JOHNSTON, Edward Hamilton. 26.3.1885 — Oxford 24.10.1942. British Indologist. Professor in Oxford, in India 1909-24. Son of Reginald J., a banker, educated at Eton. From 1904 studied at Oxford mathematics, then history. In 1907 joined the I.C.S., came to India in November 1909. Served in Midnapore (Bengal), Ranchi and Patna (Bihar) and in Orissa. In 1915-18 Undersecretary in Revenue Department, 1920 Magistrate and Collector in Monghyr. Interested in agriculture. In 1924 retired, get married (with Iris May) and settled down in Adderbury, where he could pursue Indological researches with the help of Oxford libraries. D.Litt. 1933 Oxon. From 1937 F. W. Thomas’ successor as Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford. During the war he sent his family, including the children of his deceased brother, to the U.S.A., but himself stayed in Oxford.
EHJ was early interested in Indology (member of R.A.S. 1909, of B.O.R.S. 1915), but really started research only after returning from India. He started with Buddhist literature (Aśvaghoṣa), but soon estended his interest in other fields, too, as in Sāmkhyayoga, Arthaśāstra, classical accounts of India and epigraphy.
Publications: articles, on a medieval statue group from Begusarai, JBORS 1920, 322f.; on the text of the Buddhacarita, JRAS 1927 & 1929.
– edited & transl.: Aśvaghoṣa, Saundarananda. 1-2. Panjab Univ. Or. Publ. Lahore & L. 1928-32; Aśvaghoṣa, Buddhacarita or the Acts of the Buddha. 1-2. 20+165, 98+232 p. Panjab Univ. Or. Publ. 31-32. Lahore 1936; the later part of the Buddhacarita, transl. from Tibetan, AO 7, 1937.
– “Two Studies in the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya”, JRAS 1929, 77-102; “Cattle theft in the Arthaśāstra”, JRAS 1936, 79-83, 667.
– “Some Sāṁkhya and Yoga Conceptions of the Śvetāśvatara-Upaniṣad”, JRAS 1930, 855-878; “The Root Rap in the Rigveda”, JRAS 1934, 535-546.
– “Notes of some Pāli words”, JRAS 1931, 565-592.
– Early Sāṁkhya. An essay on its Historical Development. 8+91 p. L. 1937.
– “Demetrias in Sind?”, JRAS 1939, 217-240; “Two Notes on Ptolemy’s Geography of India”, JRAS 1941, 208-222; “Ctesias on Indian Manna”, JRAS 1942, 29-35 & 249f.
– critically edited with A. Kunst: “Vigrahavyāvartanī of Nāgārjuna with the Author’s own Commentary”, Mél. chin. & bouddh. 9, 1948-51, 99-152; again publ., with K. Bhattacharya’s transl. introd. and notes: Vigrahavyāvartanī. The dialectical method of Nāgārjuna. 53+54 p. Delhi 1978.
– some further articles and reviews in JRAS, BSOS, JBORS.
Sources: Thomas, JRAS 1942, 263-267; Wikipedia.