SIMONSSON, Nils. Offerdal, Jämtland 12.11.1920 — Uppsala 22.5.1994. Swedish Indologist. Professor in Oslo and Uppsala. Son of a farmer, Simon S., and Helena Olofsson. Educated in Offerdal and Östersund. From 1941 studies at Uppsala under H. Smith, passed fil.kand. 1945 and fil.lic 1951. In 1949 further studies in Paris under Renou and Lalou, in 1952-53 taught Sanskrit at Copenhagen, then further studies at Oslo under Morgenstierne. Ph.D. 1957 Uppsala. In 1957-63 Docent i Saskrit med jämförande indoeur. språkforskning at Uppsala. In 1963-75 Morgenstierne’s successor as Professor of Indian languages and literature at Oslo, in 1976-85 Wikander’s successor as Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative IE Linguistics at Uppsala. Married 1944 Ingeborg Morgenstern, one son. Last years seriously ill.
Simonsson was very much appreciated as teacher by his students because of his deep learning and his diss. is in any case a classic of scholarship, but after that he published very little. His main field was always the transmission of ideas through translation. He was highly interested in in the style and technics of Sanskrit commentarial literature. In his later years he also worked on concepts of logical methods and grammatical tradition in India. Also knew Tamil. An additional interest was the local Swedish dialect of his native Jämtland. Among his students were Gren-Eklund, Kahrs and Kværne.
Publications: Indo-Tibetische Studien. Die Methoden der tibetischen Übersetzer, untersucht im Hinblick auf die Bedeutung ihrer Übersetzungen für die Sanskritphilologie. 1. 291 p. Uppsala 1957.
– Indisk filosofi. Sânkhya. Inledning och översättning. 180 p. Stockholm 1955 (Swedish translation of the Sāṁkhyakārikā with Māṭharavṛtti).
– Articles on Sanskrit, Tibetan, their relation, Indian philosophy, etc., reviews, translations, encyclopaedia articles, etc.
– “Audumbarāyaṇa’s Theory of Sound”, Or.Suec. 10, 1961, 22-30; “Some philological problems in Indian musicological literature”, AO 37, 1976, 127-163 (on Nijenhuis, Dattilam).
Sources: G. Gren-Eklund, AO 56, 1995, 25-27 with photo), also in Uppsala Nya Tidning 31.5.1994 (with another photo); E. Kahrs (ed.): Kalyanamitraraganam. Essays in honour of Nils Simonsson. 325 p. Oslo 1986, with bibliography; Uppsala Univ. Matrikel 1951–60; Vem är det? 1995; Swedish Wikipedia.