ZIEGENBALG, Bartholomäus. Pulsnitz, Saxony 14.6.1683 (1682?) — Tranquebar, India 23.2.1719. German Missionary and Precursor of Indology (Tamil Scholar). In South India 1706-19. Son of a modest grain merchnt. After gymnasium in Görlitz and Berlin, studied one year under A. H. Francke at Halle, then worked as tutor in Merseburg and Erfurt. Elected missionary he was ordained in Copenhagen. Together with H. Plütschau he arrived at Trankebar in July 1706 in order to start the Pietist mission there. They learned the language and started preaching (with not too great success) and founded a printing press. In 1714-16Ziegenbalg was in Europe, married 1716 Maria Dorothea Salzmann. He had often health problem and finally succumbed to them.
Ziegenbalg knew well Tamil, both spoken and literary, and had an exceptional interest (for an early missionary) in local religion and literature. The manuscripts he sent to Halle (Beschreibung in 1711 and Genealogie in 1713) were in fact not appreciated at all and remained unpublished, while Francke even blamed him for not devoting all his time to promoting Christian religion instead of “den heidnischen Unsinn in Europa zu verbreiten”.
Publications: With H. Plütschau: Merkwürdige Nachricht aus Ost-Indien. 30 p. Lp. & Frankfurt a. M. 1708 (letters).
– Allgemeine Schule der wahren Weisheit… Frankfurt & Leipzig 1710 (written during his travel to India); translated the N.T. and considerable part of the O.T. into Tamil, publ. Trankebar 1713.
– Grammatica Damulica. 11+128 p. Halae Sax. 1716 (full title Grammatica Damulica quae per varia paradigmata regulas et necessarium vocabulorum apparatum Damulica seu Malabarica quae inter Indos Orientales in usu est, et hucusque in Europa incognita fuit, facile disci possit: in Usum eorum qui hoc tempore gentes illas ab idolatria ad cultum veri Dei, salutemque aeternam Evangelio Christi perducere cupiunt; in itinere Europaeo, seu in nave Danica concinnata).
– Bibliotheca Malabarica. Small manuscript written in 1708, see A. Lehmann in WZHalle 8:4/5, 1959, 903-906 and A. Gaurin JRAS 1967.
– Ausführliche Beschreibung des Malabarischen Heydenthums. Edited by W. Caland. 292 p. V.K.N.A.W. Amsterdam 1926.
– Genealogie der Malabarischen Götter. Edited by W. Germann. 12+290 p. Madras 1867, English transl. Genealogy of South Indian Gods. Madras 1869.
– Translated from Tamil: Malabarische Moralia. Edited by W. Caland in Kleinere schriften von B.Z. 87 p. VKNAW Lk. 29:2. Amsterdam 1930 (one of them had been published as “Ulaga Nidi oder Weltliche Gerechtigkeit” in Dänische Bibliotec 1, 1738, 393-418).
– Arno Lehmann (ed): Alte Briefe aus Indien. Unveröffentlichte Briefe von Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg (1706–1719). 552 p. Berlin 1957 (some letters by his wife in WZHalle 8:3, 1959, 487-500).
Sources: *E. Bayreuther, B. Z. – ein Lebensbild. 3rd ed. 1951; *A. Gaur, “Barth. Z.’s Verzeichniss der Malabarischen Bücher”, JRAS 1967, 63-95; Herring 1994, 56-58 (claiming born 1682); *A. Lehmann, Es begann in Tranquebar. B. 1955, ch. 1-5; *A. Lehmann, “The German Contribution in the Field of Dravidology”, Dr. R.P. Sethu Pillai Silver Jubilee Comm. Vol. 1961, 141-145 and several other articles by him; Mohanavelu 1993, 193f. and often (claiming he was born 10.7.1682); Pauly, Køb. Univ. 8, 1992, 514f.; Stache-Rosen 1990, 3f. (born 1682); Sweetman 2003 (ch. 6, 104-116, on BZ); *Zvelebil, Tamil Lit. HIL; briefly D.B.E. 10, 1999, 651; Wikipedia with bust and statue, further references in German version. Portrait in Rau 1 and Indology in G.D.R. 1978.
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