ANTOINE, Robert. Dolhain, Limbourg 11.8.1914 — Calcutta 17.10.1981. S.J. Belgian Missionary, Indologist and Scholar of Comparative Literature in India. Indian citizen (1950). At the age of 18, in 1932, he joined the S.J. After studies of classical languages and philosophy came to India at the age of 25 (1939). After 4 years’ study of theology ordained as a priest, then studies of Sanskrit at Calcutta University (M.A.). Taught Sanskrit at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Calcutta from 1951 and, together with father —> Pierre Fallon, founded the Shanti-Bhavan, an apostolic religious centre, also 1951. Taught also long time Greek and Latin, and became in 1956 Reader of Ancient and Medieval European Literature at Comparative Literature Department of the new Jadavpur University. He also taught Indian and comparative literature there, and was director of the Shanti-Bhavan in South Calcutta (where he also resided). Died in liver cancer.
Father Antoine was a Sanskrit and Bengali scholar, specially interested in religious and literary texts. He composed Bengali hymns (publ. 1963) in order to create really Indian church music.
Publications: A Sanskrit manual for high schools. 1-2. Calcutta 1953, 6th/3rd ed. 473 p. Calcutta 1968-70.
– Articles, e.g. on Kauṣītakyupaniṣad, JOIB 4, 1951, 330-337, on Bankimchandra Chatterjee, IHRI Jub. Vol. 1953, 5-21; comparative articles on Greek and Indian epic (1959) and drama (1968).
– Co-author: Religious Hinduism. Allahabad 1961, also in German and French translation; The Mustery of Man. Calcutta 1967.
– Introduction to Upaniṣads. Pune 1965.
– Transl: Kalidasa: The Dynasty of Raghu. 230 p. Calcutta n.d. .
– Rāma and the Bards. Publ. in Bengali transl. Calcutta 1975; posthumous manuscript The Technique of Oral Composition in the Rāmāyaṇa, publ. in Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature 21-22, 1983-84.
– With Hrishikes Basu, Bengali translations: Vergil’s Aeneid. Calcutta 1972; Thebīya nāṭyaguccha. Calcutta 1974 (7 Greek Theban tragedies).
– Religious books.
Sources: Obituary by Amiya Deb, German transl. by R.P. Das, Z. f. Missionswiss. u. Rel.wiss. 67, 1983, 75f.; J. Felix Raj SJ in www.goethals.org/robert.htm; Wikipedia (with bibliography).
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