FAUSBØLL, Michael Viggo

FAUSBØLL, Michael Viggo. Hove near Lemvig 22.9.1821 — Charlottenlund near Copenhagen 3.6.1908. Danish Indologist. Professor in Copenhagen. Son of Rev. Christian Nissen F. and Dorothea Appolone Haksen. Educated in Aarhus, matriculated 1838. Studied at Copenhagen philosophy, aesthetics and theology, with the only intention of securing a living, as he had lost his father in 1840 and had meagre economic means. Passed the theological examination (embeds­eksamen) in 1847. At the same time, however, he had early interested in Rask’s works and studied Old Icelandic and Sanskrit (under Johansen and Hammerich, after 1845 under Westergaard). Worked as a school-teacher (of Danish and English) and began to turn his attention to Pāli and to Rask’s manuscripts (especially since 1848). With a travel grant in 1858-60 he was capable of visiting London to study Pāli manuscripts there. From 1861 Assistant at University Library in Copenhagen and from 1878 Westergaard’s successor as Professor there. In 1879 his university conferred doctor’s degree without dissertation. In 1902 he retired, already almost blind, and was succeeded by Sørensen. Married 1873 Ellen Louise Beckwith Lohmeier.

Fausbøll was one of the great pioneers of Pāli research in the West. As a Pāli scholar he was mainly interested in grammar and Jātakas and in no way wanted himself to be considered as a kind of “Buddhist”. In his later years the failing eye-sight turned him from manuscript studies to mythology. In his teaching he also dealt much with Sanskrit literature. Among his students were P. Marcussen, H. Rasmussen, E. Lehmann and D. Andersen.

Publications: Edited with Latin translation: Dhammapadam. 480 p. Havniae 1855, 2nd ed. 1900; ed. & transl. Five Jatakas. 8+72 p. Copenhagen 1861; “Two Jâtakas”, JRAS 5, 1871, 1-13; The Dasarathajâtaka, being the Buddhist story of king Râma. 32 p. Copenh. 1871; Ten Jâtakas. 15+127 p. Copenhagen 1872.

Edited: Jātaka. 1-6 (7. Index by D. Andersen). L. 1873-97 (repr. P.T.S. Text Sr. 42-44, 155-158); Sutta Nipāta. L., P.T.S. 1885.

Translated: Sutta Nipāta. A collection of discourses. Appeared together with F. M. Müller’s: Dhammapada. A collection of verses. 240+154 p. S.B.E. 10. Oxford 1881.

– “Förteckning öfver de af friherre Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld från Ceylon hemförda Pali-manuskript”, Ymer 1883, 200-205; “Catalogue of the Mandalay MSS. in the India Office Library”, JPTS 1894-96, 1-52.

– “Nogle Bemærkninger om enkelte vanskilige Pāli ord i Jātaka-Bogen”, Overs. Vid. Sellsk. Forh. 1888, 7-58.

Fire Forstudier til en Fremstilling af den indiske Mythologie efter Mahābhārata. 70 p. København 1897.

Indian Mythology according to the Mahabharata. 32+206 p. L. 1902.

Several studies on Danish language and folklore.

Sources: *D. Andersen, Nordisk Tidskrift for Filologi 3:16, 1907-08, 179-186 (with bibliography); A. B[allini], RSO 2, 1908-09, 506; Buckland, Dictionary; Pauly, København Universitet 1992, with photo Peiris, Buddhism 199-202; V. Seemann, Dansk biogr. Lex. 3rd ed. 4, 1980, 347-349; E. Strandberg: “Fausbøll and the Pāli Jātakas”, JIABS 3:2, 1980, 95-101; Wikipedia briefly, with photo (more details in Danish version).

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