ŠČERBATSKOJ, Fëdor Ippolitovič (Theodor Scherbatskoy)

ŠČERBATSKOJ, Fëdor Ippolitovič (Theodor Scherbatskoy). Keltse, Poland 19.9.(1.10.)1866 — Borovoe, Kazakhstan 18.3.1942. Russian Indologist, specialist of Buddhist Philosophy. The name is somewhat problematic, but according to Russian colleagues (Vasil’kov) -koj (instead of -kij) seems well attested. Born in Poland where his father was a civil servant of the Russian Government, he grew up at family estate near St.Petersburg and attended the gymnasium in Carskoje Selo. From 1884 studies of Indology (Minaev, Ol’denburg), Germanic and Slavic (Jagić) at St.Petersburg. In 1888-89 further studies at Vienna under Bühler. Graduated Magistr 1889 from St.Petersburg. In 1893 managed the family estate and worked for local government continuing privately his studies. In 1899 attended the Orientalist Congress in Rome, then studied at Bonn under Jacoby. His early interests were linguistics, literature and aesthetics, now a visit to Mongolia (1905) made him interested in Buddhism and to start the study of Tibetan. In 1901-30 he taught at St.Petersburg/Leningrad University, first as Docent,after some years as full Professor. From 1910 Corresponding and from 1918 full Member of Russian Academy of Science. In 1910-11 travelled in India, mainly in Poona. With revolution he lost his property, but could continue at university. In the 1920s he was still allowed to travel (Bonn, Paris, London) and spent his summers studying in Buryat monasteries. In 1828 he still could open a Buddhist Institute in Leningrad. He lost his position in the 1930s and died in isolationin Kazakhstan, where he was evacuated because of the war, although still formally Head of Indo-Tibetan Cabinet of Leningrad Oriental Institute.

Ščerbatskoj was the founder and head of the Leningrad school of Buddhist studies. He was familiar with Western philosophy and used the concepts of Kant, Hegel, Mill, Bradley, etc. in his translations of Indian philosophical texts. His interests comprised all Mahāyāna schools, especially logic. Among his students were Obermiller, O. Rozenberg, Tubjanskij and Vostrikov, but in the 1930s the whole school was brutally suppressed and he himself overlived most of them.

Publications: Diss. 1889 on the two IE guttural series.

Über das Haihayendracarita des Harikavi. 11+112 p. Mém. imp. Acad. 8:4:9. St.P. 1900; “Teorija poezie v India”, ŽMNP 1902:6.

– Diss. Teorija poznanija i logika po učeniju pozdnejših buddistov. 1-2. St.P. 1903-09 (part 1. Russian transl. of Dharmakīrti’s Nyāyabindu is the diss., 2. Dharmottara’s Ṭīkā is separately given below).

Edited in Tib. Nyāyabindu. Buddijskij učebnik logiki. Sočinenie Darmakirti i tol’kovanie na nego – Nyāyabinduṭīkā – sočinenie Darmottary. 222 p. Bibl.B. 8. St.P. 1904; Tibetskij perevod sočinenij Saṁtānāntarasiddhi Dharmakīrti i ṭīkā Vinītadeva. 17+129 p. Bibl. Buddh. 19. St.P. 1916.

Edited in Sanskrit: Nyāyabinduṭīkāṭippaṇī. 4+43 p. Bibl.Buddh. 11. St.P. 1909; Nyāyabindu. Buddijskij učebnik logiki sočinenie Dharmakirti i tol’kovanie na nego Nyāyabinduṭīkā. Soč. Dharmottary. 1. 95 p. Bibl. Buddh. 7. Petrograd 1918.

On epistemology, in Russian. 1909, German tr. by O. Strauss, Erkenntnistheorie und Logik nach der Lehre der späterem Buddhisten. Munich 1924; French, La théorie de la connaissance et la logique chez les bouddhistes tardifs. P. 1926; rev. English ed. the same: Buddhist Logic. 1-2. 558+468 p. Bibl. Buddh. 21-26. Leningrad 1930-32 (annotated English tr. of the Nyāyabindu, with a study).

Edited with S. Lévi (1) and U. Wogihara (2): Sphuṭārtha-Abhidharmakośavyākhyā, the work of Yaśomitra. 1-2. 7+96+?? p. Bibl. Buddh. 21. Petrograd 1918-31.

Filosofskoe učenie buddizma. 48 p. Petrograd 1919; “The Soul Theory of the Buddhists”, Izv. Akad. Nauk 6:13:15, 1919, 823-854 & 18, 937-958.

Transl. from Tibetan: Dharmakirti. Obosnovanie čužoj odušeblennosti. 15+79 p. Pamjatniki indijskoj filosofii 1. Petrograd 1922.

The central conception of Buddhism and the meaning of the word “dharma”. 16+112 p. Prize Publ. Fund 7. L. 1923.

Transl. from Sanskrit: “Dandin. Priključenija desjati princev”, Vostok 3, 1923, 50-82; 4, 1924, 65-96; 5, 1924, 16-46, republ. as a book 1964.

– “Über die Nyāyakaṇikā des Vācaspatimiśra und die indische Lehre vom kategorischen Imperativ”, Festgabe Jacobi 1926, 369-380; “Die drei Richtungen in der Philosophie des Buddhismus”, RO 10, 1934, 1-37.

The conception of Buddhist nirvāṇa. With Sanskrit text of the Mādhyamaka-Kārikā. 100+222 p. (6+246 p.?) Leningrad 1927, Jap. tr. Tokyo 1957.

Edited & transl. with Obermiller: Abhisamayālamkāraprajñāpāramitā-upadeśa-śāstra. The Work of Bodhisattva Maitreya. 1. 12+122 p. Bibl. Buddh. 23. Leningrad 1929.

Translated: Madhyānta-vibhaṅga: discourse on discrimination between middle and extremes, ascribed to Bodhisattva Maitreya and commented by Vasubandhu and Sthiramati. 223 p. Bibl. Buddh. 30. M.–Leningrad 1936.

Papers of Theodor Stcherbatsky. Transl. by H. C. Gupta, ed. by D. Chattopadhyaya. Soviet Indology Series 2. Calcutta 1969; Further Papers of Th. Stch. By the same. S.I.S. 6. Calcutta 1971.

Sources: *Indijskaja kul’tura i buddizm. M. 1972, 5–41; IHQ 20, 1944, 102f.; JRAS 1943, 118f.; *NAA 1966:6, 147-150; *N.P. Anikeev, Vestnik istorii mirovoj kul’tury 1957:2, 241-245; P.V. Bapat, ABORI 24, 1943, 284f.; Bongard-Levin & Vigasin 1984, 126-143 with photo; *V.I. Kal’janov, Izvestina AN SSSR 5, 1946:3, 245-252; *I.M. Kutasova, Sov. vostokoved. 1958:3, 136-143; *N.Ju. Lubockaja, NAA 1967:3, 195f.; Miliband, Biobibl. slovar’. 1977; D.S. Ruegg, JIPh 1, 1971, 213-216; Sengupta 1996, 233-244; *Vigasin 2008, 237-443 with photos and letters to Ol’denburg; *Vigasin et al., Istorija otečestvennogo vostokovedenija s serediny XIX veka do 1917 goda. Moscow 1997, 416-424; *A.N. Zelinskij, Strany i narody Vostoka 5, 1967, 236-257; Wikipedia with photo; photo also in Papers 1969; three photos in Vigasin 2008, 251, 300 and 322.

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