RHENIUS, Karl Theophilus Ewald (Charles Theophilus/Gottlieb E. Rh.). Graudenz, West Prussia 5.11.1790 — Tirunelvēli/Palayamkottai 5.6.1838. German Missionary and Tamil Scholar in South India. Son of Otto Rh., a Prussian army officer, and Catharina Schiemann. Educated in Marienwerder (now Kwidzyn in Poland). Working in an office he became interested in religion and entered Missionary Seminary in Berlin in 1810. Ordained Lutheran priest in 1812 and after 18 months of further study in England embarked in 1814 for Madras. He worked first in Madras, from 1820 in Palamcotta and later in Tinnevelly (Tirunelvēli). Because of his polemic writings he had to quit his missionary society and found his own mission in Arcot, but soon he was invited back to Tinnevelly, where he worked until his death. Married 1816 Anna van Someren, nine daughters and six sons.
Publications: An Essay on the Principles of Translating the Holy Scriptures, with critical Remarks on various Passages, particularly in reference to the Tamul Language. 58 p. Nagercoil 1827.
– A Grammar of the Tamil Language. 7+294 p. Madras 1836, 2nd ed. 10+206 p. 12°. Madras 1845 (abridged ed.?) or 298 p. Md. 1846, 3rd ed. M. 1853, 4th ed. M. 1888.
– A world geography in Tamil (1832).
– Translated parts of the Bible in Tamil; compiled a Tamil–English Dictionary.
– J. Rhenius (ed.): Memoir of the Reverent C. T. E. Rhenius: comprising extracts from his journal and correspondence, with details of missionary proceedings in South India. 12+627 p. L. 1841.
Sources: Brückner et al., Indienforschung im Zeitenwandel. 2003, 43, nt. 71; Buckland, Dictionary, Addenda 469; Mohanavelu 1993, 196; family details in wikitree.com.
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