SKREFSRUD, Lars (Laurentius Olsen). Fåberg in Oppland 4.2.1840 — Benagaria (now in Jharkand) 11.12.1910. Norwegian Missionary in India. Born in modest family, son of Ole Nielsen S. and Eli Døsen. In his troubled youth he was imprisoned for three years for theft, but in prison found the Bible and decided to become missionary. Studied for this in a Berlin mission school and left for India in 1863. Founder and leader of the Scandinavian Santal Mission. Learned well Santali, but also Hindi, Bengali and Sanskrit. In 1881-83 travelled in Denmark and Norway to get support for the mission (as a result he found —> Bodding for the mission). In the 1880s also worked in Assam. In 1882 ordained priest in Kristiania (Oslo). Hon. dr. Calcutta. Married 1865 Anna Onsum.
He wrote the first grammar of Santali, but did not fully understand its structure and closely followed Latin grammar as model.
Publications: A Grammar of the Santhal Language. 17+370 p. Benares 1873.
– A short grammar of the Mech or Boro language. Together with a small vocabulary. 4+77+61 p. 1889; “Mecherne i Assam og deres sprog”, Nordisk tidskrift for filologie N.R. 9, 1889, ??-??.
– The Traditions and Institutions of the Santhals. Horkoren mare hapram-ko-reak’ katha. Transl. with notes and additions by P. O. Bodding; from the Santali text published 1887 by L. O. Skrefsrud; after the translator’s death edited by Sten Konow. 8+197 p. Oslo 1942.
– Began the translation of the Bible in Santali and completed the four Gospels. The work was continued by Bodding; religious book in Santali; writings about mission.
Sources: V.L. Haanes, Norsk biogr. leksikon (online 2009); *O. Hodne, L.O.S. Missionary and Social Reformer among the Santals of Santal-Parganas. Oslo 1966; *I. Saeter, L.O.S. de Gründer der Santalmission. St. 1935; Wikipedia with photo (more in Norwegian version).
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