KEITH, Arthur Berriedale. Portobello (Edinburgh) 5.4.1879 — Edinburgh 6.10. 1944. British (Scottish) Indologist and Scholar of Law. Professor in Edinburgh. Son of an advertiser, Davidson Keith, and Margaret Stobie Drysdale, educated at Royal High School. Studies at Edinburgh University (B.A. 1896, M.A. 189??), and from 1897 at Balliol College, Oxford (B.A. 1900), where he studied classical philology and Sanskrit under Macdonell. In 1901-14 Civil Servant in Colonial Office, now also law studies, in 1907-08 acting Boden Professor at Oxford. In 1914 succeeded Eggeling as Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology at Edinburgh, from 1927 also Lecturer in History of British Imperial Administration. D.C.L. 1911 Oxon., D.Litt. 1914 Edinburgh, hon. LL.D. 1936 Leeds, F.B.A. 1935-39. Married 1912 Margaret Balfour Allan, widower 1934, no children. His last years Keith mostly spent in seclusion, although he continued teaching.
As an Indologist, Keith mainly concentrated on Veda, but he was also interested in later philosophy and literature. He was extremely well versed in Sanskrit literature and known to be an acute and sharp critic. On the other hand, traces of inadvertence and hurry can be discerned in his own works. He was also a known specialist of the constitutional law of the British Empire and in his later years he mainly concentrated on administrational history. His books and papers were donated to Edinburgh University by his sister.
Publications: Articles on Sanskrit grammar and syntax in JRAS 1906, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, ZDMG 1909, 1912; on Indian religion in JRAS 1907, 1912, 1913, 1915, ZDMG 1912; on Indian drama in JRAS 1911, 1912, 1916, etc.; on Vedic mythology in JRAS 1933, IC 1, 1934-35 & 3, 1936-37, IHQ 9, 1933; numerous small articles on Sanskrit philology in JRAS, ZDMG, BSOS, IHQ, IC, etc.
– Catalogue of the Sanskrit and Prakrit Manuscripts in the Indian Institute, Oxford. 99 p. L. 1903; with M. Wintenitz: Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. Vol. 2. 26+348 p. 1905; Catalogue of the Prakrit Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. 8+53 p. Oxford 1911; with F. W. Thomas: Catalogue of the Sanskrit and Prakrit Manuscripts in the Library of the India Office. 1-2. 10+1851 p. L. 1935.
– Translated: Śāṅkhāyana Āraṇyaka. With an appendix on the Mahāvrata. 16+85 p. Or. tr. Fund N. S. 18. L. 1908; Taittirīya Sanhitā. The Veda of the Black Yajur School. 1-2. 833 p. H.O.S. 18-19. Cambridge, Mass. 1914; Rig-Veda Brahmanas: the Aitareya and Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇas. 555 p. H.O.S. 25. Cambridge, Mass. 1920.
– Edited: Aitareya Āraṇyaka. 5+391 p. Anecdota Oxon. Aryan Ser. 9. Oxford 1909.
–With A. A. Macdonell: Vedic Index of names and subjects. 1-2. 560+592 p. L. 1912.
– “The Authenticity of the Kautiliya”, JRAS 1916, 130-137; “The Authenticity of the Arthaçāstra”, Sir Asutosh Mem. Vol. 1, 1926-28, 8-22; “The Age of the Arthaśāstra”, B. C. Law Vol. 1945-46, 437-495.
– Indian Mythology. 9+404 p. 1917; The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads. 1-2. 683 p. H.O.S. 31-32. Cambridge, Mass. 1925.
– The Sāṁkhya System. 109 p. The Heritage of India. Calcutta & L. 1918; Indian Logic and Atomism. 291 p. Oxford 1921; The Karma-Mīmāṁsā. 118 p. The Herit. of India. L. 1921.
– Buddhist Philosophy in India and Ceylon. 319 p. Oxford 1923.
– Classical Sanskrit Literature. 153 p. The Heritage of India. Calcutta & L. 1923; A History of Sanskrit Literature. 575 p. 1928.
– The Sanskrit Drama in its Origin, Development, Theory and Practice. 405 p. Oxford 1924.
– Eleven books about legal history in 1909-1940, e.g. A Constitutional History of India, 1600–1935. 14+536 p. L. 1936.
Sources: R.N. D[andekar], ABORI 25, 1944, 157f.; Sengupta 1996, 255-261; *R.F. Shinn, Guide to A.B.K. Papers and Correspondence, 1896–1941. 1981; *R.F. Shinn, A. B. Keith 1879–1944. The Chief Ornament of Scottish Learning. 15+386 p. Aberdeen 1990; F.W. Thomas & K. C. Wheave, D.N.B. Suppl. 1941–1950, 443-445; *H.W. Tull, “F. Max Müller and A. B. Keith: ‘Twaddle’, the ‘Stupid’ Myth, and the Disease of Indology”, Numen 38, 1991, 27-58; Wikipedia.
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