JÄSCHKE, Heinrich August

JÄSCHKE, Heinrich August. Herrnhut (Sachsen) 17.5.1817 — Herrnhut 24.9.1883. German Missionary and Tibetan scholar. Son of a master baker in an originally Moravian family, Friedrich August J. and Sophie Zeidler. As a talented boy he won a scholarship to Niesky Pädagogium (Herrnhutian Gymnasium) in Silesia. Then studies at seminary in Gnadenfeld. In 1837-42 teacher at Christianfeld and 1842-56 at Niesky, now learned Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit. From 1856 director of the Herrnhutian missionary station at Kyelang in Lahul, West-Himalaya. After quarrels with his fellow-workers, said to be founded on his excessive modesty, he resigned his post in 1863, but remained in the country until 1868, when failing health forced him to return home. In 1859 married in Kyelang Herrnhutian woman missionary Emilie Rosenhauer, no children.

The scholarly work of Jäschke is all connected with his great project, the Tibetan translation of the Bible. He tried and achieved great familiarity with the language, employing a Lama to teach him the classical language. In order to have the translation more easily understandable he applied Buddhist terminology. His dictionary was a pioneer work, still in use more than hundred years later. His grammar was one of the very first to take modern dialects into account, but now in many respects antiquated. He knew well Latin, Greek, Hebrew and several European languages. A further interest was botany.

Publications: “Über das Tibetanische Lautsystem”, MBeAW 1860, 256-278; “Über die östliche Aussprache des Tibetischen im Vergleich zu der früher behandelten westlichen”, MBeAW 1865, 441-453; “Über die Phonetik der Tibetischen Sprache”, MBeAW 1867, 148-182; “Notes on the Pronunciation of the Tibetan Language”, JASB 34, 1865, 91-100.

A short practical grammar of the Tibetan Language, with special reference to the spoken dialects. 3+56 p. Kyelang 1865, 2nd ed. by H. Wenzel: Tibetan Grammar. 10+104 p. L. 1883, new ed. with Addenda by A. H. Francke, assisted by W. Simon. 8+104+57 p. B. 1929.

A romanized Tibetan and English Dictionary. 158 p. Kyelang 1866.

An Introduction to the Hindi and Urdu Languages for Tibetans. Kyelang 1867.

– “Probe aus dem tibet. Legendenbuch: die Hunderttausend Gesänge des Milaraspa”, ZDMG 23, 1869, 543-558.

With J. E. T. Aitchison: “Lahoul, its flora and vegetable products”, Journal of the Linnaean Soc. of London, Botany 10, 1869.

Handwörterbuch der tibetischen Sprache. 697 p. Gnadau 1871.

A Tibetan–English Dictionary with special reference to the prevailing dialects. To which is added an English–Tibetan vocabulary. 671 p. L. 1881 and many further editions.

Translated into Tibetan: New Testament 1885, The Pentateuch. 1-2; religious books in Tibetan.

Sources: *Th. Bechler, H.A.J. der geniale Sprachforscher der Mission der Brüdergemeine unter den Tibetern im westlichen Himalaya. Herrnhut 1930; F.A. Bischoff, “Jäschke, sa vie et son oeuvre”, The Tibet Journal 1, 1981, 5-10; *J. Bray, “HAJ: Pioneer Tibetan Scholar”, The Tibet Journal 8, 1983, 50-55; Buckland, Dictionary; *L. Feer, JA 8:2, 1883, 314f.; G. Jäschke, N.D.B. 10, 1974, 289f.; *J. Kolmaš, bibliography in ArO 60, 1992, 113-127; JRAS 16, 1884, Proc. xxxiiif.; G.T. Reichelt, A.D.B. 50, 1905, 632f.; Stache-Rosen 1990, 50f.; Walravens 2008, 172; briefly D.B.E. 5, 1997, 288; Wikipedia with photo.

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