BARTH, Marie-Étienne-Auguste. Strasbourg 22.3.1834 — Paris 15.4.1916. French Indologist. Born in Strasbourg as the son of catholic father, commis-négociant Étienne B., and protestant mother, Marie-Wilhelmine Stoeber. Educated in Strasbourg, 1856 lic. ès lettres. Taught logic and rhetorics at Bouxviller Collège near Savern from 1857, privately studied Sanskrit, and in 1861 came to Paris for one year to prepare his dissertation. Participated in the French-German war and refused to live in German Elsaß. Moved with his father and brother to Genève, where he in earnest started his career as a scholar and critic. In 1877 he moved to Paris, and remained there the rest of his life. Member of several academies and learned societies (A.I.B.L. 1893). Early deafness made teaching impossible, and during last years, from 1911, an illness prevented all work. 1895 legion d’honneur, 1909 Dr. h.c. at Louvain.
As Indologist AB was more or less self-educated, but learned and an acute critic, and therefore much appreciated. He mostly wrote just articles and reviews, which were later combined into books. He knew the whole field from epigraphy to religion and was widely read in original texts. One of the great critics in the history of Indology. No teacher, but privately helped and advised many. One of the founders of the E.F.E.O. He was also interested in mathematics and astronomy, and a Royalist like all his family. Despite the destiny of his homeland he did not hate individual Germans, and little before his death voted against the exclusion of German honorary members of the Institute.
Sources: *L. Finot, BEFEO 16, 1916, 108-111; P. Leguay, D.B.F. 5, 1951, 645f.; Oltramare, JRAS 1916, 633-639; *S. Ol’denburg, Russkaja mysl’ 8, 1916, 11-13 & *IzvRossAN 6:12, 1918:2, 61-68 = Mél. as. 1918; *Senart, JA 11:8, 1916, 185-187 & *JS 1916, 279f. & *Bull. de la Comm. arch. de l’Indochine 1914-1916; Wikipedia (more in French version, both with photo); photo in Œuvres 1, 1914.
Publications: a study on the Bhagavadgita in Revue Germanique 1864. In Genève 1871-77 wrote much for the Revue critique d’Histoire et de Littérature. In 1880-1902 wrote ten critical bulletins for the Revue de l’Hist. des Religions. Numerous reviews in JA, JS, Revue critique and Mélusine.
– Religions de l’Inde. 175 p. P. 1879, 2nd ed. P. 1914; English transl. by J. Ward, The Religions of India. 309 p. L. 1882, Russian 1896, originally published as a long article in Lichtenberger’s Encyclopédie des sciences religieux.
– with Bergaigne & Aymonier: Inscriptions sanscrites du Cambodge. 177 p. 1885 (part appeared in JA 1880-82). Epigraphic articles in JA, JS, CRAI & BEFEO.
– Œuvres de Auguste Barth. 1–5. P. 1914–1927.
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