EKENSTAM, Fabian Wilhelm af

EKENSTAM, Fabian Wilhelm af (until 1810 Ekenman). Sålla (Sjögestad, Östergötland) 10.10.1786 — Stora Tona (Västerås stift) 7.2.1868. Swedish Priest interested in Sanskrit. Son of the marine officer Nils Adolph Ekenman (title of nobility as af Ekenstam was conferred to him in 1810) and Catharina Margareta Götherhielm. From 1805 studies at Lund, where 1807 fil.kand., 1808 diss. pro gradu, 1808 fil.dr. (Ph.D.). From 1809 Docent of Theology at Lund, from 1812 Adjunkt of Theology; in 1810-11 Dean of the Theological Faculty. During this time also interested in Sanskrit, but then probably left it and did no more pursue studies in 1813-18, when he lived in London and in 1815-18 worked in the local Swedish church. In 1822-37 he taught philosophy at the gymnasium of Linköping, in 1832 ordained as priest. From 1832 until his death minister of Stora Tona, in 1842-51 also Kontraktsprost there. Dr.theol. 1844. In 1856 succeeded his elder brother in title. Married 1819 Sophia Charlotta Dulkopf-Zachrisson, nine children.

During his time as university teacher at Lund Ekenstam published the very first Swedish writing dealing with Sanskrit. His main sources were Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, Anquetil-Duperron and Fr. Wilford, but he had already adopted Jones’ theory of a parent language (“e lingua quadam primitiva seu originali”). His knowledge of Sanskrit, however, was meagre, he confused it with Tamil, which he knew from Ziegenbalg, and he even attempted to compare them with Chinese. The little booklet had never any influence. He was a Herrnhutian, later a Swedenborgian. In 1832 he was described as “en innerligt god, livlig och naiv människa”.

Publications: Dissertatio academica de Lingua Sanscrit. 5 p. Lund 1810-11.

Sources: Charpentier, “Indol. studier i Sverige”, Sv. Orientsällsk. Årsbok 1924, 58; Elgenstierna, Sv. adelns ättartavlor 2, 1926, 516.

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