KONOW, Sten. Søndre Aurdal, Valdres 17.4.1867 — Oslo 29.6.1948. Norwegian Indo-Iranian Scholar. Professor in Oslo. Born in Central Norway as minister’s son, of a merchant family from Bergen, educated in Lillehammer, matriculated in 1884. Studies of classical and Germanic philology (under S. Bugge) at Christiania (Oslo), became interested in Indology and studied it under Weber, Pischel, et al. at Berlin and Halle in 1886-87 and 1891-93. Ph.D. 1893 Halle. In 1894-96 employed in Oriental Department of Royal Library in Berlin. From 1896 PD and from 1899 Docent of Indian Philology at Christiania. In 1900-03 Grierson’s Assistant in the L.S.I. in London. After three years in Oslo from 1906 Government Epigraphist in India under J. Marshall. He participated in excavations at Sarnath, etc., also travelled much in Burma. In 1908 returned to Oslo, where he was given a new personal (eo.) chair of Indian Philology in 1910. In 1914-19 the first Professor of Indology at Colonial Institute (future university) in Hamburg, because of war he was unable to return to India. In 1919 returned to his Oslo chair, from which he retired in 1937. In 1924-25 visiting Professor at Santiniketan. Married in 1903 (widow 1931), two stepdaughters (one married with Morgenstierne).
Konow was a many-sided scholar and prolific author. In addition to his scholarly work, popular books and translations he wrote c. 200 articles about India for Norwegian newspapers. During his early years he was much interested in Pāli and Prakrits, with the L.S.I. also in modern languages of India (including the non-IE). Among his favourite subjects were Kharoṣṭhī epigraphy and chronological problems like the date of Kaniṣka. He became early involved in the study of the Central Asian fragments (first Saka publication in 1921). He was among founders of the Acta Orientalia and its editor until his death.
Publications: “Asoka-indskriftenes Girnar-dialekt”, Akad. Afh. til Sophus Bugge 1889, 45-57.
– diss. Über das SVB. 31 p., part of: Das Samavidhāna Brāhmaṇa. Ein altindisches Handbuch der Zauberei. Eingeleitet und übersetzt. 7+82 p. Halle 1893.
– Rāja-Šekhara: Karpūra-Mañjarī. A drama. Critically edited in the original Prākrit, with glossarial index, and an essay on the life and writings of the poet by S. Konow. Transl. into English with notes by C. R. Lanman. 315 p. H.O.S. 4. Cambridge, Mass. 1901.
– edited in the L.S.I. the volumes dealing with Tibeto-Burman, Munda, Dravidian, Marathi, Bhil and Gipsy languages. 1901ff.
– Bashgali dictionary: an analysis of Colonel J. Davidson’s notes on the Bashgali language. 307 p. JASB N.S. 9, Extra-No. Calcutta 1913.
– Indien unter der englischer Herrschaft. 7+142 p. Tübingen 1915; Indien. 130 p. Natur und Geisteswelt. Lp. & B. 1917; Spanish tr. India. Barcelona & Buenos Aires 1926.
– ed. texts in Hoernle (ed.): Manuscript Remains of Buddhist Literature found in Eastern Turkestan. Oxford 1916, pp. 214-356 (Khotanese Vajracchedikâ, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Khotanese Aparimitâyuh Sûtra).
– “Indoskythische Beiträge”, SBeAW 1916, 787-827; “Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Buddhabildes”, SBeAW 1928, 565-571; “Two medieval Documents from Tun-Huang”, Ibid. 3:3, 1929, 121-160; “Zwölf Blätter einer Handschrift des Suvarṇaprabhāsasūtra in Khotan-Sakisch”, SBeAW 1935, 428-486; “Ein neuer Saka-Dialekt”, SBeAW 1935, 772-823.
– Über die Bedeutung Indiens für England. 79 p. Hamb. Forsch. 6. Hamburg 1919.
– Das indische Drama. 138 p. Grundr. d. indoar. Philol. u. Alt.kunde II:2D. B. 1920.
– Indien i det nittende Aarhundrede. 131 p. København 1920; Swedish tr. by A. Nihlen: Indiens kultur under det nittonde arhundradet. 156 p. Stockholm 1923.
– “The Aryan Gods of the Mitani People”, Oslo etnografiska museums skrifter 3:1, 1921, 1-31.
– “Indiens religioner”, Illustreret religionshistorie. København 1924, 217-314; “Die Inder”, Chantepie de la Saussaye: Lehrbuch der Religionsgeschichte 2. Tübingen 1925, 1-198; “De indiske religioner”, De tusen hjems bibliotek 10, 1938, 119-172
– Hinduismen. 1-2. 272 p. Natur och kultur 81-82. Stockholm 1927; Buddhismen. 1932; with P. Tuxen: “Indiens Religioner”, Illustreret Religionshistorie. København 1948, 497-646; English: The Religions of India. Copenhagen 1949.
– Kharoṣṭhī Inscriptions. 127+192 p. Corpus Inscr. Indicarum 2:1. Calcutta 1929.
– Saka Studies. 7+198 p. Oslo etnogr. Mus. Bull. 5. Oslo 1932; Khotansakische Grammatik. 6+130 p. Porta Ling. Or. 22. Lp. 1941.
– edited: Central Asian fragments of the Ashtādasasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā and of an unidentified text. 37 p. M.A.S.I. 61. Calcutta 1939; A medical text in Khotanese. 104 p. Videnskapsakademiets avhandlinger 2:4. Oslo 1940; The two first chapters of the Daśasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā. Restoration of the Sanskrit text, analysis and index. 128 p. Ibid. 2:1. Oslo 1941.
– Kauṭalīya Studies. 71 p. Avhandlingar i Norske Videnskabs-Akademi 2. Oslo 1945.
– “The Authorship of the Śivasūtras”, AO 19, 1943, 291-328.
– transl. En bunt indisje eventyr. 156 p. Oslo 1946 (selection from the Vasudevahiṇḍī)
– Primer of Khotanese Saka. Grammatical Sketch, Chrestomathy, Vocabulary, Bibliography. 136 p. Oslo 1949 (from NTS 15).
– a great number of articles and reviews in ZDMG, DLZ, JRAS, AO, EI, IA, IC, etc.
Sources: *K. Kristiansen, Lex. gramm. 1996, 524f.; Morgenstierne, AO 21, 1953, 2-9 & Vogel, AO 20, 1948, 164ab; F. W. Thomas, JRAS 1950, 99-102; *EI 28, 1949-50 (1958); briefly in D.B.E. 6, 1997, 25; Bibliography by Sommerfelt, Norsk Biografisk Bibliotek 3:5, 1941, 97-103; Norwegian Wikipedia with photo.