PONS, Jean François

PONS, Jean François. Rodez 6.12.1698 — Chandernagor 1752/53. S.J. French Missionary in India. Novice 1713, in 1726 arrived at Tanjore, from 1731 Superior of Bengal Mission in Chandernagor. In 1734 he visited the observatories of Delhi and Jaipur together with P. Boudier (1686–1757). Later also travelled in south, in Pouchpagiri (1738), Karikal (1740) and Ballapouram (1742). He learned Sanskrit and wrote a manuscript grammar and dictionary, which he sent to Paris where they were then studied by a few interested (Chézy!). He also collected manuscripts and sent them to Paris.

Publications: Manuscript grammar (after Vopadeva) and dictionary (from Amarakośa) of Sanskrit in Latin, 1738; À l’origine des études sanskrites: La Grammatica Sanscritica de Jean-François Pons S.J. Étude, édition et traduction par Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat.226 p. MAIBL 56, 2020.

– For the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses 24, 1743, 218-256, he wrote the first well-informed account of Sanskrit literature ever written by an European.

Sources: L. Besse, “Miss. de Carnatic”, RHIF 2, 1918, 227f.; J. Filliozat, “Une grammaire sanscrite du XVIIIsiècle et les débuts de l’indianisme en France”, JA 229, 1937, 275-284; M. Fourcade & I. G. Zupanov, D.O.L.F. 772f.; Staal 1985, 30-32; Sweetman 2003, 141-145; French Wikipédia briefly.

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