CALMETTE, Jean

CALMETTE, Jean. Rodez, Aveyron 5.5.1692 (not 93) — Chickballapur, Karnataka ?.2.1740 (hardly 1739). S.J. French Missionary and a Pioneer of Indology. He joined the S.J. in Toulouse in 1709 (not in 1720!). Ordained 1725 and left for India in 1726 and worked at Carnatic mission, in Carveypondi (near Vellore), Ballapuram (Mysore), Pouchpagiri and Vencataguiri. Learned Sanskrit and used it in his work. He obtained four Sanskrit manuscripts for the Royal Library in Paris. He is sometimes ascribed the authorship of the Ezour Vedam, although he only found the manuscript, had it translated and sent the translation to Paris. Beside Sanskrit he also knew Tamil and Telugu. He was interested in monuments and noted that the zodiac was the same in India and Europe. He could show that Vedas, often supposed to be lost, still exist, but did not know much of their content.

Publications: Letters from 1726 on published in Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, e.g. 23 Recueil, 105-197; 24, 437ff.; Pierre Dahmen (ed.), “Exraits de lettres inedites du P. Jean Calmette, S.J., missionaire dans l’Inde”, Revue d’histoire des missions 1, 1934, 109-125.

Christian works in Sanskrit, e.g. the Satyavedasārasangraha (ed. A. Amaladass & R. Young, The Indian Christiad. Anand 1995, 105-146 and other editions, but C’s authorship is questioned in D.O.L.F.).

Sources: *J. Bach, Le P. Calmette et les missionnaires indianistes. Paris 1868; Besse, “Miss. du Carnatique”, RHIF 2, 1918, 193-195; Dahlmann 19f.; J. Dehergne, D.B.F. 7, 1956, 916f.; C. Della Casa, “Il P. Calmette e le sue conoscenza indologiche”, Fs. Kirfel 1955, 53-64; *G. Dharampal, “La religion des Malabars: Tessier de Quéralay et la contribution des missionnaires européens à la naissance de l’indianisme”, Immensee: Nouvelle Revue de science missionnaire 1982; Windisch 6f.; I.G. Zupanov & M. Fourcade, D.O.L.F. 170f.; French Wikipedia (English ha no life, only references).

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