GHEYN, Joseph van den

GHEYN, Joseph-Marie-Martin van den. Ghent 25.5.1854 — Brussels 29.1. 1913. S.J. Belgian scholar of Religion, Ethnology, Sanskrit and Theology. Son of a Professor of chemistry, joined Jesuit order in 1871. Studies at Louvain (Leuven) under de Harlez. Interested early in ethnography, primitive folklore and ancient languages, wrote in 1878-86 a series of articles on history of the “Aryan race” (now entirely antiquated), of Central Asia, etc. In 1886 ordained priest, taught at Louvain University. Studied Syriac in Paris. In 1888-97 participated in Bollandist work, editing Greek and Oriental Acts of Saints. Sources differ: according to one he was Professor in Paris in 1888-91 and then at Collège Saint-Michel in Brussels, according to other he was persuaded by Mgr. d’Hulst to teach Sanskrit at Institut Catholique in Paris in 1891-9?. The first date must be correct. According to the RHR 20, 1889, he had just obtained the new chair of Sanskrit at Institut catholique. In 1897-1909 he was Conservateur des manuscrits at Bibliothèque royale in Brussels, in 1909-12 Conservateur-en-chef ibid. In his later years he was often ill and had to retire in 1912.

Publications: Many of the works listed here appeared first as articles.

Le nom primitif des Aryas. Brussels 1880; Origines indo-européennes. Le berceau des Aryas. 96 p. Brussels 1881; Les migrations des Aryas. 40 p. Anvers 1882; L’origine européenne des Aryas. 47 p. P. 1889.

– “Remarques sur quelques racines sanscrites de la 8e classe”, Bull. de l’Académie royale de Belgique 3:7, 1884, 21 p.; “Note sur les mots sanscrits composés avec pati”, JRAS 16, 1884, 479-485 (type jāspati, gnāspati, vanaspati).

– “Les langues de l’Asie centrale”, Actes du 6ème Congrès int. des Orientalistes tenu en 1883 à Leide, tome 3, 1885, section 2: Aryenne, 261-287 (I. Les langues du Pamir, 264-273; II. Les dialectes de l’Hindou-kousch, 273-277; III. Le yidghah et le yagnobi, 277-287); Le yidghah et le yagnobi, étude sur deux dialectes de l’Asie centrale. 2+30 p. Brussels 1883.

Essais de mythologie et de philologie comparée. 431 p. Brussels & P. 1885 (collection of articles); La science des Religions. 55 p. Lyon 1886.

Le séjour de l’humanité post-diluvienne. 1883; L’origine asiatique de la race noire. 39 p. Brussels 1891; Les populations danubiennes. 291 p. Brussels 1886.

L’homme préhistorique de la Basse Belgique. 1887.

Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque royale. 1-8. Brussels 1900-1909.

Album belge de paléographie. 68 p. Brussels 1908; and other works.

Sources: M. Coens, Biogr. Nat. Belg. 37 (Suppl. 9), 1971-72, 327-333; Dict. biogr. des sciences, des lettres et des arts en Belg. 2, 193? with photo; Wikipedia with photo (see also French version).

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