WEST, Edward William

WEST, Edward William. London 2.5.1824 — Watford 4.5.1905. British Indologist and Iranian Scholar in India. Born in a family of architects and engineers, both parents had been in India (father in Bombay, mother in Calcutta). In 1839-42 studied engineering at King’s College in London, learnt Urdu from D. Forbes. In 1844 came to Bombay as Director of a cotton factory, started soon studying languages, archaeology and religions. In 1850 left the factory, visited England and returned in 1852 as railway engineer. In 1866 came to Europe together with Haug and in 1867-73 lived in Munich as his disciple and collaborator. After a period in England in 1873-74 and in India in 1874-76, he returned in Munich, but after Haug’s death moved permanently to England. Hon. Ph.D. Munich. Married, one son.

EWW is mainly known as a pioneer of Pahlavi studies, but he started as a lay Indologist. After a visit to Elephanta in 1846 he was mainly interested in Hindu archaeology, studied the caves of Kanheri and befriended with John Wilson. In the 1850s he studied caves and inscriptions and prepared a Pāli glossary from the Mahāvaṁsa (as inscriptional Prākrit was then seen as a form of Pāli). But he had early been interested in Parsis, and now Iranian studies started to take precedence. In 1866 he met Haug in Poona and started the serious study of Avesta and Pahlavi and dedicated the rest of his life to these studies. During his second stay in India in the 1870s he collected Parsi MSS. finding i.al. the Denkart and Dādistan-i-Dīnik. His friendly and helpful nature made him very popular among colleagues.

Publications: with A. A. West edited the inscriptions of Kanheri (JBRAS 6, 1861, 1-14) and Nasik (JBRAS 7, 1862, 37-52).

a Pāli glossary from the Mahāvaṁsa, JBRAS 18??.

Book of the Mainyō-i Khard. Pāzand, Sanskrit, and English, with a Glossary. St. & L. 1871

edited with M. Haug: The Book of Arda Viraf. 92+136 p. L. 1872, and sep. Glossary and Index to the same. L. 1872.

transl. Pahlavi texts. S.B.E. 5, 18, 24, 37, 47. 1880-97.

ed. with Hoshangji: Shikand-gūmānīk Vijār. Bombay 1887.

– “Pahlavi literature”, W. Geiger & E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie 2. 1897; a great number of articles, including editions and translations of shorter Pahlavi texts, and reviews in JRAS 1889-1900, Academy 1874-1900, IA 1880-82, Le Muséon 1882-87, SBaAW 1888, EI 4, JAOS, etc.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary.; A.V.W. Jackson, D.N.B. 2nd Suppl. 3, 1912, 633f.


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