Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Tamil Voices in the Lutheran Mission of South India (1705-1714)

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Journal of Early Modern History

The English edition of the Bibliotheca Malabarica, a manuscript catalogue of the Tamil works collected by the young Lutheran missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg during his first two years in India (1706-8), attests to his prodigious effort to acquire, read, and summarize all the works of the “heathens” of South India that he could possibly get hold of. Most of this literature seems to have originated from local Śaiva mattams. Besides epics and puranas, the collection included many popular works on ethics, divination and astrology, devotional poetry, or folk narratives and ballads. Ziegenbalg seems to have acquired these through his Tamil teacher in Tranquebar—an elderly schoolmaster—and his son. In this respect, a focus on the social and cultural dynamics by which local knowledge was transmitted to Europeans is no less important than identifying the literary sources for their interpretation of Hinduism. A fascinating work, the Tamil correspondence conducted between 1712 and 1714 by the Lutheran missionaries with a number of learned Hindus reveals their desire to embark on a kind of inter-religious dialogue as a foundation for their Christian apologetics. The replies received from his “heathen” correspondents would inform much of Ziegenbalg’s interpretation of Śaivism as a form of natural monotheism. Translated into German and published in Halle, they also became part of the Pietist propaganda concerning the mission, exerting a much wider impact than Ziegenbalg’s unpublished monographs about Hindu doctrines and theology. But how authentic were these Tamil voices? Close analysis suggests that even if we conclude with the editors that the letters were what they claim to be, that is a direct translation of the work of many independent Tamil correspondents, the extent to which there was a religious “dialogue” based on reciprocity is open to question.

Affiliations: 1: ICREA – Universitat Pompeu FabraBarcelona

10.1163/15700658-12342439
/content/journals/10.1163/15700658-12342439
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
10
5
Loading
Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15700658-12342439
Loading

Data & Media loading...

http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/15700658-12342439
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/15700658-12342439
2015-12-19
2017-10-23

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
    Journal of Early Modern History — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation