, and progress was very slow because of the lack of a dictionary and grammar. But he soon met an eminent native who seemed to be the answer to his prayers:
We got to know a Malabar who used to be the head [of the Tamil community] here [in Tranquebar] but had been evicted from the town and county [by Danish authorities] because of a certain reason.[!!!] Since he spoke good Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, and German, we employed him as translator and managed to get permission for him and his family to return to town. (Letter of Sept. 22, 1707; Jeyaraj 2003:281)

It was this gifted man, Alakappan or Aleppa, who introduced Ziegenbalg to the intricacies of the Tamil language and to the vocabulary needed for his mission. Three months after his arrival Ziegenbalg wrote,
My old schoolmaster often discusses with me all day long, and this has already allowed me to become relatively familiar with their forms of religious worship [Gotterdienste]. I intend to make a Christian of him, and he has the hope to eventually turn me into a Malabar. Therefore he seeks to demonstrate everything so distinctly that I could not wish for anything better. (Lehmann 1956:40)...

Aleppa was born around 1660 into a family (probably of higher Tamil Shudra caste) that had long worked for Europeans. Around 1700 he was "Ober-Tolk" (head translator) of the Danish trading company and the top representative of the Tamil inhabitants of the city (Grundler and Ziegenbalg 1998:18). It is not clear for what grave reasons this influential man was banished from Tranquebar; but his value to the mission is reflected both in the decision to let him return to the city and in his extraordinarily high yearly salary of 100 thalers, which surpassed even that of European employees (p. 20). After two years of work with the missionaries, Aleppa was again expelled in 1709. However, the missionaries managed to keep him on their payroll as collaborator from afar. And collaborate he did: in 1710-11 he was even imprisoned by the king of neighboring Tancavur for having "revealed all the secrets of their law and worship [Gesetzes und Gottesdienstes]" to the missionaries (p. 21).

Aleppa clearly played a central role in Ziegenbalg's introduction to the Malabar language and religion, but his influence did not end there. When Ziegenbalg and his associate Grundler needed more European support and were preparing for Ziegenbalg's journey to Germany, Denmark, and England, they paid Aleppa to write letters from exile in answer to the missionaries' questions. These answers were almost immediately translated or edited, annotated, and sent to Europe where they were published; but since Aleppa was in exile and could for various reasons not be named as a source, the missionaries decided to omit all names of correspondents. They tried to create the impression that these letters came from many different informants, and their habit of sometimes splitting a single letter into several pieces (p. 27) that supposedly came from different correspondents enhanced the readers' impression that a substantial number of Indians were involved. The first batch of fifty-five letters was printed in 1714 with a preface emphasizing that "all of these letters without exception are from heathens of the most understanding kind" who write so excellently about God that "one could hardly find better ones with the ancient Greeks and Romans, and many so-called Christians will rightly feel ashamed" (pp. 42-43). Though the Indian heathens had no way of knowing Christ "through the light of nature" and had to be saved "from their misery and blindness," the "Christian readers could not but be pleased, and the atheists ashamed, that even these heathens recognize a single supreme being and are convinced that all men can know with absolute certainty that there is a lord who created this world and everything in it" (p. 44).

Here the letter collection's preface refers to letter number 6, which is "written by someone who read and copied many books of the Christian religion in his language" (p. 115). Though unnamed, this man was, of course, Aleppa; and as in many other letters, he wonders why the missionaries, whom he had orally informed in such detail, wanted him to write about things that they already perfectly knew. The missionaries had obviously asked him to send, against payment of course, a whole series of letters with answers to their questions. The task set for this particular letter was to explain the difference between Christianity and his own religion (p. 116). Aleppa began his explanation as follows:
You know me very well and are already well aware of the limits of my knowledge and my utter incapacity of demonstrating such a difference of religion [Gesetz] -- all the more since I was about 15 years old when I entered your [colonial] services and could not yet read nor write well, not to speak of knowing something about the doctrines of our religious texts [Gesetzbucher] .... Since I know many things of your religion [Gesetz] and was educated in my best years not so much according to our but rather according to your ways, it is very difficult and even impossible for me to write about a true difference between these religions [Gesetze] based on your and our religious texts [Gesetzbucher]. But to show you my good will, I will briefly write down my opinion .... All men can know with the utmost certainty that there is a lord who created the world and everything in it. (pp. 116-17)

Time and again, Aleppa wrote to the missionaries that they already knew what they wanted him to explain, and I think that this was not just a polite formula: "You know everything much better than what I can write" (p. 49); "I also know that you already know more about our doctrines [Lehrsatze] than I can write" (p. 89); "You are those who know everything and understand what can be learned by men .... Concerning theology, wisdom, and virtue, I know nothing that you do not already know and understand; you have read and understood much more about this, and I do not presume to instruct people such as you" (p. 114).

Of course, Aleppa was well informed about the missionaries' knowledge; after all, he had been instrumental in teaching them his language and religion, and as their highest-paid, best connected, and most knowledgeable employee, he was also deeply involved in their effort to collect and study the Tamil texts listed in the Bibliotheca Malabarica of 1708. Ignorant about the planned use of his letters for raising mission funds in Europe, he could not figure out why the missionaries wanted letters about things he had so much discussed with them over the years. He expressed his puzzlement once more at the beginning of the twelfth letter:
In the year Nandanawaruschum [1712], October 15. I, N., inform the two reverends in Tranquebar that thanks to your prayers I am to date well and without the slightest ill. You desire to know something from me, namely, if we Malabars worship one God or many gods. But can it be that you are in this matter ignorant, you who have for such a long time heard all our doctrines and read in our books and have also preached against [our doctrines] to us? But since you so desire, I will write what I know about it and what everybody knows. (p. 141)

After this interesting introduction, Aleppa repeats what he apparently learned so well since his youth and discussed so many times with the missionaries:
The fact that God is a unique God [einiger Gott] is known and professed by all. ... We also say that among all [gods] there is only one who is the highest being, called at times Barabarawastu [Skt. paraparavastu, divine substance] and at times Tschiwen [Shiva], Tschatatschiwum [Skt. sadasiva, eternally graceful one], or Barabiruma [Skt. para-brahma, supreme Brahman]. This God has created all others, given each of them his duties and tasks, and ordered that they must be worshipped and prayed to. All of this is written in our law [Gesetz] and is commanded in old history books. Therefore it is among us everywhere customary to pray to the said persons. At the same time it is written in our books of law that God promised various modes of recompensation to those who worship such persons and accept them in faith and love. (p. 142)

The ordinary people of South India were thus depicted as fundamentally monotheistic, even though they had a tendency to worship the true God under different names and forms. But Aleppa also mentioned radical monotheists:
Other than that, there are also people among us who worship God the supreme being alone and always honor only this lord while they renounce everything in the world in order to keep contemplating God in their heart at all times. It is said of these [Gnanigol] that God unites with them and transforms them into himself [in sich verwandele], and also that they become invisible in the world. (p. 142)

The first fifty-five Malabar letters were published in 1714 (reprints in 1718 and 1735) and the remaining forty-four in 1717 (reprints in 1718 and 1735). A number of them soon were excerpted in English translation (Philipps 1717; Ziegenbalg and Grundler 1719), and in 1724, La Croze quoted numerous passages from Ziegenbalg's correspondence and manuscripts.6 Only in 1729, five years after the publication of La Croze's book, did readers of the Halle mission reports first learn that these letters "were mostly written by the translator of the erstwhile missionaries, Arhagappen [Aleppa], who remains a heathen, when he lived nearby and earned his living from this [letter writing] while in exile" (Grundler and Ziegenbalg 1998:17). Though some scholars still believe that many different letter authors were involved, the tone and content of the vast majority of the letters point to a single author who on occasion interviewed knowledgeable persons in his vicinity. The sequence of the first fifty-five letters supports this; the first is from October 2, 1712, and the fifty-fifth from December 10 of the same year. This comes to a bit less than one letter a day, and I may not be too wrong in hypothesizing that Aleppa was contracted to write about one letter per day. In October 1712, twenty-three letters were written, and a letter-free day is often followed by a day with two letters. Though Aleppa certainly integrated information gained from others and sometimes apologizes for drawing only on his own knowledge, these letters for the most part reflect Aleppa's views, which were, of course, developed during his long acquaintance with Europeans, his Western-style education, his years as an official interpreter, and especially his prolonged daily contact with the missionaries in his function as teacher, informant, and translator. He clearly tried to present his own religion in the best light and had adopted the Europeans' fundamental conviction that monotheism was good, while polytheism and idol-worship were evil and the devil's work. In this way European readers, including La Croze, thus read, in a manner of saying, Aleppa's correspondence course on Tamil religion that reflects his earlier lessons to the German missionaries and their discussions. The European readership learned about Indian monotheism from the very man who had introduced Ziegenbalg to Indian religions and had helped him find texts that supported this idea of Indian monotheism.

Ignorance and Wisdom

Ziegenbalg's Tamil treatises are a sort of correspondence course in the opposite direction. To explain how heathendom arose, for example, the missionary informed his Tamil readers that Ananam (Skt. ajnana, ignorance) came into this world through the cunning of Picacu (Skt. pisaca, ghost, goblin) and man's offense. Ziegenbalg pointed out that ajnana (which for him signified idolatrous heathendom) is present when, instead of the true God, only his creatures are worshipped. Only the manusa-avataram (Skt. manusavatara, human manifestation) of Christ could bring true motcam (Skt. moksa, liberation) and conclusively exterminate ajnana (Jieyaraj 2003:311-12).

Aleppa was not the only source of this kind of terminology. Though Ziegenbalg had expected to be sent to Africa and came to India quite unprepared for his task, he was a fast learner-and a lucky one to boot. During a phase of persecution in a neighboring region, a Jesuit missionary's library was stored in Tranquebar, and Ziegenbalg found himself suddenly in possession of much interesting materials that included a Tamil translation of the New Testament. This stroke of luck made him an heir to Jesuit research on terminology that had flourished since the days of Roberto de Nobili. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica of 1708, Ziegenbalg already listed sixteen Roman Catholic works and wrote that he had corrected five of them to such an extent that they could be used by his Protestant flock "without any problem" (p. 291-92).

At this early stage he thus began to employ de Nobili's loaded terminology; for example, he often used the word Caruvecuran (Skt. sarvesvara, lord of all) for God. According to Jeyaraj (2003:292), the twenty-six Tamil sermons of de Nobili contain many words picked up by Ziegenbalg -- for example, the Tamil words for God, angels, devil, world, man, soul, death, salvation, remission, and eternal life. Ziegenbalg's Tamil community was likely to learn, just like de Nobili's flock a century earlier, how important it is for manusan (Skt manusa, man) to avoid pavam (Skt. papa, evil), to embrace punniyam (Skt. punya, virtue), and to worship Caruvecuran (Skt. sarvesvara, lord of all) in the form of Barabarawastu (Skt. paraparavastu, divine substance) because there is no other path to the other shore (karai-erutal) of motcam (Skt. moksa, liberation) (p. 292).


Apart from terms for God such as Caruvecuran and Barabarawastu, the juxtaposition of jnana (knowledge, wisdom) and ajnana (ignorance) was particularly important for Ziegenbalg's view of Indian religions and his mission enterprise. The title of the first pamphlet from the brand-new Tamil mission press in Tranquebar reads: "The Veta-pramanam (Skt. vedapramana, Vedic norm) demonstrating that akkiyanam [ajnana] must be detested and how those in akkiyanam can be saved" (pp. 309-10). In the very first sentence Ziegenbalg comes straight to the point: "We have come to you in order to save you from akkiyanam" (Grafe 2004:83-84). Grafe summarizes the pamphlet's contents as follows:
(1) What is a-jnana? -- It is idol worship and moral perversion according to Rom. 1:21-32. (2) How a-jnana spread in this world. -- It did so because of the devil's deceit and men's guilt and not because of God. (3) There is much a-jnana in the whole of Tamilnadu. (4) How detestable a-jnana is. -- Because by a-jnana soul and body will be perverted and punished. (5) How God is helping those in a-jnana to be saved. -- Jesus Christ took upon himself the burden of a-jnana and delivers from ajnana saving soul and body. (6) What the things are which those who wish to be saved from a-jnana have to do .... (7) The trials and tribulations which those who give up a-jnana and enter the Church experience in the world for the sake of righteousness. (8) The benefits promised to those who give up a-jnana, accept true religion and stand in the Christian faith unshaken. (p. 84)

It is clear that Ziegenbalg used the word ajnana (ignorance) for sin, heathendom, and idolatry. On the other hand, jnana (knowledge or wisdom) stood for monotheism and the acceptance of Jesus as savior. For Ziegenbalg, ajnana involves the veneration of false devas and the worship of vikrakams (Skt. vigraha, forms or shapes) made of earth, wood, stone, and metal. By contrast, jnana signifies the exclusive worship of Baribarawastu (Skt. paraparavastu, divine substance). The point Aleppa kept making in his apologetic letters was exactly that his native religion was fundamentally a monotheistic jnana, rather than a heathen ajnana, and it seems that he was highly motivated to help the missionaries find Tamil texts that proved exactly this point. The text that Ziegenbalg most often quotes to illustrate Indian monotheism was already used by de Nobili for the very same purpose: the Civavakkiyam, a fourteenth-century collection of poems by Civavakkiyar who belongs to the Tamil Siddha tradition....

De Nobili's Vedic Restoration Project

Since access to the Vedas was nearly impossible, most of the information about their content was pure fantasy...The Jesuit Roberto DE NOBILI (1577-1656) obtained direct access to some Vedas from his teacher, a Telugu Brahmin called Shivadharma.

He wrote that the four traditional Vedas are "little more than disorderly congeries of various opinions bearing partly on divine, partly on human subjects, a jumble where religious and civil precepts are miscellaneously put together" (Rubies 2000:338). Having been told in 1608 that the fourth Veda was no longer extant, the missionary decided to proclaim himself "teacher of the fourth, lost Veda which deals with the question of salvation" (Zupanov 1999:116). De Nobili apparently believed, like his contemporary Matteo Ricci in China, that though original pure monotheism had degenerated into idolatry, vestiges of the original religion survived and could serve to regenerate the ancient creed under the sign of the Cross. After his failed experiment with Buddhist robes (see Chapter I), Ricci adopted the dress of a Confucian scholar, asserted that the Chinese had anciently been pure monotheists, and proclaimed Christianity to be the fulfillment of the doctrines found in ancient Chinese texts. A few years later, Ricci's compatriot de Nobili presented himself in India as an ascetic "sannayasi from the North" and "restorer of 'a lost spiritual Veda'" (Rubies 2000:339) who hailed from faraway Rome where the Ur-tradition had been best preserved. In his Relafao annual for the year 1608, Fernao Guerreiro wrote on a similar line that he was studying Brahmin letters to present his Christian message as a restoration of the spiritual Veda, the true original religion of all countries, including India whose adulterated vestiges were the religions of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva (p. 344).

For de Nobili, the word "Veda" signified the spiritual law revealed by God. He called himself a teacher of Satyavedam, that is, the true revealed law, who had studied philosophy and this very law in Rome. He maintained that his was exactly the same law that "by God's order had been taught in earlier times by Sannyasins" in India (Bachmann 1972:154). De Nobili thus had come to India to restore satyavedam and to bring back, as the title of his didactic Sanskrit poem says, "The Essence of True Revelation [satyavedam]" (Castets 1935:40). De Nobili's description of the traditional Indian Vedas clearly shows that he did not regard them as "genuine Vedas" or genuine divine revelations. That de Nobili was for a long time suspected of being the author of the Ezour-vedam is understandable because in that text Chumontou has fundamentally the same role as de Nobili: he exposes the degenerate accretions of the reigning clergy's "Veda," represented by the traditional Veda compiler Biache (Vyasa), in order to teach them about satyavedam, the divine Ur-revelation whose correct transmission he represents against the degenerate transmission in the Vedas of the Brahmins. This "genuine Veda" had once upon a time been brought to India, but subsequently the Indians had forgotten it and instituted the false Veda that is now religiously followed. The common aim of de Nobili and of Chumontou was the restoration of the true, most ancient divine revelation (Veda) and the denunciation of the false, degenerated Veda that the Brahmins now call their own.

In the wake of Ricci in China and de Nobili in India, the desire to find and study ancient texts and to acquire the necessary linguistic skills to handle them was increasing both among China and India missionaries, and this desire was clearly linked to the idea of a common Ur-tradition and its local vestiges that could be put to use for "accommodation" or, as I prefer to call it, "friendly takeover." What we have observed in other chapters, namely, that religion is deeply linked to the beginnings of the systematic study of oriental languages and literatures, clearly also applies to India; and if such study produced wondrous Egyptian (Kircher) and Chinese figurist flowers in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the heyday of India in this respect was yet to come....

After Abbe Jean-Paul Bignon had been nominated to the post of director of the Royal Library in 1719 and of the special library at the Louvre in 1720 (Leung 2002:130), he gave orders to acquire the Vedas. But this was easier said than done. In 1730 a young and linguistically gifted Jesuit by the name of Jean CALMETTE (1693-1740), who had joined the Jesuit India mission in 1726, wrote about the difficulties:
Those who for thirty years have written that the Vedam cannot be found were not completely wrong: there was not enough money to find them. Many people, missionaries, and laymen, have spent money for nothing and were left empty-handed when they thought they would get everything. Less than six years ago [in 1726] two missionaries, one in Bengal and the other one here [in Carnate], were duped. Mr. Didier, the royal engineer, gave sixty rupees for a book that was supposed to be the Vedam on the order of Father Pons, the superior of [the Jesuit mission of] Bengal. (Bach 1847:441)

But in the same letter Calmette announced that he was certain of having found the genuine Vedas:
The Vedams found here have clarified issues regarding other books. They had been considered so impossible to find that in Pondicherry many people could not believe that it was the genuine Vedam, and I was asked if I had thoroughly examined it. But the investigations I have made leave no doubt whatsoever; and I continue to examine them every day when scholars or young brahmins who learn the Vedam in the schools of the land come to see me and I make them recite it. I even recite together with them what I have learned from some text's beginning or from other places. It is the Vedam; there is no more doubt about this. (p. 441)

Calmette achieved this success thanks to a Brahmin who was a secret Christian, and in 1731 he reported having acquired all four Vedas, including the fourth that de Nobili had thought lost (p. 442). In 1732, Father le Gac mailed to Paris two Vedas written in Telugu letters on palm leaves, and the copying of the remaining two was ongoing (p. 442)....

From the early 1730s Calmette thus collected -- probably with the help of knowledgeable Indians and later of Pons -- examples of "fundamental truths" as well as "details of all errors" from the Vedas. This was the first systematic effort by Europeans to study such a mass of ancient Indian texts; and it was not an easy task because the language of these texts proved to be so difficult that even most Indians were at a loss:
What is surprising is that the majority of those who are its depositaries do not understand its meaning because it is written in a very ancient language, and the Samouscroutam [Sanskrit], which is as familiar to the scholars as Latin is among us, is not yet sufficient [for understanding] unless aided by a commentary both for the thought and for the words. It is called the Maha Bachiam, the great commentary.9 Those who make that kind of book their study are first-rate scholars among them. (p. 395)

At the time there were only six active Jesuit missionaries in the whole Carnate region around Pondicherry (p. 391), but they were assisted by many more Indian catechists who were essential for the mission. The missionaries could not personally go to some regions because of Brahmin opposition and other reasons, and to preach there was a main task of these catechists. 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....

But Calmette tried his hand at composing some verses in Sanskrit and wrote on December 20, 1737, after a bout of fever that had hindered his study of Sanskrit: "I could not help composing a few verses in this language, in the style of controversy, to oppose them to those poured forth by the Indians" (Castets 1935:40). Calmette was inspired by de Nobili's writings that were stored at the Pondicherry mission and seems to have partly copied and rearranged de Nobili's Sattia Veda Sanghiragham (Essence of genuine revelation) (p. 40), whose title expresses exactly the idea that seems to have influenced Calmette so profoundly: the notion of a true Veda (satya veda)....

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 [1858-1936] 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.

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Tharangambadi, formerly Tranquebar Coordinates: 11°1′45″N 79°50′58″E / Pondicherry Coordinates: 11°55′N 79°49′E
During a phase of persecution in a neighboring region, a Jesuit missionary's library was stored in Tranquebar, and Ziegenbalg found himself suddenly in possession of much interesting materials that included a Tamil translation of the New Testament. This stroke of luck made him an heir to Jesuit research on terminology that had flourished since the days of Roberto de Nobili. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica of 1708, Ziegenbalg already listed sixteen Roman Catholic works and wrote that he had corrected five of them to such an extent that they could be used by his Protestant flock "without any problem" (p. 291-92).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Introduction

1The Bibliotheca Malabarica is an annotated catalogue of Tamil texts collected by Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, a Protestant missionary in Tranquebar, between July 1706, when he arrived in India, and August 1708, when he sent the catalogue to Europe. The catalogue consists of 165 entries in four sections, covering Protestant, Catholic, “heathen,” and Muslim works respectively. The third section is by far the longest, containing 119 entries for works of Hindu or Jaina provenance. After compiling the catalogue, Ziegenbalg continued to collect and a survey of his other works and letters reveals that he mentions in total no fewer than 170 Hindu and Jaina texts. We can be reasonably confident that Ziegenbalg had access to about 130 of the works he mentions, although it is possible—even probable—that he had other works too. Ziegenbalg’s fame as a pioneering scholar of Tamil Hinduism is based almost entirely on his detailed study of these texts. Although he conversed, and corresponded, with many Hindus, and travelled to a limited extent within the Tamil region, it is above all his study of these “heathen” texts which sets him apart from his contemporaries among European writers on Hinduism.

2It is the third section of Ziegenbalg’s Bibliotheca Malabarica which has also been of most interest to other scholars. Kamil Zvelebil, the great Czech scholar of Tamil literature, describes this section of the work as “a relatively complete account of Tamil literature.”1 By contrast, Hans-Werner Gensichen, a leading historian of mission, characterised it as a jumble of “grammatical and mythological works, songs and stories, philosophy and pornography, astrology and theology.”2 The truth, perhaps, lies somewhere between the two. Ziegenbalg’s collection is not representative; he has few early works and was only minimally aware of the canonical works of the Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava tradition, the Tirumuṟai and Nālāyira-Tivyappirapantam. The character of his collection was to some degree determined by happenstance—Ziegenbalg states that he acquired whatever books he could and certainly there were works he acquired without having read, so that he would have had to rely on others’ accounts of their content. Nevertheless the collection is not entirely eclectic either. It was driven both by his own interests, and—as shall be argued here—by the nature of his connections with the Tamils who provided texts for him. If we are to evaluate Ziegenbalg’s understanding of Tamil Hinduism it is crucial to be able to identify and to understand the nature of his sources.

Ziegenbalg... soon met an eminent native who seemed to be the answer to his prayers:
We got to know a Malabar who used to be the head [of the Tamil community] here [in Tranquebar] but had been evicted from the town and county [by Danish authorities] because of a certain reason.[!!!] Since he spoke good Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, and German, we employed him as translator and managed to get permission for him and his family to return to town. (Letter of Sept. 22, 1707; Jeyaraj 2003:281)

It was this gifted man, Alakappan or Aleppa, who introduced Ziegenbalg to the intricacies of the Tamil language and to the vocabulary needed for his mission. Three months after his arrival Ziegenbalg wrote,
My old schoolmaster often discusses with me all day long, and this has already allowed me to become relatively familiar with their forms of religious worship [Gotterdienste]. I intend to make a Christian of him, and he has the hope to eventually turn me into a Malabar. Therefore he seeks to demonstrate everything so distinctly that I could not wish for anything better. (Lehmann 1956:40)...

Aleppa was born around 1660 into a family (probably of higher Tamil Shudra caste) that had long worked for Europeans. Around 1700 he was "Ober-Tolk" (head translator) of the Danish trading company and the top representative of the Tamil inhabitants of the city (Grundler and Ziegenbalg 1998:18). It is not clear for what grave reasons this influential man was banished from Tranquebar; but his value to the mission is reflected both in the decision to let him return to the city and in his extraordinarily high yearly salary of 100 thalers, which surpassed even that of European employees (p. 20). After two years of work with the missionaries, Aleppa was again expelled in 1709. However, the missionaries managed to keep him on their payroll as collaborator from afar. And collaborate he did: in 1710-11 he was even imprisoned by the king of neighboring Tancavur for having "revealed all the secrets of their law and worship [Gesetzes und Gottesdienstes]" to the missionaries (p. 21).

Aleppa clearly played a central role in Ziegenbalg's introduction to the Malabar language and religion, but his influence did not end there. When Ziegenbalg and his associate Grundler needed more European support and were preparing for Ziegenbalg's journey to Germany, Denmark, and England, they paid Aleppa to write letters from exile in answer to the missionaries' questions. These answers were almost immediately translated or edited, annotated, and sent to Europe where they were published; but since Aleppa was in exile and could for various reasons not be named as a source, the missionaries decided to omit all names of correspondents. They tried to create the impression that these letters came from many different informants, and their habit of sometimes splitting a single letter into several pieces (p. 27) that supposedly came from different correspondents enhanced the readers' impression that a substantial number of Indians were involved. The first batch of fifty-five letters was printed in 1714 with a preface emphasizing that "all of these letters without exception are from heathens of the most understanding kind" who write so excellently about God that "one could hardly find better ones with the ancient Greeks and Romans, and many so-called Christians will rightly feel ashamed" (pp. 42-43)....

Aleppa was not the only source of this kind of terminology... During a phase of persecution in a neighboring region, a Jesuit missionary's library was stored in Tranquebar, and Ziegenbalg found himself suddenly in possession of much interesting materials that included a Tamil translation of the New Testament. This stroke of luck made him an heir to Jesuit research on terminology that had flourished since the days of Roberto de Nobili. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica of 1708, Ziegenbalg already listed sixteen Roman Catholic works and wrote that he had corrected five of them to such an extent that they could be used by his Protestant flock "without any problem" (p. 291-92).

At this early stage he thus began to employ de Nobili's loaded terminology; for example, he often used the word Caruvecuran (Skt. sarvesvara, lord of all) for God. According to Jeyaraj (2003:292), the twenty-six Tamil sermons of de Nobili contain many words picked up by Ziegenbalg -- for example, the Tamil words for God, angels, devil, world, man, soul, death, salvation, remission, and eternal life. Ziegenbalg's Tamil community was likely to learn, just like de Nobili's flock a century earlier, how important it is for manusan (Skt manusa, man) to avoid pavam (Skt. papa, evil), to embrace punniyam (Skt. punya, virtue), and to worship Caruvecuran (Skt. sarvesvara, lord of all) in the form of Barabarawastu (Skt. paraparavastu, divine substance) because there is no other path to the other shore (karai-erutal) of motcam (Skt. moksa, liberation) (p. 292).

Apart from terms for God such as Caruvecuran and Barabarawastu, the juxtaposition of jnana (knowledge, wisdom) and ajnana (ignorance) was particularly important for Ziegenbalg's view of Indian religions and his mission enterprise....

The point Aleppa kept making in his apologetic letters was exactly that his native religion was fundamentally a monotheistic jnana, rather than a heathen ajnana, and it seems that he was highly motivated to help the missionaries find Tamil texts that proved exactly this point. The text that Ziegenbalg most often quotes to illustrate Indian monotheism was already used by de Nobili for the very same purpose: the Civavakkiyam, a fourteenth-century collection of poems by Civavakkiyar who belongs to the Tamil Siddha tradition.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

One of the problems, exemplified by the contrasting assessments of Zvelebil and Gensichen, is that scholars of Tamil literature have for the most part been relatively uninterested in Ziegenbalg’s pioneering efforts, and historians of mission have lacked sufficient knowledge of Tamil literature to make an accurate assessment of them. It is our hope that, by collaborating, we have been able to overcome this problem—at least to some extent. We provide here a new translation into English of Ziegenbalg’s account of Tamil literature in the third section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica, which is also the first to include all 119 entries. Following the translation of each entry, we identify the work, comment on Ziegenbalg’s characterisation of it, and provide details of published editions, translations, or manuscript holdings. In the final chapter, we collect also his comments on other texts he mentions in works written after 1708.

3 In this introduction, we discuss Ziegenbalg’s study of Tamil and his acquisition of Tamil texts. We attempt also to determine the character of the library by considering—under the heads of the major genres of Tamil literature—both the works it contained and those which it might have been expected to contain but in fact did not. After considering the fate of Ziegenbalg’s library—and his catalogue of it—after his death, we assess the likely sources of his collection, and conclude by discussing the significance of his library for his account of Hinduism.

Ziegenbalg’s encounter with Tamil

4 Ziegenbalg is renowned as the pioneer of Protestant mission in India. What has been obscured by the host of mostly hagiographical works which recount his life is how little prepared he was for that role. In August 1705 Ziegenbalg was asked whether he would accept a commission from the Danish king, Frederik IV, to go to the West Indies as a missionary. At the time he was acting as a temporary curate in a small town close to Berlin, and intending to return to university to continue the studies that had been interrupted a year earlier by his poor health and the death of his sister. Three weeks later, when in Berlin to attend a wedding, he was surprised to discover that his initial and somewhat equivocal response had been taken as an acceptance.3 In early October, as he set out for Copenhagen—together with his fellow missionary, Heinrich Plütschau—to be ordained, he wrote to August Hermann Francke to say that they were now to be sent to another of the Danish overseas territories in Guinea, West Africa.4 By the time they embarked, on 29 November 1705, the destination had changed again, now finally to the “East Indies.”5 These details are mentioned here in order to demonstrate how little prepared Ziegenbalg was for India and its religions. There is no evidence of his having made any study of what was known of India in Europe prior to his being sent there and during the seven-month voyage the only language Ziegenbalg was able to study was Danish.6 Ziegenbalg mentions only one European work on Indian religion which he had read in 1706, Philippus Baldaeus’s Beschreibung der ost-indischen Küsten Malabar und Coromandel… benebenst der Abgötterey der ost-indischen Heyden (1672).7

5 It is, then, perhaps unsurprising that, on his arrival in India, Ziegenbalg fully expected to find barbarians. While underway to India he wrote that he was being sent to “the barbarous peoples”8 and in 1708 he wrote that when he first came among the Tamils, he shared the opinion of most Europeans that they were a “truly barbaric people” without learning or morals.9 What is striking is how quickly his view changed, within months of his arrival in Tranquebar. Just over two months after his arrival, Ziegenbalg is already describing the Tamils as “a very intelligent and rational people,”10 who lead a “quiet, honorable, and virtuous life,”11 on the basis of their natural powers alone. The initial catalyst for the change in Ziegenbalg’s view of the Tamils seems to have been his conversations with them, carried out in Portuguese.12 [Ziegenbalg’s servant Mutaliyāppaṉ, who knew Portuguese and Tamil and was learning German from Ziegenbalg, translated from Ziegenbalg’s rudimentary Portuguese in these early exchanges (Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 16 September 1706, in Lange, Merckwürdige Nachricht, 14). By 12 October 1706, Ziegenbalg and his colleague had the services of a former translator to the Danish East-India Company named Aḻakappaṉ who, in addition to Portuguese and Tamil, knew Danish, German, and Dutch (Kurt Liebau, ed., Die malabarische Korrespondenz: tamilische Briefe an deutsche Missionare; eine Auswahl, Fremde Kulturen in alten Berichten (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1998), 20).] While Ziegenbalg reports that many people sought the missionaries out for such discussions, a key figure in shaping his early impressions was an elderly schoolmaster. [Name???] From early September he held his classes in the missionaries’ house, Ziegenbalg and Plütschau sitting with the children and tracing Tamil letters in the sand. While the schoolmaster spoke only Tamil, Ziegenbalg nevertheless reports daily conversations with him from before the time he began learning Tamil.13 The impact was immediate: “I must confess, my seventy-year-old schoolmaster often poses such questions that I can clearly see that not everything in their philosophy can be so irrational as is fondly imagined of the heathen at home.”14 Ziegenbalg emphasizes, however, that it was his reading of Tamil literature which completed the transformation in his view of the Tamils:

When at last I was entirely able to read their own books, and became aware that the very same philosophical disciplines as are discussed by scholars in Europe are quite methodically taught among them, and also that they have a proper written law from which all theological matters must be derived and demonstrated [???]; all this astonished me greatly, and I developed a very strong desire to be thoroughly instructed in their heathenism from their own writings. I therefore obtained for myself ever more books, one after the other, and spared neither effort nor expense until I have now—through diligent reading of their books and through constant debating with their Bramans or priests—reached the point where I have a sure knowledge of them, and am able to give an account.15
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Part 2 of 6

6 Thus it was that Ziegenbalg, less than two months after his arrival in India, began to acquire Tamil books, at first by having the schoolmaster copy them out for him.[???]16 Within two years he had assembled a collection of well over a hundred Tamil texts.

7 The importance Ziegenbalg placed on his study of Tamil literature is clear from an account of his daily routine in a letter dated 8 August 1708. The letter was sent, with a copy of the Bibliotheca Malabarica, to Franz Julius Lütkens, the court preacher in Copenhagen, through whom Ziegenbalg had been recruited for the mission.17 From eight o’clock until noon, Ziegenbalg read works new to him, in the presence of “an old poet”—most likely the same schoolmaster—who commented on and explained them. A scribe noted phrases or words new to Ziegenbalg, and a further hour each day (from seven to eight in the morning) was devoted to rehearsing the lists of words and phrases thus collected. In the afternoon, from three until five, Ziegenbalg studied systematically the works of individual authors, going through each one thoroughly before moving on to another. Once the light had faded, from six thirty to eight, Ziegenbalg had read to him—“often a hundred times”—the works of authors whose style he sought to imitate in his own works. The remainder of the day was taken up with prayer, catechising, and rest. Although the routine was interrupted almost every day by discussions with Tamil visitors—many, according to Ziegenbalg, poets who came from a distance to meet him—the fruits of this intensive engagement with Tamil literature are clear. In the same month that he finished the Bibliotheca Malabarica, Ziegenbalg completed also his translation of Ulakanīti (bm 100), Koṉṟai vēntaṉ (bm 102), and Nīti veṇpā (bm 105), three short didactic works. Ziegenbalg had already begun to translate into Tamil as early as 1707, but in October 1708 he began what was for him the other primary reason for his intensive study of Tamil—his translation of the New Testament (hb 6: 226, 246). This work was interrupted in November when Ziegenbalg was imprisoned as the result of a dispute with the Danish Commandant of Tranquebar, Johann Siegmund Hassius.18 Although he was released after a little more than four months, Ziegenbalg’s relationship with the Commandant remained difficult, and the issue was only finally resolved with the appointment in 1716 of another Commandant, Christen Brun-Lundegaard.
First Encounters with Tamils and Catholics

On arrival in India, in July 1706, Ziegenbalg fully expected to find barbarians. In 1708 he wrote that when he first came among the Tamils, he shared the opinion of most Europeans that they were a "truly barbaric people" without learning or morals.4 It was not until he began to learn Tamil that his view of them changed. What is remarkable is how quickly this happened, within months of his arrival in Tranquebar. In one of his earliest letters from India, dated 1 October 1706, he writes: "These Malabarian heathens are, however, a very intelligent and rational people, who must be won over with great wisdom."5 He continues that their faith is quite as well ordered as that of "we Christians" -- a statement which was toned down in the published version of the letter to say only that their "fabulous" faith is well ordered.6 Moreover, he found the Tamils to lead a "quiet, honorable and virtuous life," on the basis of their natural powers alone, surpassing that of the Christians tenfold. Again this statement was edited, to read that they surpass "false" Christians not a little.

Alongside his realization that the Tamils were not barbarians, came an awareness of the difficulty of his missionary task. In another letter written on the same day, Ziegenbalg lists five hindrances to the conversion of the 'heathen'. Among them are the vexatious life of the other Christians in Tranquebar, the preference of the Hindus for outward ceremonial over the inward worship of the mind, and the fact that any convert would be excommunicated by his or her family, unless he was the head of the household. The other two reasons relate to the activities of the Catholics. The conversion of the 'heathen' "is greatly hindered, because they see how craftily the Catholics have made so many so-called Christians of them, thinking that one wants to mislead them in the same way with such deception." The other and, says Ziegenbalg, perhaps the primary reason, is that "they see these same Catholic Christians going begging by the hundred, and they are angered that they are not better received by their co-religionists and supported in their need, or given work, so that they do not have to seek their living from door to door."7 Four days later in another letter, addressed to the King who had commissioned him, Ziegenbalg expands:

The gospel of the crucified Christ is foolishness to them, the more so the less it agrees with their reason. Therefore it is not to be wondered at, that before now the Papists have drawn many of them to themselves with their impotent ceremonies, which in many ways are not unlike their idolatry, which also appeals to the outward senses and the eyes, but has no power in the heart like the pure word of the cross, death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ which takes hold not of reason but faith. Thus it is also a great hindrance to their conversion, when they have to see that almost no-one will receive those who have entered the Catholic religion, but rather are now turned away by them and, deprived of all their goods, must often beg their bread before the doors of others. To this also must be added the great lovelessness of most Christians, who so often leave the poor to seek their bread, and that often in vain ... Not to mention the unchristian life of those who, although baptized as Christians, live more like heathen.8


Less than a month before writing this letter, Ziegenbalg had reported that he had not yet tried to introduce himself to the Catholic priests in Tranquebar.9 Although on occasion he seems to have cooperated with Catholics in other towns,10 Ziegenbalg's relationships with Catholics in Tranquebar itself were never good11 and were complicated by his difficult relationship with the Danish Commandant of Tranquebar, Johann Siegmund Hassius.12

Although Tranquebar was under the control of the Danish East India Company, and hence was supplied with Lutheran chaplains of the established church in Denmark, Catholic priests in Tranquebar had a similar quasi-official role in the city, and were paid by the Company for their role as chaplains to the Catholic Christians in Tranquebar, many of whom were Indians either in the service of the Company, or private servants and slaves of Danish traders. In his letters Ziegenbalg repeatedly complains that Hassius, despite representing a Protestant nation, favoured the Catholics to the disadvantage of the Royal Danish mission. The Catholic poor received alms from the Company -- in contravention of what Ziegenbalg calls 'Paul's rule' that one's first concern should be one's co-religionists.13 Ziegenbalg attributes the success of the Catholic fathers in a Protestant town to the Commandant's patronage, and argues that it shows what the Protestant mission might have achieved had they had his support instead of his opposition.14 He writes that potential converts from Catholicism to Lutheran Christianity fear the power of the Portuguese fathers,15 and complains that the Commandant not only honoured the Catholic Bishop of Mylapore with a canon salute,16 but invited him to take up residence in Tranquebar, when he was unable to return to Mylapore because of Muslim opposition.17 By contrast, his fellow Protestant and Dutch counterpart in Nagapatnam, not only helped Ziegenbalg but refused to allow the Catholic Bishop of Mylapore even to enter the city.18

Anders Norgaard notes that the mission diary, which is extant only for the years following 1712, records many differences of opinion with the Catholic priests of Tranquebar, and that there is no reason to assume that the same was not true in earlier years.19 We do have evidence of two such incidents from the year 1708. The first involved a dispute over whether the illegitimate child of a Danish soldier and a non-Christian woman should be baptized and brought up as a Catholic or a Protestant, and resulted in Ziegenbalg's colleague, Heinrich Plutschau, being brought before a court.20 Although Plutschau was released, Ziegenbalg wrote that "the Catholics rejoiced, that we were persecuted and they were authorized,"21 and he connected this incident, which he took to have emboldened the Catholics, directly with the second, a fortnight later, which resulted in his imprisonment. This incident arose from Ziegenbalg's intervention on behalf of the widow of a Tamil barber, over a debt between her late husband and a Catholic who was employed by the Company as a translator. Hassius regarded Ziegenbalg's repeated intervention in the case, including his advice that she kneel before him in the Danish church, as inappropriate and sent for Ziegenbalg to appear before him. When Ziegenbalg demurred, requesting a written summons, he was arrested and, because he refused to answer questions imprisoned.22 Although released after a little more than four months' Ziegenbalg's relationship with the Commandant remained difficult, and his letters are full of complaints on this score, and regularly invoke the Catholics' relationship with the Commandant as one reason for his troubles. The most interesting of these is a letter from September 1714 in which he states that one reason, among others, why the Commandant opposes them, and protects the Catholics, is that he and they are engaged in private trade, and fear that the missionaries will expose them in Europe.23 When, finally, after Ziegenbalg's return from Europe in 1716, a new Commandant was appointed, who protected the interests of the mission, Ziegenbalg writes triumphantly that the Catholics were no longer able to pour scorn on the Lutheran mission.24

-- Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the Tranquebar Mission, and `the Roman Horror', by Will Sweetman, University of Otago, January 2006

8The first section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica includes a list of Ziegenbalg’s own early compositions in Tamil, including sermons, dialogues, and letters. These and other early works, intended for distribution among the Tamils, were copied onto palm leaves, and a number of them are preserved in that form in the Halle archives.19 Once the mission obtained a press, in 1712, they began printing tracts of this sort in larger numbers,20 followed by the New Testament in Tamil, printed in two parts in 1714 and 1715.

9 Soon after completing, in early 1711, the first draft of his translation of the New Testament, Ziegenbalg began a “cursory” re-reading of his Tamil library, noting the elements of religious doctrine they contained and compiling them into a German treatise on “Malabarian heathenism.”21 In this book, Ziegenbalg mentions more than sixty Tamil works, and cites from a number of them at length.

10 He cites most often from the Aṟupattuṇālu tiruviḷaiyāṭal purāṇam (bm 106) and Civavākkiyam (bm 51–53),...


Who were these "numerous Indians" who in a short timespan wrote so many letters to Ziegenbalg and insisted so stridently on the monotheism of Indian religion that god-fearing Europeans including Voltaire were astonished? And who were these Gnanigol, the authors of the Indian texts whose translations so much inspired Ziegenbalg, La Croze, and their readers?...

Aleppa also mentioned radical monotheists:

Other than that, there are also people among us who worship God the supreme being alone and always honor only this lord while they renounce everything in the world in order to keep contemplating God in their heart at all times. It is said of these [Gnanigol] that God unites with them and transforms them into himself [in sich verwandele], and also that they become invisible in the world. (p. 142)...

The text that Ziegenbalg most often quotes to illustrate Indian monotheism was already used by de Nobili for the very same purpose: the Civavakkiyam, a fourteenth-century collection of poems by Civavakkiyar who belongs to the Tamil Siddha tradition.

Although the Tamil tradition speaks of eighteen Siddhas and posits a line of wandering saints and sannyasis from Tirumular (sixth century) to Tayumanavar (1706-44), most of the noted Siddhas flourished between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries (Kailasapathy 1987:387). From the beginning, the antibrahmanical and antihierarchical tendency of Siddha writings was prominent, as in Tirumular's oft-quoted lines, "Caste is one and God is one" (p. 386)....Tirumular meant that "insofar as religious worship was concerned, all castes are equal and the only god is Shiva" (p. 386)....

Of the more than fifty names associated with the way of the Siddhas (Siddha marga), that of the author of the Civavakkiyam (Aphorisms on Shiva) is best known. The author of these aphorisms, Civavakkiyar or Sivavakkiyar, is "without doubt the most powerful poetic voice in the entire galaxy of the Siddhas" and is best known for his skill in criticizing and ridiculing Hindu orthodoxy (p. 387-89). Though not forming a well-defined school of thought, the Siddhas "challenged the very foundations of medieval Hinduism: the authority of the Shastras, the validity of rituals and the basis of the caste system" (p. 389). According to Zvelebil, "almost all of them manifest a protest, often in very strong terms, against the formalities of life and religion; denial of religious practices and beliefs of the ruling classes" (1973:8). Tamil Siddhas were basically "all theists and believed in a transcendental God and his grace towards man," but they were not "idol-worshippers or believers in a supreme Person"; rather, they "believed in a supreme Abstraction" that they referred to as civam (Kailasapathy 1987:393).

The recurrent use by the Siddhas of the word civam (an abstract noun meaning "goodness," "auspiciousness" and the highest state of God, in which he exists as pure intelligence) in preference to the common term civan (meaning Shiva) makes this point very clear. In other words, they believed in an abstract idea of Godhead rather than a personal God. (p. 393)

Among the three Hindu religious paths to salvation (jnana, the way of knowledge; karma, the way of work; and bhakti, the way of devotion), the Siddhas emphasized the path of knowledge (p. 393). In the light of such explanations, it is easy to see why de Nobili and Ziegenbalg felt attracted to such poetry and in particular to Civavakkiyar who dared to refute deeply entrenched dogmas such as transmigration:...
The dead are never born again, never! (p. 401)

Siddha Civavakkiyar's work promotes civam mysticism and is critical not only of the worship of images and brahmans but also of the Vedas and Vedic practices....
In the Four Eternal Vedas,
In the study and reading of scripts,
In sacred ashes and in Holy Writs
And muttering of prayers
You will not find the Lord!
Melt with the Heart Inside
and proclaim the Truth.
Then you will join the Light --
Life without servitude.
(Zvelebil 1973:83)

Such Tamil Siddhas belonged to the class of men that Ziegenbalg referred to as "Gnanigol or the Wise" (Ziegenbalg 2003:40). "Gnanigol" is Ziegenbalg's transcription of the Tamil nanikal, which is the plural of nani (Skt. jnanin, a wise or knowing one). They are saints in the fourth path (pada) of Shaivite Siddhanta agama. Ziegenbalg called these four paths "Tscharigei" (carya, proper conduct), "Kirigei" (kriya, rites), "Jogum" (yoga, discipline), and "Gnanum" (jnana, knowledge). The Gnanigol are most frequently mentioned by Ziegenbalg, and quotations from their texts make up the bulk of his evidence for Indian monotheism. In the first chapter of his Genealogy, where he discusses the pure Indian conception of monotheism, Ziegenbalg explains:
One still finds here and there a few who destroy all idolatry [Gotzen-Wesen] and venerate this sole divine Being without images. Among them are those called Gnanigol or the Wise who have written only such books that lead exclusively to a virtuous life wherein only the sole God is to be worshipped. The most excellent among such books are: I) The Tschiwawaikkium [Civa-vakkiyam], in which polytheism along with many heathen errors is totally rejected in thoughtful verses and the worship of a single God is advocated....

The book that leads this list, the Civavakkiyam, is also the one that Ziegenbalg most frequently adduced in his discussions of Indian monotheism. La Croze's argument for Indian monotheism, too, is almost entirely illustrated by quotations from Ziegenbalg's rendering of verses by Civavakkyar....

[Re] Malabar heathendom...Ziegenbalg...distinguishes two main traditions:

This whole widespread heathendom is divided into two important main sects. The first sect is called Tschiwasameian [Civacamayam; system of Shiva] and the second Wischtnusameiam [Visnucamayam; system of Vishnu]. All those who belong to the first sect regard Shiva or Ishvara as supreme God and pray to all gods that he befriended or stem from his lineage. In all their sacrifices, prayers, external ceremonies, fasts, and tenets [Lehrsatzen] they follow those books which are written about Shiva. All who belong to this sect smear ashes from burnt cow-dung on their forehead and on various parts of their body. (p. 23)...

As we have seen, these four stages on the religious path are "Tscharigei" (carya, proper conduct), "Kirigei" (kriya, rites), "Jogum" (yoga, discipline), and "Gnanum" (jnana, knowledge)...the fourth for those who have abandoned everything and reached "Gnanum or wisdom" (Ziegenbalg 1926:27). This fourth and highest stage is that of the Gnanigol who have left behind all ignorance (ajnana) and who for Ziegenbalg represent the purest wisdom (jnana) of monotheism:
Those who have thus become Gnanigol not only consider the ways of the world as foolish but also every other thing in which people seek bliss. They reject the many gods that others revere so much; as one of them writes in a book called Tschiwawaikkium [Civavakkyiam]: You are nothing but lies, prayer-formulas are lies, the disciplines of erudition are lies. Bruma and Wischtnum [Brahma and Vishnu] are fabricated lies, and Dewandiren [Devendra] too. Whoever abandons the lusts of the flesh that seem sweet as honey, dies to that which seems beautiful to the eyes, and hates the habits of man while worshipping only the True supreme being: to him all of these things appear as false and full of lies. (pp. 27-28)

Such saintly Gnanigol, Ziegenbalg emphasized, are found among both the worshippers of Shiva and those of Vishnu; "they lead a virtuous life after their fashion, worship only the supreme being of all beings, and lead their disciples and pupils toward a worship of God that is completely interior (p. 28)....

Ziegenbalg linked these four stages of the religious path to the four Vedas, about whose content he knew practically nothing:

...4. Gnanum. The first law (Veda), according to some, contains what the Tscharigeikarer or people of worldly professions ought to do in order to reach bliss through their worldly tasks. (p. 35)...

"the fourth book of law is said to contain everything which the Gnanigol who have reached wisdom and sainthood ought to perform and do."

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

But as early as 1762, Abbe Mignot made the connection betweeen the Ezour-vedam and the monotheistic "gnanigol." In one of his papers on the ancient philosophers of India, he described these Indians as modern successors of the ancient Brachmans. They are "intimately convinced of God's oneness" and are regarded as "the sages and saints of India" who "openly reject the cult of idols and all superstitious practices of the nation in order to worship only God whom they call 'Being of beings' [l'etre des etres]" (Mignot 1768:218-19). In 1771 Anquetil-Duperron published his opinion that the text's author was one of these "Ganigueuls" [Gnanigol] or "gnanigol" described by Ziegenbalg and La Croze (Anquetil-Duperron 1771:I.lxxxv), and this opinion was later supported in the preface to the Ezour-vedam's first primed edition of 1778 where Sainte-Croix informed the readers:
Everywhere in the Ezour-Vedam we find the principal articles of the doctrine of the Ganigueuls [Gnanigol] ... and therefore one cannot doubt that it was a philosopher of this sect who composed this work. A man immersed in the darkness of idolatry reports, under the name of Biache, the most accepted fables of India and exposes the entire system of popular theology of this country. The philosopher Chumontou rejects this mythology as contrary to good sense, or because he has not read of it in the ancient books, and expounds the fabulous accounts in a moral sense .... Responding to the questions of Biache, the Ganigueul [Gnanigol] philosopher explains the doctrine of the unity of God, creation, the nature of the soul, the dogma of punishment and reward in a future state, the cult appropriate for the supreme being, the duties of all states, ere. (Sainte-Croix 1778:I.146-47)...

Though Sainte-Croix did not ascribe the text to a missionary, he regarded this teaching as quire different from that of the Vedam and explained that "Chumontou pretends to reach the Vedam by establishing his own system, and he does not bother to prove if it is really conform to the doctrine of that sacred book" (I.149). Such doubts led to the following conclusion about the text's authorship and age: "This work which contains the exposition of the principles of the philosophy of the Ganigueuls [Gnanigol], as opposed to the actual beliefs of Indian people, can certainly not be very old" (1.150).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Sainte-Croix' interpretation of the EzV combines acceptance of Anquetil's handwritten note in the margin of his EzV manuscript (see p. 8) with his readings on the philosophy of the Indian "Ganigueuls." [Gnanigol]. He quotes some of La Croze's statements on these philosophers, and subsequently (1.147-8) analyzes the dialogue between Biache and Chumontou as follows: "A man shrouded in the darkness of idolatry reports, under the name of Biache, the fables that are most highly sanctioned in India, and exhibits the whole array of popular theology of that country. The philosopher Chumontou rejects this mythology as contrary to good sense, or because he has not read it in the ancient books, and he gives moralistic explanations for the fabulous stories that are based on facts which he has to admit. In his answers to Biache's questions the Ganigueul [Gnanigol] philosopher teaches his own beliefs on the unity of God, creation, the nature of the soul, the dogma of suffering and reward, the worship that is due to the Supreme being, the duties of all ranks, etc. He pays special attention to those absorbed in pure contemplation; in this respect his principles are in perfect agreement with those of the Samanaeans and the ancient sectarians of Budda." Sainte-Croix is much more critical of Voltaire. He quotes long passages from him, and comments on them. His main point of disagreement is (1.150) that. since the EzV opposes the teachings of the Ganigueuls [Gnanigol] to present beliefs of the Indian people, "it certainly cannot be very old."...

Sainte-Croix accepts what is said on the title page: "translated by a Brahmin." He adds (1778:1.x) that, although he has revised the style of the translation, he has not corrected all mistakes "to preserve for the Indian author that foreign aura which inspires confidence in the readers, and will convince them of our trustworthiness." As far as the author of the original is concerned, he speaks (1.165) of "Chumontou, the author of the Ezour-Vedam." We have seen earlier that he also had specific ideas on Chumontou's philosophic affiliation. Hence his conclusion (1.146): "We find all over the Ezour-Vedam the principle tenets of the doctrine of the Ganiguels [Gnanigol], there is consequently no doubt that the book has been composed by a philosopher of that sect."

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher

the latter often together with Kapilar akaval (bm 97). He also quotes often from two works he ascribes to Kuru Namacivāyar— Ñāṉa veṇpā (bm 48) and Paramarakaciya mālai (bm 64)—and several times from the Viruttācala purāṇam and the Kanta purāṇam, neither of which is listed in the Bibliotheca Malabarica. Many of the quotations have to do with aspects of ritual.22 He also provides very substantial summaries of three narratives—the stories of the demoness Nīli (bm 35), and of the kings Hariścandra (bm 13) and Maṉu (bm 77)—and gives an almost full translation of the Tirikāla cakkaram, which is the subject of a long entry in the Bibliotheca Malabarica (bm 110). It was this latter work—together with the Puvaṉa cakkaram— which, it will be argued,23 provided the structure and central idea of Ziegenbalg’s second and final work on Tamil religion, the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter, which he wrote in 1713.

11 While the Genealogia mentions—for the most part, briefly—the names of some eighty Tamil works,24 it draws also on a large number of letters written by Tamils in response to questions sent by Ziegenbalg. A little over forty percent of the text of the Genealogia consists of direct quotation from these letters. Ziegenbalg had been engaged in correspondence with a number of Tamils for several years, in part because of the political and practical restrictions on his ability to travel.

Aleppa clearly played a central role in Ziegenbalg's introduction to the Malabar language and religion, but his influence did not end there. When Ziegenbalg and his associate Grundler needed more European support and were preparing for Ziegenbalg's journey to Germany, Denmark, and England, they paid Aleppa to write letters from exile in answer to the missionaries' questions. These answers were almost immediately translated or edited, annotated, and sent to Europe where they were published; but since Aleppa was in exile and could for various reasons not be named as a source, the missionaries decided to omit all names of correspondents. They tried to create the impression that these letters came from many different informants, and their habit of sometimes splitting a single letter into several pieces (p. 27) that supposedly came from different correspondents enhanced the readers' impression that a substantial number of Indians were involved. The first batch of fifty-five letters was printed in 1714 with a preface emphasizing that "all of these letters without exception are from heathens of the most understanding kind" who write so excellently about God that "one could hardly find better ones with the ancient Greeks and Romans, and many so-called Christians will rightly feel ashamed" (pp. 42-43)....

in 1724, La Croze quoted numerous passages from Ziegenbalg's correspondence and manuscripts.6 Only in 1729, five years after the publication of La Croze's book, did readers of the Halle mission reports first learn that these letters "were mostly written by the translator of the erstwhile missionaries, Arhagappen [Aleppa], who remains a heathen, when he lived nearby and earned his living from this [letter writing] while in exile" (Grundler and Ziegenbalg 1998:17). Though some scholars still believe that many different letter authors were involved, the tone and content of the vast majority of the letters point to a single author who on occasion interviewed knowledgeable persons in his vicinity....

The sequence of the first fifty-five letters supports this; the first is from October 2, 1712, and the fifty-fifth from December 10 of the same year. This comes to a bit less than one letter a day, and I may not be too wrong in hypothesizing that Aleppa was contracted to write about one letter per day.
In October 1712, twenty-three letters were written, and a letter-free day is often followed by a day with two letters. Though Aleppa certainly integrated information gained from others and sometimes apologizes for drawing only on his own knowledge, these letters for the most part reflect Aleppa's views, which were, of course, developed during his long acquaintance with Europeans, his Western-style education, his years as an official interpreter, and especially his prolonged daily contact with the missionaries in his function as teacher, informant, and translator. He clearly tried to present his own religion in the best light and had adopted the Europeans' fundamental conviction that monotheism was good, while polytheism and idol-worship were evil and the devil's work.... The European readership learned about Indian monotheism from the very man who had introduced Ziegenbalg to Indian religions and had helped him find texts that supported this idea of Indian monotheism.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Although travel along the coast was possible, and he made a number of journeys to the English and Dutch settlements at Nagapatnam, Madras, and Pulicat, an attempt to travel inland in September 1709 was aborted after only fifteen kilometres when he was informed that he would be liable to arrest and imprisonment if he travelled in Tanjore without the permission of the king, Shahji II [No, Shahuji I.]. When he was able to travel, for example to Nagapatnam in July 1708, and to Madras in January 1710, he distributed copies of the letters and tracts in Tamil, and collected names of potential correspondents (hb 2: 93, 97; 6: 243). Although he records having sent a letter to the Brahmins of Nagapatnam,25 this correspondence seems first to have been taken up in earnest in August 1712, beginning with a letter to a group of Brahmins in Tiruvoṟṟiyūr, near Madras, who Ziegenbalg had found to be more learned than others.26 The following month he and his colleague Gründler reported having extracted and translated an account of Tanjore from twenty-six letters received from two Tamils they had sent there with instructions to report what they were able to observe.27 By November, this “Malabarian Correspondence” was going well, and the missionaries began to think of translating some of the letters and sending them to Europe.28 In January, fifty-eight letters dated between October and December 1712, had been translated and provided with explanatory notes, and were sent to Anton Wilhelm Böhme in London.29 Fifty-five of the letters were published as the seventh instalment of the Hallesche Berichte in 1714. A further forty-six letters were sent to Halle in August 1714, of which forty-four were published as the eleventh instalment of the Hallesche Berichte in 1717. Selections from each collection were published in English translation in 1717 and 1719 respectively.30 [A much later mission report stated that the letters were, “for the most part,” written by Ziegenbalg’s early translator, Aḻakappaṉ (hb 25: 149). This, however, is in the context of explaining why the missionaries at the time (Nikolaus Dal, Martin Bosse, Christian Friedrich Pressier, and Christoph Theodosius Walther) had been unable to engage any Tamils in correspondence and the source of their knowledge is unclear, as none had been in India during Ziegenbalg’s lifetime and Dal, the most senior of the four, had arrived only six months before the death of Gründler. On the evidence of the letters themselves, including the letters quoted in his Genealogia, and of Ziegenbalg’s broader correspondence, it is not implausible to think that a number of other authors were involved.]]

12 By 1714, the mission’s relations with the Danish authorities in Tranquebar had deteriorated to such an extent that Ziegenbalg decided to return to Europe in order to resolve the question of the mission’s privileges with the king and the directors of the Danish Company. While underway, he set down in Latin a grammar of Tamil, closely following a Tamil accidence, the Arte Tamulica, written by Balthasar da Costa SJ, and printed at Ambalakad around 1680, which he had been given by Hassius in 1707.31 The grammar was published in Halle in 1716.32

13 Ziegenbalg returned to India in August 1716, bringing with him the woman he had married while in Europe, Maria Dorothea Saltzman. Although he continued to work on translation into Tamil—of the Old Testament and of works of Christian theology—his letters in the years leading up to his death are full of accounts of other work: preaching, printing, establishing schools, constructing a new church building, and defending the mission against its critics. Investigation of “heathenism” was delegated to a converted Tamil scholar, who was to draw up a lengthy book on the doctrines of the “heathen poets” which was to be kept in the mission rather than sent to Europe for publication.33 In 1718, Ziegenbalg prepared for publication transcripts of twenty dialogues with Hindus and Muslims, which were published after his death (hb 15, 16, 17). He died on 23 February 1719.
The Jesuit language reform in China took a different direction from the earlier one in Japan; instead of intensively studying the Buddhist and Daoist competition in order to defeat it, Ricci and his companions focused on cozying up to the Confucians. On November 4, 1595, Ricci wrote to the Jesuit Father General Acquaviva: "I have noted down many terms and phrases [of the Chinese classics] in harmony with our faith, for instance, 'the unity of God,' 'the immortality of the soul,' the glory of the blessed,' and the like" (Ricci 1985:14). Ricci intended to identify appropriate terms in the Confucian classics to give the Christian dogma a Mandarin dress and to illustrate his view that the Chinese had successfully safeguarded an extremely ancient knowledge of God. The portions of Ruggieri and Ricci's old "Buddhist" catechism dealing with God's revelation and requiring faith rather than reason were removed, while topics such as the "goodness of human nature" that appealed to Confucians were added (p. 15). Ricci systematically substituted Buddhist terminology with phrases from the Chinese classics. But rather than as a revision of his earlier "Buddhist" catechism, Ricci's True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven should be regarded as a new work reflecting his view of China's ancient theology. It was crafted in the mold of the first part of Valignano's catechism of 1586, and exactly ten years after the publication of that work, Ricci's supervisor Valignano examined and approved Ricci's new text for use in China. It was not a catechism in the traditional sense but a praeparatio evangelica: a way to entice the rationalist upper crust of Chinese society and to refute the "superstitious" and "foreign" forms of Chinese religion (such as Daoism and Buddhism) by logical argument while interpreting "original" Confucianism as a kind of Old Testament to Christianity. Ricci's "catechism" was thus not yet the Good News itself but a first step toward it. It argued that Chinese religion had once been thoroughly monotheistic and that this primeval monotheism had later degenerated through the influence of Daoism and Buddhism. In Ricci's view Christianity was nothing other than the fulfillment of China's Ur-monotheism.

Ricci decided to cast this preparatory treatise in Renaissance fashion as a dialogue between a Western and a Chinese scholar who discuss various aspects of Chinese religion. Ricci's Western scholar analyzes Daoist, Buddhist, and Neoconfucianist beliefs and practices and proceeds to demolish them by rational argument, thus exposing their inconsistency and irrationality. When Ricci's work was completed and his new manuscript began to circulate in preparation for the printing, the old "Buddhist" catechism was no longer used....

Maudave's letter to Voltaire described the Ezour-vedam as a dialogue written by the author of the Vedas: "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all, to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 49). Maudave also specifically mentioned the author of the text's French translation: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery" (p. 49). Since this missionary had died in Rome in 1716, Maudave must have thought that the translation from the Sanskrit original was about fifty years old. This missionary connection clearly disturbed Maudave. First of all, a strange agreement with Christian doctrine made Maudave suspicious about the quality of the translation. More than that, he let Voltaire know that his doubts were specifically connected with the tendency of the translator's Jesuit order to find traces of their own faith in just about every part of the world -- in Chinese books, in Mexico, and even among the savages of South America (p. 80)!...

He wrote to Voltaire that the Ezour-vedam was a dialogue between two Brahmes, one of whom "believes in the religion of the Indies" while the other "defends the unity of God" (p. 122r). Maudave thought "this dialogue assumes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams and that he wrote them to remedy the vain superstitions that spread among men and above all to stop the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 122r). The Chumontou of the Ezour-vedam was both a fierce critic of rites and seemed to be the author of the Vedams. Maudave observed, "Here there is a very manifest contradiction since one book of the Vedams contains all the religious rites of which the cult of God forms a part" (p. 122V)....

Since the early days of the Japan mission, explanations about the reasons for various natural phenomena and news about geography and history were used as effective means to prove the superiority of the missionaries' knowledge of the here-and-now (and by implication, their knowledge of the remote past and future as well as heaven and hell). The Ezour-vedam also appears to use fictional dialogues about local religions and the world at large for the education of native catechists and missionaries (see Chapter 7)....

Since questions related to the genesis and authorship of the Ezour-vedam will be discussed in Chapter 7, the focus is here on Voltaire's role in its rise to fame. Whatever the intentions of its authors were, it was Voltaire who almost single-handedly transformed some missionary jottings from the South Indian boondocks into the "world's oldest text," the Royal Library's "most precious document," and (as a well-earned bonus for the promoter) into the Old Testament of his deism! So far, there is no evidence of any influence of this text before Maudave and Voltaire. But soon after Maudave's manuscript got into Voltaire's hands, the Ezour-vedam's brilliant career began. For Voltaire it was, for a few years, a potent weapon to undermine biblical authority and to attack divine partiality for Judeo-Christianity. It was no Jesuit missionary but rather Voltaire, the missionary of deism, who trumpeted extraordinary claims into the world about the Ezour-vedam's authenticity, antiquity, and supreme value. Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo saw this quite clearly when in 1791 he called the Ezourvedam "the notorious gift from the most learned prince of philosophers, Voltaire" -- a poisoned gift "that found its way into the Royal library in Paris, or rather which he pressed upon them to use it as the foundation for his own philosophical superstructure" (Rocher 1984:16).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

The Bibliotheca Malabarica

14 The full title of Ziegenbalg’s catalogue reads “Bibliotheca Malabarica, consisting of various Malabarian Books, dealing I. with the pure Evangelical religion, II. with the impure Papist religion, III. with the Heathen religion of the Malabars, IV. with the Mahometan religion of the Moors, collected and in part written himself by Bartholomeo Ziegenbalg, missionary to the Malabarian heathen at Tranquebar on the Coromandel coast by appointment of His Royal Majesty of Denmark and Norway.”34 The first section has fourteen entries and covers his own writings in Tamil, including sermons, hymns, letters and dictionaries as well as translations of the catechism and other theological works.35

Catholic and Muslim works

15 The second section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica has twenty-one entries and covers works produced by Catholic missionaries. Ziegenbalg first reports acquiring these books in a letter dated 22 September 1707, in which he notes that although the works are “full of dangerous errors” they nevertheless enabled him to develop “a proper Christian style” in which to express himself on spiritual matters “in a way that did not smack of heathenism.”36 He goes on to say that by reading these works—and in particular the translations from the Gospels—he was able, within eight months, “to read, write, and speak,” and to understand others, in Tamil. This would place his acquisition of the Catholic books in February 1707 at the latest, seven months after his arrival in Tranquebar in July 1706.37 In the Bibliotheca Malabarica itself, Ziegenbalg states that the library had belonged to a Jesuit “who went about among the heathen in the dress of a Brahmin.” During a time of “severe persecution” of Christians in Tanjore, when all who wanted to save their lives had had to flee to the European coastal settlements, this Jesuit had left his library for safe-keeping in Tranquebar, where it had “long remained hidden,” until “it was wonderfully arranged” that Ziegenbalg should come upon it.38 To the best of our knowledge, there is no specific reference to the loss of this library among the letters of the Jesuits of the Madurai and Carnatic missions but, as Neill notes for this period, they are “full of tales of persecution, often valiantly endured.”39 The most recent severe persecution in Tanjore had taken place in 1701, under Shahji II. [No, Shahuji I [1684 to 1712.]]40 [A brief account in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses (Guy Tachard to Père de la Chaise, Pondicherry, 16 February 1702 in Charles le Gobien, ed., Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrit des missions étrangères par quelques missionaires de la Compagnie de Jésus, 34 vols., Paris (Chez Nicolas Le Clerc, 1702–76), 3: 212–16) reports that many Christians were driven out of Tanjore, and two Jesuits were imprisoned. Although one of many, at the time of Shahji’s death in 1712 this event was recalled as particularly severe—and as resulting in the exclusion of missionaries from Tanjore until 1712 (Louis de Bourzes, Litterae Annuae Missionis Madurensis, 1712).]
Roberto de Nobili (1577 – 16 January 1656) was an Italian Jesuit missionary to Southern India. He used a novel method of adaptation (accommodatio) to preach Christianity, adopting many local customs of India which were, in his view, not contrary to Christianity....

After a short stay in Cochin at Kerala, he took up residence in Madurai in Tamil Nadu in November 1606. He soon called himself a "teacher of wisdom", and began to dress like a Sannyasi. Claiming noble parentage he approached high-caste people, and eagerly engaged in dialogue with Hindu scholars about the truths of Christianity....

He adopted also local Indian customs, such as shaving one's head and keeping only a tiny tuft. He wore a white dhoti and wooden sandals, to don the look of a sanyasin. Another symbol he embraced was the wearing of a three-stringed thread across the chest. He interpreted the three-stringed thread as representing the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit....


He composed Catechisms, apologetic works and philosophic discourses in Tamil, and contributed greatly to the development of modern Tamil prose writing...

Some have alleged that Roberto de Nobili was the author of a forged document written in French and purported to be a translation of an ancient Sanskrit scripture by the name of Ezourvedam.

-- Roberto de Nobili, by Wikipedia

Nobili’s name was indeed a very plausible one. Those who connect it with the EzV point to the peculiar way of conversion which he introduced in India, and which, several decades later, was to lead to the notorious Malabar rites controversy. A missionary who knew Indian languages well, a missionary who went to the extent of adopting certain Hindu rites and customs and behaving like a Brahman, was also the kind of person who would be capable and willing to produce a document such as the EzV....

The history of the Jesuits in India presents us with more than one instance of missionaries who acquired their knowledge of Brahmanical literature in this province. One Pierre Martin, whose letter from Balassore in the year 1699 occurs in the 10th volume of the Lettres Edifiantes, tells us, that after five months' assiduous application of the Bengali, he disguised himself as a Brahman, and in that character commenced studying the Shastras as a Brahmachari or Sanscrit student in a celebrated Brahman University, (at Naddea doubtless), until the insurrection of Subha Sinh [Sobha Singh] against the government of Aurang Zeib [1695] compelled him to retreat thence to Orissa, after which we hear of him frequently in the same collection, as a most zealous and active missionary in the Southern Provinces.... Other instances might doubtless be found in the subsequent history of these Roman Sannyasies (as the Jesuit Fathers were usually called in India), at a date more approaching that of the MSS. of this forgery, were the subject thought worthy of closer investigation."...

We shall now turn our attention to another Jesuit missionary, even though his name has not so far appeared anywhere in the literature connected with the EzV. Manuscript 1765 of the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris contains, among other writings connected with Maudave, an "extract from a letter written to Mr. de Voltaire on the Lingam cult". According to the catalogue the handwriting is that of Chretien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (1721-94).

The extract is undated, but it is possible, based on internal criteria, to place it within rather precise lower and upper limits. In the letter Maudave speaks about the EzV and uses it as a source of information on the ritual of the Lingam. He even volunteers to have a copy made for Voltaire and send it to him, if he is at all interested in the manuscript. This means that the letter antedates Maudave's visit to Ferney in 1760. On the other hand, Maudave announces that he sends Voltaire a replica of a Linga; also, all data contained on the letter are based on personal observation. We may therefore be assured that the letter was written on 1758-59, during Maudave's first visit to India (see p. 77).

In the letter Maudave also makes a casual reference to the author and the translator of the EzV. About the author he merely records what the text itself seems to suggest, without expressing his personal opinion. "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry." But on the translation Maudave (p. 10) Is both brief and specific: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery."

-- Ezourvedam, edited by Ludo Rocher

The strategy of accommodation attracted interest in the last years of the seventeenth century among a group of French Jesuits including Pierre Martin (1665-1716). Martin arrived in Balasore via Surat in 1699 after an unhappy spell in Persia. He applied himself to learning Bengali, and after five months claims to have entered a 'Brahmin university', properly attired. Martin argues that all new missionaries should be sent to the Madurai mission to learn, as he had, the languages and customs of Indians, to 'read and transcribe the books that the venerable Father Robert Nobili and our other Fathers composed', and to resume the practices that they had begun.

-- Jesuit Revivals, Excerpt from Hybrid Knowledge in the Early East India Company World, by Anna Winterbottom

Maudave's letter to Voltaire described the Ezour-vedam as a dialogue written by the author of the Vedas: "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all, to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 49). Maudave also specifically mentioned the author of the text's French translation: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery" (p. 49). Since this missionary had died in Rome in 1716, Maudave must have thought that the translation from the Sanskrit original was about fifty years old.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

It is possible that the library was made available to Ziegenbalg by Hassius [local governor John Sigismund Hassius who eventually feels Ziegenbalg is undermining Tranquebar's slave trade and jails him for 4 months.], as we know that by 1707 he had also given him a Jesuit work on Tamil grammar in Portuguese.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 3 of 6

16 The catalogue concludes with a fourth section listing eleven Muslim works.41 The most important of these is the Āyira Macalā of Vaṇṇapparimaḷappulavar.42 Ziegenbalg comments on the high regard in which this work—the oldest extant Muslim work in Tamil—is held, but notes that he found it difficult to understand due to its Arabic vocabulary.

“Heathen” works

17 Although a systematic identification of the Catholic and Muslim works in Ziegenbalg’s collection is to be desired, it is without doubt the third, and longest, section of the catalogue which is of most interest.[???!!!] In a later edition of the catalogue, prepared by Christoph Theodosius Walther, it was this section that was placed first, and it is also the section which has most often been copied.43 Its greatest significance, however, is that it allows us to identify the primary sources of Ziegenbalg’s works on Hinduism. One work of particular importance in this respect will be discussed below, but here we attempt to give a summary picture of the character of Ziegenbalg’s collection by considering the works he had—and did not have—in some of the important genres of Tamil literature. Works which Ziegenbalg mentions, but probably did not possess, are also mentioned here, as they are relevant to assessing the depth of his knowledge of Tamil literature.

Grammar, poetics, and lexicography

18 Ziegenbalg had copies of both Tolkāppiyam (bm 1) and Naṉṉūl (bm 3), but found them “hard beyond all measure.” As noted, his initial knowledge of Tamil grammar came instead from the Jesuit Arte Tamulica. On poetics, he has Amitacākarar’s Yāpparuṅkala kārikai (bm 2) and another work (bm 20) which may be Taṇṭiyalaṅkāram, but not earlier works such as Iṟaiyaṉār’s Akapporuḷ or Aiyaṉār Itaṉār’s Puṟapporuḷveṇpāmālai. Nor did he have Nampi’s Akapporuḷ viḷakkam, although he did have a copy of the ilakkiyam illustrating its principles, the Tañcaivāṇaṉ kōvai (bm 61). Works on lexicography were an important aid to Ziegenbalg’s attempts to identify and make sense of the Hindu pantheon. Of the three earliest such works in Tamil that are extant, Ziegenbalg had the first, Tivākaram (bm 4), and last, Cūṭāmaṇi nikaṇṭu (bm 5). Walther’s catalogue includes two further lexicographic works, Akarāti nikaṇṭu and a copy of Amarakośa in Grantha script, but there is no evidence that either was in the mission library during Ziegenbalg’s lifetime.

Early didactic literature

19 Ziegenbalg never mentions the caṅkam anthologies and the only older works in his collection—other than Tolkāppiyam—are didactic works from the eighteen minor classics, the Patiṉeṇkiḻ-k-kaṇakku. He had both the Tirukkuṟaḷ (bm 7) and a commentary on it which he ascribes to Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar (bm 8), although no such commentary is now known to be extant. It seems likely that he also had Ācārakōvai (bm 44), although in his entry on it he confuses the author with a sixteenth-or seventeenth-century commentator.[???] It is possible that he also had Paḻamoḻi nāṉūṟu, or a later work of similar content (bm 16). Walther’s catalogue lists also Tirikaṭukam, although there is no evidence that Ziegenbalg himself knew this work.

Later didactic literature

20 Ziegenbalg had a high regard for the morality of the Hindus, and showed considerable interest in later didactic literature in Tamil. In his entry on Mūturai (bm 104), he states that their morality exceeded even that of the virtuous pagans of European antiquity. Ziegenbalg had three other works which he ascribes to Auvaiyār, Nalvaḻi, Ātticūṭi, and Koṉṟai vēntaṉ (bm 101–3). The last of these he translated into German, together with two other similar works he also possessed: Ulakanīti (bm 100) and Nīti veṇpā (bm 105). Few of Ziegenbalg’s missionary successors in the eighteenth century shared his interest in collecting other genres of Tamil literature, but they did continue to show an interest in didactic literature [Didactic Literature is that which is designed to provide guidance, or instruction such as a guidebook or manual.]. The very few non-Christian palm-leaf manuscripts remaining in the mission archive are almost all didactic texts, and the missionary Chistoph Samuel John (1746–1813, in India from 1771) translated a number of works ascribed to Auvaiyār.

Canonical works

21 Perhaps the most surprising gap in Ziegenbalg’s collection, given his interest in religion, is the almost total lack of works from the Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava collections which form the acknowledged canon of Tamil religion. Although Ziegenbalg mentions the twelve Āḻvārs in the Genealogia (GMG 83r) as those who had propagated the religion of Viṣṇu, he never mentions the Tivyappirapantam and has no sense of its importance. He does have one work he ascribes to Tirumaṅkai Āḻvār (bm 66), but it appears that this is a work about the Āḻvār, rather than by him. Most of the Vaiṣṇava works in his collection are folk works on themes drawn from Vaiṣṇava mythology. In general, there is a pronounced emphasis on Śaiva works, both in Ziegenbalg’s collection and in his other comments on Tamil literature. Nevertheless, the only section of the Tirumuṟai, the Śaiva canon, which Ziegenbalg has is Tiruvācakam (bm 6). He notes that “this book is regarded as very holy,” and he quotes from it several times in his works on Hinduism, particularly the Malabarisches Heidenthum. Ziegenbalg was aware of Tēvāram, which heads the list given to him by the author of a letter in the Malabarische Correspondenz in response to a question about the books in widest use among the Tamils (hb 7: 374–76). A work entitled Tēvāram is also listed in the Bibliotheca Malabarica (bm 29), but Ziegenbalg’s very brief comment on it hardly suggests the importance of Tēvāram and may indicate that he had, at most, a short section of it. In the light of Ziegenbalg’s connections—discussed below—with the Śaiva maṭams at Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram, it is perhaps notable that, according to Kay Koppedrayer, the scholastic tradition of these centres “paid little attention” to the works of the nayanmār,44 but their omission from Ziegenbalg’s collection remains remarkable. Ziegenbalg’s correspondent also mentions Periya purāṇam, which Ziegenbalg glosses as “the greatest of their eighteen history-books”[!!!] (hb 7: 375). Although he knows folk versions of some of the stories of Śiva’s devotees, for example the Ciṟuttoṇṭar katai, it seems unlikely Ziegenbalg had a copy of Periya purāṇam itself. In the Malabarisches Heidenthum, he mentions a work called Tirumantiram (mh 136), but his description suggests a small work initiating disciples into the pañcākṣara (nama civāya) mantra rather than Tirumūlar’s lengthy treatise, the tenth book of the Tirumuṟai.

Translations from Sanskrit

22 Ziegenbalg was aware of Sanskrit, which he usually refers to as “Kirentam or the Malabarian Latin” (e.g., bm 105), but he seems never to have considered it important to have access to works in Sanskrit. The chapter on Śiva in Ziegenbalg’s final work on Hinduism, the Genealogia, includes a list of the books about him which begins with a reference to the stories “collected in twenty-four [sic] books called āgamas,” and then adds the four “books of the law,” the six śāstras or “Systemata Theologica” (i.e., the ṣaḍdarśanas), and the eighteen purāṇas. The source of this is probably another answer in the letter from the Malabarische Correspondenz just mentioned, which in addition to Tēvāram also names the four Vedas.45 Here the missionary comments that while “the Brahmins make much of [the four Vedas]” they do not allow others even to see, much less to read, them. Instead the “idolatrous worship” of the Malabarians is established on the purāṇas, together with the āgamas and śāstras, which are found “in all sorts of languages” among the common, non-Brahmin, people.46 Of these, Ziegenbalg had access only to the purāṇas, which he identifies with the major Tamil purāṇas (gmg 51r–53v). But Ziegenbalg was aware that a number of the other works which he had were based on Sanskrit originals. Among these are everything from the tantric Cavuntariya lakari (bm 84) to the Pañcatantra (bm 30) and a manual on housebuilding (bm 49), as well as some purāṇas and of course the epics.

Epics and epic episodes

23 Of the early Tamil “epics,” Ziegenbalg possessed only Cīvakacintāmaṇi (bm 9), and his comments suggest that it is unlikely that he read much of it. By contrast he was very familiar with the various Tamil versions of the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa. He had both Villiputtūr Āḻvār’s Pāratam (bm 10) and a commentary (bm 11) on it which he claims to have read “from beginning to end.” He also had several other Mahābhārata branch stories,47 including the Naḷa veṇpā of Pukaḻēnti (bm 86) and Naiṭatam (bm 60), which he attributes to Ativīrarāma Pāṇḍya but calls simply Naḷaṉ katai. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica, Ziegenbalg lists separately three chapters (bm 31, 42, 62) of the Yutta kāṇṭam of Kampaṉ’s Irāmāvatāram, but despite the separate listing he attributes them all to Kampaṉ and was aware that the full work consisted of 12,000 stanzas. Ziegenbalg also attributes to Kampaṉ a folk version of an episode from the Uttara kāṇṭam entitled Kucalavaṉ katai (bm 65). He also had several folk ballads and narratives based on the epics or episodes within them. Among these are Ariccantiraṉ katai (bm 13), Pārata ammāṉai (bm 18), Aṉumār ammāṉai (bm 43), and Vaikuṇṭa ammāṉai (bm 117).

Purāṇas

24 Ziegenbalg had several Tamil purāṇas and they were important sources for his own works on Hinduism. By far the most significant in this respect is Parañcōti’s Aṟupattuṇālu tiruviḷaiyāṭal purāṇam, which describes the sixty-four acts of Śiva in Madurai. Ziegenbalg had a copy of both the purāṇa (bm 106) and a commentary on it (bm 107) and states that he went through it very closely. In the Malabarisches Heidenthum he refers to no fewer than thirty of Śiva’s “sports” in Madurai, many of which he summarizes at some length.48 In 1708 he had a commentary on the Kanta purāṇam (bm 12), but noted that he had not yet been able to obtain a copy of the purāṇa itself. He seems later to have obtained one, for in the Malabarisches Heidenthum he quotes at length sections of the Kanta purāṇam dealing with the myths of Dakṣa/Takkaṉ and Cūrapatmaṉ, and in the Genealogia he refers at several places to other myths found in the purāṇa.49 Ziegenbalg also quotes several times from the Viruttācala purāṇam and the Piramōttara kāṇṭam, although neither is included in the Bibliotheca Malabarica. In both cases he refers only to the titles of sections of these works, and may not have realised they were parts of a larger whole. In his lists of Śaiva texts Ziegenbalg also mentions the titles of some purāṇic works (for example the Tiruveṇkāṭṭu purāṇam and the Kāci kāṇṭam) which are neither included in the Bibliotheca Malabarica nor cited in his other works. There must be some doubt as to whether he had actually read these works or whether his knowledge of them came only from his informants.

Caiva cittānta

25 Of the fourteen Caiva cittānta cāttiraṅkaḷ, the only one Ziegenbalg may have had was the Neñcu viṭutūtu (BM 93) of Umāpati Civācāriyar. He did have some later Caiva cittānta works, notably the Tattuva viḷakkam (BM 59) of Campanta caraṇālayar (Kaṇṇuṭaiya Vaḷḷalār), but it is perhaps surprising that Ziegenbalg did not have more works of this kind. He describes Tattuva viḷakkam as very difficult, and states that books like it are no longer written.

Cittar works

26 Ziegenbalg was greatly impressed by the writings of the cittars. When first reading them, he thought the authors might have been Christians (mh 42). Even when he realised they were not, he thought that their conception of the divine as formless and unitary, together with their contempt for caste and for temple ritualism, could provide a bridge for the introduction of Christian ideas of the divine. There is no standard list of cittars or their works,50 but among the works in Ziegenbalg’s collection which might be included in this category are Paṭṭiṉattār’s Uṭalkuṟṟu vaṇṇam (bm 57), Caranūl (bm 73), Taṉvantiri’s Uḷḷamuṭaiyāṉ (bm 75), and the works which Ziegenbalg names as Akaval and Uṭalkuṟṟu tattuvam (bm 98 and 99). Above all, however, Ziegenbalg was impressed by Civavākkiyam, which is quoted repeatedly in his works, especially the Malabarisches Heidenthum, and which he possessed in no fewer than three separate manuscript copies (bm 51, 52, 53).
The point Aleppa kept making in his apologetic letters was exactly that his native religion was fundamentally a monotheistic jnana, rather than a heathen ajnana, and it seems that he was highly motivated to help the missionaries find Tamil texts that proved exactly this point. The text that Ziegenbalg most often quotes to illustrate Indian monotheism was already used by de Nobili for the very same purpose: the Civavakkiyam, a fourteenth-century collection of poems by Civavakkiyar who belongs to the Tamil Siddha tradition.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


Prabhanda and ciṟṟilakkiyam

27 Tamil manuals of literary genres (pāṭṭiyal) produced from the twelfth century onward attempt to classify the literature which proliferated from about the eighth to the eighteenth centuries into genres which are usually labelled prabhanda (Tamil pirapantam, “composition”) or ciṟṟilakkiyam (“minor genre”). While the idea that there were ninety-six such genres was conventional from the sixteenth century, the actual number varied greatly and the total number of such genres identified may be twice as many,51 indicating that this is perhaps best thought of as a residual category. Genres are defined according to a wide range of criteria, relating to the form, length, and content of the works. The lack of consistency in definition and application of the criteria is such that Zvelebil, in his “Blueprint for a History of Tamil Literature,” identified this simply as “The problem of prabandhas.”52 The wealth of works produced in these genres, and the state of scholarship on them, means that we will restrict ourselves here to only those genres where Ziegenbalg has a number of relevant works, and make no attempt to comment on what works he did not have in these genres.

28 The most productive of all the prabandhas is the piḷḷaitamiḻ, in which a deity or hero is addressed as a child; more than 250 works in this genre are known.53 Ziegenbalg had three piḷḷaitamiḻ poems, only one of which can be securely identified (bm 39). Another productive genre is ulā, in which some seventy works are known, the majority from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.54 The title ulā refers to the procession of a deity or hero around a city and the intense, unrequited longing this arouses in women of seven different age-groups.[!!!] Ziegenbalg has two later ulā works (bm 23, 37), another (bm 45) which appears now to be lost, and two (bm 27, 89) in the similar genre of maṭal.55

29 The host of smaller devotional works in Ziegenbalg’s collection include many in genres defined on purely formal grounds. Among these are antāti,56 vaṇṇam,57 and catakam.58 Notable in Ziegenbalg’s collection in these genres are the Apirāmi antāti of Cuppiramaṇiya Aiyar (bm 25) and the Aruṇakiri antāti of Kukai Namacivāyar (bm 83); the Aṇṇāmalainātar vaṇṇam of Cēṟai Kavirāca Piḷḷai (bm 56) and an Uṭalkuṟṟu vaṇṇam (bm 57) which may be either the work of Aruṇakirinātar, or of the cittar Paṭṭiṉattār; and the Nārāyaṇa catakam of Maṇavāḷa (bm 85). Ziegenbalg also has a number of devotional works in the “supergenre”59 of works called mālai (“garland”). Notable here are Piḷḷaipperumāḷ Aiyaṅkār’s Tiruvēṅkaṭa mālai (bm 34), Kulacēkara Pāṇṭiyaṉ’s Ampikai mālai (bm 63), Kuru Namacivāyar’s Paramarakaciya mālai (bm 64), and a Citampara mālai (bm 33) which Ziegenbalg attributes to Kukai Namacivāya.

30 There are also isolated examples of other prabandha genres in Ziegenbalg’s collection, notably Cayaṅkoṇṭār’s Kaliṅkattu paraṇi (bm 19), Aruṇakirinātar’s Kantaraṉupūti (bm 24), Piḷḷaipperumāḷ Aiyaṅkār’s Tiruvaraṅkakkalampakam (bm 28), Poyyāmoḻi pulavar’s Tañcaivāṇaṉ kōvai (bm 61), Kapilar’s Akaval (bm 97), and a Viṟali viṭutūtu “messenger” poem (bm 94).

Folk works

31 Ziegenbalg’s library contains a large number of works in varied genres—ballads, dramas, prose narratives—which have in common that they are either folk works or they make use of metres, themes, and characters drawn from folk works. As many as one in five of the works in his collection would fit this description. Some of these works are—if they can be dated at all—very old, or at least have their origins in the earliest layers of Tamil (or other Indian) literature. Among these are versions of the stories of the demoness Nīli (bm 35), and of the kings Hariścandra, Nala, and Maṉu (bm 13, 60, 77).60 Indira Viswanathan Peterson argues, however, that the eighteenth century witnessed “a new interest [on the part of] elite poets and patrons in representing the ‘folk’” driven by the need of “strangers” such as the Maratha kings of Thanjavur “to negotiate anew their relationship with the ‘folk,’ i.e., tribes, lower castes, and marginal social groups… vital to the economic well-being of their kingdoms.”61
The German Volk Is an Interlacing of Families...

In an age of industrialization and class conflict man was to be integrated into his Volk; his true self would be activated and his feeling of alienation transformed into one of belonging....

The omnipresent nationalism was combined with an attempt to recapture a morality attributed to the Volk's past...

What we require is instinct and will." "Instinct" meant the love of Volk and race which came from a realm beyond empirical knowledge, from the soul. "Will" further emphasized the drive to transform this love into reality....

Joseph Goebbels' fictional hero, Michael, rejects university studies in order to join the Volk at work and help to save it. Michael reflects the greater social emphasis of the future propaganda minister, the socialism of National Socialism, which meant integration of the individual into the organic whole of the Volk....

They stressed the bonds of the family, moderation in sexual and social behavior in consideration of the duties owed to the Volk....

The main effort was centered on combining Christ and the Volk by stripping Christianity of its historical element. Like science, Christianity should be absorbed into the ideology....

The young were set off against the old, and the same distinction that was made between the old and young nations was operative within the Volk itself....

[T]he father thinks in terms of social classes and making money, while the son wants "not to earn but to serve." The older man ridicules this attitude as "adolescent romanticism," but this romanticism symbolizes in reality the son's urge to "belong" to his Volk....

The Volk encompassed all of life, and life gained its fulfillment within it. There could exist no "eternal" criteria outside this final good; hence the law too had to be adjusted to this "fact."...A new state has been created in which all power, and therefore all law, springs from the needs of the Volk as directed by the leader....

Leadership was to be based on that personality, regardless of background, which had the will and power to actualize the Volksstaat (the state of the Volk). In Hitler's view, man's progress had not derived from the activities of the majority, but was the product of the individual personality, its genius and will to action....

Fuhrer and Volk were equal in kind because they shared the same race and blood; the human nature of each individual German and that of his leaders was thought to be identical. Therefore their aims must be identical as well, as both wanted to fulfill themselves by bringing about the true Germanic state. Leader and led were a part of the same organic Volk.

-- Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich, by George L. Mosse

Ziegenbalg’s collection, made at the very outset of the century, mostly predates this development, but the prevalence of such works in his collection may reflect the trend identified by Peterson as well as the fact that such works were probably more easily accessible to Ziegenbalg. Thus in addition to older works of this kind such as Ñāṉappirakācar’s sixteenth-century Tiyākarāca paḷḷu (bm 90) and a work ascribed by Ziegenbalg to Pukaḻēnti but probably of similar date named Alliyaracāṉi mālai (bm 119), we have a number of others which are hard to date, at least in the versions that Ziegenbalg had. These include “tales” (katai) such as the Ciṟuttoṇṭar katai (bm 87) and a work Ziegenbalg calls Tamiḻaṟivāḷ (bm 108); ammāṉai62 ballads such as those on Vaḷḷi (bm 36), Viṣṇu (bm 41), and Hanumān (bm 43); and terukkūttu works performed as ritual re-enactments of episodes from the epics such as Kiruṣṇaṉ tūtu (bm 70) and Arccuṉaṉ tavacu nilai (bm 114).

32 Not only were the stories presented in these works often reported in Ziegenbalg’s works on Hinduism,63 but their use of direct, colloquial language almost certainly influenced Ziegenbalg’s language in his translation of the Bible into Tamil.64
[Chumantou] It is God, it is the Supreme Being who created everything, the sensitive things like the insensitive ones, in a word, all that exists. It must be it and life. It is above me to give you the details. I'll give you at least a short abbreviation. Therefore give up all [other] business, to give your full attention to what the Vedan has taught us. We must first distinguish four different ages. At the end of each age, everything perishes, everything is submerged. That is why the passage from one virgin to another has been given the name of flood. This term is also regarded as a kind of sleep of the Supreme Being, because it is the only one that exists, and nothing exists with it. In the time, therefore, that God alone existed, and that no other being existed with him, having formed the design of creating the world, he first created time and nothing more: he then created water and earth; and having cast his eyes on his work, he saw that the earth was completely submerged, and that it was not yet inhabited by any being that had life. He therefore commanded that the waters be withdrawn to one side, and the earth be made stable and solid. From the mixture of the five elements, namely, of earth, water, fire, light and air, he created the different bodies, and gave them the earth to be their support and the place of their stay. It is also on this earth that this master of the universe created the three worlds, that is to say the Chuarguam or the upper world, the Patalan or the lower world, the Mortion or the middle world which is the one that we live on: the earth is round, but a little oblong. This is why the learned have compared it to an egg. In the middle of the earth is the greatest of all mountains; it bears the name of Merou. This is where the country called Zomboudipo is located. It is the country of India in midy; and at the sunset of the Merou mountain are located different countries. Here are the names we give them: Zombou, Pelokio, Coucho, Chako, Krohonso, Pouxkoro, Chalmouli. All these countries, or all these islands, are also inhabited. There are many rivers on the earth. The main ones are the Brommoza river, the second Bodra, the third Ganga or the Ganges. These three rivers draw their source from the Merou mountain, and will discharge into the sea. The first flows to the north, and the Ganges to the midy; it crosses at its mouth and floods a quantity of wood. I have already said that Zomboudipo or India was located in the middle of the mountain. In the midy of India is the country called Baroto Borcho. It took its name from Roy Baroto who was the first to reign there. There are also many rivers and mountains in this country: it is also given the name of Kormo Ketro. There are many countries in Zomboudipo which have different names. It would be too long to give you the details. In the midy of Baroto Borcho is [the Bodro Borcho country. The pig is the divinity of its inhabitants. North of Bodro Borcho is] located the Courou Borcho. Its inhabitants worship and invoke Rama and the monkey Onumontou. They do not recognize other deities.

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher

Astrology and divination

33 Finally, we should note the presence in Ziegenbalg’s collection of a relatively large number of works on astrology (e.g., bm 75, 81) and on various forms of divination, for example, from the calls of animals (bm 82), observation of the breath (bm 73), or physiognomy (bm 113). Ziegenbalg has little to say about these works, noting in the case of one such work (bm 113) that “I would not have taken the trouble to have read through it had it not been for the words and turns of speech it contains which were still unknown to me.” Shu Hikosaka and G. John Samuel estimate that some 20% of extant Tamil manuscripts are works of this kind,65 which likely accounts for their prevalence in Ziegenbalg’s collection. Ziegenbalg himself notes that there are many Tamil works on divination (mh 237).

The character of Ziegenbalg’s library

34 Despite Zvelebil’s description of the Bibliotheca Malabarica as “a relatively complete account of Tamil literature,”66 Ziegenbalg’s library is by no means representative of Tamil literature as a whole. Most obviously he had very few of the oldest Tamil works and his collection has a relatively high proportion of folk narratives and ballads. Ziegenbalg’s location, restrictions on the accessibility of some types of texts, his method of collecting manuscripts and his own special interests all played a role in giving his collection its particular character. Thus it is clear that the relatively large number of texts dealing with ethics reflect his high estimate of Tamil ethical writing and his interest in using the ethical sense of the Tamils as a starting point for Christian apologetics. On the other hand, the fact that he has about the same number of texts dealing with astrology or divination of various sorts more likely reflects the predominance of these texts in Tamil manuscript culture than any particular interest in them on Ziegenbalg’s part.[???!!!]

35 Despite the gaps in his collection, Ziegenbalg’s knowledge of Tamil literature is nevertheless vastly better than almost any of his contemporaries, especially if we include works—such as Periya purāṇam— whose importance he acknowledges but which he himself had not been able to acquire. His only rivals in this respect are the Jesuit missionaries, some of whom likely had a similarly wide knowledge of Tamil literature and often of Sanskrit literature as well.[!!!]67
The second section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica has twenty-one entries and covers works produced by Catholic missionaries. Ziegenbalg first reports acquiring these books in a letter dated 22 September 1707, in which he notes that although the works are “full of dangerous errors” they nevertheless enabled him to develop “a proper Christian style” in which to express himself on spiritual matters “in a way that did not smack of heathenism.” He goes on to say that by reading these works—and in particular the translations from the Gospels—he was able, within eight months, “to read, write, and speak,” and to understand others, in Tamil. This would place his acquisition of the Catholic books in February 1707 at the latest, seven months after his arrival in Tranquebar in July 1706.37 In the Bibliotheca Malabarica itself, Ziegenbalg states that the library had belonged to a Jesuit “who went about among the heathen in the dress of a Brahmin.” During a time of “severe persecution” of Christians in Tanjore, when all who wanted to save their lives had had to flee to the European coastal settlements, this Jesuit had left his library for safe-keeping in Tranquebar, where it had “long remained hidden,” until “it was wonderfully arranged” that Ziegenbalg should come upon it.

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan

Ziegenbalg remains unique, however, in the extent to which we are able to document his use of Tamil literature, based not only on his catalogue but also the references to texts given in his writings on Hinduism. Where other writers might report “one of their books says,” Ziegenbalg not only typically gives the title of the book, but not infrequently also the chapter and verse. Even Jesuit authors rarely make explicit reference to particular texts.68

36 Although on occasion Ziegenbalg enables us to fix a new, and secure, terminus ante quem for a particular text,69 for the most part he does not tell us anything about Tamil literature that we did not already know. While it does provide some insight into the kinds of texts that were in circulation in and around the colonial enclave of Tranquebar, ultimately his account of Tamil literature is of most use in enabling us to evaluate Ziegenbalg’s own works on Tamil Hinduism.

Ziegenbalg’s library after 1708

37 The Bibliotheca Malabarica ends with Ziegenbalg expressing the hope that he would be able to buy or to copy many more Tamil works. It seems that he was in fact able to do so, for in a letter written the following year he notes that his library contains “300 Malabarian books.”70 This total probably includes Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim works, but nevertheless represents a near doubling in size of his library in a little more than a year since the despatch of the Bibliotheca Malabarica. No comprehensive listing of these later works by Ziegenbalg himself is extant, but an effort is made below to identify Hindu works not included in the Bibliotheca Malabarica but mentioned in Ziegenbalg’s later writings. Nineteen such works are identified here, although we cannot be sure that he owned copies of all of them—only eight are actually quoted in his own writings.71

38 Ziegenbalg died in 1719 and his library did not long survive him. In 1726 the missionary Christian Friedrich Pressier reported that most of the manuscripts collected by Ziegenbalg had been stolen and sold. A schoolmaster recalled being present as a boy during the cold season when a box containing the books had been opened and the books used to light a fire.72 In 1731 Walther repeated this story and added that in the intervening five years worms had taken still further toll of the collection.73

39 Thus Ziegenbalg’s library finds a place within a long history of the catastrophic loss of Tamil manuscripts,74 stretching back to the legends of the first two Tamil academies consumed by the sea, and including the loss of virtually all of the supposed 102,000 original Tēvāram hymns to white ants,75 the deliberate destruction of cittar manuscripts by Śaiva zealots,76 the reverent but thoughtless burning of manuscripts which so frustrated U. V. Swaminathaiyar,77 and the destruction by fire of the Jaffna Public Library in 1981.78
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Gone With the Wind

MAN is at heart a romantic. He believes in thunder, the destruction of worlds, the voice out of the whirlwind. Perhaps the fact that he himself is now in possession of powers wrenched from the atom's heart has enhanced the appeal of violence in natural events. The human generations are short-lived. We have difficulty in visualizing the age-long processes involved in the upheaval of mountain systems, the advance of continental glaciations or the creation of life. In fact, scarcely two hundred years have passed since a few wary pioneers began to suspect that the earth might be older than the 4004 years B.C. assigned to it by the theologians. At all events, the sale of Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision" a few years ago was a formidable indication that after the passage of two centuries of scientific endeavor, man in the mass was still enormously susceptible to the appeal of cataclysmic events, however badly sustained from the scientific point of view. It introduced to our modern generation, bored long since with the endless small accretions of scientific truth, the violence and catastrophism in world events which had so impressed our forefathers....

At all events, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, law, natural law, the undeviating law of God, had taken precedence in intellectual circles over the world of the miraculous. There was a rising interest in the Second Book of Revelation; that is, nature. It was assumed that the two books, separately examined, would bear each other out, that the world could be read as though it were part of the Great Book. Since the God of the Old Testament was a God of wrath, it is not surprising that there lingered in the western mind a taste for the violent interpretation of geological events. Across eighteenth-century Europe lay the fallen, transported boulders of what seemed the visible evidence of some vast deluge. In the story of those stones, man's naive faith in visible catastrophe is countered by the magnificent violence hidden in a raindrop.


-- The Firmament of Time, by Loren Eiseley

It is perhaps because of a pervasive and ongoing anxiety about the fate of Tamil manuscripts arising from this history of loss[???!!!], that Ziegenbalg’s collection is often thought to have been sent back to Germany.79 [At a conference in 2006 marking the tercentenary of Ziegenbalg’s arrival in India, one scholar argued that the manuscripts, like the Elgin marbles or the Rosetta stone, represented a stolen patrimony that should be returned to Tamil Nadu.] It is therefore perhaps important to underline that although there is a collection of about a hundred Tamil palm-leaf manuscripts in Halle, most of these are Christian texts.80 Only eight of the manuscripts in Halle are works mentioned by Ziegenbalg in the third, “heathen,” section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica. Of these, six are didactic works, much favoured by both Ziegenbalg and later missionaries. They were copied in 1735, long after Ziegenbalg’s death, and are bound together with one of the other two works (Paramarakaciya mālai; bm 64). The other work is Cittiraputtiranayiṉār katai (bm 109). All of these works have been published—there is no treasure trove of lost Tamil literature in Halle.
A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion.

-- Red herring, by Wikipedia
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Part 4 of 6

40 What the fate of Ziegenbalg’s library demonstrates, as much as anything, is the lack of interest in Tamil literature on the part of Ziegenbalg’s successors in the mission he founded. There are some exceptions to this general statement, but the catalogues they produced reveal the limits of their interest in Tamil literature.
After Abbe Jean-Paul Bignon had been nominated to the post of director of the Royal Library in 1719 and of the special library at the Louvre in 1720 (Leung 2002:130), he gave orders to acquire the Vedas. But this was easier said than done. In 1730 a young and linguistically gifted Jesuit by the name of Jean CALMETTE (1693-1740), who had joined the Jesuit India mission in 1726, wrote about the difficulties:
Those who for thirty years have written that the Vedam cannot be found were not completely wrong: there was not enough money to find them. Many people, missionaries, and laymen, have spent money for nothing and were left empty-handed when they thought they would get everything. Less than six years ago [in 1726] two missionaries, one in Bengal and the other one here [in Carnate], were duped. Mr. Didier, the royal engineer, gave sixty rupees for a book that was supposed to be the Vedam on the order of Father Pons, the superior of [the Jesuit mission of] Bengal. (Bach 1847:441)

But in the same letter Calmette announced that he was certain of having found the genuine Vedas:
The Vedams found here have clarified issues regarding other books. They had been considered so impossible to find that in Pondicherry many people could not believe that it was the genuine Vedam, and I was asked if I had thoroughly examined it. But the investigations I have made leave no doubt whatsoever; and I continue to examine them every day when scholars or young brahmins who learn the Vedam in the schools of the land come to see me and I make them recite it. I even recite together with them what I have learned from some text's beginning or from other places. It is the Vedam; there is no more doubt about this. (p. 441)

Calmette achieved this success thanks to a Brahmin who was a secret Christian, and in 1731 he reported having acquired all four Vedas, including the fourth that de Nobili had thought lost (p. 442). In 1732, Father le Gac mailed to Paris two Vedas written in Telugu letters on palm leaves, and the copying of the remaining two was ongoing (p. 442).

From the early 1730s Father Calmette devoted himself intensively to the study of the Vedas and wrote on January 24, 1733:
Since the King has made the decision to form an Oriental library, Abbe Bignon has graced us with the honor of relying on us for research of Indian books. We are already benefiting much from this for the advancement of religion; having acquired by these means the essential books which are like the arsenal of paganism, we extract from it the weapons to combat the doctors of idolatry, and the weapons that hurt them the most are their own philosophy, their theology, and especially the four Vedam which contain the law of the brahmins and which India since time immemorial possesses and regards as the sacred book: the book whose authority is irrefragable and which derived from God himself. (Le Gobien 1781:13.394)

The opponents in this combat were mainly Brahmins who considered the Europeans worse than outcasts. Calmette explained: "Nothing is here more contrary to [our Christian] religion than the caste of brahmins. It is they who seduce India and make all these peoples hate the name of Christian" (p. 362). The label Prangui, which the Indians first gave to the Portuguese and with which "those who are ignorant about the different nations composing our colony designate all Europeans" (p. 347), was a major problem from the beginning of the mission, and the Jesuits' Sannyasi attire and "Brahmin from the North" identity were in part designed to avoid such ostracism. The fight against the Brahmin "ministers of the devil" who "never cease to pursue their plan to ruin both our church and the Christians who depend on it" (p. 363) is featured prominently in Calmette's letters, and it is clear that the Frenchman meant business when he spoke about stocking up an arsenal of weapons especially from the four Vedas for combating these doctors of idolatry.

The preparation consisted in the intensive study of Sanskrit and a survey of India's sacred literature, in particular, of the Vedas.


Of course, Calmette was eager to find any possible allusion to Jesus and major events of the Old and New Testaments. He searched for textual traces of the deluge and asked himself whether Vishnu is Jesus, if Chambelam means Bethlehem, and if the Brahmins stem from the race of Abraham (pp. 379-85). But the study of Sanskrit was also useful for disputing with Brahmins and scholars...

Naturally, Calmette profited from the experience of other missionaries who had mastered difficult languages and were interested in antiquity, for example, Claude de Visdelou who resided in Pondicherry for three decades and was very familiar with missionary tactics and methods in China.8 But even more important, in 1733 a learned fellow Jesuit by the name of Jean-Francois PONS (1698-1751) had joined Calmette in the Carnate mission. Pons and Calmette came from the same town of Rodez in southern France, had both joined the Jesuit novitiate in Toulouse, were both sent to India, and were both studying Sanskrit. Pons had arrived in India two years prior to Calmette, in 1724, and spent his first four years in the Carnate region. It was Pons who had tried to buy a copy of the Veda for 60 rupees in 1726, only to find out that he had fallen victim to a scam. From 1728 to 1733, he was superior of the Bengal mission, and it is during this time that he studied Sanskrit. As superior in Chandernagor he became an important channel for the European discovery of India's literature. He spent on behalf of Abbe Bignon and the Royal Library in Paris a total of 1,779 rupees for researchers, copyists, and manuscripts in Sanskrit and Persian. They included the Mahabharata in 17 volumes, 24 volumes of Puranas, 31 volumes about philology, 22 volumes about history and mythology, 7 volumes about astronomy and astrology, and 8 volumes of poems, among other acquisitions (Castets 1935:47). Though Pons was Calmette's junior by five years, he was thus more experienced and knowledgeable than his countryman when he joined the Carnate mission for a second time in 1733, and the two gifted missionaries could combine their efforts.

In 1735 Calmette described some of the benefits of the study of Sanskrit and the Vedas for his mission:
Ever since their Vedam, which contains their sacred books, has been in our hands, we have extracted texts suitable for convincing them of the fundamental truths that ruin idolatry; because the unity of God, the characteristics of the true God, salvation, and reprobation are in the Vedam; but the truths that are found in this book are only sprinkled like gold dust on piles of dirt; because the rest consists in the principle of all Indian sects, and maybe the details of all errors that make up their body of doctrines. (Le Gobien 1781:13.437)

From the early 1730s Calmette thus collected -- probably with the help of knowledgeable Indians and later of Pons -- examples of "fundamental truths" as well as "details of all errors" from the Vedas. This was the first systematic effort by Europeans to study such a mass of ancient Indian texts; and it was not an easy task because the language of these texts proved to be so difficult that even most Indians were at a loss...

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)

But Calmette tried his hand at composing some verses in Sanskrit and wrote on December 20, 1737, after a bout of fever that had hindered his study of Sanskrit: "I could not help composing a few verses in this language, in the style of controversy, to oppose them to those poured forth by the Indians" (Castets 1935:40). Calmette was inspired by de Nobili's writings that were stored at the Pondicherry mission and seems to have partly copied and rearranged de Nobili's Sattia Veda Sanghiragham (Essence of genuine revelation) (p. 40), whose title expresses exactly the idea that seems to have influenced Calmette so profoundly: the notion of a true Veda (satya veda)...

Even if the Vedas remained for the most part a sealed book for Calmette and Pons, they could make a survey of their contents and pick out certain topics, stories, and quotations that could be used as talking points in debates and serve as "weapons" in the missionary "arsenal." One goal of such a collection of "truth" and "error" passages drawn from the Veda was their use in public disputes against Brahmins. A favorite tactic mentioned by Calmette is the following:
Another way of controversy is to establish the truth and unity of God by definitions or propositions drawn from the Vedam. Since this book is among them of the highest authority, they do not fail to admit this. Following this, it is very easy to reject the plurality of gods. Now if they reply that this plurality is found in the Vedam, which is true, it is confirmed that there is a manifest contradiction in their law as it does not accord with itself. (Le Gobien 1781:13.438)

Calmette described various dispute strategies that are based on the knowledge of the Vedas and address themes such as the concept of a world soul, punishment in hell, and reward in paradise. (pp. 445-50)....

Such tactics thus required intensive study of Indian sacred scriptures. Since the Indian catechists were almost never from the Brahmin caste, they were at best familiar with some puranic literature but certainly not with the Vedas. But since they most often had to conduct the debates, the quotations from the Vedas and talking points had to be set in writing; and because the disputes were held in front of ordinary people, such texts and quotations needed to be in Telugu rather than Sanskrit. In the Edifying and curious letters there are many examples of disputes involving catechists; but one of them is of particular interest here since it features a catechist who used exactly the kind of text that could have resulted from Calmette's "talking points" effort. The letter by Father Saignes is dated June 3, 1736, a couple of years after the acquisition and copying of the Vedas, and it stems from the very region in which Calmette worked:
A brahmin, the intendant of the prince, passed through a village of his dependency and saw several persons assembled around one of my catechists who explained the Christian law to them. He stopped, called him, and asked him who he was, of what caste, what job he had, and what the book which he held in his hand was about. When the catechist had answered these questions, the brahmin took the book and read it. He just hit upon a passage which said that the gods of the land are no more than feeble men. "That's a rare teaching," said the brahmin, "and I would like you to try to prove that to me." "Sir," replied the catechist, "that will not be difficult if you order me to do so." "If that's all you need then I order you," rejoined the brahmin. The catechist began to recite two or three events from the life of Vishnu, which were theft, murder, and adultery. The brahmin wanted to change the topic [detourner le discours]; but the catechist would not let him and pressed on even more. The brahmin realized too late that he had become caught in a dispute without paying attention to his status as a brahmin; and not knowing how to extricate himself honorably from this affair, he flew into a violent rage against the Christian law. "Law of Pranguis," he said, "law of miserable Parias, infamous law." "Permit me to say this," said the catechist, "the law is without stain: the sun is equally worshipped [adore] by the brahmins and the Parias, and it must not be called the sun of the Parias even though they worship it just as the brahmins do." This comparison enraged the brahmin even more and he had no other response than to hit the catechist several times with his stick. He also hit him on the mouth and shattered all his teeth, and he had him chased out of the village like a Parias, prohibiting him ever to come there again and ordering the villagers to never give him shelter. (Le Gobien 1781:14.29-30)....

We do not know what book the catechist read, but to my knowledge, the only extant text that would fit the missionary's description is the Ezour-vedam. A Telugu translation of this text must have existed since both Anquetil-Duperron's and Voltaire's Ezour-vedam manuscripts contain the following passage:
Biache. I would now be interested in knowing the names of the different countries inhabited by people and the differences among them. You have told me about heaven and hell. Give me a brief description of the earth which brings me up to date on all the different countries that are inhabited.

Chumontou responding to the question tells him the names of the different countries he knew and marks their location for him. Those interested can find them on the other page in the Telegoa language.11

Apart from indicating that the Ezour-vedam's original French text had been translated into Telugu and was illustrated with a map, this passage is also extremely significant because it shows that the Ezour-vedam was designed for use by missionaries or catechists in the region where Telugu is spoken. It is one of two passages in the book that betrays the book's intended use. The target audience must have spoken Telugu, and the content of the map must have conveyed not classical Indian geography but rather a more correct and modern vision of the world and its countries.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


Benjamin Schultze, who arrived in Tranquebar in September 1719—seven months after Ziegenbalg’s death—drew up a catalogue of Tamil literature in the year after his return to Europe in 1743.81 It lists thirty-one Tamil works, only three or perhaps four of which are not among those in Ziegenbalg’s collection. Unlike the corporate effort of his Jesuit contemporaries and rivals, Ziegenbalg’s was a personal collection, undertaken at his own initiative, and without any intention of sending it to Europe.[???!!!]When he did send a Tamil palmleaf manuscript to Halle, it was not a Hindu text but an extract from the Gospels in Tamil, and it was sent not for the library but for the curiosity cabinet[???!!!].82
When Ziegenbalg and his associate Grundler needed more European support and were preparing for Ziegenbalg's journey to Germany, Denmark, and England, they paid Aleppa to write letters from exile in answer to the missionaries' questions. These answers were almost immediately translated or edited, annotated, and sent to Europe where they were published; but since Aleppa was in exile and could for various reasons not be named as a source, the missionaries decided to omit all names of correspondents. They tried to create the impression that these letters came from many different informants, and their habit of sometimes splitting a single letter into several pieces (p. 27) that supposedly came from different correspondents enhanced the readers' impression that a substantial number of Indians were involved....

The European readership learned about Indian monotheism from the very man who had introduced Ziegenbalg to Indian religions and had helped him find texts that supported this idea of Indian monotheism.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

On 19 September 1707, three days before the letter in which he announced his discovery of the Catholic books, he had written to the Danish King to say that he still found it a little too difficult to preach in Tamil, and restricted himself to reading passages from the Gospels about the life of Christ, and singing songs. Less than a month later, on 7 October, ... he also records that he is sending the Catholic translation of the Gospels to Europe.

-- Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the Tranquebar Mission, and `the Roman Horror', in Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau, eds., Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, vol. 2 (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2006), 797–811, by Will Sweetman--

By November, this “Malabarian Correspondence” was going well, and the missionaries began to think of translating some of the letters and sending them to Europe. In January, fifty-eight letters dated between October and December 1712, had been translated and provided with explanatory notes, and were sent to Anton Wilhelm Böhme in London. Fifty-five of the letters were published as the seventh instalment of the Hallesche Berichte in 1714. A further forty-six letters were sent to Halle in August 1714, of which forty-four were published as the eleventh instalment of the Hallesche Berichte in 1717. Selections from each collection were published in English translation in 1717 and 1719 respectively.

By 1714, the mission’s relations with the Danish authorities in Tranquebar had deteriorated to such an extent that Ziegenbalg decided to return to Europe in order to resolve the question of the mission’s privileges with the king and the directors of the Danish Company. While underway, he set down in Latin a grammar of Tamil, closely following a Tamil accidence, the Arte Tamulica, written by Balthasar da Costa SJ, and printed at Ambalakad around 1680, which he had been given by Hassius in 1707. The grammar was published in Halle in 1716.

Ziegenbalg returned to India in August 1716, bringing with him the woman he had married while in Europe, Maria Dorothea Saltzman. Although he continued to work on translation into Tamil—of the Old Testament and of works of Christian theology—his letters in the years leading up to his death are full of accounts of other work: preaching, printing, establishing schools, constructing a new church building, and defending the mission against its critics. Investigation of “heathenism” was delegated to a converted Tamil scholar, who was to draw up a lengthy book on the doctrines of the “heathen poets” ... In 1718, Ziegenbalg prepared for publication transcripts of twenty dialogues with Hindus and Muslims, which were published after his death (hb 15, 16, 17)....

[T]he stories presented in these works often reported in Ziegenbalg’s works on Hinduism, but their use of direct, colloquial language almost certainly influenced Ziegenbalg’s language in his translation of the Bible into Tamil...

[T]here is a collection of about a hundred Tamil palm-leaf manuscripts in Halle, most of these are Christian texts... eight of the manuscripts in Halle are works mentioned by Ziegenbalg in the third, “heathen,” section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica...

In 1731 Christoph Theodosius Walther compiled a new catalogue of Tamil works in the mission library. The manuscript, now in the Royal Library in Copenhagen (Ny. Kgl. Saml. 589C), restructures the catalogue, placing “the late Ziegenbalg’s recension of his Malabarian-heathen books” first. The sections listing “Moorish or Mohamedan books” and “Malabarian Roman books” follow. There are now thirteen Muslim works and twenty-nine Roman Catholic, but the greatest increase is in the fourth section, listing works produced by the Tranquebar missionaries themselves. Fifty-two such works on palm-leaves “some large, some small” are listed, all but one in Tamil. The final section lists fourteen works on paper, either in Tamil or “relating to Malabarian literature, religion, and philosophy.” This includes grammatical and lexicographic works, but also Ziegenbalg’s Genealogia der Malabarischen Götter, Gründler’s Medicus Malabaricus, and a translation into Tamil of Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ.


-- Bibliotheca Malabarica, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan

Manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Malabarica

The Sloane manuscript


41 Ziegenbalg’s catalogue of his library fared better than the library itself. There are three relatively complete manuscript copies still extant. The first, now in the British Library (Sloane 3014), was bought for Hans Sloane at auction in Copenhagen in 1726, from the library of Frederik Rostgaard, a collector. It consists only of the first 112 entries in the third section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica, entitled “Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher.” Rostgaard’s manuscript is likely to have been copied from the version of the Bibliotheca Malabarica sent by Ziegenbalg to Franz Julius Lütkens, the court preacher in Copenhagen.83 The manuscript was translated by Albertine Gaur,84 who appears not to have been aware of the manuscript in Halle, published by Wilhelm Germann in 1880.85 Gaur discusses and includes a partial transcription of Walther’s later catalogue of the mission library—which includes also extended versions of the other sections of Ziegenbalg’s catalogue—but the condition of the manuscript at the time prevented her from entering into a detailed discussion of its relation to the Sloane manuscript.86 Although Gaur “tried to follow the German original as closely as possible,” her translation is in places quite free, perhaps because she found Ziegenbalg’s German “cumbersome and at times rather vague.”87 Gaur provides modern transcriptions of Ziegenbalg’s phonetic transcription of Tamil titles, and comments occasionally on the accuracy of his attributions, but in general makes no systematic attempt at identifying the texts.88

The Halle manuscript

42 The manuscript of the Bibliotheca Malabarica in Halle (AFSt/M 2 C 1) is a draft copy of the version sent to Lütkens which, although it bears the same date, may have been kept in Tranquebar slightly longer for it includes an additional seven entries in the third section and otherwise differs slightly from the Sloane manuscript.89 The text was published almost in its entirety in 1880 in a Halle missionary magazine, but without any attempt at identification of the works listed. This manuscript was also described in a brief article which appeared in an East German journal in 1959, when a new catalogue was made of the Halle archive. The author noted that “It is impossible to determine from Halle whether that part of Ziegenbalg’s reading which is unpublished, or not mentioned in the literature, still exists somewhere in the form of old palm-leaf books, or is known at all. In order to establish this, one would have to consult manuscript catalogues and archive holdings on the spot in India.”90

43 In 1716, this manuscript was lent—together with a number of Ziegenbalg’s other major works—to Mathurin Veyssière de La Croze, the Librarian Royal at the Prussian court.91 La , a former Benedictine who had converted to Protestantism in 1696, made substantial use of Ziegenbalg’s works on Hinduism in the account of “l’Idolâtrie des Indes” in his Histoire du christianisme des Indes, published in 1724. In an earlier short tract on the same subject, La Croze had been forced to rely predominantly on sources emanating from the Catholic missions, above all those of the Jesuits. Although La Croze protested in his preface that he had no hatred for the Jesuits, and that he was motivated to combat their “pernicious errors” only by his desire to defend the truth, the virulently anti-Jesuit tone of his work makes clear how much it pained him to have to rely on their reports as sources.92 He therefore seized upon Ziegenbalg as a reliable Protestant source, arguing that he was to be preferred to Catholic authors for the care with which he reported not only what he had seen, but also what he had read.93 La Croze translated the substance of several entries in the Bibliotheca Malabarica,94 as well as some of the extracts from Tamil works given by Ziegenbalg elsewhere in his writings including Aṟupattuṇālu tiruviḷaiyāṭal purāṇam (BM 106),95 Tirikāla cakkaram (bm 110),96 and Puvaṉa cakkaram (bm 111).97 La Croze’s work was a sensational success, widely reviewed, and quickly translated into German.98 In it, at least a part of Ziegenbalg’s account of Tamil literature was made available to European readers.99

The Copenhagen manuscript

44 In 1731 Christoph Theodosius Walther compiled a new catalogue of Tamil works in the mission library. The manuscript, now in the Royal Library in Copenhagen (Ny. Kgl. Saml. 589C), restructures the catalogue, placing “the late Ziegenbalg’s recension of his Malabarian-heathen books” first. The sections listing “Moorish or Mohamedan books” and “Malabarian Roman books” follow. There are now thirteen Muslim works and twenty-nine Roman Catholic, but the greatest increase is in the fourth section, listing works produced by the Tranquebar missionaries themselves. Fifty-two such works on palm-leaves “some large, some small” are listed, all but one in Tamil.100 The final section lists fourteen works on paper, either in Tamil or “relating to Malabarian literature, religion, and philosophy.” This includes grammatical and lexicographic works, but also Ziegenbalg’s Genealogia der Malabarischen Götter, Gründler’s Medicus Malabaricus, and a translation into Tamil of Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ.

45 Of most interest here is the
first section, which has an additional thirty-three entries for “heathen” works. Some of these may have been works purchased by Ziegenbalg, others are explicitly said to have been acquired after his death. Although each of the additional thirty-three catalogue entries seems to refer to a different manuscript, it is not clear that each entry represents a distinct work. Thus, for example, Walther himself notes that a work he calls “Uppillācumaṟaṉ katai or Vīramāṟaṉ katai belongs as one piece with the book Tamiḻaṟivāḷ katai,”101 and he also lists separately the piramāttira paṭalam which is from the Yutta kāṇṭam of Kampaṉ’s Irāmāvatāram, other sections of which appear in the catalogue.102 A further eight entries represent copies of works listed in the Bibliotheca Malabarica, but not included in the list of the twenty-six works which Walther lists as those remaining from Ziegenbalg’s library. They are, then, most likely manuscripts purchased after Ziegenbalg’s death, although not explicitly identified as such.

46 In any case, the additional works listed by Walther do not by any means represent the whole of Ziegenbalg’s purchases during the years he was in India after 1708, but rather only those works that were still in the mission library in 1731. Walther states that many of the works purchased by Ziegenbalg, including many of those described in the 1708 catalogue, had been lost, destroyed, or damaged.103

The Mackenzie Collection manuscript

47 Finally there is a fourth, partial, version of the third section of Ziegenbalg’s catalogue, in the Mackenzie Collection.104 This is an English translation of the first forty-three entries. It is dated September 1802 and is entitled “An Account of some of the most esteemed Works in the Malabar or Tamul Language copied from a Paper communicated by Mr. Cockburne.” A few entries are abbreviated, and there are some annotations, including one which indicates the translator knew the list had been prepared by Ziegenbalg, but it is otherwise a straightforward translation. The probable source, and perhaps translator, of this version is Thomas Cockburn, who had been Commissary-General to Cornwallis during the Third Mysore War and was later a member of the Board of Revenue.
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The Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790–1792) was a conflict in South India between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company, the Kingdom of Travancore, the Maratha Empire, and the Nizam of Hyderabad. It was the third of four Anglo-Mysore Wars.

Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, and his father Hyder Ali before him, had previously fought twice with the forces of the British East India Company. The First Anglo-Mysore War, fought in the 1760s, had ended inconclusively on both sides, with treaty provisions including promises of mutual assistance in future conflicts. British failure to support Mysore in conflicts with the Maratha Empire and other actions supportive of Mysore's enemies led Hyder to develop a dislike for the British....

This war ended with the last British–Indian treaty with an Indian ruler on equal footing, the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore, which restored the status quo ante bellum under terms company officials such as Warren Hastings found extremely unfavourable for the British East India Company....

British General Charles, 2nd Earl Cornwallis became the Governor-General of India and Commander-in-Chief for the East India Company in 1786. While he formally abrogated agreements with the Marathas and Hyderabad that violated terms of the 1784 treaty, he sought informally to gain their support and that of the Nizam of Hyderabad, or at least their neutrality, in the event of conflict with Mysore.

In 1788, the company gained control of the Circar of Guntur, the southernmost of the Northern Circars, which the company had acquired under earlier agreements with the Nizam. In exchange, the company provided the Nizam with two battalions of company troops. Both of these acts placed British troops closer to Mysore, but also guaranteed the Nizam would support the British in the event of conflict....

Tipu then embarked on a campaign of harassing the British supply and communications, while screening the movements of his main force. In early November, he successfully misled Medows, moving much of his army north to attack the smaller Bengal force. This force, about 9,000 men led by Colonel Maxwell, had reached Kaveripattinam and strongly fortified his position. Unable to penetrate the defences, Tipu withdrew to the south on 14 November after learning that Medows was on his trail again. Medows and Maxwell joined forces on 17 November, and pursued Tipu, who had decided to make a move toward Trichinopoly. Unable to do more than pillage the town before Medows arrived, Tipu then moved on to rampage through the Carnatic, destroying towns and seizing supplies as he went. He ended up at the French outpost at Pondicherry, where he attempted to interest the French in supporting his efforts against the British. As France was then in the early stages of its revolution, these efforts were entirely unsuccessful. Medows at this point moved toward Madras, where he turned over command of his army to Lord Cornwallis....

British forces succeeded in taking control of the Malabar Coast late in 1790. One force under Colonel Hartley gained a decisive victory at Calicut in December, while a second under Robert Abercromby routed the Sultan at Cannanore a few days later....

Cornwallis took over the main Company army at Vellore on 29 January 1791. A week later he marched west, as if to pass through the Eastern Ghats at that point. This prompted Tipu to abandon Pondicherry and make haste for Bangalore, where he perceived his harem to be at some risk. Although Tipu placed defences on some of the passes, Cornwallis, after a number of feints, turned sharply north, and crossed the mountains at the Muglee Pass on 21 February against no opposition. He then continued to advance, against virtually no resistance, until he was very nearly before the gates of Bangalore on 5 March. Tipu had fortified the city and supplied the garrison, but he stayed with his main force on the outskirts of the Company positions as Cornwallis began siege operations. After six weeks of siege, in which the Company had to repeatedly beat off attacks and skirmishes from Tipu, they successfully stormed the citadel....

The relations between Cornwallis and the allies were difficult. The Marathan military leaders, Purseram Bhow and Hurry Punt, had to be bribed to stay with the army, and Cornwallis reported the Hyderabadi forces to be more of a hindrance than a help; one British observer wrote that they were a "disorderly rabble" and "not very creditable to the state of military discipline at Hyderabad"....

On 12 February, Abercromby arrived with the Bombay army, and the noose began to tighten around Tipu. By 23 February, Tipu began making overtures for peace talks, and hostilities were suspended the next day when he agreed to preliminary terms....

On 18 March 1792, Tipu agreed to the terms and signed the Treaty of Seringapatam, ending hostilities.

The war resulted in a sharp curtailment of Mysore's borders to the advantage of the Marathas, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Travancore and the Madras Presidency. The districts of Malabar, Salem, Bellary and Anantapur were ceded to the Madras Presidency.

A fourth and final war was fought between the British and Mysore in 1799, in which Seringapatam was taken, and Tipu was killed in its defence. The victors, rather than partitioning the country, forced Tipu's family into exile and restored control of Mysore to the Wadiyars.

-- Third Anglo-Mysore War, by Wikipedia

But going back to the preface of the standard work and translation by Shamasastry (1967: vi), it is revealed that the manuscript of Kautilya’s Arthasastra was actually discovered by a person described merely as ‘a Pandit of the Tanjore District’ who handed it over ‘to the Mysore Government Oriental Library’ of which Shamasastry was the librarian.

-- Review and extension of Bhattacharyya’s Modern Accounting Concepts in Kautilya’s Arthasastra, by Richard Mattessich

In September 1802 he left Madras for Calcutta and from there went on to Britain in December. In 1812 he mentioned the “Danish missionaries” when giving evidence to a select committee of the House of Commons on the renewal of the East India Company’s charter, speaking against the idea that the Company had a duty to propagate Christianity in India.105 A scholarly interest in India is perhaps indicated by the appearance of his name in the list of members in the first issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1834. He is thus likely both to have known Mackenzie and to have been disposing of papers in September 1802, on the eve of his return to Britain. What is not clear is how he came by Ziegenbalg’s catalogue, or why he had only the first part of it. In the last quarter of the eighteenth century the missionary Christian Samuel John had collected Tamil works to augment the remnants of Ziegenbalg’s library still in the mission’s possession, and may perhaps have had a copy of the Bibliotheca Malabarica.106 John, an honorary member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,107 and a fellow missionary with similar scholarly interests, Johann Peter Rottler, were in direct contact with Mackenzie,108 but to the best of our knowledge there is no evidence that they were in contact with Cockburn.109

Ziegenbalg’s collection

48 One of the standard tropes of early European writing about Indian literature is the idea that the Brahmins were unwilling to allow access to the Vedas or to teach Sanskrit. As early as 1651, the Dutch chaplain Abraham Roger reported that only Brahmins were entitled to read the Veda,110 adding that it was written in Sanskrit like all the “hidden things” (verborghentheden) of their heathenism. As late as 1776, Nathaniel Halhed complained that the pandits were “to a man resolute in rejecting all his solicitations for instruction” in Sanskrit and that the “persuasion and influence of the Governor-General [Hastings] were in vain exerted to the same purpose.”111 Jawaharlal Nehru, in his Discovery of India, made much of William Jones’s supposed difficulties in finding a Sanskrit teacher.112 Nevertheless Europeans had in fact begun learning Sanskrit much earlier, as early as the late sixteenth century. In the seventeenth century, the Jesuit Roberto de Nobili had mastered Sanskrit and even Roger was able to include translations from the Sanskrit works of Bhartṛhari, albeit only at one remove, from the Portuguese version prepared by his Brahmin informant.

49 Although a handful of Europeans had acquired manuscripts of Indian religious literature during the seventeenth century, and some even published versions of these texts in European languages, acquisition of manuscripts on a large scale did not begin until the eighteenth century. The first systematic, state-sponsored programme of this sort was undertaken in the 1720s by French Jesuits in the Carnatic mission at the behest of the royal librarian in Paris.113 At his own initiative, Ziegenbalg had begun having copies made of Tamil texts some two decades earlier, and within two months of his arrival in India. At the time he could barely have been able to communicate in Tamil, much less to read literary works. He was nevertheless convinced that the “secrets,” or “arcana of the Tamils’ theology and philosophy,” were contained within them, and therefore had them copied “at great expense” at a time when his letters are full of appeals to Christians in Europe for financial support.114

50 A key target for Jesuits’ collections on behalf of the French royal library was acquisition of the Vedas, which was achieved—at least partially and after much difficulty—in the early 1730s.115 While Ziegenbalg shows little interest in either Sanskrit or the Vedas,
Ziegenbalg first mentions having this schoolmaster copy out books for him in a letter dated 2 September 1706. Like most of the very earliest of Ziegenbalg’s known letters, the manuscript of this letter is not extant, but a number of printed editions exist. Most often cited is an abbreviated version, published in the 1708 in the second edition of Ziegenbalg’s early letters edited by Joachim Lange under the title Merckwürdige Nachricht. An English translation of this version by Anton Wilhelm Böhme was published in the following year, under the title Propagation of the Gospel in the East. A much fuller version of the letter had already appeared in German in 1708 in a kind of unofficial third edition of the Merckwürdige Nachricht, edited by Christian Gustav Bergen. The letter is roughly twice as long in Bergen’s edition which, together with other material included in Bergen’s edition but not available elsewhere, suggests he had access to the letters in manuscript. The letter includes an account of Brahmā’s revelation of four books, one of which was lost along with one of Brahmā’s heads when he contested Śiva’s supremacy. In the version edited by Lange, we read that while Ziegenbalg asked the schoolmaster to transcribe the remaining three of these for him: “he could not bring himself to do it, for it would be against their law to allow a Christian to have access to them.” In Bergen’s version, however, we read that the three books are being written out in Tamil for Ziegenbalg. Ziegenbalg states only that this had never before been done for any Christian, adding that they would not have done it for him either, had it not been for his familiarity and friendship with them. The account of their revelation by Brahmā suggests that the four books in question—one being lost—are the four Vedas, but this is very probably a detail taken from Baldaeus, on whom Ziegenbalg later admits to having relied in this letter (mh 14). Ziegenbalg’s description of the content of the books suggests that the schoolmaster had identified some Tamil works which he regarded as in some sense equivalent to the Veda. While it is impossible to identify these three books with any particular works in Ziegenbalg’s later collection, we can identify with some confidence other works which he would have obtained from the schoolmaster.

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan

like Roger he does suggest that the doctrines of the Hindus are somehow secret or hidden. Although at this early stage he does not seem to have had difficulty obtaining texts to copy, he attributes this to his personal relationship with those who provided him with texts: “If they did not have such a great regard for me and also feel my genuine love for them in return, they would not let me have these at all, even if I were to give them a gold piece for every page.”116 Sascha Ebeling notes that in the pre-modern period Tamil manuscripts were

a deeply personal medium unlike the “publicly” circulating book, which was a saleable commodity. Since for centuries the ultimate goal of scholarly activity was to know a text by heart and be able to explicate and elaborate on every aspect of it, a manuscript served mainly as an aide-mémoire, or as a kind of textbook for teaching young pulavar apprentices. Of course, manuscripts were copied and re-copied, and teachers often dictated texts to students so that several copies could be made simultaneously, but these copies then belonged to the individual student or teacher, and they would not generally be lent to anyone.117


51 Ebeling goes on to note that there were few manuscript libraries, and that only a few elite scholars would have had access to those which did exist, such as at the Śaiva maṭams (Sanskrit: maṭha) at Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram. The Tarumapuram maṭam is quite close to Tranquebar, now about thirty kilometres by road, and the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai is another twenty kilometres to the southwest. Although Ziegenbalg never explicitly mentions either maṭam, there is reason to believe that at least a part of his manuscript collection was derived from the libraries at the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram maṭams.

The sources of Ziegenbalg’s collection

52 At first Ziegenbalg obtained books from those who instructed him and his colleague in Tamil, among them the elderly schoolmaster who, according to Ziegenbalg, was able to recite the whole of Tirukkuṟaḷ and “many other difficult books accurately from memory.”118 Ziegenbalg first mentions having this schoolmaster copy out books for him in a letter dated 2 September 1706. Like most of the very earliest of Ziegenbalg’s known letters, the manuscript of this letter is not extant,119 but a number of printed editions exist. Most often cited is an abbreviated version, published in the 1708 in the second edition of Ziegenbalg’s early letters edited by Joachim Lange under the title Merckwürdige Nachricht.120 An English translation of this version by Anton Wilhelm Böhme was published in the following year, under the title Propagation of the Gospel in the East. A much fuller version of the letter had already appeared in German in 1708 in a kind of unofficial third edition of the Merckwürdige Nachricht, edited by Christian Gustav Bergen.121 The letter is roughly twice as long in Bergen’s edition which, together with other material included in Bergen’s edition but not available elsewhere, suggests he had access to the letters in manuscript. The letter includes an account of Brahmā’s revelation of four books, one of which was lost along with one of Brahmā’s heads when he contested Śiva’s supremacy. In the version edited by Lange, we read that while Ziegenbalg asked the schoolmaster to transcribe the remaining three of these for him: “he could not bring himself to do it, for it would be against their law to allow a Christian to have access to them.”122 In Bergen’s version, however, we read that the three books are being written out in Tamil for Ziegenbalg. Ziegenbalg states only that this had never before been done for any Christian, adding that they would not have done it for him either, had it not been for his familiarity and friendship with them.123 The account of their revelation by Brahmā suggests that the four books in question—one being lost—are the four Vedas, but this is very probably a detail taken from Baldaeus,124 on whom Ziegenbalg later admits to having relied in this letter (mh 14). Ziegenbalg’s description of the content of the books125 suggests that the schoolmaster had identified some Tamil works which he regarded as in some sense equivalent to the Veda.126 While it is impossible to identify these three books with any particular works in Ziegenbalg’s later collection, we can identify with some confidence other works which he would have obtained from the schoolmaster.

Aleppa was born around 1660 into a family (probably of higher Tamil Shudra caste) that had long worked for Europeans. Around 1700 he was "Ober-Tolk" (head translator) of the Danish trading company and the top representative of the Tamil inhabitants of the city (Grundler and Ziegenbalg 1998:18). It is not clear for what grave reasons this influential man was banished from Tranquebar; but his value to the mission is reflected both in the decision to let him return to the city and in his extraordinarily high yearly salary of 100 thalers, which surpassed even that of European employees (p. 20). After two years of work with the missionaries, Aleppa was again expelled in 1709. However, the missionaries managed to keep him on their payroll as collaborator from afar. And collaborate he did: in 1710-11 he was even imprisoned by the king of neighboring Tancavur for having "revealed all the secrets of their law and worship [Gesetzes und Gottesdienstes]" to the missionaries (p. 21).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App
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53 Ziegenbalg’s collection of Tamil texts probably began with those which formed the core of the curriculum of Tamil village schools[???!!!], the so-called tiṇṇai or pyal schools named for the verandah on which lessons took place.127 According to one nineteenth-century account,128 [John Murdoch, Classified Catalogue of Tamil Printed Books with Introductory Notices(Madras: The Christian Vernacular Education Society, 1865), 215–17.] these would have included works on ethics and collections of proverbs,129 [Ātticūṭi, Ulakanīti, Koṉṟai vēntaṉ and Mūturai are among those mentioned explicitly by Murdoch. To these we can probably add Nalvaḻi and Nīti veṇpā, which are listed together with Āṭṭicūṭi, Ulakanīti, Koṉṟai vēntaṉ and Mūturai in the Bibliotheca Malabarica (BM 100–105).] devotional works,130 [Murdoch mentions two catakam texts, the Aṟappaḷḷīcura catakam of Ampalacāṇa Kavirāyar and the Nārāyaṇa catakam of Maṇavāḷa. The former may be later than Ziegenbalg (cf. Kamil V. Zvelebil, Lexicon of Tamil Literature, Handbuch der Orientalistik. Abteilung 2: Indien, 9 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995), 34); the latter is in his collection.] and Tirukkuṟaḷ in addition to poetical vocabularies131 [Murdoch does not name any particular works, but among those in Ziegenbalg’s collection, Tivākaram and Cūṭāmaṇi nikaṇṭu, would fit the description. Gover mentions “the Nighantu” among the works forming “the grammatical portion of study” (Gover, “Pyal Schools in Madras”, 54).] and “local purāṇas.”
Section II. Educational Books.

Introduction.


Indigenous Education. — Before giving a list of educational books, the instruction imparted in native schools may be briefly noticed.

Reading and Writing. — These are taught together. After the astrologer has selected a lucky day, the child is sent to school. He is first taught to repeat the Alphabet. This is generally done without paying any attention to the characters. A boy may go over ana, acana, &c. very glibly, and yet be unable to distinguish one of them. Next the letters are traced with the finger on sand,— the teacher, or a monitor, at first guiding the motion. In some cases, the third stage is to follow, with a stylus, large letters scratched on a palm leaf. In the ordinary village schools, neither paper nor ink is employed — the leaf of the palmyra palm is the sole material. Tamils learning Sanskrit, and Muhammadans write on boards with chalk. In town schools, paper is coming into use.

When the Tamil alphabet has been acquired, the Attisudi of Auvaiyar is next taught. Its laconic expressions in the poetical dialect, are quite unintelligible to the children, and, indeed, in many cases to the teacher. No lesson is ever explained. It is considered that all the children have to do is to read and commit to memory — the meaning they will learn when they grow up. The Dlaka Niti, Konraiventhan, Muthurai, &c, are next studied; works like Arappalisura Satakam, Manavala Narayana Saiakam, the Kural, and Naladiyar, are read by the more advanced scholars. Local Puranas and poetical vocabularies are also frequently used. Letter writing is taught; as invitations to marriages, letters on village affairs, bonds, &c.

Arithmetic. — This is the favorite branch of study throughout India. The popularity of a teacher depends greatly upon it. The object is to make, the children expert at bazar calculations. Hence little value is attached to the questions with which English books on arithmetic are often filled. A parent thinks that his child may never once in his life require to make long computations on slates, but that he may be cheated every day if ignorant of common accounts. In vernacular schools under Europeans, native arithmetic is often neglected. This greatly damages them in the estimation of the people. While arithmetic is taught according to the European system, native accounts should also receive attention.

The Tamils are behind the Telugus in not having a cipher. Their tables in some respects are peculiar. The children are first taught to repeat the numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. The native table, Ponnilakkam (money numbers), begins with what is usually considered the lowest fraction, 1/320. Sometimes the child commences with this number as the smallest! Next follow 1/100 1/80, &c. Fractions with 3 and 7, or their multiples as denominators, cannot be represented. What, is termed Nellilakkam (paddy numbers) is next taught. It begins with 1/40 of a measure of paddy, next 1/20, [illegible].

The Multiplication Table (Ensuvadi) follows. It is divided into two principal parts, — the multiplication of integers and of fractions. It begins as follows : 1 x 1 = 1, 1 x X = X, 2 x 1 = 2, 2X x 1 = 2X, 3 x 1 = 3, 3X x 1 = 3X, &c, as far as X x 1 = X, C x 1 = C. The last column of the multiplication of integers begins with 1 x X = X, X x X = C, and ends with CM x X = XCM, XCM x X = ten crores. The last number is expressed in words as if it could not be represented by numerals.

An attempt is made to represent the Tamil notation in the preceding examples. The Arabic numbers are now rapidly coming into use.

The multiplication of fractions, grain measure, weights and measures, follow the table of integral numbers. Then come the Yugas, the names of the sixty years of the Hindu cycle, the seasons, months, phases of the moon, days of the week, lucky and unlucky times of each day, the direction of Siva's trident each day, the 27 asterisms, signs of the Zodiac, and other matters connected with astrological purposes.

A brief explanation may be given about Siva's trident. On Monday and Saturday, Siva is said to hold his trident from the east. No one should, on these days, travel in that direction. On other days, persons must not go to the west, &c. Such absurd superstitious ideas interfere greatly with work.

The tables are learned by sheer reiteration. Every day, morning and evening, when the other lessons are over, the children stand in a row; one acts as fugleman, and all repeat after him, at the pitch of their voice.

A. D. Campbell, Esq., Collector of Bellary, in his Report to Sir T. Munro, thus estimated the instruction given in Native Schools in his District: —

"Few teachers can explain, and still fewer scholars understand the purport of the numerous books they learn to repeat from memory. Every school boy can repeat verbatim a vast number of verses, of the meaning of which he knows no more than the parrot which has been taught to utter certain words. Accordingly from studies in which he has spent many a day of laborious, but fruitless toil, the native scholar gains no improvement, except the exercise of memory and the power to read and write on the common business of life. He makes no addition to his stock of useful knowledge and acquires no moral impressions. He has spent his youth in reading syllables, not words, and on entering into life he meets with hundreds and thousands of words, of the meaning of which he cannot form even the most distant conjecture; and as to the declension of a noun or the conjugation of a verb he knows no more than of the most abstruse problem in Euclid."

The late Director of Public Instruction remarks, after quoting the above, "The foregoing picture, it is to be feared, is still applicable to the quality of the instruction imparted in a large proportion of the present native schools."* [Selections from the Records of the Madras Government, No. 2; p. 3.]

School Book Societies. — The Tranquebar and other Missionaries prepared some books for the schools under their care; a few were also published by the Madras Branch of the Christian Knowledge Society.

In 1817 the Calcutta School Book Society was established, under the patronage of the Marquis of Hastings. This led shortly afterwards to the formation of a similar society at Madras....

-- John Murdoch, Classified Catalogue of Tamil Printed Books with Introductory Notices (Madras: The Christian Vernacular Education Society, 1865), 215–17.

Brief mention must be made of another Scotchman, John Murdoch, who arrived in India in 1844 and spent sixty years in her service, chiefly in the production and distribution of Christian school books and other literature in English and also in the various vernaculars throughout India. He founded the South India Christian School Book Society, which was afterwards merged into the Christian Vernacular Education Society, of which he was the first travelling agent and Indian secretary, and till his death in 1904 he remained the very soul of its existence. At the age of eighty-five years he was still busy, and while with pen in hand he was correcting a proof of one of his writings, death called him painlessly away. The Society was formed by Christian people in England as a memorial of the Indian Mutiny, and a large Memorial Hall was erected in Madras, as a token of gratitude for deliverance and also of forgiveness of their enemies. The two principal objects of the Society were the training of Indian masters for the instruction of Indian children, and the production of a Christian literature in the chief languages of India. The great denominations of England all joined in this great movement. Three training institutions were founded in different parts of India, in which more than 1200 teachers were trained. This work was abandoned about the year 1883 because these institutions ultimately became the training colleges of the missions in whose fields they were situated. The publication of school books and other Christian literature proved a most useful undertaking. During the first ten years of its existence 250 different works were published in fourteen languages, and the number of copies issued was three million. The society’s books were used in the schools of twenty missionary societies, and fifty book depots had been opened in the most important cities of India. Bringing this history up to the present date, it is not possible to give the total circulation of school books since the formation of the society. The total circulation of all its publications, by the Madras branch alone, from 1859 to 1906, amounted to over 21,000,000 copies, of which three-fourths are estimated to have been school books. In addition, there were many books issued by the northern branches in Marathi, Urdu, Hindi, etc., of which particulars are not available. More than two million school books were issued by the Madras branch during the last three years. These books consist of several sets of Readers in English and in the vernaculars, also Dictionaries, Geographies, Grammars, Histories, and scientific text-books. For the most part they are well written, and printed and bound in good style, and ... there is no doubt as to the great help that this society affords to missionaries of all denominations.

-- Missionary education in India, by Huizinga, Henry


To these another nineteenth-century account adds Naṉṉūl, Tamil versions of the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa,132 [Gover mentions explicitly the Kiruṣṇaṉ tūtu carukkam (an episode from the Uṭṭiyōka paruvam of Villiputtūr āḻvār’s Pāratam) and Kampaṉ’s Irāmāvatāram. Ziegenbalg had the former, and three chapters of the Yutta kāṇṭam of the latter.] the Pañcatantra, and a collection of folk narratives (katai).133 Virtually the whole of the tiṇṇai curriculum—at least as it is reported in these two nineteenth-century accounts—is represented in Ziegenbalg’s library.[???]

54 Ziegenbalg maintained six Tamil scribes in his household134 and would thus have been able to acquire copies of all of these works in the traditional manner described by Ebeling, that is, by having the schoolmaster dictate them to the scribes. The schoolmaster may also have provided other texts, and Ziegenbalg directly ascribes one book, a work on the human body (bm 98), to him. There were limits to this method, however. The schoolmaster had a copy of Kampaṉ’s Irāmāvatāram, but it was too large to be copied135 and he was unwilling to sell his copy to Ziegenbalg. In the letter that accompanied his catalogue when he sent it to Europe, Ziegenbalg also notes that having books copied was expensive, and that he therefore sent his scribes “many days’ journey” into the hinterland of Tranquebar where they were able to buy books cheaply from the widowed wives of Brahmins.136

55 Ziegenbalg also mentions that the schoolmaster’s son, whom he names as Kaṇapati Vāttiyār, “obtained very many books for me.”137 Vāttiyār, the Tamil form of the Sanskrit upādhyāya, refers to a teacher and scholar and Ziegenbalg states that Kaṇapati exceeded his father’s scholarship (hb 6: 263). Kaṇapati is much discussed in the mission archives because of the storm created by his [Catholic] conversion in 1709, which almost certainly brought Ziegenbalg’s relationship with his father to an end[???] (hb 6: 264–65). Ziegenbalg describes at length the attempts made by his parents and friends to dissuade Kaṇapati from conversion, at first with pleas and promises and finally “with violence.”

56 Ziegenbalg had already noted the previous year that once they knew he was using their books against them, the Tamils became reluctant to provide him with copies of them.138 It is nevertheless perhaps significant that in a letter written at the height of the storm over Kaṇapati’s conversion, just a few days prior to his long-awaited baptism, Ziegenbalg again notes the difficulty of obtaining Tamil books.139 For it is possible that Kaṇapati’s father was not the only member of his family who helped Ziegenbalg to obtain books.

57 One of those who tried to prevent Kaṇapati’s conversion was his father-in-law, a maṇiyakkāraṉ. [headman / tax collector] 140 [Ziegenbalg to Joachim Lange, Tranquebar, 23 October 1709, in ibid., 143.] We can perhaps identify him with a maṇiyakkāraṉ called Kaḷiyapiḷḷai whom Ziegenbalg describes variously as as “revenue officer” (Zöllner) and headman among the Tamils.141 Kaḷiyapiḷḷai is also said by Ziegenbalg to have provided him with “various of his books,” including one which Ziegenbalg ascribes to Kaḷiyapiḷḷai’s father (bm 91). This is a varukka kōvai on Nākappaṭṭiṉam,142 and is one of several works in Ziegenbalg’s collection relating to Nākappaṭṭiṉam.143
Nagapattinam... In the 16th century, the Portuguese established a base at Nagapattinam. In 1660 the city fell to the Netherlands and remained the most important Dutch possession in India before being conquered by the British in 1781.

-- Nagapattinam, by Wikipedia

While we cannot be sure that the maṇiyakkāraṉ called Kaḷiyapiḷḷai is the same maṇiyakkāraṉ who was Kaṇapati’s father-in-law, Kaṇapati may well have had familial connections with Nākappaṭṭiṉam. Some time after 1717, Kaṇapati converted to Catholicism and by 1727, when two Tranquebar missionaries met him, he had reverted to Śaiva practice and was living in Nākappaṭṭiṉam (hb 29: 496).

58 Whether we have here one maṇiyakkāraṉ or two, the fact that some of Ziegenbalg’s books were supplied by a maṇiyakkāraṉ points to an intriguing possible connection with the manuscript culture of the maṭams at Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram. The term maṇiyakkāraṉ can, as Ziegenbalg notes, refer to a village headman, one who has mānya, or tax-free, rights in land, but the term is also used by the Śaiva maṭams to refer to those who collect rent on their behalf.144 It is at least possible, that this was the position of Kaḷiyapiḷḷai and/or Kaṇapati’s father-in-law. Despite their importance for Tamil literary culture in the late medieval145 [Zvelebil’s discussion of the literary tradition associated with the maṭams is contained in chapter 10, “Late medieval period (A. D. 1200–1750)” (Kamil V. Zvelebil, Tamil Literature, Handbuch der Orientalistik, Zweite Abteilung, Indien; 2. Bd., 1. Abschnitt (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), 198–232.] and modern periods,146 [Ebeling (Colonizing the Realm of Words, 57–62) notes the maṭams’connections with Mīṉāṭcicuntaram Piḷḷai, U. Vē. Cāminātaiyar, and Āṟumuka Nāvalar, and their role in educating many other Tamil scholars of the nineteenth century.] there are relatively few studies of these maṭams.147 [By far the most detailed study of the two older maṭams and the Tiruppaṉantāḷ maṭam, established in the early eighteenth century, is Koppedrayer’s doctoral thesis (cited above, 13). Parts of this work have been published in a series of articles (“Are Śūdras Entitled to Ride in the Palanquin?”, Contributions to Indian Sociology 25, no. 2 (1991): 191–210; “The Varṇāśramacandrika and the Śūdra’s Right to Preceptorhood: The Social Background of a Philosophical Debate in Late Medieval South India”, Journal of Indian Philosophy 19, no. 3 (1991): 297–314; “Remembering Tirumālikaittēvar: The Relationship between an Early Śaiva Mystic and a South Indian Matam”, East and West 43, nos. 1–4 (1993): 169–83; “Putting the Picture Together: Ati Amāvācai at Dharmapuram”, East and West 49, nos. 1–4 (1999): 195–216; “The Interweave of Place, Space, and Biographical Discourse at a South Indian Religious Centre”, in Pilgrims, Patrons, and Place: localizing sanctity in Asian religions, ed. Phyllis Granoff and Koichi Shinohara (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003), 279–96). In addition there is a helpful study of the contemporary Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam by Glenn Yocum (“Non-Brahman Tamil Saiva Mutt”). Geoffrey Oddie provides information, drawn from revenue records, about the temples controlled by the maṭams in the nineteenth-century and other information from legal records of disputes between the Tarumapuram and Tiruppaṉantāḷ maṭams (“The Character, Role and Significance of Non-Brahmin Saivite Maths in Tanjore District in the Nineteenth Century”, in Changing South Asia: Religion and Society, ed. Kenneth Ballhatchet and David D. Taylor, vol. 1 (Hong Kong: Published for the Centre of South Asian Studies in the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, by Asian Research Service, 1984), 37–50, reprinted with some revisions in Hindu and Christian in South-East India (Richmond: Curzon Press, 1991), 98–118). K Nambi Arooran provides brief details about the history of the maṭams in two short articles (“The Origin of Three Saiva Mathas in Tanjavur District”, in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference-Seminar of Tamil Studies, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, January 1981, ed. M. Arunachalam, vol. 2 (Madras: International Association of Tamil Research, 1981), 12–77–87; “The Changing Role of Three Saiva Maths in Tanjore District from the Beginning of the 20th Century”, in Changing South Asia: Religion and Society, ed. Kenneth Ballhatchet and David D. Taylor, vol. 1 (Hong Kong: Published for the Centre of South Asian Studies in the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, by Asian Research Service, 1984), 51–58). Ebeling (Colonizing the Realm of Words, 307) cites a recent short history in Tamil of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam (Ci. Makāliṅkam, Tirukkayilāya paramparait Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai ātīṉam varālaṟṟuc curukkam. Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai: Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai ātīṉam Caracuvati Makāl Nūlnilaiya Āyvu Maiyam, 2002).]

Maṭams, paṇṭārams, and Ziegenbalg’s library

59 Although the institutional form of the maṭam is referred to in inscriptions from the Tamil region from as early as the ninth century,148 the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram maṭams were established only in the sixteenth century.149 Kay Koppedrayer distinguishes these institutions—together with the Tiruppaṉantāḷ maṭam, an eighteenth-century subsidiary of the Tarumapuram maṭam— from others designated with the same term,150 and argues that the usual gloss of maṭam in English as “monastery” or “seminary” is unhelpful in understanding their character and their role in Tamil society, preferring instead the more neutral “centre” or “institution.”151 She argues that they are best characterised as institutions housing lineages. The maṭams’ conception of themselves as lineages, descending ultimately from Śiva himself on Mount Kailasa is, as will be seen below, important in establishing a link between the maṭams and one Tamil text which was of formative importance for Ziegenbalg’s understanding of Hinduism.

60 Crucially, Koppedrayer also clarifies the term “paṇṭāram,” which is much used in Ziegenbalg’s own writings as well as in later mission reports and histories of the Tranquebar mission.152 In the secondary literature this term is usually glossed “non-brahmin Śaiva priest.”153 Koppedrayer notes that in Cōḻa and other inscriptions the term refers to a temple’s treasury and, by extension, to officials concerned with the financial affairs of the temple or the management of temple endowments. As these inscriptions also imply these temple agents were ascetics, or “members of spiritual lineages,” Koppedrayer suggests that the term “paṇṭāram” came to be used for members of lineages of the sort institutionalised in the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram maṭams.154 She notes, however, that although the term is used in relation to the maṭams in later inscriptions, court records, and newspaper articles, the term is not used in the maṭams’ own literature, or by employees or supporters of the maṭams. It is, then, an outsider’s term for the members of the maṭam lineages. She suggests two reasons for this: first, that the term retains, in the eyes of the members of the lineage, a suggestion of a primarily administrative rather than religious role. Second, she notes that the same term is also used to refer to “members of a low-caste grouping who are traditionally involved in the maintenance of goddess shrines [who] sometimes officiate as low-caste priests, serving an even lower caste clientele,” with whom members of the maṭam lineages would not want to be associated.155 The two senses of the term—lineage member and low-caste priest—are often conflated in the historiography of the Tranquebar mission,156 obscuring what is probably the primary referent of the term in Ziegenbalg’s writing.157

61 At a number of points Ziegenbalg refers to “the paṇṭārams” in terms which suggest he thought of them as the keepers of Tamil literature. Thus he notes that a commentary on the Aṟupattuṇālu tiruviḷaiyāṭal purāṇam “is found only among the Brahmins and Paṇṭārams.”158 In December 1707, Ziegenbalg records his attempt to obtain manuscripts from a “prominent” Hindu and Muslim who were visiting him. When assured by his visitors that he would form a much better opinion of the Hindus and Muslims if he had read through their books, Ziegenbalg immediately called for one of his scribes and had him write out a list of “a considerable number of [Tamil] books” and lay it before them. While admitting that they themselves possessed only very few of the listed books, his visitors promised to help him secure them from their “paṇṭārams, brahmans and schoolteachers.” They added, however, that in order to understand the books he had listed, it would be necessary to wake their authors from the dead.159

62 Ziegenbalg had a number of works directly connected with the maṭams. These include two works which he ascribes to “Ñānappirakācar Paṇṭāram,”160 the preceptor of Ñāṉacampantar, founder of the Tarumapuram maṭam. Another work in Ziegenbalg’s collection, Puḷḷirukkuvēḷūr muttukkumāracāmi piḷḷaittamiḻ (bm 39) on Murukaṉ at Vaitīcuvaraṉkōyil, ascribed by Ziegenbalg to “Kumarakuruparar Paṇṭāram,” is a known work of Kumarakuruparar, who was a disciple of the fourth head of the Tarumapuram maṭam, Mācilāmaṇi Tēcikar.161 The Vaitīcuvaraṉkōyil temple was managed by the Tarumapuram maṭam.162 Ziegenbalg has a work of the Neñcu viṭutūtu or “messenger poem” genre which he ascribes to “a Paṇṭāram whose name I have not been able to find out” (BM 93). The best-known example of this genre is of course Umāpati Civācāriyar’s early fourteenth-century work but, given that Ziegenbalg has none of the other fourteen Caiva cittānta cāttiraṅkaḷ, it seems more likely that this is a later work in the messenger poem genre by an author associated with one of the maṭams.

63 There are a number of other works in Ziegenbalg’s collection which have more indirect links to the maṭams.163 He had a number of temple purāṇas and, as Shulman notes, most of the temple purāṇas written from the sixteenth century “were composed by scholars associated with these institutions.”164 More broadly, the maṭams were important repositories of Tamil religious literature going well beyond their own sectarian affiliation with Śaiva orthodoxy.165 While we cannot be sure which of the other works in his collection were obtained from the maṭams, perhaps through his links with them through Kaṇapati and Kaḷiyapiḷḷai, many of the works in his collection are likely also to have been found in the maṭam libraries.166

The Tirikāla cakkaram and the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter

64 There is one work in particular, of fundamental importance to Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism, which is closely linked to the traditions of the Śaiva maṭams and may well have been obtained by Ziegenbalg through his links with them. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica (bm 110), Ziegenbalg names this work as Tirikāla cakkaram and describes it as “a mathematical description of the seven underworlds and the seven worlds above, together with the fourteen seas which lie between the fourteen worlds. Likewise an account of their paradise, or Kailācam, which is the seat of Īcuvarī with many hundreds of thousands of idols.” He adds the remarkable claim that it is “virtually the basis of all other Malabarian books, since everything is based on the principles contained in it.”

Buddhist Theory of the Universe.

This, our human, world is only one of a series which together form a universe or chiliocosm, of which there are many.

Each universe, set in unfathomable space, rests upon a warp and woof of "blue air" or wind, liked crossed thunderbolts (vajra), hard and imperishable as diamonds (vajra?), upon which is set "the body of the waters," upon which is a foundation of gold, on which is set the earth, from the axis of which towers up the great Olympus— Mt. Meru, 84,000 miles high, surmounted by the heavens, and overlying the hills.

In the ocean around this central mountain, the axis of the universe, are set the four great continental worlds with their satellites, all with bases of solid gold in the form of a tortoise — as this is a familiar instance to the Hindu mind of a solid floating on the waters. And the continents are separated from Mt. Meru by seven concentric rings of golden mountains, the inmost being 40,000 miles high, and named "The Yoke" (Yugandara), alternating with seven oceans, of fragrant milk, curds, butter, blood or sugar-cane juice, poison or wine, fresh water and salt water. These oceans diminish in width and depth from within outwards from 20,000 to 625 miles, and in the outer ocean lie the so-called continental worlds....


In the very centre of this cosmic system stands ''The king of mountains," Mount Meru, towering erect "like the handle of a mill-stone," while half-way up its side is the great wishing tree, the prototype of our "Christmas tree," and the object of contention between the gods and the Titans. Meru has square sides of gold and jewels. Its eastern face is crystal (or silver), the south is sapphire or lapis lazuli (vaidurya) stone, the west is ruby (padmaraga), and the north is gold, and it is clothed with fragrant flowers and shrubs. It has four lower compartments before the heavens are reached. The lowest of these is inhabited by the Yaksha genii — holding wooden plates. Above this is "the region of the wreath-holders" (Skt., Srag-dhara), which seems to be a title of the bird-like, or angelic winged Garudas. Above this dwell the "eternally exalted ones," above whom are the Titans....

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell, M.B., F.L.S., F.R.G.S., Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Anthropological Institute, etc., Surgeon-Major H.M. Bengal Army, 1895

While the Tirikāla cakkaram is, to the best of our knowledge, unknown to the scholarship on Tamil literature167
Kamil Zvelebil, the great Czech scholar of Tamil literature, describes this section of the work as “a relatively complete account of Tamil literature.” By contrast, Hans-Werner Gensichen, a leading historian of mission, characterised it as a jumble of “grammatical and mythological works, songs and stories, philosophy and pornography, astrology and theology.”...

One of the problems, exemplified by the contrasting assessments of Zvelebil and Gensichen, is that scholars of Tamil literature have for the most part been relatively uninterested in Ziegenbalg’s pioneering efforts, and historians of mission have lacked sufficient knowledge of Tamil literature to make an accurate assessment of them....

Ziegenbalg had copies of both Tolkāppiyam (bm 1) and Naṉṉūl (bm 3), but found them “hard beyond all measure.” As noted, his initial knowledge of Tamil grammar came instead from the Jesuit Arte Tamulica....

Tamil manuals of literary genres (pāṭṭiyal) produced from the twelfth century onward attempt to classify the literature which proliferated from about the eighth to the eighteenth centuries into genres which are usually labelled prabhanda (Tamil pirapantam, “composition”) or ciṟṟilakkiyam (“minor genre”). While the idea that there were ninety-six such genres was conventional from the sixteenth century, the actual number varied greatly and the total number of such genres identified may be twice as many, indicating that this is perhaps best thought of as a residual category. Genres are defined according to a wide range of criteria, relating to the form, length, and content of the works. The lack of consistency in definition and application of the criteria is such that Zvelebil, in his “Blueprint for a History of Tamil Literature,” identified this simply as “The problem of prabandhas.”...

Finally, we should note the presence in Ziegenbalg’s collection of a relatively large number of works on astrology (e.g., bm 75, 81) and on various forms of divination, for example, from the calls of animals (bm 82), observation of the breath (bm 73), or physiognomy (bm 113)....John Samuel estimate that some 20% of extant Tamil manuscripts are works of this kind, which likely accounts for their prevalence in Ziegenbalg’s collection. Ziegenbalg himself notes that there are many Tamil works on divination (mh 237)....

Although on occasion Ziegenbalg enables us to fix a new, and secure, terminus ante quem for a particular text, for the most part he does not tell us anything about Tamil literature that we did not already know....

Thus Ziegenbalg’s library finds a place within a long history of the catastrophic loss of Tamil manuscripts, stretching back to the legends of the first two Tamil academies consumed by the sea, and including the loss of virtually all of the supposed 102,000 original Tēvāram hymns to white ants, the deliberate destruction of cittar manuscripts by Śaiva zealots, the reverent but thoughtless burning of manuscripts which so frustrated U. V. Swaminathaiyar, and the destruction by fire of the Jaffna Public Library in 1981....

What the fate of Ziegenbalg’s library demonstrates, as much as anything, is the lack of interest in Tamil literature on the part of Ziegenbalg’s successors in the mission he founded. There are some exceptions to this general statement, but the catalogues they produced reveal the limits of their interest in Tamil literature....

[Ziegenbalg] was nevertheless convinced that the “secrets,” or “arcana of the Tamils’ theology and philosophy,” were contained within [these texts], and therefore had them copied “at great expense” at a time when his letters are full of appeals to Christians in Europe for financial support....

Sascha Ebeling notes that in the pre-modern period Tamil manuscripts were...copied and re-copied, and teachers often dictated texts to students so that several copies could be made simultaneously, but these copies then belonged to the individual student or teacher, and they would not generally be lent to anyone.

Ebeling goes on to note that there were few manuscript libraries, and that only a few elite scholars would have had access to those which did exist...

Ziegenbalg had already noted the previous year that once they knew he was using their books against them, the Tamils became reluctant to provide him with copies of them...

Ziegenbalg refers to “the paṇṭārams” in terms which suggest he thought of them as the keepers of Tamil literature....Ziegenbalg records his attempt to obtain manuscripts from a “prominent” Hindu and Muslim who were visiting him.... his visitors promised to help him secure them from their “paṇṭārams, brahmans and schoolteachers.” They added, however, that in order to understand the books he had listed, it would be necessary to wake their authors from the dead.


-- Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan

and is hardly the basis of all other Tamil books,...
[Sivavakkiyar] begins his composition stating clearly that he will be describing the rare mantra namacivaya which is the origin and terminus of everything, the mantra uttered by millions of celestials before, the “siva sentence” and that he plans to do so by contemplating on the curved letter (aum) so that sins and delusion will run away.

-- Sivavakkiyam -- Songs of a Spiritual Rebel, by Dr. Geetha Anand and Dr. T.N. Ganapathy

it was formative in Ziegenbalg’s understanding of the Hindu pantheon, both in convincing him that Hindu theology—at its best—is essentially monotheistic, and in helping him structure his own account of the Hindu pantheon in his final work on Hinduism, the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter. As Ziegenbalg writes in the Bibliotheca Malabarica, the Tirikāla cakkaram shows “the genealogy of the gods… namely how all the other gods derive from the being of all beings, or the supreme God, and what their offices are, where their residence is, how long they live, how often each is incarnated, etc.”
Above the region of the Titans, at a distance of 168,000 miles, are the bright realms of the gods. In the lowest compartment of the heavens are the four "great guardian kings of the quarters"...

These great celestial kings guard the heavens from the attacks of the outer demons; and have to be distinguished from a more extended category of guardian gods, the ten Lokpals who guard the world from its ten directions; namely, Indra on the east, Agni (the fire-god) on the south-east, Yama (the death-god) on the south, Rakshas (? Sura) on the south-west, Varuna (the water-god) on the west, Vayu (the wind-god) on the north-west, Yakshas on the north, Soma (the moon) on the north-east, Brahma, above; Bhupati, below....

The Brahmaloka worlds are subject to the God Brahma, and existence ranges from intellectual tranquillity to unconsciousness. These worlds of meditation (dhyana) are accounted eighteen in number, and arranged in five groups (3, 3, 3, 2, and 5) corresponding to the five-fold division of Brahma's world, and are usually named from below upwards as follows: (1) Brahma parsadya, (2) Brahma purohita, (3) Maha Brahmana, (4) Paritabha, (5) Apramana, (6) Abhasvara, (7) Parita-subha, (8) Apramanasubha, (9) Subhakrishna, (10) Utpala, (11) Asa-nasatya, (12) Avriha or Vrihatpala, (13) Atapa, (14) Sudasa, (15) Sudasi, (16) Punyaprasava, (17) Anabhraka, (18) Akanishtba (Tib., Og-min) or "The Highest" — the abode of the Primordial Buddha-God, the Adi-Buddha of the Lamas, viz., Samantabhadra (T., Kuntu-zanpo)....

The duration of existence in each of those states is for vastly increasing periods from below upwards, till beyond the sixteenth immortality itself is reached...

Godly Birth. The god is born at once fully developed within a halo of glory from a lotus-flower, — the oriental symbol of immaterial birth and is provided with the special attributes of a god,— viz., (1) a lotus-footstool, (2) splendid dress and ornaments, (3) goddess-companions, (4) a wish-granting tree, or pag-sam-shin (Skt., Kalpadaru) which instantly yields any fruit or food wished for, and bends to the hand of the gatherer, its leaves yielding luscious food, its juice nectar, and its fruit jewels, (5) a wish-granting cow (Kama-dhenu or Surabha) which yields any drink wished for, (6) self-sprung crops (usually painted as Indian corn or maize), (7) in a golden stall a jewelled horse-of-fore-knowledge which Pegasus-like carries his rider wherever wished, throughout the worlds of the past, present, and future, (8) a lake of perfumed nectar or ambrosia (Skt., Amrita) which is the elixir vitae and the source of the divine lustre. Shining is a peculiarly divine attribute, and the etymology of the word "divinity," is the root Div, "to shine," the parent of the Skt. Deva and Latin Deus....

In the centre of this paradise is the great city of Belle-vue (Sudarsana), within which is the celestial palace of Vaijayanta (Amaravati) the residence of Indra (Jupiter), the king of the gods. It is invested by a wall and pierced by four gates, which are guarded by the four divine kings of the quarters. It is a three-storied building; Indra occupying the basement, Brahma the middle, and the indigenous Tibetan war-god — the dGra-lha — as a gross form of Mara, the god of Desire, the uppermost story. This curious perversion of the old Buddhist order of the heavens is typical of the more sordid devil-worship of the Lamas who, as victory was the chief object of the Tibetans, elevated the war-god to the highest rank in their pantheon, as did the Vikings with Odin where Thor, the thunder-god, had reigned supreme. The passionate war-god of the Tibetans is held to be superior even to the divinely meditative state of the Brahma.

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell, M.B., F.L.S., F.R.G.S., Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Anthropological Institute, etc., Surgeon-Major H.M. Bengal Army, 1895

He adds:
I had intended to translate [the Tirikāla cakkaram], but nonetheless I found myself wondering whether this was altogether advisable, since many pointless speculations would be caused thereby, and keep [scholars in Europe] away from the things that are necessary. However, I leave it still to be determined, whether I might translate it into German or not, since I am now for this reason not really of one mind on it myself.

65 The importance of the Tirikāla cakkaram for Ziegenbalg’s conception of Hinduism has not been fully appreciated, in part because of the difficulty in identifying the text. The Tirikāla cakkaram is not an independent text, but a section of a work which appears under a separate heading as the next work in Ziegenbalg’s catalogue, the Puvaṉa cakkaram.168 In fact Ziegenbalg did provide an almost complete translation of the Tirikāla cakkaram in the second chapter of the second part of his Malabarisches Heidenthum, entitled “Of their calculation of years,” which Ziegenbalg attributes to “Dírigálasákkarum from p. 1 to p. 10.” (mh 189). Earlier in the Malabarisches Heidenthum he quotes what he takes to be an account of the creation, and attributes this to “Dirugálasakkarum… vs. 11 seqq.” (mh 64–65). This passage, which is in fact—at least in the manuscript we consulted—the opening of the Puvaṉa cakkaram, points to the real significance of the Tirikāla cakkaram and Puvaṉa cakkaram for Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism.

66 The Tirikāla cakkaram culminates in a vision of Śiva as the supreme being, the transcendent, invisible, and unfathomable creator of all that exists. The Puvaṉa cakkaram opens with an account of how from this supreme being the universe arises as the result of a process of differentiation which begins with the emergence of a single androgynous being, neither male nor female, but nevertheless beginning to unfold so that male and female elements are distinguishable within what remains a single entity. From these elements emerges the manifest form of Śiva and then from Śiva, in turn, emerge Śakti and the five forms Sadāśiva, Maheśvara, Rudra, Viṣṇu and Brahmā. Quoting this account in the Malabarisches Heidenthum, Ziegenbalg comments that this is why “these heathens understand under the name Śiva both the supreme being and the highest God,” that is, both the unmanifest and the manifest forms of Śiva. The first part of the Genealogia is devoted to an explanation of this conception of Śiva’s unfolding. The second part deals with the five faces of Śiva which—according to Ziegenbalg—“signify the five great lords or gods, out of which they later make no more than three” (GMG 41r), i.e., Śiva, Viṣṇu, and Brahmā. Ziegenbalg here conflates five agents of Śiva—Brahman, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Maheśvara, and Sadāśiva (the Kāraṇeśvaras or lords of the five kalās “‘portions’ of the cosmos”169)—with the more familiar trimūrti (or “Mummurtigöl,” in Ziegenbalg’s transcription of the Tamil mummūrttikaḷ). The third part of the Genealogia contains the account of village deities for which Ziegenbalg’s work is best known. With the exception of Aiyaṉār, these are all female and are said by Ziegenbalg to have their origin in the Śakti discussed in the first part of the Genealogia (gmg 128v). Although Ziegenbalg draws heavily on other sources for his account of these deities, his understanding of their position in the pantheon was thus drawn from the Tirikāla cakkaram. The fourth part of the Genealogia returns to follow the Tirikāla cakkaram more closely. It includes an account of the thirty-three crore devas, the forty-eight thousand ṛṣis, various celestial beings such as Keṇanātar (Sanskrit: Gaṇanāthas), Kiṉṉarar (Kiṃnaras), and Kimapuruṭar (Kiṃpuruṣas), and finally the guardians of the eight directions. The attention paid to these mostly obscure denizens of Hindu cosmography is somewhat out of place in a work which is now cited, if at all, usually only for its ethnographic content[???!!!] [ethnographic: relating to the scientific description of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences.].170 Their place in the Genealogia is explicable only because of the account of them in the Tirikāla cakkaram, where they are mentioned in the calculation of the different lifespans of Rudra and the manifest form of Śiva.
[N]either the Vedas, the Upanishads, nor the Purans, profess to be historical compositions; and the ascribing this character to the latter, in particular, is a most erroneous opinion, for, with the exception of the genealogies of the princes of the solar and lunar races, the Purans contain nothing which has the slightest semblance of history ... It is true that each Puran contains a description of the division of time according to the Hindu system; but the chronology of no event is fixed more precisely than by referring it generally to such a Kalpa, or Manvantara, or Yug, as the particular year is never mentioned. The attempting, therefore, to extract either chronology or history from such data, must be an operation attended with equal success as the extraction of sunbeams from cucumbers by the sages of Laputa" -- Vans Kennedy 1831: 130.

-- Frederick Eden Pargiter: Excerpt from The Puranas, by Ludo Rocher

The Tirikāla cakkaram and the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam

67 The Puvaṉa cakkaram, of which the Tirikāla cakkaram is a part, is a cosmographic work of a kind well-known in Sanskrit literature where it is more commonly titled Bhuvanakośaḥ. Although in modern times works of this sort have been published independently, it appears that they more commonly formed part of larger works, and served to establish the authority of the work by tracing a lineage back to Śiva. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica, Ziegenbalg reports the provenance of the work as follows:

The secrets of this book were first revealed by Īcuvaraṉ himself to his wife Pārvatī. These were later revealed by her to Nantikēcuraṉ, who is Īcuvaraṉ’s gatekeeper. He later made these secrets known to a great prophet called Tirumūla Tēvar. (bm 110)

68 According to cittar tradition, Tirumūlar, the early Śaiva mystic and author of the Tirumantiram, is said to have been the disciple of an alchemist named Nantikēcuran.171 Tirumūlar is also closely connected to Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai, where he took physical form by entering the body of a cowherd and composed the Tirumantiram. It is, however, not clear that an ascription to this early Tirumūlar is intended in Ziegenbalg’s account of the work.172 Zvelebil gives the briefest details of an undated Tirumūlatēvar,173 ascribing to him three works: the Tirumantiramālai, Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam. Tirumantiramālai is in fact the full title of Tirumūlar’s Tirumantiram and hence the distinction between the work which Zvelebil ascribes to Tirumūla Tēvar and Tirumūlar’s own work is not clear. We have not been able to identify copies of the Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam, but the title of the latter suggests a work on the five-syllable nama-civāya mantra. There are a number of works of this kind, with different titles,174 closely associated with the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. Whether Tirumūlar or Tirumūla Tēvar is intended, an association with Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai certainly cannot be ruled out.

69 Moreover, as noted above (35), Koppedrayer emphasizes the importance of the idea of a lineage, beginning on Mount Kailasa and transmitted through Nantikēcuran, or Nantitēvar,175 in the self-understanding of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. She notes that when referring to themselves corporately: “the ascetics living in the matam at Tiruvavatuturai… use such phrases as the Tirukailai paramparai, the lineage [descending] from Mount Kailasa.”176 Discussing the multiple accounts of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai kailasa paramparai, she notes that while they differ in their details “early references to the seminal figures simply cite Namaccivaya, Meykantar, and Nanti, yes, always Nanti on Mount Kailasa.”177

70 While the catalogue of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai library does not list a copy of the Puvaṉa cakkaram, there is one final piece of evidence suggesting a connection between works of this sort and the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. The catalogue of the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library in Chennai records a copy of a work entitled Puvaṉa kōcam which is clearly very similar in content to the Puvaṉa cakkaram. The catalogue describes the work as “a treatise on cosmology as explained in the Śaiva Purāṇas,” and notes that it is part of a bundle purchased in 1938–39 from Sri Muttukkumārasvāmi Ōduvāmūrti of Tinnevelly which includes also several of the works of Umāpati and “Ambalavāṇattamirānār of Tiruvāvaḍutuṛai maṭh.”178

71 It is not our argument here that Ziegenbalg’s entire library was derived from the Śaiva maṭams at Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram. The lack of any explicit reference to the maṭams means there must be some doubt even about the evidence we have assembled above, most of which is circumstantial rather than direct. As noted, Ziegenbalg himself states that the scribes he sent inland purchased books from the Brahmin widows—although given the restrictions on his travel outside of Tranquebar, he cannot have known exactly the circumstances under which the books were procured. Given what Ebeling calls the “deeply personal” nature of Tamil manuscript culture, in assessing the sources of Ziegenbalg’s collection we should probably lay more weight on his more direct personal contacts with those who would have had access to manuscripts. Jeyaraj states that Aḻakappaṉ procured “several Tamil palm leaf manuscripts” for Ziegenbalg, but neither of the sources Jeyaraj cites indicate this, only that Aḻakappaṉ helped Ziegenbalg in reading Tamil books.179 It is possible that Aḻakappaṉ also procured books, but we are not aware of any such claim in Ziegenbalg’s writings. The key figures are Ziegenbalg’s elderly Tamil tutor, his son Kaṇapati, and the maṇiyakkāraṉ called Kaḷiyapiḷḷai who may have been Kaṇapati’s father-in-law.

Daniel Jeyaraj thinks that, on the basis of the man's name, Aleppa was a Shaivite and argues that this could explain why Ziegenbalg dealt more with this branch devoted to the worship of the god Shiva than with rival forms of Hinduism (Jeyaraj 2003:282). The importance of Aleppa exceeds that of the Japanese Anjiro to Francis Xavier (who, as explained in Chapter I, caused such a fiasco in the early Japan mission)....

Aleppa clearly played a central role in Ziegenbalg's introduction to the Malabar language and religion, but his influence did not end there. When Ziegenbalg and his associate Grundler needed more European support and were preparing for Ziegenbalg's journey to Germany, Denmark, and England, they paid Aleppa to write letters from exile in answer to the missionaries' questions. These answers were almost immediately translated or edited, annotated, and sent to Europe where they were published; but since Aleppa was in exile and could for various reasons not be named as a source, the missionaries decided to omit all names of correspondents. They tried to create the impression that these letters came from many different informants, and their habit of sometimes splitting a single letter into several pieces (p. 27) that supposedly came from different correspondents enhanced the readers' impression that a substantial number of Indians were involved....

[T]hese letters for the most part reflect Aleppa's views, which were, of course, developed during his long acquaintance with Europeans, his Western-style education, his years as an official interpreter,
and especially his prolonged daily contact with the missionaries in his function as teacher, informant, and translator.

Here the letter collection's preface refers to letter number 6, which is "written by someone who read and copied many books of the Christian religion in his language" (p. 115). Though unnamed, this man was, of course, Aleppa...


[A]nd as their highest-paid, best connected, and most knowledgeable employee, he was also deeply involved in their effort to collect and study the Tamil texts listed in the Bibliotheca Malabarica of 1708.


-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Ziegenbalg’s library and his account of Hinduism

72 In his edition and in his translation of the Genealogia, Daniel Jeyaraj mentions many of the Tamil works used by Ziegenbalg, including the Tirikāla cakkaram.180 Nevertheless in his account of Ziegenbalg’s sources for the Genealogia, he gives more prominence to European works on India, and to other, more general, works on pagan mythology, than to Ziegenbalg’s Tamil sources.[!!!]181 Jeyaraj claims that “before his travel to Tranquebar, Ziegenbalg acquired one Latin and four German books about India.”182 The works in question are Joannes Boëmus, Omnivm gentivm mores, leges et ritvs (1562), Abraham Roger, Offne Thür zu dem verborgenen Heydenthum (1663), Baldaeus, Beschreibung der ost-indischen Küsten Malabar und Coromandel (1672), David Nerreter, Der wunderwürdige Juden- und Heiden-Tempel (1701), and Christoph Langhanß, Neue Ost-Indische Reise (1705). Jeyaraj cites Gita Dharampal-Frick, who in turn cites the printed 1714 catalogue of the mission’s library.183 This includes Boëmus, Nerreter, and Langhanß—as well as a further work by Christian Burckhardt, Ost-Indianische Reise-Beschreibung (1693), not noticed by Dharampal-Frick or Jeyaraj. As we have seen Ziegenbalg acknowledges having used Baldaeus, but there is no evidence that he knew Roger’s work, except insofar as it is reproduced in Baldaeus and Nerreter. The catalogue makes no mention of Roger’s Offne Thür, referring only to a Portuguese translation by Roger of a summary of Christian doctrine in dialogue form.184 In the preface to his Malabarisches Heidenthum, Ziegenbalg states explicitly that he has at hand only Baldaeus and Nerreter, and the only European work on Hinduism which we know for sure to have been available to Ziegenbalg in his first years in India—the years which were decisive for forming his view of Hinduism—is Baldaeus. Moreover while Ziegenbalg mentions, in his Malabarisches Heidenthum, that he had read Baldaeus as early as 1706—and, later, Nerreter too—he stresses there that his work is independent of theirs and that he has relied primarily on his reading of Tamil texts (mh 14–15). Nevertheless Baldaeus is identified by Jeyaraj as the source of Ziegenbalg’s belief that the Tamils recognize a single supreme being.185 The discussion above of Ziegenbalg’s dependence on the Tirikāla cakkaram— a work which, it should be recalled, he describes as “virtually the basis of all other Malabarian books” and showing “the genealogy of the gods”—demonstrates that in fact he derives this idea from the vision of the supreme being which the Tirikāla cakkaram culminates and the Puvaṉa cakkaram begins.[??????]

73 Jeyaraj further suggests Ziegenbalg may have taken the idea of a “genealogy of the gods” itself from Giovanni Boccaccio’s fourteenth-century Genealogia Deorum Gentilium,186 and that the table at the head of Ziegenbalg’s Genealogia, which structures the work in four parts, may follow a model suggested by Benjamin Hederich in a work on universal history which included an account of Greco-Roman mythology.187 Not only is there not a scrap of evidence that Ziegenbalg knew Hederich’s work, which appears neither in his writings nor in the catalogue of the mission library, but the idea of a genealogy (“Geschlechts-register”) of the gods is already present in Ziegenbalg’s account of the Tirikāla cakkaram in the Bibliotheca Malabarica, which was written in 1708, the year before the publication of Hederich’s book. The idea of a genealogy of the gods is as old as Hesiod, and while Boccaccio’s work may well have been at the back of Ziegenbalg’s mind there ought to be no doubt that the structure of his Genealogia der malabarischen Götter is taken directly from the Tirikāla cakkaram, and that his discovery of Hindu monotheism was the result of his study of this and other Tamil texts.188
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 6 of 6

It is clear that Ziegenbalg used the word ajnana (ignorance) for sin, heathendom, and idolatry. On the other hand, ajnana (knowledge or wisdom) stood for monotheism and the acceptance of Jesus as savior. For Ziegenbalg, ajnana involves the veneration of false devas and the worship of vikrakams (Skt. vigraha, forms or shapes) made of earth, wood, stone, and metal. By contrast, jnana signifies the exclusive worship of Baribarawastu (Skt. paraparavastu, divine substance). The point Aleppa kept making in his apologetic letters was exactly that his native religion was fundamentally a monotheistic jnana, rather than a heathen ajnana, and it seems that he was highly motivated to help the missionaries find Tamil texts that proved exactly this point....

From the beginning, the antibrahmanical and antihierarchical tendency of Siddha writings was prominent, as in Tirumular's oft-quoted lines, "Caste is one and God is one" (p. 386). But the God referred to here is not exactly the one whom de Nobili and Ziegenbalg worshipped, and this saying does not signify "mankind is one and God is one." Rather, as Kailasapathy explains, Tirumular meant that "insofar as religious worship was concerned, all castes are equal and the only god is Shiva".


-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

... Indians who are not only naturally monotheist but even profess faith in the very same God that the German pastors evoked in their sermons: "a God who created everything, reigns over everything, punishes evil, rewards good deeds, and who must be feared, loved, worshipped, and prayed to"... Because they relied exclusively on reason that "since the Fall is entirely misguided and spoiled," they eventually "let themselves be seduced by Satan in various ways." Nevertheless, from time immemorial, they fundamentally accept and worship an invisible divine being and have texts to prove this:
Such truth gained from the light of nature is not a recent thing with them but a very ancient one; they have books that are said to be more than 2000 years old. These form the basis of their opinions in these matters, and they hold that their religion is the oldest of all; it may have originated not long after the deluge. They not only believe in one God but have by the light of nature come so far as to accept no more than one single divine being as the origin of all things. Even though they worship many gods, they hold that all such gods have sprung from a single divine being and will return therein; so that in all gods only that single divine being is worshipped. Those among them who are a bit learned will defend this very obstinately even though they cannot deliver any proof of it. (pp. 37-38)

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan

... Relation des erreurs qui se trouvent dans la religion des gentils malabars de la Coste Coromandelle. This work...opens, much like Ziegenbalg’s Genealogia, with a discussion of Hindu conceptions of the divine. Unlike Ziegenbalg, however, the author makes only the most general of references to his textual sources: [x] [Google translate: “in one place of their doctrine…they say that God is a spiritual and immense substance, and a few lines later they assert that the air is God”]

A note on the format of the edition

74 The text of this edition reproduces the German text of the Bibliotheca Malabarica published by Germann in 1880. Germann’s edition is not easily accessible and is printed in a blackletter typeface which is difficult to read. Where Germann’s text differs significantly from that in the other manuscripts, this has been noted. In the translation which follows, we attempt to stay closer to Ziegenbalg’s German than does Gaur in her translation, and we translate the full text. Ziegenbalg’s transliteration of Tamil words and the titles of the texts is retained in the reprinted German text; the translation provides a transliteration which follows the most widely used conventions. In cases where no manuscript or published edition of the work in question has been identified, and the transliteration is therefore to some degree speculative, this has been indicated by an asterisk preceding the title of the work.

75 The translation is augmented by annotations which attempt identification of the work in question, comment on Ziegenbalg’s characterisation of it, and summarise his use of the work and any further account he gives of the work in his other writings. Where two or more closely related works are listed together, the annotation follows the last work.

76 Where the work has been published, details of editions have been provided following the annotation. In identifying editions of works published many times we have tried to strike a balance between noting significant historical editions, accessibility, and quality of the published edition, but in many cases—particularly major works of Tamil literature—other editions could have been cited. Where translations into European languages exist, works which include full or substantial translations have been cited. Here the choice of works has been much more limited. Where translations into several languages exist, preference has been given to those into English. Where multiple translations into English exist, we have for the most part relied on the judgments of others in choosing to cite a particular translation. No systematic attempt has been made to cite other critical works on each of the texts in Ziegenbalg’s collection except where these have been relied on in the annotations. References to these works are thus confined to the footnotes, rather than following the editions and translations cited in the main text.

77 The marginal references (BM) indicate the numbering provided by Germann in his edition. Where Ziegenbalg’s entry is very short, only a single marginal reference is provided, but because in some cases his entry extends over more than one page, marginal references are typically provided for both the German text and the English translation.

___________________

Notes:

1 Kamil V. Zvelebil, Tamil Literature, A History of Indian Literature X. 1 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974), 2.

2 Hans-Werner Gensichen, “B. Ziegenbalgs Rezeption der Tamil-Spruchweisheit”, Neue Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft 45, no. 2 (1989): 86.

3 Ziegenbalg to Christian von der Linde, Tranquebar, 5 September 1706, in Arno Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe aus Indien: Unveröffentlichte Briefe von Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg 1706–1719 (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1957), 32–3. Both here and in an earlier letter (Ziegenbalg to friends in Germany, Cape of Good Hope, 30 April 1706, in ibid., 25), Ziegenbalg emphasizes his reluctance.

4 Ziegenbalg to Francke, Berlin, 7 October 1705, in ibid., 21.

5 Ziegenbalg to von der Linde, Tranquebar, 5 September 1706, in ibid., 33.

6 Ziegenbalg to Francke, Tranquebar, 1 October 1706, in ibid., 43. Cf. Ziegenbalg to friends in Germany, Cape of Good Hope, 30 April 1706, in ibid., 25.

7 Baldaeus’s work, first published in Dutch in 1672, was translated into German the same year. The third section, on the “Idolatry of the East-Indian Heathens” (edited by Albertus Johannes de Jong, Afgoderye der Oost-Indische Heydenen door Philippus Baldaeus opnieuw utgegeven en van inleiding en aantekeningen voorzien (’s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1917)), is taken almost entirely from two earlier works, one by a Portuguese Jesuit, Jacobo Fenicio (Jarl Charpentier, The Livro da seita dos Indios orientais (Brit. mus. MS. Sloane 1820) of Father Jacobo Fenicio, S.J. (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells, 1933), lxxxiii–lxxxiv), and the other by a Dutch artist, Philips Angel (Siegfried Kratzsch, “Die Darstellung der zehn Avatāras Viṣṇus bei Philippus Baldaeus und ihre Quellen”, in Kulturhistorische Probleme Südasiens und Zentralasiens, ed. Burchard Brentjes and Hans-Joachim Peuke (Halle: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 1984), 105–19). Ziegenbalg’s use of Baldaeus’s work is discussed further below (31, 44).

8 Ziegenbalg, Cape of Good Hope, 30 April 1706, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 25.

9 Willem Caland, ed., B. Ziegenbalg’s Kleinere Schriften, Verhandelingen der Kon. Akad. der Wetensch., Afd. Letterkunde. Nieuwe Reeks, XXIX/2 (Amsterdam: Uitgave van Koninklijke Akademie, 1930), 11.

10 Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 16 September 1706, in Joachim Lange, ed., Merckwürdige Nachricht aus Ost-Jndien Welche Zwey Evangelisch-Lutherische Prediger Nahmentlich Herr Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg… Und Herr Heinrich Plütscho… den 30. April 1706. aus Africa… Und bald darauf aus Trangebar von der Küste Coromandel, an einige Predige und gute Freunde in Berlin überschrieben.… Die andere Auflage (Leipzig and Franckfurt am Mayn: Joh. Christoph Papen, 1708), 14.

11 Ziegenbalg to Francke, Tranquebar, 1 October 1706, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 44.

12 Ziegenbalg’s servant Mutaliyāppaṉ, who knew Portuguese and Tamil and was learning German from Ziegenbalg, translated from Ziegenbalg’s rudimentary Portuguese in these early exchanges (Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 16 September 1706, in Lange, Merckwürdige Nachricht, 14). By 12 October 1706, Ziegenbalg and his colleague had the services of a former translator to the Danish East-India Company named Aḻakappaṉ who, in addition to Portuguese and Tamil, knew Danish, German, and Dutch (Kurt Liebau, ed., Die malabarische Korrespondenz: tamilische Briefe an deutsche Missionare; eine Auswahl, Fremde Kulturen in alten Berichten (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1998), 20).

13 Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 2 September 1706, in Christian Gustav Bergen, ed., Herrn Bartholomäi Ziegenbalgs und Herrn Heinrich Plütscho… Brieffe, Von ihrem Beruffund Reise nach Tranqvebar, wie auch Bißhero geführten Lehre und Leben unter den Heyden… An einige Prediger und gute Freunde… geschickt, Jetzund vermehret, mit etlichen Erinnerungen, und einem Anhange unschädlicher Gedancken von neuem herausgegeben von Christian Gustav Bergen. Die dritte Aufflage (Pirna: Georg Balthasar Ludewig, 1708), 21.

[Google translate: Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 2 September 1706, in Christian Gustav Bergen, ed., Mr. Bartholomäi Ziegenbalgs and Mr. Heinrich Plütscho... Letters, From their professional journey to Tranquebar, as well as Bishero, their teaching and life among the Heathen... To some preachers and good friends ... skillfully, now and increased, with a number of memoirs, and an appendix of innocuous thoughts re-edited by Christian Gustav Bergen. The third edition (Pirna: Georg Balthasar Ludewig, 1708), 21.]

14 Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 25 September 1706, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 40.

15 Caland, Ziegenbalg’s Kleinere Schriften, 11.

16 Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 2 September 1706, in Bergen, Ziegenbalgs… Brieffe, 19. Cf. Ziegenbalg’s comment in a letter written a fortnight later: “Ich muß bezeigen, daß mir mein 70. Jahriger Schulmeister offt, solche Philosophische Fragen fürleget, daraus ich abnehmen kan, daß in ihren Büchern schon solche Sachen würden angetroffen werden, daran die Gelehrten in Europa ihrer Curiosität ein Genügen thun könten. Ich suche mit Fleiß dahinter zu kommen, und lass sie mit grossen Unkosten abschreiben.” (Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 16 September 1706, in Lange, Merckwürdige Nachricht, 16).

[Google translate: Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 2 September 1706, in Bergen, Ziegenbalgs… Brieffe, 19. Cf. Ziegenbalg's comment in a letter written a fortnight later: “I have to show that my 70-year-old schoolmaster often asks me such philosophical questions, from which I can conclude that such things would already be found in your books, as did the scholars in Europe could satisfy their curiosity. I am diligently trying to find out, and having them copied at great expense.” (Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 16 September 1706, in Lange, Strange Message, 16).]

17 Versions of the letter were published in both German and English. The following summary is taken from the full transcription in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 77.

18 This incident arose from Ziegenbalg’s intervention on behalf of the widow of a Tamil barber, over a debt between her late husband and a Catholic who was employed by the Company as a translator. Hassius regarded Ziegenbalg’s repeated intervention in the case, including his advice that she kneel before him in the Danish church, as inappropriate and sent for Ziegenbalg to appear before him. When Ziegenbalg demurred, requesting a written summons, he was arrested and, because he refused to answer questions, imprisoned. For more detailed accounts of the episode, see Anders Nørgaard, Mission und Obrigkeit: Die Dänisch-hallische Mission in Tranquebar, 1706–1845 (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus/Gerd Mohn, 1988), 41–48 and Ulla Sandgren, The Tamil New Testament and Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg: A Short Study of Some Tamil Translations of the New Testament. The Imprisonment of Ziegenbalg 19.11.1708–26.3.1709 (Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 1991), 91–95.

19 See Daniel Jeyaraj, Erschliessung der Tamil-Palmblatt-Manuskripte (Halle: Archiv der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2001).

20 The first Tamil work to be printed, in 1713, was a tract on akkiyāṉam, “heathenism.” Cf. Will Sweetman, “Heathenism, Idolatry and Rational Monotheism among the Hindus: Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg’s Akkiyāṉam (1713) and Other Works Addressed to Tamil Hindus”, in Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, ed. Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss and Heike Liebau (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2006), 1249–75.

21 hb 6: 283. Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, Ziegenbalg’s Malabarisches Heidenthum, ed. Willem Caland, Verhandelingen der Kon. Akad. der Wetensch., Afd. Letterkunde. Nieuwe Reeks, XXV/3 (1711; Amsterdam: Uitgave van Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam, 1926).

22 Ācārakōvai (bm 44) is often quoted in this regard, see also the works listed below, 129.

23 See below, 38–40.

24 On a number of occasions, Ziegenbalg cites the titles of sections of larger works. Jeyaraj’s higher estimate of eighty-seven Tamil works mentioned in the Genealogia results from his taking each of these as a separate work. Thus he lists separately Tiruvācakam and “Vāḻāppattu,” the twenty-eighth poem of Tiruvācakam. See Daniel Jeyaraj, Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English Translation of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg’s Original German Manuscript with a Textual Analysis and Glossary (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), 202, 330.

25 Ziegenbalg to Lange, Tranquebar, 22 December 1710 in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 173.

26 hb 6: 315. Ziegenbalg spent six months (July 1711 to January 1712) in and around Madras.

27 Ziegenbalg and Gründler to Anton Wilhelm Böhme, Tranquebar, 16 September 1712, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 236. Pace Brijraj Singh, this was never printed, although it was sent to Europe (Brijraj Singh, The First Protestant Missionary to India: Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg (1683–1719) (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999), 168).

28 Ziegenbalg, Gründler and Jordan to Francke, Tranquebar, 17 November 1712 in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 276.

29 Ziegenbalg, Gründler and Jordan to Böhme, Tranquebar, 5 January 1713 in ibid., 283–84.

30 A much later mission report stated that the letters were, “for the most part,” written by Ziegenbalg’s early translator, Aḻakappaṉ (hb 25: 149). This, however, is in the context of explaining why the missionaries at the time (Nikolaus Dal, Martin Bosse, Christian Friedrich Pressier, and Christoph Theodosius Walther) had been unable to engage any Tamils in correspondence and the source of their knowledge is unclear, as none had been in India during Ziegenbalg’s lifetime and Dal, the most senior of the four, had arrived only six months before the death of Gründler. On the evidence of the letters themselves, including the letters quoted in his Genealogia, and of Ziegenbalg’s broader correspondence, it is not implausible to think that a number of other authors were involved.

31 Ziegenbalg to Michaelis, Bergen, 5 June 1715; Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 22 September 1707, in ibid., 421, 59. For identification of this work see Will Sweetman, “Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the Tranquebar Mission, and ‘the Roman Horror’”, in Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, ed. Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss and Heike Liebau (Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2006), 802).

32 A facsimile reprint with brief introduction by Burchard Brentjes and Karl Gallus appeared in 1985: Grammatica Damulica von Bartolomaeus Ziegenbalg, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg Wissenschaftl. Beiträge, 44 = I 32 (1716; Halle: Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 1985).

33 Ziegenbalg and Gründler to the Mission Board in Copenhagen, Tranquebar, 20 November 1717, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 421, 59. This scholar was Kaṇapati Vāttiyār, who took the name Friedrich Christian at his baptism. He had earlier been an important source of books for Ziegenbalg’s collection (see below, 32f.). There is no trace of his book, although an earlier manuscript by him survives (AFSt/M tam 87).

34 Bibliotheca Malabarica, bestehende in unterschiedlichen malabarischen Büchern, so da handeln I. von der reinen Evangelischen Religion, II. von der unreinen Papistischen Religion, III. von der heynischen Religion der Malabaren, IV. von der Mahometanischen Religion der Mohren, gesammelt und zum Theil selbsten gescrieben von Bartholomeo Ziegenbalg von Seiner Königl. Majestät zu Dennemarck und Norwegen etc. verordneten Missionario unter den malabarischen Heyden auf der Küste Coromandel zu Tranquebar.

[Google translate: Bibliotheca Malabarica, existing in different Malabar books, I. deal with the pure evangelical religion, II. with the impure papist religion, III. from the Heynian religion of the Malabars, IV. from the Mahometanic religion of the Moors, collected and partly written by Bartholomeo Ziegenbalg from his Königl. Majesty at Dennemarck and Norway, etc., decreed missionary among the Malabar heathen on the Coromandel coast at Tranquebar.]

35 The letter which accompanied the text of the Bibliotheca Malabarica, together with descriptions—taken from the first section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica—of Ziegenbalg’s sermons, and of the two dictionaries he compiled, was printed in Halle in 1710 in a work later incorporated in the Hallesche Berichte. The full text of the remainder was published by Wilhelm Germann in 1880 (“Ziegenbalgs Bibliotheca Malabarica”, Missionsnachrichten der Ostindischen Missionsanstalt zu Halle 22 (1880): 1–20, 61–94).

36 Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 22 September 1707, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 59.

37 As Ziegenbalg had reported just three days earlier, that “preaching and catechising in public” in Tamil was still “a little too hard” for him (Ziegenbalg to Frederik IV, Tranquebar, 19 September 1707, in ibid., 55) we can assume that he means within eight months of acquiring the Catholic works in Tamil, not within eight months of his arrival in Tranquebar.

38 Germann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica”, 9–10.

39 Stephen Neill, A History of Christianity in India, vol. I: The Beginnings to AD 1707 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 304.

40 A brief account in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses (Guy Tachard to Père de la Chaise, Pondicherry, 16 February 1702 in Charles le Gobien, ed., Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrit des missions étrangères par quelques missionaires de la Compagnie de Jésus, 34 vols., Paris (Chez Nicolas Le Clerc, 1702–76), 3: 212–16) reports that many Christians were driven out of Tanjore, and two Jesuits were imprisoned. Although one of many, at the time of Shahji’s death in 1712 this event was recalled as particularly severe—and as resulting in the exclusion of missionaries from Tanjore until 1712 (Louis de Bourzes, Litterae Annuae Missionis Madurensis, 1712).

41 We are grateful to Torsten Tschacher for his comments on these works.

42 Ronit Ricci, Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 98–128.

43 See below (23–27) for details of two partial copies of this section (the Sloane and Mackenzie Collection manuscripts) and of Walther’s edition of Ziegenbalg’s catalogue.

44 Kathleen Iva Koppedrayer, “The Sacred Presence of the Guru: The Velala lineages of Tiruvavatuturai, Dharmapuram, and Tiruppanantal” (PhD diss., McMaster University, 1990), 163.

45 “Sámawédum, Urúkkuwédum, Edirwárnawédum und Adirwédum” (hb 7: 374).

46 The letters published in the seventh and eleventh instalments of the Hallesche Berichte as the “Malabarische Correspondenz” are often assumed to have been chosen, translated, and annotated by Ziegenbalg. In his edition of some of these letters, Kurt Liebau argues that in fact the translation and annotations are substantially the work of Gründler (Liebau, Malabarische Korrespondenz, 26–27). However, as Liebau acknowledges, Gründler used Ziegenbalg’s works on Hinduism for the annotations and they repeat many details which are to be found in the Malabarisches Heidenthum and Genealogia which were written just prior to and just following, respectively, the annotation of the first batch of letters. We can therefore assume that Ziegenbalg would have identified himself with the position of the annotations, although he might not have been responsible for the way in which that position was expressed. We therefore do not attach importance to the question of which of the missionaries was responsible for the annotations and refer to the author of the annotations only as “the missionary,” intending thereby to indicate their joint agency and to avoid the problem of distinguishing their precise contribution.

47 On the concept of the “branch story” (kiḷaikkatai) in Tamil literature see Paula Richman, Women, Branch Stories, and Religious Rhetoric in a Tamil Buddhist Text (Syracuse: Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1988), 37–39.

48 mh 24–26, 29–33, 50, 52–56, 58–62, 68–69, 74, 78–79, 102, 144–48, 151–52, 161–63, 169–71, 204–5, 221–22, 249–51. The text of Ziegenbalg’s manuscript seems to have differed slightly from that found in most published editions of Parañcōti’s work. Although the order of episodes is mostly the same—and certainly follows the later, chronological, ordering of the episodes—from chapters 13 to 28 Ziegenbalg consistently numbers the episodes one lower, and from 30 to 38 one higher, than Parañcōti. The early episodes he cites (2–4) are also numbered higher, but from 48 to 64 his numbering is the same as that in published editions of the purāna.

49 See the section on Śaiva purāṇams in the Genealogia below (131).

50 See the discussion in Richard S. Weiss, Recipes for Immortality: Medicine, Religion, and Community in South India (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 47–50.

51 Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HIL), 193; V. Murugan, A Dictionary of Tamil Literary and Critical Terms (Chennai: Institute of Asian Studies, 1999), s.v. ciṟṟilakkiyam.

52 Kamil V. Zvelebil, Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992), 271.

53 Paula Richman, Extraordinary Child: Poems from a South Indian Devotional Genre (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997), 238.

54 Crispin Branfoot, Gods on the Move: Architecture and Ritual in the South Indian Temple (London: British Academy/Society for South Asian Studies, 2007), 128.

55 Maṭal refers to the jagged stem of a palmyra leaf on which a man vows to die by riding like a horse if his beloved will not accept him.

56 “A poem in which the last syllable or foot of the last line of a stanza… is identical with the first syllable or foot of the following stanza” (Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HIL), 195).

57 Short, sophisticated poems in eight stanzas.

58 Poem of one hundred stanzas.

59 Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HIL), 216.

60 See also the reference above to folk works in Ziegenbalg’s collection which represent episodes from the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa.

61 Indira Viswanathan Peterson, “The Evolution of the Kuṟavañci Dance Drama in Tamil Nadu: Negotiating the ‘Folk’ and the ‘Classical’ in the Bhārata Nātyam Canon”, South Asia Research 18, no. 1 (1998): 48–49.

62 Ammāṉai is the name given to “a ballad-like narrative genre” of poems which “had in each verse ammāṉāy as refrain” (Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HIL), 195).

63 For details, see the entries for the works below.

64 Hephzibah Israel, “Protestant Translations of the Bible in Indian Languages”, Religion Compass 4, no. 2 (2010): 88.

65 Shu Hikosaka and G. John Samuel, A Descriptive Catalogue of Palm-Leaf Manuscripts in Tamil, 5 vols. (Madras: Institute of Asian Studies, 1990–97), 1: xvi.

66 Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HIL), 2.

67 The catalogues of manuscripts which the Jesuits sent to Paris in the 1720s and 1730s offer ample evidence for their knowledge of, and access to, Indian literature. See, for example, the catalogue of manuscripts sent in 1729–35 (Bibliothèque nationale NAF 5442), printed in Henri Auguste Omont, Missions archéologiques françaises en Orient aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Imprimerie nationale: Paris, 1902), 1179–92.

68 See, for example, the Relation des erreurs qui se trouvent dans la religion des gentils malabars de la Coste Coromandelle. This work—which has been variously attributed to Roberto de Nobili, João de Brito, and Jean Venant Bouchet—opens, much like Ziegenbalg’s Genealogia, with a discussion of Hindu conceptions of the divine. Unlike Ziegenbalg, however, the author makes only the most general of references to his textual sources: “dans un endroit de leur doctrine… ils disent que Dieu est une substance spirituelle et immense, et quelques lignes apres ils assurent que l’air est Dieu” [Google translate: “in one place of their doctrine…they say that God is a spiritual and immense substance, and a few lines later they assert that the air is God”] (Willem Caland, ed., Twee oude Fransche verhandelingen over het hindoeïsme, Verhandelingen der Kon. Akad. der Wetensch., Afd. Letterkunde. Nieuwe Reeks, XXIII/3 (Amsterdam: Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, 1923), 3).

69 For example, Apirāmi antāti (bm 25) or Ulakanīti (bm 100).

70 Ziegenbalg to Michael Weitzmann, Tranquebar, 7 October 1709, in Alte Briefe, 120.

71 Civārccaṉā pōtam, *Apiṣēkappalaṉ, Snāṉaviti, Tirumantiram, Cāmuttirikā laṭcaṇam, Kanta purāṇam, Viruttācala purāṇam, and Piramōttara kāṇṭam.

72 Christian Friedrich Pressier to Francke, Tranquebar, 10 January 1726:
H. Walther hat schon geschrieben, daß die von Sel. Pr. Ziegenbalg mit großer Mühe verfertigten Göttergenealogie uns hier fehlt. Ew. Hoch-Ehw. wollen doch Sorge tragen, daß uns dieselbe übersandt werde. Es muß nach dem Tode deßelben nicht recht nach den Büchern gesehen worden seyn. Er hatte viele kostbare Malabarische Bücher angeschafft, selbige sind meistens distrahiert, und haben diejenigen die was davon erhalten können, es zu sich genommen und verkaufft. Ein Schulmeister, der damals noch Schulknabe gewesen erzehlt; Als es mahl etwas kalt gewesen, so hätte da ein Kasten mit dergleichen Olesbüchern gestanden, den hätten sie in Gegenwart des Schulmeisters geöffnet, von den Büchern ein Feuer angezündet, und sich dabey gewärmet.… Solte der Sel. Zieg. vorher gewußt haben, daß sein Ende so nahe, so würde er ohne Zweifel den Successoribus zum besten noch alle dergleichen dingen in bessere disposition gebracht und davon Nachricht hinterlaßen haben.
Archiv der Franckeschen Stiftungen/Missionsarchiv (AFSt/M) 1 B 2: 41.

73 Christoph Theodosius Walther, Bibliotheca Tamulica, consistens in recensione librorum nostrorum, mscr-torum ad cognoscendam et linguam & res Tamulicas inseruientium, 1731, Royal Library, Copenhagen, Ny. Kgl. Saml. 589C, 3.

74 Zvelebil, Companion Studies, 43–91. On this trope see also Herman Tieken, “Blaming the Brahmins: Texts Lost and Found in Tamil Literary History”, Studies in History 26, no. 2 (2010): 227–43.

75 Norman Cutler, Songs of Experience: the Poetics of Tamil Devotion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 55.

76 In 1857, William Taylor wrote “I was told some years ago that the ascetics (or Pandárams) of the Saiva class seek after copies of this poem with avidity, and uniformly destroy every copy they find. It is by consequence, rather scarce, and chiefly preserved by native Christians” (William Cooke Taylor, A Catalogue Raisonnée [sic] of Oriental Manuscripts in the Library of the (late) College, Fort Saint George, now in charge of the Board of Examiners, 3 vols. (Madras: Printed by H. Smith, 1857–62), 3: 26); cf. Zvelebil, Companion Studies, 47.

77 Zvelebil, Companion Studies, 44–46.

78 Rebecca Knuth, Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction (Westport: Praeger, 2006), 80–87. Perhaps the closest analogy however is the fate of the manuscripts collected by Francis Whyte Ellis. Like Ziegenbalg, he died prematurely and, according to Walter Elliot, a cook is said to have used his manuscripts to light the kitchen fire (Thomas R. Trautmann, Languages and Nations: The Dravidian Proof in Colonial Madras (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 77, 107). Evelyn Masilamani-Meyer notes that “professional singers use palm leaf manuscripts as fire wood to cook their meagre portions of rice” (“The Changing Face of Kāttavarāyan”, in Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees: Essays on the Guardians of Popular Hinduism, ed. Alf Hiltebeitel (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), 98).

79 At a conference in 2006 marking the tercentenary of Ziegenbalg’s arrival in India, one scholar argued that the manuscripts, like the Elgin marbles or the Rosetta stone, represented a stolen patrimony that should be returned to Tamil Nadu.

80 Jeyaraj, Tamil-Palmblatt-Manuskripte.

81 This catalogue, exists in a number of forms: in German under the title “Katalog der in Madras, Tranquebar, Kopenhagen und Halle vorhandenen Bücher in telugischer und tamilischer Sprache,” dated 17 December 1744 (AFSt/M 2 B 7: 13); in Latin under the title “Catalogus. Librorum et Tractatuum, quos partim in Tamulicam, Telugicam, Hindostanicam, Lusitanicam etc. linguas transtulit, partim ipse conscripsit. 1720-1748,” dated 17 December 1744 (AFSt/M 2 B 7: 14a); and in Tamil characters under the Tamil title “Tamiḻpottakaṅkaḷuṭaiya aṭṭavaṇai” and with a note in German “Verlangtes Verzeichniß unserer Malabarischen Bücher,” undated (AFSt/M 2 B 7: 14b). See also the earlier catalogue by Walther, discussed below (25).

82 Ziegenbalg to [J. J. Breithaupt, P. Antonius, A. H. Francke], Tranquebar, 15 October 1709, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 120.

83 Lütkens died in 1712, but although it is possible Rostgaard acquired the whole catalogue after his death, the fact that the other sections are missing, and the “thin ornate hand” in which it is written, suggests the Sloane manuscript is more likely to have been a copy made in Europe (Albertine Gaur, “Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg’s Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1967): 63).

84 Gaur, “Ziegenbalg’s Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher”.

85 See the closing comments in Gaur’s earlier article describing the Sloane manuscript, which suggest she thought the Bibliotheca Malabarica to have been something other than the “Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher” (Albertine Gaur, “A Catalogue of B. Ziegenbalg’s Tamil Library”, The British Museum Quarterly 30, nos. 3/4 (1966): 104).

86 Ibid., 88–95.

87 Ibid., 67.

88 Several of Gaur’s comments are helpful; others reveal a limited knowledge of Tamil literature, notably her identification of the sixteenth-century Ariccantira purāṇam as “a poem from the Saṅgham period” (Gaur, “Ziegenbalg’s Verzeichnis der Malabarischen Bücher”, 72).

89 Where the differences are significant, they have been noted in the translation below.

90 Arno Lehmann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica: eine wieder entdeckte Handschrift”, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Gesellschafts- und Sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe 8 (1959): 905.

91 Christian Benedict Michaelis to Ziegenbalg, Gründler and Johannes Berlin, Halle, 1 December 1717 (AFSt/M: 1 C 10: 43).

92 “Recherches Historiques sur l’Etat ancien & moderne de la Religion Chrêtienne dans les Indes”, Tome premier, in Dissertations historiques sur divers sujets (Rotterdam: Chez Reinier Leers, 1707). Cf. Sylvia Murr, “Indianisme et militantisme protestant. Veyssière de La Croze et son Histoire du Christianisme des Indes”, Dix-huitième siècle 18 (1896): 303–23.

93 Mathurin Veyssière de La Croze, Histoire du christianisme des Indes (La Haye: les frères Vaillant et N. Prévost, 1724), 445.

94 Tolkāppiyam (bm 1), Tivākaram (bm 4), Kāraṇai viḻupparaiyaṉ vaḷamaṭal (bm 27), Civavākkiyam (bm 51–3); ibid., 494–96.

95 The story of the devadāsī Poṉṉaṇiyāḷ, ibid., 486–87.

96 Ibid., 470–73.

97 Ibid., 467–68, 473–75.

98 Friedrich Wiegand, “Mathurin Veyssière La Croze als Verfasser der ersten deutschen Missionsgeschichte”, Beiträge zur Förderung Christlicher Theologie 6, no. 3 (1902): 97; Georg Christian Bohnstedt, Herrn M. V. La Croze, Abbildung Des Indianischen Christen-Staats (Halle im Magdeburgischen: Spörl, Grunert, 1727).

99 Urs App argues that prior to the Voltaire’s discovery of the Ezour-Vedam, and the works of the English deists, J. Z. Holwell and Alexander Dow, it was the extracts from Ziegenbalg in La Croze which provided Voltaire’s primary evidence of an ancient Indian monotheism which served his attack on established Christianity (The Birth of Orientalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010)).

100 The exception is a translation into Telugu by Schultze of a hundred rules on conduct.

101 Walther, Bibliotheca Tamulica, 68.

102 Ibid., 69.

103 Walther, Bibliotheca Tamulica, 3.

104 British Library, Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections, Mss Eur Mack Gen 21 ff.147–60.

105 These details of Cockburn’s life are taken from the account in Charles Lawson, Memories of Madras (London: Swan, 1905), 179–90.

106 NHB 42: 554. John translated Koṉṟai vēntaṉ (AFSt/M 1 C 29b: 106) and Ulakanīti (AFSt/M 2 B 7: 7), as well as Ātticūṭi and Mūturai (AFSt/M 2 B 7: 5–6) into German. His English translations of Koṉṟai vēntaṉ, Ātticūṭi and another work of Auvaiyār, now lost, entitled Kalviyoḻukkam were published in the Asiatick Researches.

107 Hanco Jürgens, “Forschungen zu Sprachen und Religion”, in Geliebtes Europa / Ostindische Welt: 300 Jahre interkultureller Dialog im Spiegel der Dänisch-Hallesche Mission, ed. Heike Liebau (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 2006), 131.

108 Taylor, Catalogue Raisonnée 3: 298.

109 On the scholarly work of John and Rottler see Andreas Nehring, “Natur und Gnade: Zu Theologie und Kulturkritik in den Neuen Halleschen Berichten”, in Missionsberichte aus Indien in 18. Jahrhundert, ed. Michael Bergunder (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 1999), 220–245. Nehring rebuts the charge, levelled by several nineteenth-century mission historians that the “enlightened” temper of John and Rottler contributed to the decline of the mission, arguing that they ought instead to be seen as responding to intellectual developments by seeking a new model for mission among Tamils (242–44).

110 Abraham Roger, De Open-Deure tot het Verborgen Heydendom Ofte Waerachtigh vertoogh van het Leven ende Zeden; mitsgaders de Religie, ende Godsdienst der Bramines, op de Cust Chormandel, ende de Landen daar ontrent, ed. Willem Caland, Werken Uitgegeven door De Linschoten-Vereeniging (1651;’s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1915), 20.

111 Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, A Code of Gentoo Laws, or Ordinations of the Pundits: From a Persian Translation Made from the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language (London: n.p., 1776), xxxvi.

112 Nehru’s comments are cited by Cannon (Garland Cannon, The Life and Mind of Oriental Jones: Sir William Jones, the Father of Modern Linguistics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 229), who notes that “no evidence for this account has been found” and suggests the reasons had more to do with the time of year that Jones sought a teacher, than any reluctance on the part of the Brahmins.

113 Jean-Marie Lafont, “The Quest for Indian Manuscripts by the French in the Eighteenth Century”, in Indika: Essays in Indo-French Relations, 1630–1976 (New Delhi: Manohar, 2000), 90–118.

114 Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 25 September 1706, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 40. Cf. Ziegenbalg to Michael Weitzmann, Tranquebar, 7 October 1709, in ibid., 120.

115 P. Dahmen, “Lettres de Père Calmette”, Revue d’Histoire des Missions (1934): 109–125.

116 “Wenn sie nicht eine so große Liebe zu mir hätten und von mir eine aufrichtige Gegenliebe verspürten, so würden mir sie diese nicht zukommen lassen, wenn ich ihnen gleich für ein jedes Blatt einen Dukaten geben wollte.” Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 25 September 1706, in ibid., 40.

117 Sascha Ebeling, “The College of Fort St George and the Transformation of Tamil Philology during the Nineteenth Century”, in The Madras School of Orientalism: Producing Knowledge in Colonial South India, ed. Thomas R. Trautmann (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009), 238.

118 Germann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica”, 63.

119 Of the letters printed in Lange and Bergen only one is extant in manuscript.

120 The first edition, which appeared already in 1706, contained only one letter, written from the Cape of Good Hope.

121 The second edition edited by Lange appeared in 1708. A further edition by Lange in 1709 was described as a third edition on the title page although Bergen’s edition, also described as the third on the title page, had already appeared in 1708.

122 “Ich war vor einigen Tagen bey einem alten Schul-Lehrer, und hat, daß er mir die drey letzten für gute Bezahlung in ihrer Sprache abschreiben möchte: Aber er konte sich dazu nicht resolviren, indem es wieder ihr Gesätze wäre, einem Christen dergleichen zukommen zu lassen.” (Lange, Merckwürdige Nachricht, 11); cf. “Dergleichen ungereimte Erzehlungen haben die Malabaren in ihren Versen treflich annehmlich zu lesen gemacht, wollen sie aber keinen Christen zukommen lassen, wenn man ihnen gleich viel Geld anbiethet” (ibid., 12).

123 “Die drey letzten lasse ich mir anitzo mit grossen Unkosten in Malabarischer Sprache abschreiben, damit ich von deren Inhalt eine rechte Gewißheit bekommen möge. Wiewohl sie solches noch keinem Christen gethan haben, und würden es auch mir nicht thun, wenn ich mich nicht, als die Apostel, in die durch Freundlichkeit wohl zu schicken wüste, und täglich mit ihnen familiarissime umgienge” (Bergen, Ziegenbalgs… Brieffe, 19). Cf. the comments in Ziegenbalg, Tranquebar, 25 September 1706, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 40, cited above, n. 116.

124 The loss of one of the four Vedas, due to Śiva having cut off one of Brahmā’s four heads, is found in Baldaeus, Wahrhaftige ausführliche Beschreibung, 556.

125 “Das erste handle von der Göttlichkeit und den primis principiis omnium rerum, welches aber mit dem einen Haupte, als er einmahls mit Ispara um die Ober-Stelle gezancket, wäre verloren wordern. Das andre Buch handle von den Gewaltigen, welchen die Herrschaft und Metamorphosi omnium rerum zugeschrieben wird. Das dritte soll lauter gute Moralia in sich begreiffen. Das vierdte handle von den schuldigen Pflichten ihres Götzen= Dienstes” (Bergen, Ziegenbalgs… Brieffe, 19).

126 The idea of a “Tamil Veda,” that is, a work or works in some sense equivalent to the Sanskrit Veda but not a direct translation from it, is widespread and found among both Śaivas
(Indira Viswanathan Peterson, Poems to Śiva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), 57) and Vaiṣṇavas (John Braisted Carman and Vasudha Narayanan, The Tamil Veda: Piḷḷāṉ’s Interpretation of the Tiruvāymoḻi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 4). Cf. on the development of this idea Cutler, Songs of Experience, 7–10.

127 For a nineteenth-century account of the tiṇṇai or pyal schools see Charles E. Gover, “Pyal Schools in Madras”, The Indian Antiquary 2, no. 14 (1873): 52–56. See also D. Senthil Babu, “Memory and Mathematics in the Tamil Tiṇṇai Schools of South India in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”, International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education 2, no. 1 (2007): 15–37, Bhavani Raman, “Disciplining the Senses, Schooling the Mind: Inhabiting Virtue in the Tamil Tiṇṇai School”, in Ethical life in South Asia, ed. Anand Pandian and Daud Ali (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010), 43–60, Sascha Ebeling, Colonizing the Realm of Words: The Transformation of Tamil Literature in Nineteenth-Century South India (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010), 37–39.

128 John Murdoch, Classified Catalogue of Tamil Printed Books with Introductory Notices (Madras: The Christian Vernacular Education Society, 1865), 215–17.

129 Ātticūṭi, Ulakanīti, Koṉṟai vēntaṉ and Mūturai are among those mentioned explicitly by Murdoch. To these we can probably add Nalvaḻi and Nīti veṇpā, which are listed together with Āṭṭicūṭi, Ulakanīti, Koṉṟai vēntaṉ and Mūturai in the Bibliotheca Malabarica (BM 100–105).

130 Murdoch mentions two catakam texts, the Aṟappaḷḷīcura catakam of Ampalacāṇa Kavirāyar and the Nārāyaṇa catakam of Maṇavāḷa. The former may be later than Ziegenbalg (cf. Kamil V. Zvelebil, Lexicon of Tamil Literature, Handbuch der Orientalistik. Abteilung 2: Indien, 9 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995), 34); the latter is in his collection.

131 Murdoch does not name any particular works, but among those in Ziegenbalg’s collection, Tivākaram and Cūṭāmaṇi nikaṇṭu, would fit the description. Gover mentions “the Nighantu” among the works forming “the grammatical portion of study” (Gover, “Pyal Schools in Madras”, 54).

132 Gover mentions explicitly the Kiruṣṇaṉ tūtu carukkam (an episode from the Uṭṭiyōka paruvam of Villiputtūr āḻvār’s Pāratam) and Kampaṉ’s Irāmāvatāram. Ziegenbalg had the former, and three chapters of the Yutta kāṇṭam of the latter.

133 Ebeling (Colonizing the Realm of Words, 38) notes that Gover’s “Kada Chintamani” (Katacintāmaṇi) could refer to any one of a number of such collections assembled in the nineteenth century. These anthologies postdate Ziegenbalg but he had perhaps a dozen works of the sort they contained, including the Pañcatantira katai (BM 30) which he notes is “much used in schools.”

134 Ziegenbalg to Lütkens, Tranquebar, 22 August 1708, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 79.

135 Germann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica”, 71.

136 Ziegenbalg to Lütkens, Tranquebar, 22 August 1708, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 80.

137 Germann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica”, 84. The sentence reads in full: “Dieses kleine Büchlein hat mein alter Schulmeister gemacht, den ich anfänglich in Erlernung der malabarischen Sprache gebrauchte, dessen Sohn ein guter Poet ist, und mir sehr viele Bücher verschaffet hat, und oftmals mit mir von erbaulichen Sachen zu disputiren pfleget.” See also Ziegenbalg [to Anton Wilhelm Böhme], Tranquebar, 19 October 1709, in Propagation of the Gospel in the East: Being a Further Account of the Progress made by Some Missionaries to Tranquebar… together with Some Observations relating to the Malabarian Philosophy and Divinity: and concerning their Bramans, Pantares, and Poets, Part II., 2nd ed., trans. [Anton Wilhelm Böhme] (London: J. Downing, 1711), 30.

138 Germann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica”, 87.

139 Ziegenbalg to Michael Weitzmann, Tranquebar, 7 October 1709, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 120.

140 Ziegenbalg to Joachim Lange, Tranquebar, 23 October 1709, in ibid., 143.

141 Germann, “Bibliotheca Malabarica”, 83. cf. Ziegenbalg’s description of Kaṇapati’s father-in-law as a “headman over twenty villages” (Ziegenbalg to Lange, Tranquebar, 23 October 1709, in Lehmann, Alte Briefe, 143).

142 Varukka kōvai is a genre of poems in which a town is celebrated in a series of verses each of which begins with a successive letter of the Tamil alphabet (Zvelebil, Lexicon, s.v. varukka-k kōvai).

143 The others are Kāraṇai viḻupparaiyaṉ vaḷamaṭal (bm 27), Kāyārōṇar ulā (bm 45), Kīḻvēḷūr kalampakam (bm 46), and Varuṇakulātittaṉ maṭal (bm 89).

144 Glenn Yocum, “A Non-Brahman Tamil Saiva Mutt: A Field Study of the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam”, in Monastic Life in the Christian and Hindu Traditions: A Comparative Study, ed. Austin B. Creel and Vasudha Narayanan (Lampeter: Edwin Mellon Press, 1990), 268.

145 Zvelebil’s discussion of the literary tradition associated with the maṭams is contained in chapter 10, “Late medieval period (A. D. 1200–1750)” (Kamil V. Zvelebil, Tamil Literature, Handbuch der Orientalistik, Zweite Abteilung, Indien; 2. Bd., 1. Abschnitt (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), 198–232.

146 Ebeling (Colonizing the Realm of Words, 57–62) notes the maṭams’connections with Mīṉāṭcicuntaram Piḷḷai, U. Vē. Cāminātaiyar, and Āṟumuka Nāvalar, and their role in educating many other Tamil scholars of the nineteenth century.

147 By far the most detailed study of the two older maṭams and the Tiruppaṉantāḷ maṭam, established in the early eighteenth century, is Koppedrayer’s doctoral thesis (cited above, 13). Parts of this work have been published in a series of articles (“Are Śūdras Entitled to Ride in the Palanquin?”, Contributions to Indian Sociology 25, no. 2 (1991): 191–210; “The Varṇāśramacandrika and the Śūdra’s Right to Preceptorhood: The Social Background of a Philosophical Debate in Late Medieval South India”, Journal of Indian Philosophy 19, no. 3 (1991): 297–314; “Remembering Tirumālikaittēvar: The Relationship between an Early Śaiva Mystic and a South Indian Matam”, East and West 43, nos. 1–4 (1993): 169–83; “Putting the Picture Together: Ati Amāvācai at Dharmapuram”, East and West 49, nos. 1–4 (1999): 195–216; “The Interweave of Place, Space, and Biographical Discourse at a South Indian Religious Centre”, in Pilgrims, Patrons, and Place: localizing sanctity in Asian religions, ed. Phyllis Granoffand Koichi Shinohara (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003), 279–96). In addition there is a helpful study of the contemporary Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam by Glenn Yocum (“Non-Brahman Tamil Saiva Mutt”). Geoffrey Oddie provides information, drawn from revenue records, about the temples controlled by the maṭams in the nineteenth-century and other information from legal records of disputes between the Tarumapuram and Tiruppaṉantāḷ maṭams (“The Character, Role and Significance of Non-Brahmin Saivite Maths in Tanjore District in the Nineteenth Century”, in Changing South Asia: Religion and Society, ed. Kenneth Ballhatchet and David D. Taylor, vol. 1 (Hong Kong: Published for the Centre of South Asian Studies in the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, by Asian Research Service, 1984), 37–50, reprinted with some revisions in Hindu and Christian in South-East India (Richmond: Curzon Press, 1991), 98–118). K Nambi Arooran provides brief details about the history of the maṭams in two short articles (“The Origin of Three Saiva Mathas in Tanjavur District”, in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference-Seminar of Tamil Studies, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, January 1981, ed. M. Arunachalam, vol. 2 (Madras: International Association of Tamil Research, 1981), 12–77–87; “The Changing Role of Three Saiva Maths in Tanjore District from the Beginning of the 20th Century”, in Changing South Asia: Religion and Society, ed. Kenneth Ballhatchet and David D. Taylor, vol. 1 (Hong Kong: Published for the Centre of South Asian Studies in the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, by Asian Research Service, 1984), 51–58). Ebeling (Colonizing the Realm of Words, 307) cites a recent short history in Tamil of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam (Ci. Makāliṅkam, Tirukkayilāya paramparait Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai ātīṉam varālaṟṟuc curukkam. Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai: Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai ātīṉam Caracuvati Makāl Nūlnilaiya Āyvu Maiyam, 2002).

148 R. Champakalakshmi, “The Maṭha: Monachism as the Base of a Parallel Authority Structure”, in Religion, Tradition, and Ideology: Pre-colonial South India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011), 286–318.

149 Koppedrayer, “Sacred Presence”. Ebeling states that the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam “traces its history back to the fourteenth century” (Colonizing the Realm of Words, 61), but this refers only to the lineage of teachers in which the first head of the maṭam, the sixteenth-century Mūvalūr Namacivāyamūrtti, located himself (cf. Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HdO), 206).

150 R. Champakalakshmi provides evidence of the wide range of institutions referred to as maṭam (Champakalakshmi, “The Maṭha”). The institutions at Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai and Tarumapuram may also be referred to using the term ātīṉam, to indicate that they are autonomous. The Tiruppaṉantāḷ maṭam, being subordinate to Tarumapuram, cannot be referred to as an ātīṉam. The use of ātīṉam can be traced only from the eighteenth century, more than a century after their foundation (Koppedrayer, “Sacred Presence”, 11–13).

151 Koppedrayer, “Sacred Presence”, 42–51.

152 Ziegenbalg first uses the term as early as 1707, see below (36).

153 “Asketen und nichbrahmanische [sic] Priester der niedrigen Kasten, oft im Dienst der Śiva-Tempel” (Liebau, Malabarische Korrespondenz, 298). Cf. Gita Dharampal-Frick, “Malabarisches Heidenthum: Bartolomäus Ziegenbalg über Religion und Gesellschaft der Tamilen”, in Missionsberichte aus Indien in 18. Jahrhundert, ed. Michael Bergunder (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 1999), 137.

154 Koppedrayer, “Sacred Presence”, 74–75.

155 Ibid., 76–77.

156 See, e.g., Daniel Jeyaraj, Bartholomäus Ziegenbalgs “Genealogie der malabarischen Götter”: Edition der Originalfassung von 1713 mit Einleitung, Analyse und Glossar, Neue Hallesche Berichte: Quelle und Studien zur Geschichte und Gegenwart Südindiens (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2003), 427, following the Tamil Lexicon and Hobson-Jobson, and Liebau, Malabarische Korrespondenz, 298, cited above, n. 153.

157 Jean Venant Bouchet—a Jesuit contemporary of Ziegenbalg—indicates a further referent of the term when describing the severe austerities undertaken by a Brahmin who “prit la résolution de parcourir le pais en habit de Pandaron [pénitent des Indes], & de s’attirer par l’austérité de sa vie des aumônes abondantes” (Gobien, Lettres édifiantes et curieuses XI, 21).

158 bm 107. Similarly, when commenting on a text he names as Uṭalkuṟṟu tattuvam (bm 99), Ziegenbalg notes that it is “little known and can be understood neither by Brahmins nor by Paṇṭārams”.

159 HB 8: 531. “Sie antwortet: Hättet ihr unsere Bücher durchlesen, so würdet ihr gantz anders von uns Malabaren und Mohren urtheilen. Ich sprach: Gut, wolt ihr mich als denn besser hören, so will ich gerne die Mühe auf mich nehmen und eure Bücher durchlesen. Lasset mir nur die Besten zu kommen. Sie antwortet: ja, gantz gerne. Darauf ließ ich gleich einen Malabarischen Schreiber ein Verzeichniß von einer ziemlicher Anzahl Bücher aufschreiben, und legte ihnen selbiges vor. Sie sprachen: Wir haben die wenigsten von diesen Büchern; jedoch wollen wir unsern Pantaren, Bramanen, und Schulmeistern Befehl geben, daß sie umher suchen sollen, ob dergleichen ausgeforschet werden können: Unterdessen würde man diejenigen Autores, die solche geschrieben, wieder vom Tode auferwecken müssen, wenn man dergleichen Bücher recht verstehen solte. Ich sagte: Es hat mir dieser Schwierigkeit nichts zu bedeuten. Vielleicht ist anjetzo die Zeit, da sie sollen aufgelöset werden: schaft ihr mir nur fein viele, ich will sie entweder bezahlen, oder mir abschreiben lassen. Sie versprachen mir solches, und nahmen ihren Abschied.”

160 Tērūrnta vācakam (BM 77), Tiyākarāca paḷḷu (BM 90). Only the latter is known to be ascribed to Ñānappirakācar in other sources, but Ñānappirakācar is associated with Tiruvārūr, where the former is set. Tarumapuram also administered the “rājan kaṭṭaḷai” endowment at the Tiruvārūr temple (Rajeshwari Ghose, The Lord of Ārūr. The Tyāgarāja Cult in Tamiḻnāḍu: A Study in Conflict and Accommodation (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1996), 255).

161 The temple is also linked with the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam, in that the liṅkam worshipped by Namaccivāyamūrtti was named Vaidyanātha, Śiva at Vaitīcuvaraṉkōyil (Yocum, “Non-Brahman Tamil Saiva Mutt”, 255).

162 The Amṛtaghaṭeśvara temple in Tirukkaṭavūr, very close to Tranquebar, from which Ziegenbalg had the Apirāmi antāti (BM 25), was also managed by the Tarumapuram maṭam.

163 Thus, e.g., Uḷḷamuṭaiyāṉ (BM 75), which Ziegenbalg links to the paṇṭārams, is ascribed by him to Taṉvantiri, a cittar who is said to dwell at Vaitīcuvaraṉkōyil. More indirectly still, Vīrai Kavirācapaṇṭitar’s Tamil version of the Saundaryalaharī (bm 84), is linked by Zvelebil to the maṭams as “centres of Sanskritization” (Zvelebil, Tamil Literature (HdO), 251).

164 David Dean Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths: Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Śaiva Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 32.

165 Ebeling, Colonizing the Realm of Words, 60. Cutler notes that Mīṉāṭcicuntaram Piḷḷai “conducted classes on the Vaiṣṇava Kamparāmāyaṇam at Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai at the request of Cāminātaiyar and other senior pupils” (Norman Cutler, “Three Moments in the Genealogy of Tamil Literary Culture”, in Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia, ed. Sheldon Pollock (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 279).

166 The Institute of Asian Studies has published a catalogue of 1266 manuscripts kept at the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam (Shu Hikosaka and G. John Samuel, A Descriptive Catalogue of Palm-Leaf Manuscripts in Tamil, vol. 3 (ed. A. Thasarathan) (Madras: Institute of Asian Studies, 1993)), and has also indexed 481 mss. at the Tarumapuram maṭam, but not yet published the catalogue.

167 Jeyaraj mentions Ziegenbalg’s use of the work, but states that “This book is yet to be identified” (Jeyaraj, Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 330). His account of Ziegenbalg’s use of it is discussed further below (43–44).

168 There are a number of other cases where Ziegenbalg includes parts of larger works under separate headings in his catalogue, and in fact the relationship between these two works had already been noticed in an edition of Ziegenbalg’s catalogue prepared in 1731 by a later missionary Christoph Theodosius Walther. In this edition of the catalogue, there is an annotation, in a smaller hand, to the entry for the Tirikāla cakkaram which reads: “This book is inserted into the following one,” i.e., the Puvaṉa cakkaram (Walther, Bibliotheca Tamulica, 53).

169 Richard H. Davis, Ritual in an Oscillating Universe: Worshiping Śiva in Medieval India (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 95.

170 See, e.g., Isabelle Nabokov, Religion Against the Self: An Ethnography of Tamil Rituals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 72.

171 David Gordon White, The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 61.

172 There is still less reason to think that this work is as early as Tirumantiram; many later works were attributed to Tirumūlar.

173 Zvelebil, Lexicon, s.v. Tirumūlatēvar.

174 E.g., Pañcākkara taricaṉam, Pañcākkara paḵṟoṭai, Pañcākkara paṟṟiya viḷakkam, Pañcākkara mālai.

175 Ziegenbalg uses the form Nantikēcuran, but the form Nantitēvar is also attested in a manuscript of the Puvaṉa cakkaram in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library (GOML) in Chennai (tr– 4231).

176 Koppedrayer, “Sacred Presence”, 233.

177 Koppedrayer, “Sacred Presence”, 144.

178 Syed Muhammad Fazlullah Sahib Bahadur and T. Chandrasekharan, A Triennial Catalogue of Tamil Manuscripts Collected during the Trienniums 1934–35 to 1936–37, 1937–38 to 1939–40 and 1940–41 to 1942–43 for the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, vol. 8. Part 2, Tamil. (Madras: Government of Madras, 1949), 2238–52.

179 Jeyaraj, Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 17, citing hb 2: 82 and J. Ferd. [Johannes Ferdinand] Fenger, Geschichte der Trankebarschen Mission nach den Quellen bearbeitet (Grimma: Verlag von J.M. Gebhardt, 1845), 27f.

180 Jeyaraj, Ziegenbalgs “Genealogie”, 286; Jeyaraj, Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 255.

181 Jeyaraj begins his analysis of the Copenhagen ms. of the Genealogia with “Frühe europäische Werke über Indien” (Ziegenbalgs “Genealogie”, 270–76) and only later turns to “Ziegenbalgs Tamilstudium” (Ibid., 280–90).

182 Jeyaraj, Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 199.

183 Catalogo dos livros que se achaõ na bibliotheca da ingreja chamada Jerusalem em Tranquebar (Tranquebar: Na estampa dos Missionarios Reaes de Dennemarck, 1714). Dharampal-Frick writes: “Gewiß war Ziegenbalg bereits als Neuankömmling mit einem Teil der vorliegenden Literatur über Indien vertraut… An Literatur mit thematischem Bezug auf Indien sind dort [in the 1714 catalogue] u.a. Werke von Roger, Baldaeus, Nerreter, Boemus und Langhanß (1705) aufgefürt” (Indien im Spiegel deutscher Quellen der frühen Neuzeit (1500–1750): Studien zu einer interkulturellen Konstellation, Frühe Neuzeit 18 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1994), 101–2).

184 Abraham Roger, Breviario de religiāo christāo em maniera de dialogo pera ensino dos que tem contadide commungar com a ingreja de Deos. E justamenta passos de Sagrada Escritura que servem pera monstrar que a doutrina n’este breviario contenida esta conforme a Sancta Verdade pello R. P. Abrahao Rogerio (Amsterdam: dos erdeiros de P. Matthysz, 1689). The Biographical Dictionary of the History of Dutch Protestantism identifies this work as a translation, but not the author (Doede Nauta, ed., Biografisch lexicon voor de geschiedenis van het Nederlandse protestantisme, vol. 5 (Kampen: Kok, 2001), 433). The Catalogo dos livros identifies an edition published in Middelburg in 1662, but the earliest edition we have found (in the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek) is an edition published in Amsterdam in 1668.

185 Ziegenbalgs “Genealogie”, 275; Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 199.

186 Ziegenbalgs “Genealogie”, 232; Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 200.

187 Ziegenbalgs “Genealogie”, 278–79; Genealogy of the South Indian Deities, 201–2.

188 For discussion of other texts important for Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism, notably those of the cittar, see Will Sweetman, “The Prehistory of Orientalism: Colonialism and the Textual Basis for Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg’s Account of Hinduism”, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 6, no. 2 (2004): 12–38.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the Tranquebar Mission, and `the Roman Horror'
in Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau, eds., Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, vol. 2 (Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 2006), 797–811.
by Will Sweetman
University of Otago
January 2006

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In August or September 1705 Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg was asked whether he would accept a commission from the Danish King, Frederik IV, to go to the West Indies as a missionary. At the time he was acting as a temporary curate in a small town close to Berlin, and intending to return to university to continue the studies that had been interrupted due to his poor health and the death of his sister. Three weeks later, when in Berlin to attend a wedding, he was surprised to discover that his initial noncommittal response had been taken as an acceptance.1 In early October, as he set out for Copenhagen to be ordained, he wrote to a friend to say he would now be sent to another of the Danish overseas territories in Guinea, West Africa, which he had heard was much less healthy than America.2 By 29 November, when he embarked, the destination had changed again, now to the 'East Indies'. These details are mentioned here in order to demonstrate how little prepared Ziegenbalg was for India and its religions. There is no evidence of his having made any study of what was known of India in Europe prior to his being sent there, and during the seven month voyage the only language Ziegenbalg was able to study was Danish.3

First Encounters with Tamils and Catholics

On arrival in India, in July 1706, Ziegenbalg fully expected to find barbarians. In 1708 he wrote that when he first came among the Tamils, he shared the opinion of most Europeans that they were a "truly barbaric people" without learning or morals.4 It was not until he began to learn Tamil that his view of them changed. What is remarkable is how quickly this happened, within months of his arrival in Tranquebar. In one of his earliest letters from India, dated 1 October 1706, he writes: "These Malabarian heathens are, however, a very intelligent and rational people, who must be won over with great wisdom."5 He continues that their faith is quite as well ordered as that of "we Christians" -- a statement which was toned down in the published version of the letter to say only that their "fabulous" faith is well ordered.6 Moreover, he found the Tamils to lead a "quiet, honorable and virtuous life," on the basis of their natural powers alone, surpassing that of the Christians tenfold. Again this statement was edited, to read that they surpass "false" Christians not a little.

Alongside his realization that the Tamils were not barbarians, came an awareness of the difficulty of his missionary task. In another letter written on the same day, Ziegenbalg lists five hindrances to the conversion of the 'heathen'. Among them are the vexatious life of the other Christians in Tranquebar, the preference of the Hindus for outward ceremonial over the inward worship of the mind, and the fact that any convert would be excommunicated by his or her family, unless he was the head of the household. The other two reasons relate to the activities of the Catholics. The conversion of the 'heathen' "is greatly hindered, because they see how craftily the Catholics have made so many so-called Christians of them, thinking that one wants to mislead them in the same way with such deception." The other and, says Ziegenbalg, perhaps the primary reason, is that "they see these same Catholic Christians going begging by the hundred, and they are angered that they are not better received by their co-religionists and supported in their need, or given work, so that they do not have to seek their living from door to door."7 Four days later in another letter, addressed to the King who had commissioned him, Ziegenbalg expands:

The gospel of the crucified Christ is foolishness to them, the more so the less it agrees with their reason. Therefore it is not to be wondered at, that before now the Papists have drawn many of them to themselves with their impotent ceremonies, which in many ways are not unlike their idolatry, which also appeals to the outward senses and the eyes, but has no power in the heart like the pure word of the cross, death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ which takes hold not of reason but faith. Thus it is also a great hindrance to their conversion, when they have to see that almost no-one will receive those who have entered the Catholic religion, but rather are now turned away by them and, deprived of all their goods, must often beg their bread before the doors of others. To this also must be added the great lovelessness of most Christians, who so often leave the poor to seek their bread, and that often in vain ... Not to mention the unchristian life of those who, although baptized as Christians, live more like heathen.8


Less than a month before writing this letter, Ziegenbalg had reported that he had not yet tried to introduce himself to the Catholic priests in Tranquebar.9 Although on occasion he seems to have cooperated with Catholics in other towns,10 Ziegenbalg's relationships with Catholics in Tranquebar itself were never good11 and were complicated by his difficult relationship with the Danish Commandant of Tranquebar, Johann Siegmund Hassius.12

Although Tranquebar was under the control of the Danish East India Company, and hence was supplied with Lutheran chaplains of the established church in Denmark, Catholic priests in Tranquebar had a similar quasi-official role in the city, and were paid by the Company for their role as chaplains to the Catholic Christians in Tranquebar, many of whom were Indians either in the service of the Company, or private servants and slaves of Danish traders. In his letters Ziegenbalg repeatedly complains that Hassius, despite representing a Protestant nation, favoured the Catholics to the disadvantage of the Royal Danish mission. The Catholic poor received alms from the Company -- in contravention of what Ziegenbalg calls 'Paul's rule' that one's first concern should be one's co-religionists.13 Ziegenbalg attributes the success of the Catholic fathers in a Protestant town to the Commandant's patronage, and argues that it shows what the Protestant mission might have achieved had they had his support instead of his opposition.14 He writes that potential converts from Catholicism to Lutheran Christianity fear the power of the Portuguese fathers,15 and complains that the Commandant not only honoured the Catholic Bishop of Mylapore with a canon salute,16 but invited him to take up residence in Tranquebar, when he was unable to return to Mylapore because of Muslim opposition.17 By contrast, his fellow Protestant and Dutch counterpart in Nagapatnam, not only helped Ziegenbalg but refused to allow the Catholic Bishop of Mylapore even to enter the city.18

Anders Norgaard notes that the mission diary, which is extant only for the years following 1712, records many differences of opinion with the Catholic priests of Tranquebar, and that there is no reason to assume that the same was not true in earlier years.19 We do have evidence of two such incidents from the year 1708. The first involved a dispute over whether the illegitimate child of a Danish soldier and a non-Christian woman should be baptized and brought up as a Catholic or a Protestant, and resulted in Ziegenbalg's colleague, Heinrich Plutschau, being brought before a court.20 Although Plutschau was released, Ziegenbalg wrote that "the Catholics rejoiced, that we were persecuted and they were authorized,"21 and he connected this incident, which he took to have emboldened the Catholics, directly with the second, a fortnight later, which resulted in his imprisonment. This incident arose from Ziegenbalg's intervention on behalf of the widow of a Tamil barber, over a debt between her late husband and a Catholic who was employed by the Company as a translator. Hassius regarded Ziegenbalg's repeated intervention in the case, including his advice that she kneel before him in the Danish church, as inappropriate and sent for Ziegenbalg to appear before him. When Ziegenbalg demurred, requesting a written summons, he was arrested and, because he refused to answer questions imprisoned.22 Although released after a little more than four months' Ziegenbalg's relationship with the Commandant remained difficult, and his letters are full of complaints on this score, and regularly invoke the Catholics' relationship with the Commandant as one reason for his troubles. The most interesting of these is a letter from September 1714 in which he states that one reason, among others, why the Commandant opposes them, and protects the Catholics, is that he and they are engaged in private trade, and fear that the missionaries will expose them in Europe.23 When, finally, after Ziegenbalg's return from Europe in 1716, a new Commandant was appointed, who protected the interests of the mission, Ziegenbalg writes triumphantly that the Catholics were no longer able to pour scorn on the Lutheran mission.24

Catholic Tamil Works

As Ziegenbalg states, the catalyst for the transformation in his view of the Tamils was the learning of their language. Initially he and Plutschau had learned the Tamil script with the help of an old schoolmaster, who later did much to transform Ziegenbalg's view of Hindus:

Indeed, I must confess that my 70 year old tutor often asks such questions as to make me realize that in their philosophy everything is by no means so unreasonable as we in our country usually imagine about such heathen. They are so clever that if they heard the learned men in Europe dispute on the rostrum about logic, rhetoric, and metaphysics, they would laugh scornfully and consider such skill as the greatest stupidity, because they like free, unrestrained and clear speaking with good reasoning and do not indulge in figures of speech.25


This schoolmaster, however, knew no Portuguese, and therefore they had initially no common tongue in which he could explain to them the grammar of the language. The missionaries therefore hired, at considerable expense, a former translator to the Danish Company [Alakappan or Aleppa.]. At the recommendation of the Commandant, they also obtained a copy of "some grammatical precepts [written] in the Portuguese language, drawn up by a missionary of the King of France."26 Rajamanickam notes that in his Grammatica Damulica (1716), Ziegenbalg "follows rather closely. .. the grammatical treatise incorporated in the Introduction" to the Jesuit Antao Proenca's Tamil-Portuguese dictionary.27 Although this introduction is missing from the version of the dictionary printed at Ambalakad in July 1679,28 Gregory James reports that in a manuscript dated 1670 preserved in Goa, the dictionary is preceded by a copy of the Arte Tamulica, a Tamil accidence written by S.J. Balthasar da Costa, and printed at Ambalakad around 1680.29 This is presumably the grammatical treatise referred to by Rajamanickam. Although no copy of the printed work is extant, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Ziegenbalg could have seen a copy, printed or unprinted, of this work, despite his odd attribution of it to a missionary of the King of France. Moreover, in the letter in which he mentions this work, dated 22 September 1707, Ziegenbalg goes on to state that "we also obtained various books written by the Catholics in the Malabarian [i.e. Tamil] language which, although full of dangerous errors, nonetheless contributed a great deal to my learning of this language, so that from them I was able to adopt a proper Christian style. For otherwise previously I did not know which words and expressions I should use in order to express myself in spiritual matters in a way that did not smack of heathenism."30 In a catalogue of Tamil books in his possession, prepared in August of the following year, Ziegenbalg lists twenty-one such Catholic books, noting that they had belonged to a Jesuit in Tanjavur, "who went about among the heathen in the dress of a Brahman."31 During a time of "severe persecution" of Christians in Tanjavur, when all who wanted to save their lives had had to flee to the European coastal settlements, this Jesuit had left his library for safe-keeping in Tranquebar, where it had long remained hidden, until "it was wonderfully arranged" that Ziegenbalg should come upon it.32 Ziegenbalg first used these works as an aid to his own learning of Tamil, beginning with the most useful of them, a collection of translations from the Gospels, and going through them noting words and phrases, which he then sought to use daily.33 The impact on his confidence in Tamil seems to have been profound. On 19 September 1707, three days before the letter in which he announced his discovery of the Catholic books, he had written to the Danish King to say that he still found it a little too difficult to preach in Tamil, and restricted himself to reading passages from the Gospels about the life of Christ, and singing songs.34 Less than a month later, on 7 October, in a letter in which he also records that he is sending the Catholic translation of the Gospels to Europe, he claims that through daily practice he has become almost as fluent in Tamil as in his mother-tongue and adds: "When I go a little inland, I constantly have about me many hundred Malabarians, to whom I can preach. They love me greatly because of their language, in which they love to debate."35

He later returned to the Catholic works more than once. In 1708 he described "looking through them with great diligence to purify them from the horrible errors of papist doctrine and improving them on every page, so that they may be read by we Protestants without any offence."36 He found time to go through ten in this manner, five of which could not be purified of their errors and were worthy of being burnt, but were retained because of their Tamil. In 1710 he wrote that he had gone through the Catholic works again, due to their fine Tamil style, and had found a further five capable of improvement. The best of these was a "Christian Pearl Garland," consisting of 100 "pearls" from the Church Fathers, some of which, however, had to be discarded because they dealt with the "worship of saints, purgatory and erroneous visions of the cross."37 Other works he found admirable neither for their style, nor their content, consisting mainly of "accounts of the saints and miracles, supposed to have happened in their church" and not worth the effort of going through in the same manner. He mentions also still more books, written by "their poets, born in India" which he dismisses as "based on hearsay, so that they could do nothing more than mix up horrible errors and bible stories."38 Ziegenbalg concludes his 1710 account of Tamil books by writing:


Now one does not hear that any books are written by the papist missionaries. There is in any case now no life among these people, for hardly any apply themselves to the language, but almost all are involved in worldly affairs. However, regarding some of their first missionaries, their work and the institutions they established show that they were very diligent and constant in their office, so that not only was there no work that they were not willing to take on, but they did not shrink even from death itself.39


Earlier in the same year Ziegenbalg had described how he had met some French and Portuguese missionaries in Madras who did speak Tamil, but so badly that, he says, they were delighted to hear "pure Tamil from my mouth."40 Ironically, that same year, 1710, saw the arrival in India of Constant Joseph Beschi, later to become not only one of the greatest of all Jesuit writers in Tamil, but one of the harshest critics of Ziegenbalg's own prose style in Tamil.41 Nevertheless, the general picture in Ziegenbalg's reports of the decline of Catholic missions consequent upon the decline of Portuguese power in India seems to be accurate. Stephen Neill reports a drop in the number of Jesuits in the Malabar mission from 190 in the days of de Nobili to 67 in 1717, and to 47 by 1749 with, proportionately, a still greater decline in Goa.42

Zigenbalg's Reports on Catholic Missions

In three long letters dated September 1712, January 1713 and November 1713, Ziegenbalg gives his most detailed accounts of the Catholic missions. The underlying purpose of these letters is to spur the Protestant nations of Europe to support the Danish-Halle and other Protestant missions. In the first of these letters43 he writes that although the Roman church has advanced greatly in India during the last two to three hundred years and that in the coastal cities a large mass of Christians are to be found, the evidence of his own eyes and the testimony of the Catholic fathers with whom he has spoken is that the missions are currently in a miserable condition. He repeats that hardly any learn the language of the 'heathen', and that they rely instead on Indian catechists, who often know as little as those they catechize. There are no proper schools, and in those that do exist no attempt is made to bring the children to a living knowledge of God. The adults know only the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the three articles of faith, and the Ave Maria, along with the sign of the cross. They are rarely in church and when they are, few are able to understand the language of the preaching. The Portuguese fathers rarely preach, instead reading the Mass in Latin. The lives of the congregation are ill-disciplined, so that they are worse than the 'heathen'. Their teachers are for the most part no better, leading a vexatious life and "acquiescing in much heathenish practice among their own, and the sort of ceremonies which are common in idol temples. And because they still have the idolatrous worship of images, and conduct their festivals outside in the heathen manner, little difference is to be seen between them and the heathen."44 They no longer care for the conversion of the 'heathen', but are content to allow their Church to grow by natural increase. He concludes by again contrasting their very first missionaries, among whom were some who, "as can be seen from what they have written in the language of these heathen were truly constant in the conversion of the heathen and worked for Christianity," with those who came later and have allowed "all that which could still have been called good among them to fall into ruin."45 There are still manuscripts and books to be found here and there in the churches and colleges, but mostly in Portuguese. The Portuguese complain that the greater part, and the oldest, of such manuscripts were lost when they were displaced by the Dutch. Ziegenbalg claims he has seen and read most of the books which they wrote in Tamil, which for the most part contain nothing more than miracles supposed to have happened in the Roman church in Europe, and tales of the saints. Evidently in response to a question from his European correspondent, Ziegenbalg reports that hermits (Eremiten) are not to be found among the Indian Christians, although "some of the former Roman missionaries lived as a sort of hermit here and there in places isolated from the towns and villages, and pretended to be Brahmans from the north, or sanyasins, who are highly regarded among these heathen."46 In this letter Zlegenbalg mentions the opportunities that the English and the Dutch have for the propagation of Protestant Christianity in their East Indian territories. The Dutch in particular have an opportunity "to bring the treasure of the Gospel among the heathen and to make them share the spiritual goods, now that they have taken from them by ship physical goods and East-Indian treasure in such rich measure."47 The letter from November 1713 develops this theme in much more detail.

Taken as a whole, the November 1713 letter is a justification of mission in the post-apostolic era, and specifically of Protestant mission. Ziegenbalg begins with the missionary zeal of the early church, which declined once Christians became lukewarm and turned away from true Christianity. Where Christianity was brought to 'heathen' peoples, this was not done in the right manner. After the Reformation, Christians fought among themselves, with the result that the power of the Christians became weaker, and the light of the gospel in the east was darkened by the Mohammedan religion. Although the Roman church has from time to time sought to bring under the Papal yoke both those Christians who have never acknowledged the Papacy or have left it and 'heathen' peoples, their reasons for doing so are in order to assert the power of the Pope over all peoples. "To such people they almost preach more the Pope, than Christ."48 Moreover they have not used the means of the early church and the gospel, but worldly power: "thus it was easy for them, in both the East and the West Indies, to bring many heathen peoples to their religion, because both the Spanish, as well as the Portuguese and the French seized such lands."49 Where they did not have such power, however, Ziegenbalg states, "they resorted to all kinds of trickery and disguise."50 By this he means the method of adaptation or accommodation, for he goes on to note that their primary mission was in the Madurai country where, lacking worldly might, "the missionaries pretended to be Brahmans or also sannyasins ... taking on their habit and lifestyle, and going around the land in this way."51 He writes that only Jesuits, specifically Portuguese, were used in this mission, and allows that

these were more praiseworthy than others because they learnt the language of the heathen and taught in it, also leaving them many books in this language, and introduced few ceremonies of the Roman church among them, rather exerting themselves to debate with the heathen, and by argument to persuade them of their heathenism and to demonstrate by reason the principles of the Christian religion. They thereby used, however, much dissimulation and subtle manipulation, which was eventually exposed with the result that they are now no longer publicly tolerated by the inhabitants of the country, so that now even their church in the capital Madurai stands waste and their Christians go around scattered everywhere.52


He concludes this cautionary tale by noting that "one hears of a few missionaries, who have now learnt this Malabarian language, and go about the land in the manner of the earlier [missionaries]," including Francis Laynes, a Portuguese Jesuit who was "some twenty years as a missionary in the Madurai and Tanjore country and lived throughout that time in the manner of a Malabarian monk"53 before being ordained Bishop of Mylapore in 1708. It was this Bishop who spent time in Tranquebar in 1711 as a result of difficulties with the Nawab which Ziegenbalg says were at the instigation of the other Portuguese priests in Mylapore who were jealous of him. Ziegenbalg attributes the decline of the Catholic missions in part to the rivalry between their orders, and mentions the visit of the Papal legate Charles de Tournon to Pondicherry in 1703-1704,54 and his desire to rid the church of 'heathen' elements introduced by the missionaries, such as "the smearing of ash on the forehead, the shameful difference in the church and in the distribution of holy communion between high and low castes, the play-acting in Brahman habits, etc."55 He reports also what he has heard of Jesuit missions in China and Thailand,56 claiming that everywhere Jesuit cunning and unscrupulousness has eventually led to their ruin.

Twice in this letter Ziegenbalg writes that he reports all this "in no way out of a hostile contempt" for the Jesuits or "to condemn in any way the efforts, the diligence and zeal which the Roman church has always shown in the sending out of many missionaries, nor to fault all that which the missionaries sent here and there have achieved among the heathen" but "simply and solely in order that the Protestant church may be more blessed in the propagation of religion, than the Roman church."57 Although at certain points he commends the Catholics -- notably when in 1710 he notes that much of their progress has been due to ordaining "black Indians to the preaching office," arguing that the Lutheran mission should do the same58 -- for the most part it seems that he protests too much, and that his account has a more urgent intent, namely to use the experience of the Catholics to inspire the Protestants to mission. He notes in this letter that although the Dutch have "begun a Reformation" among the Catholic Christians in the towns they took over from the Portuguese, he is surprised that they have not done more, and cannot believe that this is for the reason he has been given by the Dutch in India -- that the Dutch Company feared this would upset their trade -- but is rather because "there are few in Europe who have demonstrated to this nation the necessity and the possibility [of conversion] but many who regard it all to be in vain, and do not acknowledge such heathen peoples to be worthy of applying so much effort and expense to their conversion."59 His three letters were clearly intended to accomplish the demonstration he thought was lacking. He refers again in this letter to the English, and also here to the Danish. He refers also to the last (chronologically, the second) of these three letters, dated 5 January 1713 and addressed to the whole theological faculty of Copenhagen.60 This letter is only partially extant,61 but it is referred to several times in other letters of Ziegenbalg, including a letter to Anton Wilhelm Bohme, the Chaplain to the Hanoverian Court in London, in which he describes the other, partially lost, letter as "an extensive letter ... reporting how papism has spread in India" and showing "how like heathenism it is in those points where it deviates from the Protestant church."62 The extant portion of the letter begins with the suggestion that, given the opportunity they had had in the East, with God's grace it would well have been possible for the Catholics "to convert the whole of the oriental heathenry to Christ." But because they had relied on human means, had introduced "the Roman horror" (Romische Greuel) among the Indians, and had been so haughty, proud, avaricious and high-handed that under the pretext of religion they practiced much tyranny and injustice, God could not allow such a thing to happen, but rather was thereby moved to punishment and revenge, and allowed the Protestant nations to displace the Portuguese everywhere except in Goa. The letter goes on to describe the parlous state of the Catholic missions in terms very similar to those found in the other two letters. The difference is that here Ziegenbalg explicitly states that it is because of their "heathen horrors here in India" that "God has quite humbled them, and in their stead established the European nations of the Protestant church everywhere among the heathen in the Orient." The letter continues with an appeal to the Protestant nations of Europe to join in responding to this God-given opportunity.

Any extended comparison of 'heathenism' and 'Papism' in the letter to the Copenhagen faculty along the lines suggested in Ziegenbalg's description of it in his letter addressed to B6hme must have been contained in the first part of the letter, for there is nothing more of this nature in the extant section. As will already be evident, there is a paganopapist cast [pagano-papist model-corrupt and deceitful priests responsible for rebirth of paganism; mixing model-adulteration of true religion via commingling, ex. mix christianity with paganism to create catholicism] to Ziegenbalg's writings on Catholics dating back to his earliest letters from India,63 and persisting throughout his time there.64 Nevertheless, in addition to his description of this letter in his later letter to Bohme, there is another reason to think that there may have been much more substantial material along these lines in the letter to the Copenhagen faculty, for this letter is listed among the materials lent to Mathurin Veyssiere de La Croze for his Histoire du christianisme des Indes, published in the Netherlands in 1724.65 La Croze was a former Benedictine who had converted to Protestantism in part, his biographer suggests, because of the Jesuits' domination of the French church.66 I have described elsewhere how Ziegenbalg's account of Hinduism becomes, in the hands of La Croze, material for an elaborate paganopapist assault on the Catholics, and especially the Jesuits, which relies on the claim that both Hinduism and Catholicism have their origin in Egypt.67 La Croze's interest in this particular letter is obviously connected with Ziegenbalg's similar, if much more restrained, comparisons.

Ziegenbalg welcomed La Croze's interest in the mission,68 not least because at one time La Croze planned to translate the mission's published reports into French for publication in the Netherlands.69 Although this, and the zeal for mission it might have aroused, never transpired, La Croze's use of Ziegenbalg's works did indirectly further Ziegenbalg's aims. Although many of Ziegenbalg's letters were published, including those in which he describes Hinduism, his major works on Hinduism were not published until long after his lifetime, and it was in La Croze's work that their contents were first made available to the reading public. Sylvia Murr suggests that it was his extracts from Ziegenbalg -- which for a long time constituted the principal appeal of La Croze's work for his French readership -- which included Voltaire.70 It was in part through La Croze that Ziegenbalg became an important source for John Lockman. In his translation, first published in 1743, of the first ten volumes of the Jesuits' Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, Lockman keeps up a furious footnoted assault on the Jesuits. For his footnotes Lockman draws on a wide range of sources, not only those French anti-Jesuit writings which he shares with La Croze, such as La morale pratique and Pascal's Lettres provinciales, but also La Croze himself, and especially the sections in which he cites 'the Danish missionaries'. As well as using directly the earlier English translations of the letters of the first Protestant Mission, Lockman translates substantial extracts from Ziegenbalg's account of Hinduism as it appears in La Croze. Both La Croze and Lockman regarded the Jesuits as notoriously untrustworthy, and therefore welcomed Ziegenbalg as the first to break the hitherto near-monopoly of Catholic, and especially Jesuit, authors on Hinduism. What they failed to realize, or at least to acknowledge, is just how much Ziegenbalg owed to the Jesuits both in his success as a missionary and in his understanding of Hinduism.

_______________

Notes:

l Arno Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe aus Indien: unveroffenllichte Briefe von Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg 1706-1719, Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1957, pp. 32-33.

2 Ibid, p. 21.

3 Joachim Lange, ed., Merckwurdige Nachricht aus Ost-Jndien Welche Zwey Evangelisch-Lutherische Prediger Nahmentlich Herr Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg Geburtig von Pulsnitz in Meissen Und Herr Heinrich Plutscho Von Wesenberg in Mecklenburg So von Seiner Konigl. Majestat in Dennemarck und Norwegen Den 29. Novemb. 1705. aus Copenhagen nach Dero Ost-Indischen Colonie in Trangebar gesandt: Zum Ioblichen Versuch Ob nicht dasige angrentzende blinde Heyden einiger massen Zum Christenthum mochten konnen angefuhret werden: Erstlich unterwegens den 30. April 1706. aus Africa von dem Vorgebirge der guten Hoffnung bey den so genanten Hottentotten. Und bald darauf aus Trangebar von der Kuste Coromandel, an einige Predige und gute Freunde in Berlin uberschrieben und von diesen zum Druck befordert. Die andere Auflage, Leipzig and Franckfurt am Mayn: Joh. Christoph Papen, 1708, p. 27. [Strange news from East India which two Evangelical Lutheran preachers namely Mr. Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg born of Pulsnitz in Meissen and Mr. Heinrich Plutscho von Wesenberg in Mecklenburg So from his king. Majesty in Dennemarck and Norway November 29th. 1705. Sent from Copenhagen to the East Indian Colony in Trangebar: For the usual test whether the neighboring blind heathens might not be able to do something to Christianity so-called Hottentots. And soon afterwards from Trangebar on the Coromandel coast, signed over to some sermons and good friends in Berlin and encouraged by them to be printed. The other edition, Leipzig and Franckfurt am Mayn: Joh. Christoph Papen, 1708, p. 27.]

4 Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg and Willem Caland, B. Ziegenbalgs Kleinere Schriften, Amsterdam: Uitgave van Koninklijke Akademie, 1930, p. 11.

5 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 44.

6 Lange, ed., Merckwurdige Nachricht, p. 29.

7 Ibid, p. 18.

8 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 47.

9 Christian Gustav Bergen, Herrn Bartholomai Ziegenbalgs und Herrn Heinrich Plutscho, Kon. Danischer Missionariorum, Brieffe, Von ihrem Beruff und Reise nach Tranqvebar, wie auch Bishero gefohrten Lehre und Leben unter den Heyden, Sonderlich aber Von denen uns Europaern nicht allzu bekandten Malabaren, An einige Prediger und gute Freunde in der Marck und Ober-Lausitz [i.e. Pulsnitz} geschickt, Jetzund vermehret, mit etlichen Erinnerungen, und einem Anhange unschadlicher Gedancken von neuem heraus gegeben von Christian Gustav Bergen. Die dritte Aufflage, Pima: Georg Balthasar Ludewig, 1708, p. 50. [Google translate: Christian Gustav Bergen, Mr. Bartholomai Ziegenbalgs and Mr. Heinrich Plutscho, Kon. Danish Missionariorum, Letters, From their profession and journey to Tranqvebar, as well as from their teaching and life under the Heyden, but especially from those Malabars who are not too well known to us Europeans, To some preachers and good friends in the Marck and Ober-Lausitz [i.e. Pulsnitz} sent, now and increased, with a number of memoirs, and an appendix of harmless thoughts re-edited by Christian Gustav Bergen. The third edition, Pima: Georg Balthasar Ludewig, 1708, p. 50.]

10 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 197.

11 On the relationship between the Tranquebar and Catholic missions during and after Ziegenbalg's time see also Hugald Grafe, "The Relation between the Tranquebar Lutherans and the Tanjore Catholics in the First Half of the 18th Century", Indian Church History Review Vol. 1 (1), 1967 and S. Rajamanickam, "Madurai and Tranquebar", in Michael Bergunder, ed. Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert: Ihre Bedeutung for die europaische Geistesgeschichte und ihr wissenschaftlicher Quellenwert for Indienkunde, Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 1999. [Google translate: Michael Bergunder, ed. Mission reports from India in the 18th century: their importance for European intellectual history and their scientific source value for Indian studies, Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle, 1999.]

12 See Anders Norgaard, Mission und Obrigkeit: Die Danisch-hallische Mission in Tranquebar, 1706-1845, Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus/Gerd Mohn, 1988 [Google translate: See Anders Norgaard, Mission and Government: The Danish-Hallian Mission in Tranquebar, 1706-1845, Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus/Gerd Mohn, 1988.]; Ulla Sandgren, The Tamil New Testament and Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg: A Short Study of Some Tamil Translations of the New Testament. The Imprisonment of Ziegenbalg 19.11.1708-26.3.1709, Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research/Svenska institutet for missionsforskning, 1991.

13 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 83.

14 Ibid, p. 159.

15 Ibid, p. 83.

16 Ibid, p. 183.

17 Ibid, p. 343.

18 Ibid, p. 183.

19 Norgaard, Mission und Obrigkeit, p. 39.

20 See Sandgren's summary of the incident in Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg, p. 95.

21 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 95.

22 For more detailed accounts, see Norgaard, Mission und Obrigkeit, pp. 41-48. and Sandgren, Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg, pp. 95-101.

23 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 393.

24 Ibid, p. 486.

25 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 40.

26 Ibid, p. 59.

27 Rajamanickam, "Madurai and Tranquebar", p. 50.

28 Ibid.

29 Gregory James, A History of Tamil Dictionaries, Chennai: Cre-A, 2000, pp. 132, 96. The manuscript is in the State Central Library Panaji, MS M34.

30 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 59.

31 Wilhelm Germann, "Ziegenbalg's Bibliotheca Malabarica", Missionsnachrichten der Ostindischen Missionsanstalt zu Halle, Vol. XXII, 1880, p. 9.

32 Ibid.

33 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 59.

34 Ibid, p. 55.

35 Ibid, p. 64.

36 Germann, "Bibliotheca Malabarica", p. 9.

37 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 172.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid, p. 106. Earlier, in 1708, Ziegenbalg had written scathingly of the Catholic priest in Tranquebar who after seven years did not understand a single word of Tamil, but boasted that he would learn it in six months in order to be able to engage in a public debate with Ziegenbalg on the meaning of scripture (see Germann, "Bibliotheca Malabarica", pp. 10-11).

41 See Rajamanickam, "Madurai and Tranquebar", and Stuart Blackburn, Print, Folklore, and Nationalism in Colonial South India, Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003.

42 Stephen Neill, A History of Christianity in India, Vol. II, 1707-1858, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, p. 72.

43 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, pp. 233-43.

44 Ibid, p. 239. Grafe notes that this list "can be taken as a summary of the charges which from now onward were frequently made by the Tranquebar Lutherans against the Roman Catholics in their neighbourhood" (Grafe, "Tranquebar Lutherans and Tanjore Catholics", p. 44).

45 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 240.

46 Ibid, p. 242.

47 Ibid, p. 238.

48 Ibid, p. 346.

49 Ibid, p. 348.

50 Ibid, p. 347.

51 Ibid, p. 348.

52 Ibid.

53 Ibid, p. 349.

54 Ziegenbalg says the visit took place "six years ago", which would place it in 1707, and he does not name the visitor, saying only that he was "a cardinal sent by the Pope," but from the other details he gives there can be no doubt he is referring to the visit of Tournon, who was created cardinal on 1 August 1707.

55 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 351.

56 Many of the Jesuits in the Carnatic mission had been forced to leave Thailand in 1688.

57 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, pp. 347 and 351.

58 Ibid, p. 178.

59 Ibid, p. 353.

60 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 347.

61 Ziegenbalg sent a copy of this letter to Bohme requesting that he publish it and that he have a copy sent to Francke in Halle. The copy sent to Halle (AFSt/M I C 5: 3ab) appears to be the only one that has survived, and then only in part, for the first half of the letter is missing. It is possible that either the copy sent to Bohme, or that sent to Copenhagen, is extant, but I have found no evidence to suggest that either is. The letter has not been published.

62 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 284.

63 See Ibid, p.47, cited above.

64 E.g. a letter from 7.10.1709 describing the religious scene in Tranquebar where, after mentioning the five main Hindu temples, and the 'Moors' church' he adds that 'The Catholics also have a church in which almost exactly the same ceremonies are in use as in the heathen temples, only that the images are changed'. (Ibid, p. 117).

65 Letter dated 1.12.1717 from C.B. Michaelis to Ziegenbalg and the other missionaries (AFSt/M: 1 C 10: 43). This may be the reason for the partial loss of the letter, as a number of the other works lent to La Croze seem also to have been lost.

66 Friedrich Wiegand, "Mathurin Veyssiere La Croze als Verfasser der ersten deutschen Missionsgeschichte", Beitrage zur Forderung Christlicher Theologie Vol. 6 (3), 1902, pp. 89-90. John Lockman, who used La Croze's Histoire for the footnotes to his translation of parts of the Jesuit Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, drily comments: 'As Mr. la Croze was a Proselyte from the Church of Rome, and had been a Benedictin, who are known not to be Friends to the Jesuits, some may imagine that this might sharpen his Pen against them, or at least bypass his Judgment in some Parts of his excellent History of the Christianity of India.' (John Lockman, Travels of the Jesuits into Various Parts of the World: Compiled from their Letters. Now first attempted in English. Intermix 'd with an account of the Manners, Government, Religion &c. of the several nations visited by those Fathers: With Extracts from other Travellers, and miscellaneous notes, 2 Vols., London: Printed for John Noon, 1743, pp. 297-8).

67 Will Sweetman, "The Curse of the Mummy: Egyptians, Hindus and Christians in the Lettres edifiantes el curieuses and La Croze's Histoire du christianisme des Indes" (paper presented at the 18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Lund, Sweden, 6-9 July 2004).

68 Lehmann, ed., Alte Briefe, p. 487.

69 Letter dated 7.1.1716 from C. B. Michaelis to Anton Wilhelm Bohme (AFSt/M: 1 C 9: 6).

70 Sylvia Murr, "Indianisme et militantisme protestant. Veyssiere de La Croze et son Histoire du Christianisme des Indes, Dix-huitieme siecle", [Google translate: "Indianism and Protestant militancy. Veyssiere de La Croze and his History of Indian Christianity, Eighteenth Century".] Vol. 18, 1986, p. 309.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 29, 2022 7:48 am

Manetho [Manethon]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/11/22

We learn from Manetho [Manethon], that the Egyptian chronology enumerated fourteen dynasties, the particulars of which he omitted as unworthy of notice.

In the same manner the Hindu chronology presents us with a series of fourteen Dynasties, equally repugnant to nature and reason; six of these are elapsed, we are in the seventh, which began with the Flood, and seven more we are taught to expect. These fourteen Dynasties are hardly ever noticed by the Hindus in their legendary tales, or historical poems. The rulers of these Dynasties are called MENUS [Manus]: and from them their respective Dynasty, antara, or period, is called a Manwantara. Every Dynasty ends with a total destruction of the human race, except the Menu or ruler of the next period, who makes his escape in a boat, with the seven Rishis. The same events take place; the same persons, though sometimes under different names, re-appear.

Thus the history of one Dynasty serves for all the rest. In reality, history, according to the Hindus themselves, begins with the Flood, or the seventh Menu.

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241, 1799


In his system of chronology, accordingly, we have a series of rulers, Hebrew, Hindu, Chaldean, Persian, Chinese, and Egyptian, who reigned before the flood; in other words, the antediluvian [before the flood] patriarchs, in the two lines of descent from Seth and Cain, are represented as the first sovereigns of those several divisions of the east: and in this way, it will be granted that he contrives to dispose of the fourteen dynasties of ancient kings, mentioned in the Old Chronicle, by Manethon and by Berosus, which have so grievously perplexed all modern settlers of dates. From Syncellus downwards, all the compilers of chronological tables have been thrown out of their reckoning by the length of Manethon's catalogue; and we believe they have all adopted the same methods for combating the difficulties thereby presented, namely, either to reject the first fourteen dynasties, or reigns, as altogether fabulous, or, admitting them to have some ground in historical fact, to set them down as contemporary governments. Now, as Noah was the eighth from Adam, it is very plausibly inferred in the work before us, that there were six chiefs or rulers in each of the two lines of Adam's sons, making between them, including our first parent and Noah, the very fourteen reigns in question (for reign and dynasty here are admitted to be synonymous), and thereby giving an intelligible import to the otherwise unmeaning list of aboriginal kings found in the most ancient records. There may perhaps be a little imagination in the matter; but it is astonishing how successfully the author contrives to make the Hindu, Chaldean, Chinese, and Egyptian annals coincide, in their earliest details of names and sovereignties: and it is still more remarkable that both the Hindu and Chaldean historians mention in regard to the eighth king in their list, that he with his family was miraculously saved from the general destruction of the deluge by means of a ship or ark.

-- ART. V. [Book Review of:] A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus; in a Series of Letters, in which an Attempt is made to facilitate the Progress of Christianity in Hindustan, by proving that the protracted Numbers of all Oriental Nations, when reduced, agree with the Dates given in the Hebrew Text of the Bible. 2 vols. 8vo. Rivingtons. 1820. [by Anonymous, 1820], by F. and C. Rivington (Firm), The British Critic, Volumes 13-14, Editors: 1793-1813, Robert Nares, William Beloe; 1814-1825, T.F. Middleton, W.R. Lyall, and others. 1820, originally published 1792



Manetho (/ˈmænɪθoʊ/; Koinē Greek: Μανέθων Manéthōn, gen.: Μανέθωνος) is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos (Coptic: Ϫⲉⲙⲛⲟⲩϯ, romanized: Čemnouti[2]) who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt) in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the kings of ancient Egypt. It is unclear if he wrote his history and king list during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or Ptolemy II Philadelphos, but it was completed no later than that of Ptolemy III Euergetes.

Name

The original Egyptian version of Manetho's name is lost, but some speculate it means "Truth of Thoth", "Gift of Thoth", "Beloved of Thoth", "Beloved of Neith", or "Lover of Neith".[3] Less accepted proposals are Myinyu-heter ("Horseherd" or "Groom") and Ma'ani-Djehuti ("I have seen Thoth").

In the Greek language, the earliest fragments (the inscription of uncertain date on the base of a marble bust from the temple of Serapis at Carthage[4] and the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus of the 1st century AD) wrote his name as Μανέθων Manethōn, so the Latinised rendering of his name here is given as Manetho.[5] Other Greek renderings include Manethōs, Manethō, Manethos, Manēthōs, Manēthōn, and Manethōth. In Latin it is written as Manethon, Manethos, Manethonus, and Manetos.[citation needed]

Life and work

Although no sources for the dates of his life and death remain, Manetho is associated with the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) by Plutarch (c. 46–120 AD), while George Syncellus links Manetho directly with Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC).

If the mention of someone named Manetho in the Hibeh Papyri, dated to 241/240 BC, is in fact the celebrated author of the Aegyptiaca, then Manetho may well have been working during the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes (246–222 BC) as well, but at a very advanced age. Although the historicity of Manetho of Sebennytus was taken for granted by Josephus and later authors, the question as to whether he existed remains problematic. The Manetho of the Hibeh Papyri has no title and this letter deals with affairs in Upper Egypt not Lower Egypt, where our Manetho is thought to have functioned as a chief priest. The name Manetho is rare, but there is no reason a priori to presume that the Manetho of the Hibeh Papyri is the priest and historian from Sebennytus who is thought to have authored the Aegyptiaca for Ptolemy Philadelphus.

Manetho is described as a native Egyptian and Egyptian would have been his mother tongue. Although the topics he supposedly wrote about dealt with Egyptian matters, he is said to have written exclusively in the Greek language for a Greek-speaking audience. Other literary works attributed to him include Against Herodotus, The Sacred Book, On Antiquity and Religion, On Festivals, On the Preparation of Kyphi, and the Digest of Physics. The treatise Book of Sothis has also been attributed to Manetho. It is important to note that not one of these works are attested during the Ptolemaic period when Manetho of Sebennytus is said to have lived. In fact, they are not mentioned in any source prior to the first century AD. This would be a gap of three centuries between the time the Aegyptiaca was supposedly composed and its first attestation. The gap is even larger for the other works attributed to Manetho such as The Sacred Book that is mentioned for the very first time by Eusebius in the fourth century AD.[6]

If Manetho of Sebennytus was a historical figure he was probably a priest of the sun-god Ra at Heliopolis (according to George Syncellus, he was the chief priest). He was considered by Plutarch to be an authority on the cult of Serapis (a derivation of Osiris and Apis). Serapis was a Greco-Macedonian version of the Egyptian cult, probably started after Alexander the Great's establishment of Alexandria in Egypt. A statue of the deity was imported in 286 BC by Ptolemy I Soter (or in 278 BC by Ptolemy II Philadelphus) as Tacitus and Plutarch attest.[7] There was also a tradition in antiquity that Timotheus of Athens (an authority on Demeter at Eleusis) directed the project together with Manetho, but the source of this information is not clear and it may originate from one of the literary works attributed to Manetho, in which case it has no independent value and does not corroborate the historicity of Manetho the priest-historian of the early third century BC.

Aegyptiaca

The Aegyptiaca (Αἰγυπτιακά, Aigyptiaka), the "History of Egypt", may have been Manetho's largest work, and certainly the most important. It was organised chronologically and divided into three volumes. His division of rulers into dynasties was an innovation. However, he did not use the term in the modern sense, by bloodlines, but rather, introduced new dynasties whenever he detected some sort of discontinuity, whether geographical (Dynasty Four from Memphis, Dynasty Five from Elephantine), or genealogical (especially in Dynasty One, he refers to each successive king as the "son" of the previous to define what he means by "continuity"). Within the superstructure of a genealogical table, he fills in the gaps with substantial narratives of the kings.

Some have suggested that Aegyptiaca was written as a competing account to Herodotus' Histories, to provide a national history for Egypt that did not exist before. From this perspective, Against Herodotus may have been an abridged version or just a part of Aegyptiaca that circulated independently. Unfortunately, neither survives in its original form today.

Two English translations of the fragments of Manetho's Aegyptiaca have been published, by William Gillan Waddell in 1940, later by Gerald P. Verbrugghe and John Moore Wickersham in 2001.[8]

Transmission and reception

Despite the reliance of Egyptologists on him for their reconstructions of the Egyptian dynasties, the problem with a close study of Manetho is that not only was Aegyptiaca not preserved as a whole, but it also became involved in a rivalry among advocates of Egyptian, Jewish, and Greek histories in the form of supporting polemics. During this period, disputes raged concerning the oldest civilizations, and so Manetho's account was probably excerpted during this time for use in this argument with significant alterations. Material similar to Manetho's has been found in Lysimachus of Alexandria, a brother of Philo, and it has been suggested that this was inserted into Manetho. We do not know when this might have occurred, but scholars specify a terminus ante quem at the first century AD, when Josephus began writing.

The earliest surviving attestation to Manetho is that of Contra Apionem ("Against Apion") by Flavius Josephus, nearly four centuries after Aegyptiaca was composed. Even here, it is clear that Josephus did not have the originals, and constructed a polemic against Manetho without them. Avaris and Osarseph are both mentioned twice (1.78, 86–87; 238, 250). Apion 1.95–97 is merely a list of kings with no narratives until 1.98, while running across two of Manetho's dynasties without mention (dynasties eighteen and nineteen).

Contemporaneously or perhaps after Josephus wrote, an epitome of Manetho's work must have been circulated. This would have involved preserving the outlines of his dynasties and a few details deemed significant. For the first ruler of the first dynasty, Menes, we learn that "he was snatched and killed by a hippopotamus". The extent to which the epitome preserved Manetho's original writing is unclear, so caution must be exercised. Nevertheless, the epitome was preserved by Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius of Caesarea. Because Africanus predates Eusebius, his version is usually considered more reliable, but there is no assurance that this is the case. Eusebius in turn was preserved by Jerome in his Latin translation, an Armenian translation, and by George Syncellus. Syncellus recognized the similarities between Eusebius and Africanus, so he placed them side by side in his work, Ecloga Chronographica.

Africanus, Syncellus, and the Latin and Armenian translations of Eusebius are what remains of the epitome of Manetho. Other significant fragments include Malalas's Chronographia and the Excerpta Latina Barbari, a bad translation of a Greek chronology.

Sources and methods

Manetho's methods involved the use of king-lists to provide a structure for his history. There were precedents to his writing available in Egypt (plenty of which have survived to this day), and his Hellenistic and Egyptian background would have been influential in his writing. Josephus records him admitting to using "nameless oral tradition" (1.105) and "myths and legends" (1.229) for his account, and there is no reason to doubt this, as admissions of this type were common among historians of that era. His familiarity with Egyptian legends is indisputable, but how he came to know Greek is more open to debate. He must have been familiar with Herodotus, and in some cases, he even attempted to synchronize Egyptian history with Greek (for example, equating King Memnon with Amenophis, and Armesis with Danaos). This suggests he was also familiar with the Greek Epic Cycle (for which the Ethiopian Memnon is slain by Achilles during the Trojan War) and the history of Argos (in Aeschylus's Suppliants). However, it has also been suggested that these were later interpolations, particularly when the epitome was being written, so these guesses are at best tentative.

At the very least, he wrote in fluent Koinê Greek.

King lists

At the behest of Ptolemy Philadelphus (266–228 BC), Manetho copied down a list of eight successive Persian kings, beginning with Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great.[9]

Cambyses (Artaxerxes) b. Cyrus = reigned over Persia, his own kingdom, for 5 years, and over Egypt for 6 years.
Darius (II), the son of Hystaspes = reigned 36 years.
Xerxes (Artaxerxes), the Great, b. Darius = reigned 21 years.
Artabanus = reigned 7 months.
Artaxerxes (Cyrus) b. Xerxes the Great = reigned 41 years.
Xerxes = reigned 2 months.
Sogdianus = reigned 7 months.
Darius (III), the son of Xerxes = reigned 19 years.


It is to be noted here that between Cambyses' reign and Darius, the son of Hystaspes, there was an interim period whereby the Magi ruled over Persia. This important anecdote is supplied by Herodotus who wrote the Magian ruled Persia for 7 months after the death of Cambyses. Josephus, on the other hand, says they obtained the government of the Persians for a year.

The king-list that Manetho had access to is unknown to us, but of the surviving king-lists, the one most similar to his is the Turin Royal Canon (or Turin Papyrus). The oldest source with which we can compare to Manetho are the Old Kingdom Annals (c. 2500-2200 BC). From the New Kingdom are the list at Karnak (constructed by order of Thutmose III), two at Abydos (by Seti I and Ramesses II— the latter a duplicate, but updated version of the former), and the Saqqara list by the priest Tenry.

The provenance of the Old Kingdom Annals is unknown, surviving as the Palermo Stone. The differences between the Annals and Manetho are great. The Annals only reach to the fifth dynasty, but its pre-dynastic rulers are listed as the kings of Lower Egypt and kings of Upper Egypt. By contrast, Manetho lists several Greek and Egyptian deities beginning with Hephaistos and Helios. Secondly, the Annals give annual reports of the activities of the kings, while there is little probability that Manetho would have been able to go into such detail.


The New Kingdom lists are each selective in their listings: that of Seti I, for instance, lists seventy-six kings from dynasties one to nineteen, omitting the Hyksos rulers and those associated with the heretic Akhenaten. The Saqqara king list, contemporaneous with Ramesses II, has fifty-eight names, with similar omissions. If Manetho used these lists at all, he would have been unable to get all of his information from them alone, due to the selective nature of their records. Verbrugghe and Wickersham argue:

[...] The purpose of these lists was to cover the walls of a sacred room in which the reigning Pharaoh (or other worshiper, as in the case of Tenry and his Saqqara list) made offerings or prayers to his or her predecessors, imagined as ancestors. Each royal house had a particular traditional list of these "ancestors," different from that of the other houses. The purpose of these lists is not historical but religious. It is not that they are trying and failing to give a complete list. They are not trying at all. Seti and Ramesses did not wish to make offerings to Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, or Hatshepsut, and that is why they are omitted, not because their existence was unknown or deliberately ignored in a broader historical sense. For this reason, the Pharaonic king-lists were generally wrong for Manetho's purposes, and we should commend Manetho for not basing his account on them (2000:105).


These large stelae stand in contrast to the Turin Royal Canon (such as Saqqara, contemporaneous with Ramesses II), written in hieratic script. Like Manetho, it begins with the deities, and seems to be an epitome very similar in spirit and style to Manetho. Interestingly, the opposite side of the papyrus includes government records. Verbrugghe and Wickersham suggest that a comprehensive list such as this would be necessary for a government office "to date contracts, leases, debts, titles, and other instruments (2000:106)" and so could not have been selective in the way the king-lists in temples were. Despite numerous differences between the Turin Canon and Manetho, the format must have been available to him. As a priest (or chief priest), he would have had access to practically all written materials in the temple.

While the precise origins for Manetho's king-list are unknown, it was certainly a northern, Lower Egyptian one. This can be deduced most noticeably from his selection of the kings for the Third Intermediate Period. Manetho consistently includes the Tanite Dynasty Twenty-one and Dynasty Twenty-two lineage in his Epitome such as Psusennes I, Amenemope and even such short-lived kings as Amenemnisu (five years) and Osochor (six years). In contrast, he ignores the existence of Theban kings such as Osorkon III, Takelot III, Harsiese A, Pinedjem I, and kings from Middle Egypt such as Peftjaubast of Herakleopolis. This implies that Manetho derived the primary sources for his Epitome from a local city's temple library in the region of the River Nile Delta which was controlled by the Tanite-based Dynasty Twenty-one and Dynasty Twenty-two kings. The Middle and Upper Egyptian kings did not have any effect upon this specific region of the delta; hence their exclusion from Manetho's king-list.

Transcriptions of Pharaonic names

By the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian kings each had five different names, the "Horus" name; the "Two Ladies" name; the "Gold Horus" name; the praenomen or "throne name"; and a nomen, the personal name given at birth (also called a "Son of Ra" name as it was preceded by Sa Re'). Some kings also had multiple examples within these names, such as Ramesses II who used six Horus names at various times. Because Manetho's transcriptions agree with many king-lists, it is generally accepted that he was reliant on one or more such lists, and it is not clear to what extent he was aware of the different pharaonic names of rulers long past (and he had alternate names for some). Not all of the different names for each king have been uncovered.

Manetho did not choose consistently from the five different types of names, but in some cases, a straightforward transcription is possible. Egyptian Men or Meni (Son of Ra and king-list names) becomes Menes (officially, this is Pharaoh I.1 Narmer—"I" represents Dynasty I, and "1" means the first king of that dynasty), while Menkauhor/Menkahor (Throne and king-list names, the Horus names is Menkhau and the Son of Ra name is "Kaiu Horkaiu[...]") is transcribed as Menkheres (V.7 Menkauhor). Others involve a slight abbreviation, such as A'akheperen-Re' (Throne and king-list names) becoming Khebron (XVIII.4 Thutmose II). A few more have consonants switched for unknown reasons, as for example Tausret becoming Thouoris (XIX.6 Twosre/Tausret). One puzzle is in the conflicting names of some early dynastic kings— although they did not have all five titles, they still had multiple names. I.3/4 Djer, whose Son of Ra name is Itti is considered the basis for Manetho's I.2 Athothis. I.4 Oenephes then is a puzzle unless it is compared with Djer's Gold Horus name, Ennebu. It may be that Manetho duplicated the name or he had a source for a name unknown to us. Finally, there are some names where the association is a complete mystery to us. V.6 Rhathoures/Niuserre's complete name was Set-ib-tawi Set-ib-Nebty Netjeri-bik-nebu Ni-user-Re' Ini Ni-user-Re', but Manetho writes it as Rhathoures. It may be that some kings were known by names other than even just the five official ones.

Thus, how Manetho transcribed these names varies, and as such, we cannot reconstruct the original Egyptian forms of the names. However, because of the simplicity with which Manetho transcribed long names (see above), they were preferred until original king-lists began to be uncovered in Egyptian sites, translated, and corroborated. Manetho's division of dynasties, however, is still used as a basis for all Egyptian discussions.

Content

Volume 1 begins from the earliest times, listing deities and demigods as kings of Egypt. Stories of Isis, Osiris, Set, or Horus might have been found here. Manetho does not transliterate either, but gives the Greek equivalent deities by a convention that predates him: (Egyptian) Ptah = (Greek) Hephaistos; Isis = Demeter; Thoth = Hermes; Horus = Apollo; Seth = Typhon; etc. This is one of the clues as to how syncretism developed between seemingly disparate religions. He then proceeds to Dynastic Egypt, from Dynasty One to Eleven. This would have included the Old Kingdom, the First Intermediate Period, and the early Middle Kingdom.

Volume 2 covers Dynasties Twelve–Nineteen, which includes the end of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period (Fifteen–Seventeen—the Hyksos invasion), and then their expulsion and the establishment of the New Kingdom (Eighteen onward). The Second Intermediate Period was of particular interest to Josephus, where he equated the Hyksos or "shepherd-kings" as the ancient Israelites who eventually made their way out of Egypt (Apion 1.82–92). He even includes a brief etymological discussion of the term "Hyksos".

Volume 3 continues with Dynasty Twenty and concludes with Dynasty Thirty (or Thirty-one, see below). The Saite Renaissance occurs in Dynasty Twenty-six, while Dynasty Twenty-seven involves the Achaemenid interruption of Egyptian rule. Three more local dynasties are mentioned, although they must have overlapped with Persian rule. Dynasty Thirty-one consisted of three Persian rulers, and some have suggested that this was added by a continuator. Both Moses of Chorene and Jerome end at Nectanebo II ("last king of the Egyptians" and "destruction of the Egyptian monarchy" respectively), but Dynasty Thirty-one fits within Manetho's schemata of demonstrating power through the dynasteia well. The Thirty-second dynasty would have been the Ptolemies.

Similarities with Berossos

Most of the ancient witnesses group Manetho together with Berossos, and treat the pair as similar in intent, and it is not a coincidence that those who preserved the bulk of their writing are largely the same (Josephus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Syncellus). Certainly, both wrote about the same time, and both adopted the historiographical approach of the Greek writers Herodotus and Hesiod, who preceded them. While the subjects of their history are different, the form is similar, using chronological royal genealogies as the structure for the narratives. Both extend their histories far into the mythic past, to give the deities rule over the earliest ancestral histories.

Syncellus goes so far as to insinuate that the two copied each other:

If one carefully examines the underlying chronological lists of events, one will have full confidence that the design of both is false, as both Berossos and Manetho, as I have said before, want to glorify each his own nation, Berossos the Chaldean, Manetho the Egyptian. One can only stand in amazement that they were not ashamed to place the beginning of their incredible story in each in one and the same year.[10]


While this does seem an incredible coincidence, the reliability of the report is unclear. The reasoning for presuming they started their histories in the same year involved some considerable contortions. Berossos dated the period before the Flood to 120 saroi (3,600 year periods), giving an estimate of 432,000 years before the Flood. This was unacceptable to later Christian commentators, so it was presumed he meant solar days. 432,000 divided by 365 days gives a rough figure of 1,183½ years before the Flood. For Manetho, even more numeric contortions ensued. With no flood mentioned, they presumed that Manetho's first era describing the deities represented the ante-diluvian age. Secondly, they took the spurious Book of Sothis for a chronological count. Six dynasties of deities totalled 11,985 years, while the nine dynasties with demigods came to 858 years. Again, this was too long for the Biblical account, so two different units of conversion were used. The 11,985 years were considered to be months of 29½ days each (a conversion used in antiquity, for example by Diodorus Siculus), which comes out to 969 years. The latter period, however, was divided into seasons, or quarters of a year, and reduces to 214½ years (another conversion attested to by Diodorus). The sum of these comes out to 1,183½ years, equal to that of Berossos.

[L]ong before the ninth century the chronological system of the Hindus was as complete, or rather, perfectly the same as it is now; for Albumazar, who was contemporary with the famous Almamun, and lived at his court at Balac or Balkh, had made the Hindu antiquities his particular study. He was also a famous astronomer and astrologer, and had made enquiries respecting the conjunctions of the planets, the time of the creation of the world, and its duration, for astrological purposes; and he says, that the Hindus reckoned from the Flood to the Hejira [Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in AD 622.] 720,634,442,715 days, or 3725 years.

Here is a mistake, which probably originates with the transcriber or translator, but it may be easily rectified. The first number, though somewhat corrupted, is obviously meant for the number of days from the creation to the Hejira; and the 3725 years are reckoned from the beginning of the Cali-yug to the Hejira. It was then the opinion of Albumazar, about the middle of the ninth century, that the aera of the Cali-yug coincided with that of the Flood. He had, perhaps, data which no longer exist...


Each period consists of 12,000 years, which the Hindus call divine. The Persians are not unacquainted with these renovations of the world, and periods of 12,000 years; for the bird Simurgh is introduced, telling Caherman that she had lived to see the earth seven times filled with creatures, and seven times a perfect void, (it should be six times a perfect void, for we are in the seventh period,) and that she had already seen twelve great periods of 7000 years. This is obviously wrong; it should be seven great periods of 12,000 years.

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241, 1799


Syncellus rejected both Manetho's and Berossos' incredible time-spans, as well as the efforts of other commentators to harmonise their numbers with the Bible. Ironically as we see, he also blamed them for the synchronicity concocted by later writers.

Effect of Aegyptiaca

It is speculated that Manetho wrote at the request of Ptolemy I or Ptolemy II to give an account of the history of Egypt to the Greeks from a native perspective. However, there is no evidence for this hypothesis. If such were the case, Aegyptiaca was a failure, since Herodotus' Histories continued to provide the standard account in the Hellenistic world. It may also have been that some nationalistic sentiments in Manetho provided the impetus for his writing, but that again is a conjecture. It is clear, however, that when it was written, it would have proven to be the authoritative account of the history of Egypt, superior to Herodotus in every way. The completeness and systematic nature in which he collected his sources was unprecedented.

Syncellus similarly recognised its importance when recording Eusebius and Africanus, and even provided a separate witness from the Book of Sothis. Unfortunately, this material is likely to have been a forgery or hoax of unknown date. Every king in Sothis after Menes is irreconcilable with the versions of Africanus and Eusebius. Manetho should not be judged on the factuality of his account, but on the method he used to record history, and in this, he was as successful as Herodotus and Hesiod.

Finally, in modern times, the effect is still visible in the way Egyptologists divide the dynasties of the Egyptian kings. The French explorer and Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion reportedly held a copy of Manetho's lists in one hand as he attempted to decipher the hieroglyphs he encountered (although it probably gave him more frustration than joy, considering the way Manetho transcribed the names). Most modern scholarship that mentions the names of the kings will render both the modern transcription and Manetho's version, and in some cases Manetho's names are even preferred to more authentic ones. Today, his division of dynasties is used universally, and this has permeated the study of nearly all royal genealogies by the conceptualization of succession in terms of dynasties or houses.

See also

• Ancient Egypt portal
• Berossus
• History of Ancient Egypt
• List of lists of ancient kings
• Ptolemaic dynasty

Notes

1. Manetho (2018). Delphi Complete Works of Manetho. Delphi Classics. p. 251. ISBN 978-1-78656-394-1.
2. "أسماء بعض البلاد المصرية بالقبطية - كتاب لغتنا القبطية المصرية | St-Takla.org". st-takla.org.
3. Waddell (1940), p. ix, n. 1.
4. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum viii. 1007: "ΜΑΝΕΘΩΝ"
5. The same way that Platōn is rendered "Plato"; see Greek and Latin third declension.
6. Waddell (1940), pp. 188-189.
7. Tacitus, Histories 4.83; Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 28.
8. Verbrugghe, Gerald P.; Wickersham, John Moore (2001). Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. University of Michigan Press. pp. 207–. ISBN 0-472-08687-1. Waddell's Manetho is the only other English translation of Manetho. It was originally published in the Loeb Classical Library in 1940, together with the Tetrabiblos (Treatise in Four Books) of the astronomer Ptolemy.
9. Cory, I.P. (1828). The Ancient Fragments. London: William Pickering. p. 65. OCLC 1000992106.
10. Ecloga Chronographica, 30

References

• Josephus, Titus Flavius, ca 70-90 B.C.E Against Apion
• Barclay, John M.G., 2011. Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary, Volume 10: Against Apion. Brill: ISBN 9789004117914.
• Palmer, W., 1861. Egyptian Chronicles: Vol. II. London.
• Waddell, William Gillian, ed. 1940. Manetho. The Loeb Classical Library 350, ser. ed. George P. Goold. London and Cambridge: William Heinemann ltd. and Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99385-3.

Further reading

• Helck, Hans Wolfgang. 1975. "Manethon (1)". In Der kleine Pauly: Lexikon der Antike, auf der Grundlage von Pauly's Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, edited by Konrat Ziegler, Walter Sontheimer, and Hans Gärtner. Vol. 3. München: Alfred Druckenmüller Verlag. 952–953. ISBN 0-8288-6776-3.
• Laqueur, Richard. 1928. "Manethon". In Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, edited by August Friedrich von Pauly, Georg Wissowa, and Wilhelm Kroll. Vol. 14 of 24 vols. Stuttgart: Alfred Druckenmüller Verlag. 1060–1106. ISBN 3-476-01018-X.
• Cerqueiro, Daniel 2012. "Aegyptos fragmentos de una aegyptiaca recóndita". Buenos Aires:Ed.Peq.Ven. ISBN 978-987-9239-22-3.
• M.A. Leahy. 1990. "Libya and Egypt c1300–750 BC." London: School of Oriental and African Studies, Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, and The Society for Libyan Studies.
• Redford, Donald Bruce. 1986a. "The Name Manetho". In Egyptological Studies in Honor of Richard A. Parker Presented on the Occasion of His 78th Birthday, December 10, 1983, edited by Leonard H. Lesko. Hannover and London: University Press of New England. 118–121. ISBN 0-87451-321-9.
• ———. 1986b. Pharaonic King–Lists, Annals and Day–Books: A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History. Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Publications 4, ser. ed. Loretta M. James. Mississauga: Benben Publications. ISBN 0-920168-08-6.
• ———. 2001. "Manetho". In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, edited by Donald Bruce Redford. Vol. 2 of 3 vols. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 336–337. ISBN 0-19-510234-7.
• Thissen, Heinz-Josef. 1980. "Manetho". In Lexikon der Ägyptologie, edited by Hans Wolfgang Helck, and Wolfhart Westendorf. Vol. 3 of 7 vols. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. 1180–1181. ISBN 3-447-01441-5.
• Verbrugghe, Gerald P., and John Moore Wickersham. 1996. Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08687-1.

External links

• Chronologie de Manéthon showing the names given by Manetho and the names used now
• Manetho: History of Egypt, Sacred Book, etc.
• Who's Who in Ancient Egypt: Manetho
• "The First Egyptian Narrative History: Manetho and Greek Historiography", ZPE 127 (1999), pp.93-116 by J. Dillery
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:46 am

Rebel Zamindar Sobha Singh and Some Contemporary Records
by Pranab Ray
Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 61, Part One: Millennium (2000-2001), pp. 345-351
2000-2001

The second section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica has twenty-one entries and covers works produced by Catholic missionaries. Ziegenbalg first reports acquiring these books in a letter dated 22 September 1707, in which he notes that although the works are “full of dangerous errors” they nevertheless enabled him to develop “a proper Christian style” in which to express himself on spiritual matters “in a way that did not smack of heathenism.”36 He goes on to say that by reading these works—and in particular the translations from the Gospels—he was able, within eight months, “to read, write, and speak,” and to understand others, in Tamil. This would place his acquisition of the Catholic books in February 1707 at the latest, seven months after his arrival in Tranquebar in July 1706.37 In the Bibliotheca Malabarica itself, Ziegenbalg states that the library had belonged to a Jesuit “who went about among the heathen in the dress of a Brahmin.” During a time of “severe persecution” of Christians in Tanjore, when all who wanted to save their lives had had to flee to the European coastal settlements, this Jesuit had left his library for safe-keeping in Tranquebar, where it had “long remained hidden,” until “it was wonderfully arranged” that Ziegenbalg should come upon it.38 To the best of our knowledge, there is no specific reference to the loss of this library among the letters of the Jesuits of the Madurai and Carnatic missions but, as Neill notes for this period, they are “full of tales of persecution, often valiantly endured.”39 The most recent severe persecution in Tanjore had taken place in 1701, under Shahji II. [No, Shahuji I [1684 to 1712.]]40 [A brief account in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses (Guy Tachard to Père de la Chaise, Pondicherry, 16 February 1702 in Charles le Gobien, ed., Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrit des missions étrangères par quelques missionaires de la Compagnie de Jésus, 34 vols., Paris (Chez Nicolas Le Clerc, 1702–76), 3: 212–16) reports that many Christians were driven out of Tanjore, and two Jesuits were imprisoned. Although one of many, at the time of Shahji’s death in 1712 this event was recalled as particularly severe—and as resulting in the exclusion of missionaries from Tanjore until 1712 (Louis de Bourzes, Litterae Annuae Missionis Madurensis, 1712). ]

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan, Institut Francais de Pondichery, 2012

The history of the Jesuits in India presents us with more than one instance of missionaries who acquired their knowledge of Brahmanical literature in this province. One Pierre Martin, whose letter from Balassore in the year 1699 occurs in the 10th volume of the Lettres Edifiantes, tells us, that after five months' assiduous application of the Bengali, he disguised himself as a Brahman, and in that character commenced studying the Shastras as a Brahmachari or Sanscrit student in a celebrated Brahman University, (at Naddea doubtless), until the insurrection of Subha Sinh [Sobha Singh] against the government of Aurang Zeib [1695] compelled him to retreat thence to Orissa, after which we hear of him frequently in the same collection, as a most zealous and active missionary in the Southern Provinces.... Other instances might doubtless be found in the subsequent history of these Roman Sannyasies (as the Jesuit Fathers were usually called in India), at a date more approaching that of the MSS. of this forgery, were the subject thought worthy of closer investigation."...

We shall now turn our attention to another Jesuit missionary, even though his name has not so far appeared anywhere in the literature connected with the EzV. Manuscript 1765 of the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris contains, among other writings connected with Maudave, an "extract from a letter written to Mr. de Voltaire on the Lingam cult". According to the catalogue the handwriting is that of Chretien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (1721-94).

The extract is undated, but it is possible, based on internal criteria, to place it within rather precise lower and upper limits. In the letter Maudave speaks about the EzV and uses it as a source of information on the ritual of the Lingam. He even volunteers to have a copy made for Voltaire and send it to him, if he is at all interested in the manuscript. This means that the letter antedates Maudave's visit to Ferney in 1760. On the other hand, Maudave announces that he sends Voltaire a replica of a Linga; also, all data contained on the letter are based on personal observation. We may therefore be assured that the letter was written on 1758-59, during Maudave's first visit to India (see p. 77).

In the letter Maudave also makes a casual reference to the author and the translator of the EzV. About the author he merely records what the text itself seems to suggest, without expressing his personal opinion. "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry." But on the translation Maudave (p. 10) Is both brief and specific: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery."

-- Ezourvedam, edited by Ludo Rocher

The contemporary records, hereinafter known as Chuttanuttee and Çhandernagar factory records, preserved in the India Office Library of London and Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, reveal to a certain extent the nature of Sobha Singh's revolt and that of his successors towards the end of the seventeenth century.1

Sobha Singh, a petty ijaradar of Chettua-Barda under Ghatal subdivision in the district of Midnapur in West Bengal revolted against Chaudhuri Krishijaram Roy of Burdwan for some reasons which still remain a mystery. The motive behind this revolt, which was initially engineered against the Mughal rule at a time when Emperor Aurangzeb was engaged in a fierce battle with the Marathas in the Deccan, still remains unknown.

Ijaradars were revenue farmers during the Mughal period. During the beginning of British rule in Bengal, the East India Company arrived at the revenue settlement called the Permanent settlements with the Ijaradars. The 'Ijaradars" during the British rule, were tasked with collecting revenue from farmers and paying a fixed sum to the government.

-- Who were the ijardars during the British rules in India, by Social Scient Expert

Chaudhuri Krishnaram Roy was the chief ijaradar of Burdwan who was favoured with immense fortune by Emperor Aurangzeb. Krishnaram could collect land-revenue from sub-ijaradars under him within the range of Burdwan Raj. He had to deposit 22 lakh rupees annually to the treasury of the Emperor and Sobha Singh was obliged to pay an amount of 22 thousand rupees annually to Krishnaram. But subsequently Sobha Singh failed to pay off the dues to Krishnaram who was, therefore, thinking of certain punitive measures against him.

In the event of absence of any contemporary indigenous documents which might shed light on the true nature of this revolt, we have to rely mainly on the above-mentioned factory records which chiefly consist of letters dispatched to fort Saint George. It is noteworthy that three foreign commercial powers, namely, Dutch, English and French settled in three different places, Hooghly (later Chinsurah), Chuttanuttee and Chandernagore, respectively. They were granted farmans by Bahadur Khan and Ibrahim Khan, the two Nawabs of Bengal. They were allowed to carry on their respective trade independently and to ensure their security they fortified their factories with high walls. The Nawabs were satisfied with nominal rent received from them, as also the promise of the supply of armies, as and when necessary.

All this indicates a declining stage of the Mughal supremacy. The European merchants were gradually gaining ground and increasing their strength with arms and ammunitions on the pretext that their security might be endangered any time. Moreover, the Subahdar or Nawab was unable to resist any upheaval that could be caused by the insurgent zamindars.

Under this situation the revolt of Sobha Singh against the Burdwan Raj was very significant. The revolt started around June 1695. Sobha Singh, along with his well-equipped soldiers marched from Barda against Chaudhuri Krishnaram and killed him with twenty-five members of his family.2 A large area along the western bank of the Hooghly river came under his control. Sobha Singh and his armies started collecting revenue from the people in this area. He then marched towards Muksudabad. There too he was victorious over Nawab's people. Sobha Singh thus acquired immense wealth and his people started plundering village after village. The rebels gathered more people who joined them for plunder. The rebel army had been so powerful that they even made an attempt to march for Dacca against the Nawab. But, the sudden death of Sobha Singh around the middle of 1696, prevented that.3 The death of Sobha Singh was first reported in a letter of a French merchant from Chandernagore dated 21 November, 1696. Another letter of 15 January, 1697 from Francois Martin had given the description of Sobha Singh. Both the letters speak that his death occurred due to a fall from a high terrace. But the second letter 'more private in nature and written to an influential French noble in Paris' states that 'while Sobha Singh was regaling at night with his ladies, he died from a fall from a high terrace' below.4

After the death of Sobha Singh, his uncle Maha Singh led the revolt. As referred to by Aniruddha Ray, Martin's letter of 15 January, 1697 clearly states that it was Maha Singh, the uncle of the deceased Sobha Singh, who was taking part in the revolt. A contemporary Bengali poet, Sitaram Das mentioned in his poem that Maha Singh had come to a village named Sahapur and started plundering over there, including the poet's house.5 The Pathan general Rahim Khan and his soldiers subsequently joined the rebel forces and took to plunder, while collecting booties. A large area along the western bank of the Bhagirathi covering the present districts of Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan, Hooghly, Midnapur and some other parts were subjected to pillage by the rebel forces.

The European merchants felt very much insecure in their commercial transactions and once they came to feel that the rebels would come to power after defeating the Nawab who was inactive and, to a certain extent, indifferent to subduing the rebels
,6 they attempted to follow 'policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound.' They tried to please the rebel Raja and the Nawab simultaneously for ensuring security of their trade. The English and the French particularly maintained a close alliance with the rebels. But when they came to learn that 'the rebel is an unwarrantable power which is only for the present and cannot last long',7 they made it known to the Nawab that they had done their best to assist him. But this was kept secret, lest the rebels could know of it. The revolt of Sobha Singh and his successors continued till 1698 or sometime after. But Maha Singh had led the revolt for a longer period after Sobha Singh's death. But he was killed at Chandrakona (now a small town in the district of Midnapur) along with one Raghunath Singh reported to be the last zamindar of Chandrakona.

But it is surprising to note that although Sobha Singh had a younger brother named Himmat Singh, he is never mentioned to have participated in the revolt in any of the Chuttanuttee and French letters.8

The above mentioned European records, offer us some valuable information regarding the revolt of Sobha Singh and its aftermath. As has been noted above, contemporary documents like Chuttanuttee Letters and Memoirs of French factor Francois Martin give us some important data regarding Sobha Singh and his revolt. These are referred below:

1. Sobha Singh was around thirty at the time of the revolt. Thus he might be born in 1665.9 He was good-looking and of high parentage.

2. His death occurred around June, 1696 when the revolt was at its highest.

3. He died from a fall from a high terrace when he was regaling in Burdwan.

4. It is not that he was stabbed to death by Satyavati, the daughter of Krishnaram when he was about to outrage her modesty at the Burdwan Raj palace. So Salimullah's mention of such incident in his 'Tawarikh-i Bangla' is not tenable. Moreover, this book was written sixty eight years later after the incident had occurred. Thus the memoirs of Francois Martin bears sufficient testimony to the nature of the revolt.

5. From these and some other indigenous sources it is known that the forefathers of Sobha Singh had migrated from outside and settled in Chetua-Barda (under present Ghatal sub-division in the district of Midnapur) and that he might have been born of a Kshatriya caste, high or middle class, like Chaudhuri Krishnaram Roy. It is also not unlikely that he had some commercial relations with the English as well as French merchants.10

6. That the revolt against Chaudhuri Krishnaram was not merely over land-expansion or tax-evasion. The motive behind it was far reaching. This revolt was well-planned and skillfully executed. Private animosity or family feud with Krishnaram may be the reason for such revolt.

7. From Martin's letters we are assured of that Maha Singh assumed leadership of the revolt after Sobha Singh's death. Rahim Khan and Pathan troops joined the rebels whereby the revolt had taken a serious turn. The revolt led by Maha Singh had expanded over ã large area and continued until 1698.

8. It has been mentioned in Akhbarat (despatches of Prince Azimuddin) that Azimuddin who was present in Chandrakona had killed Sobha Singh in a battle in 1698. But the English letters dated 19 and 25 March, 1697 indicate, Sobha Singh died sometime in 1696 when his uncle Maha Singh took over.11 It is also to be noted that the English letters did not mention the death of Sobha Singh but referred to his widow in a letter of 19 March, 1697. But the French letter of 21 November, 1696 referred to the succession of Sobha Singh's uncle Maha Singh and the latter's advance towards Hugli.12 So the information contained in Prince Azimuddin's Akhbarat, mentioning the death of Sobha Singh in 1698 is misleading. This has also been corroborated by M. Athar Ali in his article, "The use of Sources in Mughal Historiography."13

From all these sources it is clear that the revolt was temporarily put down at the death of Maha Singh in 1698.

The aforesaid foreign records, however, do not mention the name of Himmat Singh, besides Maha Singh. But it is noteworthy that after the revolt had been temporarily suppressed by the Mughal troops in 1698 at Chandrakona, peace was restored to some extent in this region. Now Himmat Singh got back the core Zamindari of Barda as maintenance jagir and it was the normal Mughal practice.

Himmat Singh, the surviving younger brother of Sobha Singh became the zamindar of Chetua-Barda. Curiously, certain orders and land-grants issued by him have been found from Chetua-Barda area,14 the earliest one being dated 1702 (1109 Bengali era), while the last one being 1730 (1137 B.E.). The former is written in Persian and the remaining grants are in Bengali. The orders and grants are written on indigenous paper. It is interesting to note that the land-grant of 1730 issued in favour of Sukdev Mohanta of Baikunthapur Nimbarka monastery under Daspur P.S. bears the signature of Himmat Singh in Nagri script. Another document of 1709 (1116 B.E.) is also signed in Nagri, while the first one is written and signed in Persian.

The 1702 document was issued in favour of one Hussain of Maharajpur village (Ghatal P.S.) who was conferred the title paramanik for twenty two villages for ever at an annual rent of Re. 1 and 4 annas. In this order he was granted right to accept 'mala-chandan' (floral tribute with sandal-paste) and 'baran'. Here Himmat Singh has been designated as maharajadhiraja.15 The second land-grant dated 1709 is issued in favour of Damodar Ray Chaudhuri of Basudevpur village under Daspur P.S. which states that one hundred bighas of devottar land is granted in lieu of the whole six-anna zamindari bought by him in Chetua pargana, which is seized. After this seizure, Himmat passed two other orders one dated 1709 and another 1716 granting 'phasal charh' to Damodar. In another order of 1721, Damodar was allowed phasal-charh for eighty-eight bighas of land.

The 1730 land-grant is more significant, wherein forty-six bighas of land in different villages under Ghatal were donated to Mohanta Sukdev for maintenance and worship of the deities in a Nimbarka matha. No other land-grant by Himmat Singh, hereinafter, has so far been found out. That Himmat Singh was not a good zamindar is attested by 1709 grant, as also by certain literary evidence like Sivayan of Rameswar Chakravarti, which was composed in 1711. The poet Rameswar was driven out of his village Jadupur (Ghatal P.S.) by Himmat. His house was demolished as a result of which the poet had to quit his village for ever.16 A farman of Emperor Muhammad Shah of 1734 issued to Maharaj Kirtichand, the grandson of Krishnaram speaks of Kirtichand having made an attack on Himmat with the help of imperial forces whereby the latter fled into a jungle and the whole of Chetua-Barda was annexed to the Burdwan Raj.17 The death of Himmat Singh still remains a mystery. He must have died before 1734 when the farman was conferred on Kirtichand by Emperor Muhammad Shah.

Not much information on Sobha Singh, has so far been found from his home-area, Chetua-Barda besides a long inscription of a Bengali temple in Radhakantapur village under Daspur P.S.18

The eka-ratna brick temple of Gopinath of the Das-family has a long terracotta inscription 1844 (1251 B.E.) which speaks of Sobha Singh being more than a cruel zamindar. He mercilessly ordered his men to cut off the head of one Shyama Das, the founder of the temple, who was reported to engage all labourers to dig out a large tank within the compound of his residence. When Sobha Singh came to learn that no man was available for his own business, he grew extremely angry and at once ordered the punishment.

But inspite of this, we have certain evidences of Sobha Singh having given adequate landed property for maintenance of goddess Visalakshi at Barda. He is reported to have donated two hundred fifteen bighas and seven cottas of land to shamananda Boral a sevait of the goddess in 1685. It has been referred to a taidad of 1802 (1209 B.E.) (No.3168, Register No.816). Besides, another land-grant was also given to Parasuram Brajabasi of Nimtala Vaishnavite monastery.

It has been known from certain indigenous sources that the ancestors of Sobha Singh had come to Chetua-Barda early in the seventeenth century or a little earlier for the purpose of business. They had first settled in Chetua-Rajnagar. Gradually, Durjay Singh, the father of Sobha Singh purchased the Barda estate. An old fort was already there. The fort was further expanded and Sobha Singh fortified it by raising high walls and digging trenches on all sides. There were big palaces in the innermost apartment of the fort, encircled by a deep moat. Besides, there are two more open wide spaces around which a deep moat was dug out. All these places were populated for safeguarding the innermost apartment of the fort.

The fort has long been deserted and no trace of the palace is seen today. But once it was the place of the rebel zamindar Sobha Singh from where he marched for a historic fight.


_______________

NOTES AND REFERENCES:

1. Calcutta Factory Records (India Office Library)« and Letters and Memoirs Francois Martin (Bibliotheque Nationale).

2. Aniruddha Ray, Adventurers, Landowners and Rebels, C. 1575-1715, 1998, & 140; Medini-Bani, 1st year 10th issue Bhadra 1346 B.S., 417-418; essay Mrigankanath Roy, Chandrakonar Itivritta o Shobha Singher Bidroha.

3. Ray, op. cit., 125.

4. Ibid.

5. Sitaram Das, Dharma Mangal written in 1698-99 quoted by Sukumar Sen in his 'Bangla Sahityer Itihas' 1965, Vol.1 (Aparardha) p. 167; also useful for reference to plunder by Maha Singh in Ratan Kaviraja's poem; 'Sobha Singher Vidroha O Samasamayik Kayekti Prachin Sanad' by the present author in Itihas Vol. VIII, issue No. 9, pp. 19-30.

6. Ray, op. cit., p. 143.

7. Ray, op. cit., p. 140, Chuttanutee letters of 30 December, 1696 preserved in the India " Office Library referred to supra, f. 159.

8. Ray, op. cit., 154.

9. Private letter of Francois Martin dated 15 January, Ray 127, f. 12.

10. Ibid., p. 118.

11. Ibid., pp.126 & 129.

12. Ibid., p. 129 f.53.

13. Ibid., p. 129, f.55.

14. The present author discovered the last land grant issued by Himmat,m which is dated 1137 B.E. equivalent to 1730 A.D. from the Record room of a Vaishnavite matha under Daspur P.S. (Midnapore).

15. Sobha Singher Bidroha O Samasamayik Kayekjti Prachin Sanad' 'Itihas' Vol. VIII, issue 1, p. 24, also the photograph of the Persian document with this article.

16. Rameswar Chakravarti, Sivayan, Vangiya Sahitya Parishat Edition.

17. Mrigankanath Roy, op. cit., pp. 417-418.

18. For the correct reading of the inscription see the present author's Medinipur Jelar Pratna sampad, 1986, p. 201.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Apr 02, 2022 6:37 am

Part 1 of 3

Librarian's Notes on Will Sweetman and R. Ilakkuvan's -- Bibliotheca Malabarica, Institut Francais de Pondichery, 2012
[Comments are being continually added]

Will Sweetman has failed to identify Ziegenbalg as the likely source of the Vedas discovered by Calmette, Polier and Colebrooke.

Relying on specious justifications, Sweetman deliberately ignores whole categories of evidence relevant to consideration of the reasonableness of Ziegenbalg as a source of Calmette's Vedas, as well as of various other matters. Sweetman's categorizations are broad and he is the sole judge of the importance of documents, as well as the diviner of the intentions of those who created them hundreds of years ago.

Among the unsupported value judgments made by Sweetman, some notable ones are these:

That the only documents of importance are those with a Hindu or Jain provenance. To the contrary, the most important documents for comprehending both Ziegenbalg's purpose, and that of the Jesuits, would be the documents they themselves created.

That truly important documents were "meant" to be sent to Europe for publication. Sweetman has no citation for this assertion, that he uses to conveniently elide troublesome conclusions.

That the Christian dialogue documents, and other Christian creations, are of no interest to anyone. Again, a bald assertion that runs contrary to reason, that suggests these may be the most illuminating documents.

That any Christian documents created for the primary purpose of being used to convert Indians, are of no importance. Sweetman clearly has no use for such documents, that would reveal and underline the propaganda agenda of the Jesuits and Ziegenbalg.

Sweetman does not admit the value of the various missionary manuscripts and books to other missionaries and Europeans for the long-term. The first thing every missionary, and every European person of standing, including, of course, every Asiatic society member would do when they got to India was look for books. Especially the Vedas, the secret repository of ancient monotheistic wisdom. The idea that nobody cared for Ziegenbalg's library is absurd. Urs App describes Ziegenbalg's sudden acquisition of the Jesuit Library as "a stroke of luck." Even though Ziegenbalg hated Catholics, he was very glad to get their library. He took ten of their manuscripts, revised them, and sent them out as his own Protestant product. As soon as Ziegenbalg died, Calmette and his friends were also there looking for books. And the history of missionary writing is full of plagiarizing other missionaries' works. Urs App says:

Already in Ricci's and de Nobili's time, around the beginning of the seventeenth century, the claim surfaced that the Vedas of India were the repository of ancient Indian monotheism. Of course, the approach of Nobili and his successors in the Jesuit Madurai mission was anchored in the idea that India had once been a land reigned by pure monotheism; but the locus classicus for the monotheism of the Vedas is the description in Diogo do Couto's Decada Quinta da Asia of 1612 (124Vff.). Schurhammer (1977:614-18) has shown that Couto plagiarized the report by the Augustinian missionary Agostinho de Azevedo, but it was through Couto that this view of the Vedas as a monotheistic scripture, hidden by the Brahmans from the people to whom they preached polytheism, became popular... Couto's description was a central source for Holwell...

Philip BALDAEUS (1632-72), the Dutch missionary and author of a description of South India and Ceylon (1672), is reprimanded for having "based his dissertations [Memoires] about the island of Ceylon on the manuscripts of Portuguese missionaries who disfigured the Indian pronunciation to accommodate their way of writing and in various respects were not exactly well enough informed about the facts" (pp. 444-45). Vincenzo MARIA (d. 1680), the Carmelite author of Il viaggio all'Indie orientali (1678) "also described at length the religion of the Indians in Malabar and even gave some extracts from some of their books"; but he "ignored the language of the land and frankly admitted to have done no more than copy the Portuguese dissertations communicated to him by Don Francis Garzia, the Jesuit archbishop of Cranganor" (p. 445)....

Ziegenbalg had studied Baldaeus (1672) before arriving in India as a young man of twenty-four years, and in his first letter (September 2, 1706); he described "the content of the four books of law [Vedas] according to his opinion" (Ziegenbalg 1926:14). But he soon realized that Baldaeus "got most [of his information] from the Portuguese fathers who were forced to leave it when they were chased out of Ceylon by the Dutch..."

Mainly because of his opposition to Ricci-style missionary strategy, Joao Rodrigues's writings were suppressed. Some of them got buried in archives and may still lie there; others were plagiarized by ideological opponents (for instance, Rodrigues's writings on Asian history and geography by Martino Martini)...

Apart from a series of dictionaries that never came to fruition, Fourmont was also working on a Chinese grammar. He announced its completion in 1728, eight years before the arrival of de Guignes. The first part of this Grammatica sinica with Fourmont's presentation of the 214 "keys" and elements of pronunciation appeared in 1737. The second part, prepared for publication while de Guignes sat at his teacher's feet, contained the grammar proper as well as Fourmont's catalog of Chinese works in the Bibliotheque Royale and was published in 1742. When Fourmont presented the result to the king of France, he had de Guignes accompany him, and the king was so impressed by the twenty-one-year-old linguistic prodigy that he endowed him on the spot with a pension (Michaud 1857:18.126).

But de Guignes's teacher Fourmont had a dirty little secret. He had focused on learning and accumulating data about single Chinese characters, but his knowledge of the Chinese classical and vernacular language was simply not adequate for writing a grammar. By consequence, the man who had let the world know that a genius residing in Europe could master Chinese just as well as the China missionaries decided to plagiarize -- what else? -- the work of a missionary. No one found out about this until Jean-Pierre Abel-Remusat in 1825 carefully compared the manuscript of the Arte de La lengua mandarina by the Spanish Franciscan Francisco Varo with Fourmont's Latin translation and found to his astonishment that Fourmont's ground-breaking Grammatica sinica was a translation of Varo's work (Abel-Remusat 1829:2.298). In an "act of puerile vanity," Abel-Remusat sadly concluded, Fourmont had appropriated Varo's entire text "almost without any change" while claiming that he had never seen it (1826:2.109)....

Holwell boasted that he had "studiously perused all that has been written of the empire of Indostan, both as to its ancient, as well as more modern state" but added that what he had read was "all very defective, fallacious, and unsatisfactory to an inquisitive searcher after truth" (Holwell 1765:1.5). However, in the meantime we may have learned not to take every word of Holwell as gospel. He occasionally cited Ramsay's Travels of Cyrus, which contained an interesting passage about Indian religion that could not fail to inspire him. Ramsay reported that the Veda states
that souls are eternal emanations from the divine Essence, or at least that they were produced long before the formation of the world; that they were originally in a state of purity, but having sinned, were thrown down into the bodies of men, or of beasts, according to their respective demerits; so that the body, where the soul resides, is a sort of dungeon or prison. (Ramsay 1814:382)

Ramsay attributed this passage to Abraham Roger's De Open-Deure tot het verborgen Heydendom (The Open Door to the Hidden Paganism), whose French translation (1670) he had consulted. In the preface to that edition, translator Thomas La Grue particularly emphasized "what was also clearly a motif with Roger himself: that the Indians did indeed possess a pristine and natural knowledge of God, but that it had decayed almost completely into superstition as a result of moral lapses" (Halbfass 1990:46-47). But Holwell, a good reader of Dutch, could consult Roger's original edition of 1651.20 There Roger called the Indian Dewetaes (Skt. devatas; Indian guardian spirits or protective divinities) "Engelen" or angels (Roger 1915:108). But here we are primarily interested in Roger's description of the Vedam, which for him is the Indian's book of laws containing "everything that they must believe as well as all the ceremonies they must perform" (p. 20).
This Vedam consists of four parts; the first part is called Roggowedam; the second Issourewedam; the third Samawedam; and the fourth Adderawanawedam. The first part deals with the first cause, the materia prima [eerste materiel, the angels, the souls, the recompense of good and punishment of evil, the generation of creatures and their corruption, the nature of sin, how it can be absolved, how this can be achieved, and to what end. (p. 21)

After a brief explanation of the content of the second to fourth Vedas, Roger states that conflicts of Vedic interpretation generated a literature of commentaries called Iastra (Skt. sastra), "that is, the explanations about the Vedam" (p. 22). As Willem Caland has shown in detail (1918),21 Roger's source for such information was Diogo do Couto's Decada Quinta da Asia of 1612. Couto's account of the content of the Vedas was in turn, as Schurhammer (1977:2.612-20) proved, plagiarized from an account by the Augustinian brother Agostinho de Azevedo's Estado da India e aonde tem o seu principio of 1603, a report prepared in the 1580s for King Philip III of Portugal, which "includes an original summary of Hindu religion, from Shaiva Sanskrit and Tamil texts" (Rubies 2000:315). The question as to what exactly Azevedo's sources were still awaits clarification in spite of Caland's speculations (1918:309-10)....

For people in search of the world's oldest books, India's mysterious Vedas had a particular attraction, even though -- or perhaps because -- information about them often consisted of little more than the names of its four parts and the assertion of great antiquity. Agostinho de Azevedo's report about the Vedas and Shastras of India found its way into Johannes Lucena's Historia da Vida do Padre Francisco de Xavier (1600) and Diogo do Couto's Decada Quinta da Asia (1612), and from there into other works including Holwell's (see Chapter 6). The report in the Livro da Seita dos Indios Orientals by the Jesuit Giacomo Fenicio from the early seventeenth century was plagiarized by Baldaeus (1672) and also got some publicity. However, both Fenicio's and Azevedo's data were based not on the Vedas but on other texts....

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....

The dossier contains a fragment of one more letter from Pondicherry, 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, 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.

However, a handwriting comparison shows that the copyist of these letters from Pondicherry was Deshauterayes and not de Guignes. 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!...

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.... 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....

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. But in 1772 he learned that the vaccine not only did not prevent the disease but 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 the Jews of having plagiarized their creation Story from Indian sources.

Buy unmasking the Ezour-vedam was out 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.

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....

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....

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 I 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.

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. Far 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....

While Fourmont cobbled together hypotheses and conjectures, the Bible always formed the backdrop for his speculations about ancient history. A telling example is his critique of the Chinese historian OUYANG Xiu (1007-72), who argued that from the remote past, humans had always enjoyed roughly similar life spans. Lambasting this view as that of a "skeptic," Fourmont furnished the following argument as "proof" of the reliability of ancient Chinese histories:
We who possess the sacred writ: must we not on the contrary admire the Chinese annals when they, just in the time period of Arphaxad, Saleh, Heber, Phaleg, Rea, Sarug, Nachor, Abraham, etc., present us with men who lived precisely the same number of years? Now if someone told us that Seth at the age of 550 years married one of his grand-grand-nieces in the fourteenth generation: who of us would express the slightest astonishment? ... It is thus clear that all such objections are frivolous, and furthermore, that attacks against the Chinese annals on account of a circumstance [i.e., excessive longevity] which distinguishes them from all other books will actually tie them even more to Scripture and will be a sure means to increase their authority. (Fourmont 1740:514)

No comment is needed here. Immediately after Fourmont's death in 1745, the twenty-four-year-old Joseph de Guignes replaced his master as secretary interpreter of oriental languages at the Royal Library. It was the beginning of an illustrious career: royal censor and attache to the journal des Scavans in 1752, member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1753, chair of Syriac at the College Royal from 1757 to 1773, garde des antiques at the Louvre in 1769, editor of the Journal des Savants, and other honors (Michaud 1857:18.(27). De Guignes had, like his master Fourmont, a little problem. The pioneer Sinologists in Paris were simply unable to hold a candle to the China missionaries. Since 1727 Fourmont had been corresponding with the figurist China missionary Joseph Henry PREMARE(1666-1736), who, unlike Fourmont, was an accomplished Sinologist (see Chaprer 5). Premare was very liberal with his advice and sent, apart from numerous letters, his Notitia Linguae sinicae to Fourmont in 1728. This was, in the words of Abel-Remusat,
neither a simple grammar, as the author too modestly calls it, nor a rhetoric, as Fourmont intimated; it is an almost complete treatise of literature in which Father Premare not only included everything that he had collected about the usage of particles and grammatical rules of the Chinese but also a great number of observations about the style, particular expressions in ancient and common idiom, proverbs, most frequent patterns -- and everything supported by a mass of examples cited from texts, translated and commented when necessary. (Abel-Remusat 1829:2.269)

Premare thus sent Fourmont his "most remarkable and important work," which was "without any doubt the best of all those that Europeans have hirherto composed on these matters" (p. 269).

But instead of publishing this vastly superior work and making the life of European students of Chinese considerably easier, Fourmont compared it unfavorably to his own (partly plagiarized) product and had Premare's masterpiece buried in the Royal Library, where it slept until Abel-Remusat rediscovered it in the nineteenth century (pp. 269-73)....

But there is a third, extremely competent Jesuit Sinologist who remained in the shadows though his knowledge of Chinese far surpassed that of de Guignes and all other Europe-based early Sinologists (and, one might add, even many modern ones). His works suffered a fate resembling that of the man who was in many ways his predecessor, Joao Rodrigues (see Chapter 1) in that they were used but rarely credited. The man in question was Claude de VISDELOU (1656-1737), who spent twenty-four years in China (1685-1709) and twenty-eight years in India (1709-37). One can say without exaggeration that the famous Professor de Guignes owed this little-known missionary a substantial part of his fame -- and this was his dirty little secret....

De Visdelou's four-volume work on Tartary and the inserted manuscript with his annotated translation of the Nestorian stele somehow ended up in The Hague where Jean Neaulme, the well-known publisher of Voltaire and Rousseau, purchased them for 400 Dutch florins and communicated them to the bibliophile Prosper Marchand (c. 1675-1756) and others (Herbelot et al. 1779:4.iii)....Abel-Remusat and others had long suspected that de Guignes had used de Visdelou's Tartar manuscript; but only in the summer of 2008 did I find the conclusive proof of this among the papers of Fourmont at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. The Fourmont dossier contains dozens of pages in de Guignes's hand, copied word for word from de Visdelou's Tartar manuscript. The notes contain references indicating that these copies from de Visdelou's manuscript were very voluminous.

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


Because of the incredibly convoluted needs to plagiarize, there was the need to obtain source material from other missionaries' libraries. Ziegenbalg himself seems to plagiarize the work of Balthasar da Costa SJ when he writes a Tamil grammar in Latin. He compiled all the books known to him in his list, but does not mention what acquisitions he made from Father Martin's library. It seems quite likely that the bulk of his acquisitions were from the Jesuits, Father Martin in particular.

Sweetman conceals the meaning of undesired information he is compelled to reveal only for purposes of explaining it away by diverting the reader's attention to insignificant, tending-to-the-contrary-understanding bits of information.

For example, in Bergen's version of Ziegenbalg's 9/7/1706 letter, Sweetman diverts us from the fact that Ziegenbalg had his schoolteacher write out three of the four vedas (the fourth being lost), by hypothesizing that Bergen probably got that "detail" from Baldaeus, thus suggesting without any basis that Bergen's rendering of Ziegenbalg's letter interpolated a false statement. To divert further, he states that Ziegenbalg's collection probably BEGAN by collecting books that formed the core of the curriculum of Tamil Village schools! Far more likely is that the first books he collected were undoubtedly Father Martin's Jesuit library. Although school books are listed in the Bibliotheca Malabarica, probably as part of his effort to learn the language from his schoolteacher, this was certainly not his main interest.

Ziegenbalg's main interest was in finding the Vedas, converting the heathen through composing books of Dialogue, and translating the New Testament. When he tried to buy books from a particular list made by one of his scribes from prominent Hindu and Muslim visitors, he informed them he "wanted only the best." He was not seeking for mundane instructional texts. He bought books from the poor wives of dead Brahmans at the cheapest price possible. He was interested in turning the locals' books against them, and when the people figured that out, they no longer provided him with books. Then, to divert further from the problem of the vedas, Sweetman goes off on an excited journey into the Matam literary culture. Diverting even further, he tells us that Ziegenbalg was not interested in Sanskrit works and that the four vedas were not allowed to be seen, and he had no access to anything but the puranas.

Sweetman continually reconciles the opposites, resulting in zero. He says that Ziegenbalg's canon is "complete", then goes on to say "it's not representative."

He tells us that La Croze preferred Ziegenbalg's sources and methods to the Catholic authors, when they were the same.

He tells us that documents he deems "important" are those "meant" to be sent to Europe for publication, then demeans whatever was sent to Europe as meant just for the curiosity cabinet.

He tells us that after he died in 1719, Ziegenbalg's library disappeared, because nobody cared about Tamil literature. Then he blows in the opposite direction, telling us that a year later, the French Jesuits of the 1720s engaged in a large-scale acquisition of manuscripts at the behest of the royal librarian in Paris.

He tell us Ziegenbalg had no access or interest in gaining access to the Vedas, without explaining why, then, as soon as he got to India, he had his old schoolmaster copy three of the four vedas. (The fourth, as Ziegenbalg noted, being lost due to Siva cutting off one of Brahma's four heads!). His first letter (September 2, 1706) described "the content of the four books of law [Vedas] according to his opinion." Sweetman seems to have conveniently forgotten that the Vedas were believed to be the repository of ancient monotheism, the origin of Natural Religion, a popular Enlightenment conception. Every missionary's first interest was in finding proof of this theory. Which provided proof of another fond notion, that India was the oldest inhabited country on the planet after the Flood, and its inhabitants were descendants of Noah.

Additionally, to this point, according to Urs App, Ziegenbalg oftentimes described the vedas, but in words Urs App says indicate he had never "seen" them, and did not know their contents. But the context of Ziegenbalg's statement he refers to is speaking about books that were commonly available to the people, not books that were available to him (because he created them himself).

But while "the four law books and the six Sastirangol [castirankal] get into the hands of few persons and are only found with some priests who show such books to nobody," he wrote, "the eighteen Paranen [puranas] and other history books are ubiquitous, and parts of them can also be found with the common people" (p. 36).


If they had been written in Sanskrit, as he indicates they were, he wouldn't have been able to read them, and that could be the reason why he depended on his sources to inform him of their contents. But that doesn't mean he never "saw" them, or did not gain possession of them. He could have had possession of them newly written in Sanskrit or some other language, but not known how to read them.

He tells us that the work most important to Ziegenbalg is unknown to the scholarship of Tamil literature. This book is the Tirikala cakkaram, "the basis of all other Malabarian books," which is a "mathematical description of the 7 underworlds, 7 worlds above, and 14 seas beneath the 14 worlds." Since Tamil literary scholarship is "in a sorry state," according to Sweetman, one is left to wonder why it is then significant that the book is unknown to the scholarship of Tamil literature.

Sweetman engages in the type of misrepresentation of myth for history that has been the bane of Indology, implying that the Bibliotheca Malabarica is a work of ethnographic content, after saying that the puranas were the most important sources for Ziegenbalg, who glosses the Periya puranam as "the greatest of their eighteen history-books." Puranas, epics, tales, the Mahabharata, Ramayana ... these books are not books of ethnography, or history, but myth.

Sweetman emphasizes understanding Ziegenbalg's sources, and identifies three: Ziegenbalg's elderly tutor, his son Kanapati, and Kaliyapillai, who may have been Kanapati's father-in-law. Urs App makes Aleppa/Alakappan the "elderly schoolmaster", the most important source of Ziegenbalg's texts, describing him as "exceeding in importance even the Japanese Anjiro to Francis Zavier, and Ziegenbalg's most highly paid employee, exceeding even that of Europeans in the area. Sweetman gives the "elderly tutor" no name and identifies him as another person, 70 years old, with a son named Kanapati.

Sweetman seems bent on minimizing Alakappan's role. Although he admits Alakappan had been a translator to the Danish East-India Company who knew Portuguese, Tamil, Danish, German and Dutch, and was hired because the "old schoolteacher" didn't know these languages, and wrote most of the letters published in Europe (reluctantly, still wanting to maintain the possibility that there were other corresponders, which Urs App rules out), Sweetman nevertheless tries to limit Alakappan's contribution to doing some reading for him, and will not admit that Alakappan was a source for books and manuscripts. He is not one of Ziegenbalg's "key figures", even though as Urs App says, he is Ziegenbalg's most highly paid employee, and "the letter collection's preface refers to letter number 6, which is 'written by someone who read and copied many books of the Christian religion in his language' ... this man was, of course, Aleppa." Additionally, according to Daniel Jeyaraj, Aleppa lived with Ziegenbalg for two years and procured for him several Tamil palm leaf manuscripts. The idea that Ziegenbalg's most highly paid employee, who lives with him for two years does, not qualify him in Sweetman's eyes as automatically one of Ziegenbalg's "key figures," shows willful scholarly blindness. And clearly, Ziegenbalg was not persuading Indians to write down Indian beliefs for Westerners, but rather, formulating Christian religion for Indians. Which is how Ziegenbalg, who initially considered the Indians savages, was able to gain new respect for them after he had created and read "their" written texts himself! He was reading what he had himself created, attributing it to the Indians, and then admiring them for being in such harmony with Western Christian notions! It is a funny story being told here. Which is why the documents created by the missionaries themselves are the most important.

Ziegenbalg's Tamil treatises are a sort of correspondence course in the opposite direction. To explain how heathendom arose, for example, the missionary informed his Tamil readers that Ananam (Skt. ajnana, ignorance) came into this world through the cunning of Picacu (Skt. pisaca, ghost, goblin) and man's offense. Ziegenbalg pointed out that ajnana (which for him signified idolatrous heathendom) is present when, instead of the true God, only his creatures are worshipped. Only the manusa-avataram (Skt. manusavatara, human manifestation) of Christ could bring true motcam (Skt. moksa, liberation) and conclusively exterminate ajnana (Jieyaraj 2003:311-12).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


Sweetman refuses Alakappan the status of "source," except as he might pass on by "reading," because he does not wish to consider him as the source of Ziegenbalg's three vedas. Urs App implies that Aleppa was 100% cooperative in procuring texts, even those that were forbidden to foreigners, including, perhaps, the 3 out of 4 vedas. Because Sweetman wants to elide these facts, he describes Ziegenbalg as not having access to, having no knowledge of, and not interested in Sanskrit works, and asserts that the old schoolmaster referred to in Ziegenbalg's September 2, 1706 letter, refused to give Ziegenbalg the vedas because "it was against their law."

Sweetman and Urs App identify different people as Ziegenbalg's primary source. Sweetman tells us that Ziegenbalg's "elderly schoolmaster" (no name) was the most important person to him. He was 70 years old. He spoke only Tamil. He knew no Portuguese. He taught Ziegenbalg and Plutschau the Tamil script. He dictated books to his six Tamil scribes. When Ziegenbalg speaks of reading works in the presence of "an old poet," Sweetman assumes this is the same person as the "elderly schoolmaster," even though footnote 137 describes the old schoolmaster's son as "a good poet". Similarly, he (tentatively) identifies Kanapati's father-in-law with Kaliyapillai, merely because he was also said to provide books, then speculates further that he might have had connections with the city of Nakappatinam in order to tie him with Kanapati, who lived in Nakappatinam after he reverted back to Saiva practice in 1727. The schoolmaster had a son named Kanapati Vattiyar who also provided him with books, a boy who "exceeded his father in scholarship." He converted to Catholicism in 1709, and caused a rupture between the father and Ziegenbalg. Kanapati's father-in-law was a revenue officer/headman, who also provided Ziegenbalg with books, including one from his own father.

Urs App tells a quite different tale. Ziegenbalg's Tamil teacher did not know Portuguese, so they hired Aleppa/Alakappan, who was a headman of the Tamil community and spoke good Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, and German. He was born around 1660 (making him 48 years old at the time he met Ziegenbalg) into a family that had long worked for Europeans. In 1700 he was head translator of the Danish trading company and top representative of the Tamil inhabitants of the city. He was banished from town for some crime, but brought back by the missionaries who paid him a very high salary. He was twice more banished, and similarly brought back. He describes Aleppa as "the old schoolmaster who often discussed with me all day long," and makes Aleppa a Shaivite, which is why Ziegenbalg devoted himself so much to that branch of Hinduism. He was paid money by Ziegenbalg and his associate Grundler to write letters to be published in Europe. He was 100% cooperative with providing even forbidden books to Ziegenbalg. He was banished by the king neighboring Tancavur for having "revealed all the secrets of their law and worship [Gesetzes und Gottesdienstes]" to the missionaries. This indicates the possibility that he provided Ziegenbalg with the vedas, as the September 2, 1706 letter indicates. The likely reason for all his other exiles, that Ziegenbalg left unexplained, was providing forbidden books to missionaries.

Sweetman's narrative diminishes the value of Ziegenbalg's acquisition of the Jesuit library, attributing the bulk of his acquisitions to Ziegenbalg's independent efforts. Sweetman finds no significance in the fact that Ziegenbalg's favorite text, the Civavakkiyam, that features the Gnanigols and monotheism, was also de Nobili's favorite text. Sweetman contends that the Jesuit missionaries were Ziegenbalg's rivals in having knowledge of Tamil literature, when in fact, they were his first teachers and sources. While conceding the presence of astrological texts in Ziegenbalg's list, books he would have no personal interest in acquiring, Sweetman fails to consider that the presence of all the astrological texts most likely proves that Ziegenbalg's library as recited in the "list" was the Jesuit library.

Sweetman makes no connection between the Gnanigols of Ziegenbalg and the Gnanigols of the Ezour Vedam. Wasn't Ziegenbalg constantly engaged in an "Ezour Vedam" type endeavour during his time in India? The most concession on this point that we can get out of Urs App is the following:

[T]he golden age/degeneration/regeneration mould that was very popular in Europe since the Middle Ages ... shaped the vision of many missionaries, for example, de Nobili and the Madurai Jesuits, Athanasius Kircher, and the Jesuit figurists in China. They saw themselves as restorers of a pure "golden-age" monotheism that had degenerated through the influence of Brahmans or an impostor such as Shaka (Buddha). In this respect they resemble Chumontou of the Ezour-vedam and Voltaire as well as Isaac Newton, who all were critical of established religion and dreamed of restoring pure original monotheism.


Sweetman makes one excuse for one category, and an opposite for another of the same category. For example, the reason why there are a large number of texts in Ziegenbalg's library dealing with ethics reflects his high estimate of them, and interest in using the ethical sense of the Tamils as a starting point for Christian apologetics. On the other hand, the large number of books on astrology are there only because they were so readily available, not because he was interested in astrology! First of all, NO BOOKS were readily available. But Sweetman's discomfort with this material being in Ziegenbalg's library is understandable, since it suggests a Jesuit origin for the collection. The Jesuits were interested in all things astronomical (astrological), as well as being sympathetic towards Indian ways, wanting to create a "New Christianity" that unified both religions.



Indeed, this one casually-elided fact, the presence of astrological texts in the collection, is probably the smoking gun that proves this was largely, if not entirely, Father Martin's Jesuit library, falsely attributed to Ziegenbalg.

All Indologists considering the period will concede that all these missionaries were stealing each other's works, putting their own names on translations and minor revisions.

Ziegenbalg was sent to India on a commission of the Danish king, Frederik IV. He received his pietist missionary orders directly from the King himself, which were (1) to establish that "natural monotheism" did in fact exist among the Indians, and (2) teach the Indians the God of the Christian Bible. He didn't tell him to go find the heathen fables that were the truth of Indian religion. So from the get-go, he was tasked with a lie. He sent his first reports from Tranquebar to Joachim Lange, who printed them in Berlin along with other Pietist literature, including his own. Ziegenbalg summarized Freylinghausen's "Foundation of Theology" into Tamil (palm leaf manuscript), and named it Vetacastiram, and did the same with Freylinghausen's "Order of Salvation", and distributed copies to the Tamil people. He coordinated with the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a large organization that coordinated with many Christian societies in India, to produce the first translation of the Bible into Tamil, and corresponded with them about how the mission schools were the "fruitful seed plots of the church." This organization engaged other Halle missionaries as well as their agents in India, like William Tobias Ringeltaube. Ziegenbalg was a representative of the Danish missionaries in Tranquebar, engaging on their behalf in many fights with the Catholics, and was even imprisoned by Johann Hassius, the Danish commandant, for his interference and complaints. In 1714 he returned to Europe to discuss his mission's privileges with the king and the directors of the Danish company. He maintained six Tamil scribes in his household. He and his associate Grundler paid Aleppa money to write letters to be published in Europe in order to raise money and inform "their European readership." Who paid for all of these people to work for him? And like the Jesuit lettres edifiantes, his letters were full of appeals to Christians in Europe for financial support. Sweetman is at pains to emphasize the personal character of Ziegenbalg's collection. He describes it as a library of Tamil literature gathered from "his own personal initiative," "without any intention of sending it to Europe," and that when he did send something to Europe, it wasn't for the library but for the curiosity cabinet! Implying that he had no larger state, business or corporate agenda, when in fact, everything he did was on behalf of the Pietist corporate movement, and the general and widespread "Christian missionary society" movement as well.

Unlike the corporate effort of his Jesuit contemporaries and rivals, Ziegenbalg’s was a personal collection, undertaken at his own initiative, and without any intention of sending it to Europe. When he did send a Tamil palmleaf manuscript to Halle, it was not a Hindu text but an extract from the Gospels in Tamil, and it was sent not for the library but for the curiosity cabinet.


By contrast, Urs App compares what the European public was able to know about the Danish Malabar mission through the Malabar Correspondence to what La Croze himself had access to: "all the major manuscripts that Ziegenbalg had sent to Europe: his travel account, the Bibliotheca Malabarica, the translations from Tamil morality books, the Malabar Correspondence, the manuscript of the Malabar Heathendom, and of course also the manuscript of the second main work of Ziegenbalg, the Genealogy of Malabar Divinities." He writes that Ziegenbalg's "manuscripts were made available to the royal librarian of Prussia, the noted linguist Mathurin Veyssiere de La Croze, who recognized the novelty and extraordinary value of Ziegenbalg's work and intensively used his manuscripts for a groundbreaking treatise about Indian religions. Ziegenbalg and La Croze played important roles in the delimitation of the traditions that are now called "Hinduism" and "Buddhism"."

Sweetman devalues Ziegenbalg's library to make it plausible for it to be eaten by worms as he proposes. The last thing he seems to want is for Ziegenbalg's library to have survived. Especially since it is the most likely continuing source of the Ezour Vedam "mould," (having been started by de Nobili and added to by others, including Father Martin). Remember, that Maudave claimed his copy of the Ezour-Vedam discovered in 1758 was written by Father Martin. Which presents the possibility that Father Martin's fully-written Ezour-Vedam came into the hands of Ziegenbalg, who used it for his various Gnanigol manuscripts, and whose library then came into the hands of Maudave and/or his friends Barthelemy and Tessier de la Tour at the Council of Pondichery. But there is a real possibility that the Ezour-vedam was a product of Ziegenbalg himself. After all, he is the "Gnanigol" man.

Despite Ziegenbalg's official titles and duties, for Sweetman, it is the Jesuits who were corporate, and collected manuscripts as part of a state-sponsored programme at the behest of the royal librarian in Paris.

Another reason driving this argument of "no corporate effort" is the clear intention of both Sweetman and Urs App to destroy the idea that orientalism was a "corporate colonial" endeavor as stated by Edward Said. God forbid Edward Said should have been right that colonialism and racism drove the "orientalist" endeavor! They both want to present individual missionaries as important non-corporate actors in the orientalist enterprise, which never really works out for them, because missionaries, too, were working for The Establishment: various governments and religious corporate entities with significant political ties to the ruling classes. As if church and state are ever separate! And of course religion is a colonialist concern. Urs App constantly argues against the idea that Buddhism and Hinduism were created in the 19th century "for the first time, in a European philological workshop ... by British Colonialist Sahibs," his and Sweetman's thesis both being that "this 'discovery' play of the latter half of the eighteenth [and 19th] century had significant earlier acts," and "was not a Caesarean section performed by colonialist doctors at the beginning of the nineteenth century when Europe's imperialist powers began to dominate large swaths of Asia. Rather, it was the result of a long process that around the turn of the eighteenth century produced a paradigm change." Whatever the significance of any of that is. Always arguing in terms of absolute vs. murky beginnings. They, of course, being the discoverers of the murkiest of "beginnings" -- that is, the "discovery" of the delusional religions called "Buddhism" and "Hinduism." How tedious!

Take just one example: De Guignes' "Indian Religion." First of all, it was entirely Buddhist. Both Brahmins and Samaneens followed the doctrine of Buddha. They comprised two sects. The Buddha was an Egyptian priest from Memphis. He is Mercury. He taught "the ultimate stage of transmigration before union with the Supreme Being." Yes, the very Christian "One." The oldest surviving Buddhist text was the Forty-Two Sections Sutra, which was "a Christianity of the kind that the Christian heresiarchs of the first century taught after having mixed ideas from Pythagoras on metempsychosis with some other principles drawn from India ... With the exception of a few particular ideas, all the precepts that Fo conveys seem to be drawn from the gospel." It was a book of Valentinian gnostic Christianity. This book represented the "inner" teaching of Buddha, along with the Anbertkend (Pool of Nectar), a Hatha Yoga text which is a "complex synthesis of Indian, Islamic, gnostic, and Neoplatonic influences... widely disseminated among Sufis." Buddha was the author of the "Vedas." He was identical with Vyasa. He was Alexander Dow's "Beass-mouni" of his fraudulent Shaster Bedang. The Ezour-Vedam was also the same. They are all the Vedas. The 4th Veda that was considered lost was the Prajnaparamita Sutra that was sent to China. China was a modern colony of Egypt. The Chinese mixed up the Nestorian Christians with Buddhists. They gave Jesus Christ the name Fo (Buddha). Emperor Ming's dream about a saint from the West had been about Jesus Christ, and they mistakenly brought back heretical Christianity that they confused with the religion of Buddha. ---- Does this look like any religion but "Hash"? That's because both the reality and unreality was Hash. They were not, as some people claimed, "unusual cross-cultural encounters" that deviated from otherwise clear-cut dominant religions.

While they differ on particulars of Ziegenbalg's sources, Sweetman joins with Urs App in establishing a category of books that were meant "to be kept in the mission rather than sent to Europe for publication." Urs App thus seeks to blame Voltaire for having sent the forged/fraudulent Ezour Vedam out into the world, excusing the missionaries themselves for creating the infernal device. Sweetman does the same thing when he refers to another dangerously similar book of Ziegenbalg's, "a lengthy book on the doctrines of the 'heathen poets,' written by Kanapati Vattiyar." Is this yet another version of the Ezour Vedam? It's definitely a Gnanigol text. And what about the title of the first pamphlet from the brand-new Tamil mission press in Tranquebar: "The Veta-pramanam (Skt. vedapramana, Vedic norm) demonstrating that akkiyanam [ajnana] must be detested and how those in akkiyanam can be saved" (pp. 309-10)?" Sounds like yet another text pretending to be a Veda to me! And what is this "gnanigol" business but a play on "jnana," meaning "wisdom," meaning "veda"?

Veda is a Sanskrit word from the root, vid, meaning “to know." Thus, veda means "knowledge" or "wisdom."

-- Veda, by Yogapedia
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