SMITH, Ronald Morton

SMITH, Ronald Morton. Galashiels, Selkirkshire 25.8.1915 — Toronto 18.11.1996. British (Scottish) Indologist in Canada. The only child of John Smith and Margaret Leitch. Educated at Bromsgrove School near Birmingham. Studies at St.Andrews (M.A. 1939 in classics), Oxford (Pembroke College, where he after the war service passedB.A. & M.A. 1947 in Sanskrit and Avestan) and Cambridge (M.A. 1948). In 1948-55 Lecturer in Sanskrit at Cambridge. From 1955 taught Sanskrit and Indology at East Asian Studies Department, University of Toronto: 1955-59 Lecturer, 1959-67 Assistant Professor, 1967-74 Associate Professor, and 1974-82 Professor, in 1976-78 also chairman of Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. Retired in 1982. Married 1956 Helen Bryan (1932–2018), from Wisconsin, children.

Morton Smith was a many-sided and individual scholar, occasionally somewhat prone to unwarranted speculation. He was a famous figure at Toronto campus with his Lowland Scots kilt, tweed jacket and West Highland terriers, and commonly known as “Sanskrit Smith”

Publications: “The story of Ambā in the Mahābhārata”, ALB 19, 1955, 85-171; “The story of Nala in the Mahābhārata”, JOIB 9:4, 1960, 352-386; “The Story of Śakuntalā in the Mahābhārata”, JBRS 46, 1960, 1-14

– “Power in Ancient India: 1. Chronology and Economics”, ABORI 38, 1957, 190-216 & 39, 1958, 1-33; “On the ancient chronology of India”, JAOS 77, 1957, 116-129, 266-280 & 78, 1958, 174-192.

On Sanskrit metres, IIJ 5, 1961-62, 19-35 & IT 8-9, 1980-81, 449-465.

– “On the original meaning of Taittirīya Upaniṣad 1, 11, 1-4”, Semi-centennial Vol. of Am. Or. Soc. Middle-Western Branch. Bloomington 1969, 211-216; “Thinking-class theism: the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad”, JOIB 24, 1975, 317-337; further articles on the Upaniṣads in ABORI 33, 1952, 97-113 & 34, 1953, 51-69 and VIJ 3, 1965, 181-191 & 14, 1976, 17-40.

Dates and Dynasties in Earliest India. Translation and justification of a critical text of the Purāṇa Dynasties. 10+517 p. Delhi 1973.

– “On the White Yajurveda Vamša”, E & W 16, 1966, 112-125; “The early heresies in the development of Indian Religion”, IT 2, 1974, 149-198.

– “Greek Kings in India: A Synopsis”, ABORI 58–59, 1978–1979, 327–336; “Gandhara: How Greek?”, Prācī-prabhā. Perspectives in Indology. Essays in honour of Professor B.  N. Mukherjee. 1989, 133–136.

Kings and Coins in India: Greek and Śaka self-advertisement. 149 p. N.D. 1997.

– Wrote two volumes of poetry for children.

Sources: T. Barnes, Newsl. Int. Assoc. Skr. St. 6, 1999, 65f. (from Toronto Globe and Mail); E. Robbins & St. Sandahl (ed.), Corolla Torontonensis. Studies in Honour. Studies in Honour of R.M.S. 19+275 p. Toronto 1994, with brief life, bibliography and photo; brief note in IIJ 5, 1961-62, 84; Dir. Am. Sch. 3rd ed. 1957, 5th ed. 1, 1961, 8th ed. 1, 1982; parents in ancestry.com.

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