JONES, John James. New Quay, Cardiganshire 12.3.1892 — Aberystwyth? 20.2.1957. British (Welsh) Indologist. Son of Thomas J., a saddler, and Elizabeth Williams. After school in New Quay and Aberaeron studies of Classics at University College of Wales in Aberystwyth 1911-14 (M.A.). Worked nine years as school-teacher of Latin in Stockton-on-Tees, Whitchurch (Salop) and Gloucester, from 1926 Assistant Keeper, 1928 Deputy-Keeper at Department of Printed Books in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, from 1950 Keeper and Head of the same Department. Died little before retirement. Married Elizabeth Davies (d. 1955), no children.
Although Jones as the translator remained almost unknown, his Mahāvastu is highly important, even if not faultless (he did it just before Edgerton’s work on BHS was published). Beside Sanskrit, Pāli, Latin, Greek, Romance and Germanic languages he was also familiar with Celtic, Slavic, Scandinavian, Hungarian, Semitic, Persian, Chinese and Japanese. In library he was known as a skilful bibliographer, but the detailed bibliography of Celtology remained unfinished.
Publications: M.A. thesis: The native Italian element in early Roman religion. Manuscript 1914.
– Two articles on Buddhism in Welsh, 1941 & 1946; articles on Celtic studies.
– Translated: Mahāvastu. 3 Vols. S.B.B. 16, 18-19. L. 1949-56.
Sources: Obituary by Thomas Parry, Cylchgrawn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / National Library of Wales Journal 10, 1957 in welshjournals.llgc.org.uk; J.K. Evans, in Dict. of Welsh Biography 2001 (https://biography.wales/article/s2-JONE-JAM-1892); J.N. Silk, “Keeping up with Joneses”, ARIRIAB 17, 2014, 427-442.