ECKSTEIN, Ferdinand d’

ECKSTEIN, Ferdinand d’. Copenhagen 1790 — 1862 (when 71). Baron. French Historian of Danish Origin. Details of his origin are unclear, the title of nobility perhaps doubtful. He is said to be the son of a Jew converted to Lutheran Christianity, himself joined Catholics under the influence of Fr. Schlegel. Studies at several German uni­ver­sities. Served in Lützow Jägers, then in Dutch army. In 1827 came to France to serve under Louis XVIII. Active in politics. Mohl: “Je ne desire pas me faire l’écho de rumeurs piquantes sur son origine et sa jeunesse.” He was an eager scholar, but without criticism and acuteness. He was interested in the origins of civilization. He started early with Sanskrit, studied on the Mahābhārata, and planned a major work on Indian civilization. Unfortunately he was no critical scholar, and his many contributions were deemed too speculative even by his contemporaries. Also a playwright. Nicknamed “Baron Sanskrit”.

Publications: “Analyse du quatrième chapitre de l’Aitareya Upanishad”, JA 2:11, 1833, 193-221, 289-317, 414-524 & 2:12, 1833, 53-78; “Analyse du Kathaka-Oupanichat”, Journal de l’Inst. historique 3:3, 183? (15 p.); “Narasinha Oupanichat. Analyse de cet ouvrage”, JA 3:2, 1836, 466-490, 559-585 & 3:4, 1834, 28-48; “Über die Grundlagen der Indischen Philosophie und deren Zusammenhang mit den Philosophemen der westlichen Völker”, Ind. St. 2, 1853.

Review of “Taoteching du Laotseu, ed. & trad. par St. Julien, Paris 1842”, JA 3:14, 1842, 283-318, 399-422; of Hiouen-tsang, trad. par St. Julien, JA 5:10, 1857, 475-552; “Sur les sources de la cosmogonie de Sanchuniathon”, JA 5:14, 1859, 167-238, 362-432, 501-533 & 5:15, 1859, 67-92, 210-263, 399-414.

– “De quelques légendes Brahmaniques qui se rapportent à berceau de l’espèce humaine. Légende des deux soeurs, la Kadroû et la Vinatâ”, JA 5:6, 1855, 191-221, 297-391, 473-524.

Geschichtliches über die Askesis der alten heidnischen und der alten jüdischen Welt als Einleitung einer Geschichte der Askesis des christlichen Mönchtums. 1862.

Sources: *N. Burtin, Le baron d’Eckstein. Paris 1931; Mohl, JA 5:20, 1872, 14-16; Windisch 332; Wikipédia.

*L. Le Guillou (ed.), Lettres inédites du baron d’Eckstein. Société et littérature à Paris en 1838-1840. 256 p. P. 1998, and Le baron d’Eckstein et ses contemporains (Lammenais, Lacordaire, Montalembert, Foisset, Michelet, Renan, Hugo, etc.): correspondance avec choix de ses articles. 592 p. P. 2003.

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