The Missionaries in the Race for Putting the Veda to Print

Rev. John Stevenson and His "Threefold Science" of 1833

  • Cezary Galewicz Jagiellonian University, Kraków
Keywords: Veda, print cultures, missionaries, modernity

Abstract

The early 1800s saw several competing projects of opening the hitherto guarded textuality of the Veda to a wider public, both in Europe and in India. Apart from those animated by the spirit of imperial control or allegedly pure academic interest, others situated themselves within broader goals of the new wave of missionary work in India. Among the Protestant missionaries to take active part in projects of that sort, the exceptional figure of Rev. John Stevenson of the Church of Scotland stands conspicuously unparalleled. The paper intends to follow the circumstances of the publishing and to offer an idea about the complex ideology that might have accompanied Stevenson’s pioneering work in editing and translating of the Veda, especially his work titled The Threefold Science that appeared in 1833 in Bombay.

References

Primary Sources:

Baldeus, Ph. 1703 (1671). A True and Exact Description of the Most Celebrated East-India Coasts of Malabar and Coromandel (tr. from Dutch, originally published in 1671). London: Annsham and John Churchill.

Belvalkar, S. K. 1916. Foreword. In: Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Collections of Manuscripts Deposited at the Deccan College, Poona. Compiled by the Assistant to the Professor of Sanskrit, Deccan College, Poona. Vol. I, Part I. Bombay: The Government of Bombay: xi–xxxix.

Carey, W. 1792. An Enquiry into The Obligations of Christians. To Use Means for The Conversion of the Heathens. Leicester: Ann Ireland.

—. 1806. A Grammar of the Sungskrit Language. Serampore: Mission Press. Colebrooke, H. T. 1805. On the Vedas or Sacred Writings of the Hindus. In: Asiatic Researches 8: 369–476. (repr. in Colebrooke 1837, 1: 9–113)

Dutta, R. C. (ed.). 1885. Rigbed Sanghita. Vol. 1–7. Kolkata.

Ellis, F. 1822. Account of a Discovery of a Modern Imitation of the Vedas, with Remarks on the Genuine Works. In: Asiatick Researches 14: 1–59.

English Records on Shivaji (1659–1682). 1931. Poona: Shiva Charitra Karyalaya.

Extracts from the Proceedings of the Society. In BB RAS, 1848, vol. II: 442-479.

Gough, A. 1878. Papers Related to the Collection and Preservation of the Records of Ancient Sanskrit Literature in India. Calcutta: Office of Superintendent of Government Printing.

Halhed, B. L. 1781. A Code of Gentoo Laws or Ordinations of the Pundits from a Persian Translation Made from the Original Written in the Shanscrit Language. London.

Kielhorn, F. 1867. Remarks on the Sanskrit Portions of the Catalogue. In: A. Grant (ed.). Catalogue of Native Publications in the Bombay Presidency up to 31 Dec. 1864. 2nd ed. Bombay: Education Society Press: 13–25.

Marshman, J. C. 1859. The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, and Ward: Embracing the History of the Serampore Mission. 2 vols. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts.

Memorial Papers. 1882. Memorial Papers of the American Marathi Mission 1813–1881. Bombay: Education Society’s Press, Byculla.

Missionary Register for the MDCCCXXV. 1825. London: L. B. Seeley & Son.

Missionary Register for the MDCCCXXXIII. 1833. London: L. B. Seeley & Son.

Müller, (F.) M. (ed.). 1849–1874. Rig-Veda-Sanhita. The Sacred Hymns of the Brahmans, together with the Commentary of Sayanacharya. 6 vols. London: W. H. Allen & Co.

—. (tr.). 1869. Rig-Veda-Sanhita. The Sacred Hymns of The Brahmans. Translated and Explained. Vol. I. London: Trubner And Co.

—. (ed.). 1890–1892. Rig-Veda-Samhitâ, the Sacred Hymns of the Brâhmans, together with the Commentary of Sâyanâkârya. 2nd edition. 4 vols. London: Henry Frowde.

Peterson, P. 1888. Hymns from the Rigveda Edited with Sayana’s Commentary, Notes and a Translation. Bombay: Government Central Book Depot.

Polier, M. É. De and A.-L.-H. De Polier. 1809. Mythologie des Indous [Texte imprimé], travaillée par Mme la Chnesse de Polier, sur des manuscrits authentiques apportés de l’Inde, par feu Mr. le Colonel de Polier, membre de la Société asiatique de Calcutta. Roudolfstadt and Paris: F. Schoell.

Bodas, R. S. and S. S. Gore (eds.). 1888–1890. Rig-Veda. With Pada pátha and Sáyaná-cháryás Bháshya. Bombay: Ganapat Krishnaji Press.

Bijâpûrkar, V. G. (ed.). 1895. Ṛiksangraha, or A University Selection of Vedic Hymns; with the Commentary of Sâyaṇâchârya. Bombay: Tukârâm Jâvajî.

Rogerius, A. 1915 (1651). De Open-Deure Tot Het Verborgen Heydendom. W. Caland (ed.). S-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff.

Röer, H. 1847. Report on the Vedas. In: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 16(1): 505–518.

Röer, E. 1848. The First Two Lectures of the Sanhita of the Rig Veda with the Commentary of the Madhvacharya and an English Translation of the Text. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, printed by J. Thomas at the Baptist Mission Press.

Rosen, F. (ed.). 1830. Rig-Vedae Specimen. London: Impensis Joannis Taylor, printed by J. L. Cox.

—. 1838. Rigveda Sanhita. Liber Primus, Sanscritè et Latinè. London: Printed for the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, W. Allen & Co.

Smith, G. 1902 (1884). The Life of William Carey, Shoe-Maker & Missionary. London: J. M. Dent; New York: E.P. Dutton.

Smith, T. and J. O. Choules. 1832. The Origin and History of Missions: Containing Faithful Accounts of the Voyages, Travels, Labors and Successes of the Various Missionaries who Have Been Sent Forth to Evangelize the Heathen. Vol. I. Boston: S. Walker, and Lincoln & Edmands.

Stevenson, J. 1833. Trividyā Triguṇātmikā = The Threefold Science (Sukta 1–35 of the first mandal of the Ṛgveda, with Sanskrit notes). Bombay: American Mission Press.

—. 1841. An Essay on the Vernacular Literature of the Marathas. In: Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. July 1841: 1–10.

—. 1842. Translation of the Sanhitá of the Sámaveda. London: Printed for the Oriental Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, Allec & Co.

—. (ed.). 1843a. Sanhitá of the Sáma-Veda. From mss. prepared for the press by the Rev. J. Stevenson and printed under the supervision of H. H. Wilson. London: For the Society for the publication of oriental texts.

—. 1843b. An Account of the Bauddho-Vaisnavas or Vitthal-Bhaktas of the Dakhan. In: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Old series 13: 64–73.

—. 1843c (1833). Principles of Murathee Grammar. Bombay: Collete & Co., American Mission Press. (originally published Calcutta 1833).

—. 1853. “Historical Names and Facts Contained in the Kanheri (Kenery) Inscriptions; with Translations Appended”. In: The Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 18(5): 1–34.

Śuklayajurvedaḥ Vājasaneyisaṃhitā Mādhyandinīśākhā (with Mahīdharadīpa). 1844. Kolkatta: Satya Press.

Vedārthayatna or an Attempt to Interpret the Vedas. A Marathi and English Translation of the Rig Veda, with the Original Saṃhitā and Pada Texts in Sanskrit. 1876–1882. Vol. 1–5, parts 1–9. S. Pandurang Pandit (ed.). Bombay: Indu-Prakash Press / Nirnaya Sagar Press.

Secondary Sources:

Blackburn, S. 2006 (2003). Print, Folklore and Nationalism in Colonial South India. Delhi: Permanent Black.

Constable, Ph. 2007. Scottish Missionaries, ‘Protestant Hinduism’ and the Scottish Sense of Empire in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century India. In: The Scottish Historical Review 86(222), Part 2: 278–313.

Copland, I. 2006. Christianity as an Arm of Empire: The Ambiguous Case of India under the Company, C. 1813–1858. In: The Historical Journal 49(4): 1025–1054.

Galewicz, C. (forthcoming). Kingdoms of Memory. Empires of Ink. The Veda and the Regional Print Cultures of Colonial India. Krakow: WUJ.

Gonda, J. 1975. Vedic Literature. Wiessbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Mcneely, I. F. and L. Wolverton. 2009. Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to Internet. New York–London: W. W. Norton & Company.

Numark, M. 2012. Hebrew School in Nineteenth-Century Bombay: Protestant Missionaries, Cochin Jews, and the Hebraization of India’s Bene Israel Community. In: Modern Asian Studies 46(6): 1764–1808.

Priolkar, A. K. 1958. The Printing Press in India: Its Beginnings and Early Development, Being a Quatercentenary Commemoration Study of the Advent of Printing in India in 1556. Bombay: Marathi Samshodhana Mandala.

Renou, L. 1928. Les Maitres de la Philologie Védique. Paris: Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner.

—. 1931. Bibliographie Vedique. Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve.

Rocher, L. 1984. Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Rocher, R. and L. Rocher. 2012. The Making of Western Indology: Henry Thomas Colebrooke and the East India Company. Abingdon–Oxon–New York: Routledge.

Shaw, G. 1993. Lithography v. Letter-Press in India. Part I: Lithography in Bombay. South Asia Library Notes & Queries (CONSALD) 29. Online version: http://www.consald.org/sites/default/files/SALNAQ/Issue_29/29_1993_01_Lithography1.pdf [accessed on 2 Oct 2017].

—. 1994, Lithography v. Letter-Press in India. Part II: Lithography and the Vernacular Book. South Asia Library Notes & Queries (CONSALD) 30. Online version: http://www.consald.org/sites/default/files/SALNAQ/Issue_30/30_199495_01_Lithography2.pdf [accessed on 2 Oct 2017].

Smith Diehl, K. 1986. American Printers in the East Indies through 1850. In: The Journal of Library History (1974–1987) 21(1): 202–214. https://www.doi.org/10.2307/25541687.

Published
2019-06-14