ROGER, Abraham

ROGER, Abraham (A. Rogerius). Haarlem (?) 1609 — Gouda 1649. Dutch Reformed Priest in India and Indonesia. Studies at Leiden, in 1631 left for the east. Worked in 1631-47 as minister of Dutch congregations in India and Indonesia (1632-42 in Pulicat [Pāliakatta] factory on Tamil coast, then in Batavia). In September 1647 returned to the Netherlands. Married with Emmerentia Pools

His great book on Indian religion was published posthumously by his widow. The work is divided in two sections: Life and manners, and Beliefs and divine service (religion). It also contains a Dutch translations of two of Bratṛhari’s Śatakas, which he translated from the Portuguese version made for him by the Smārta Brahman Padmanābha. Roger had learned some Tamil, but usually used Portuguese with his informants. Much of the book’s content was then included by Dapper (1772) and Ogilby (1673) in their resp. books. As late as 1879 Burnell praised Roger’s description of South Indian Hinduism as “still perhaps the most complete account of South Indian Hinduism, though by far the earliest” (quoted from Sw.) and it is still important as giving an authentic picture of the situation in the 17th century.

Publications: Open Deure tot het verborgen Heydendom ofte Waerachtigh vertoogh van het leven ende zeden, mitsgaders de Religie ende Gotsdienst der Bramines op de Cust Chormandel ende der landen daar ontrent. Ld. 1651, soon in German (1663) and French (1670) translations, the original crit. edited by W. Caland. 44+223 p. Linschoten-Vereening 10. ’s-Gravenhage 1915.

Sources: Sweetman 2003 (ch. 5, 89-103, on AR); *Th. Zachariae, Long review of Caland’s 1915 edition, GGA 1916, 561-615 (Op. minora 660714); Wikipedia with further references (see also the Dutch version).

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