Anquetil Duperron and the Origins of Oriental Philology

Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil Duperron (1731-1805) was a pioneer of Oriental Philology. He was also a remarkable humanist, an intellectual whose moral courage equaled his physical courage. From his six years in India, he brought back a French translation of the Zend Avesta (the first European publication of a text stemming from outside the Greco-Roman world and the Biblical tradition) and a Latin translation of the Upanishads, which had a major impact among European philosophers, particularly on Schopenhauer. The lecture seeks to inscribe Anquetil Duperron’s personality and writings within the broader frame of European intellectual history and reflection on the “axial age.”

Guy G. Stroumsa is Martin Buber Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Emeritus Professor of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at the Oxford University.

Among his books: The Scriptural Universe of Ancient Christianity, The Making of the Abrahamic Religions in Late Antiquity, A New Science: the Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason, and The End of Sacrifice: Religious Transformations of Late Antiquity.

Rajeev Bhargava is Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019
5 pm, CSDS Seminar Room
29 Rajpur Road, Delhi