STEVENSON, John

STEVENSON, John. Alton Campsie, Stirlingshire 3.11.1798 — Ladykirk11.8.1858. Rev. British (Scottish) Missionary and Indologist in India. Son of William St., educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities. M.A. 1816 Glasgow. Ordained 1823 and sent by Scottish Missionary Society to their new Bombay Mission. “Missionary at Hurnee and Poona until appointed, 1834, a Chaplain of the E.I.C. in Bombay; Senior Chaplain, 1841, and Minister of St.Andrews. Resigned 1854” and returned to U.K. Parish Minister of Ladykirk in Berwickshire in 1855-58. Hon. D.D. St.Andrews. Married Laura Turton Gordon, at least one son.

JSt was “a zealous missionary and distinguished Sanskrit scholar, one of the pioneer editors and translators of Vedic literature; a founder of the Bombay Gazette and joint-editor for its first 3 years; intimately acquainted with native thought and native dialects. Was President of R.A.S., Bombay, and of the Government Committee for examination of officers in native languages.” However, as a missionary he believed that showing openly the very roots of Indian religion would lead young Indians to adopt Christian faith. laguages! From a comparison of deśya words in Indo-Aryan and the southern (Dravidian) languages he wanted to construe a common original language of India. In Europe his first books only became known years after their first publications.

Publications: Edited and transl.: Trividyā triguṇātmika / The Threefold Knowledge. Sanhita of the Rik-Veda. 1. Bombay 1833 (1, 1-39 in original and transl. into English and Marathi).

Principles of Murathee Grammar. 8+144 p.Calcutta 1833, 2nd ed. as Principles of Mahratti Grammar. 174 p. Bombay 1843.

Edited: Sanhita of the Sama Veda. 186 p. L. 1843.

Translated: The Sanhita of the Sama Veda. 283 p. L. 1842.

– “On the Ante-Brahmanical Worship of the Hindús in the Dekhan”, JRAS 5, 1839, 189-195, 264-267; 6, 1841, 239-241; 8, 1846, 330-339; “On the Intermixture of Buddhism with Brahmanism in the religion of the Hindus of the Dekkan”, JRAS 7, 1843, 1-8; “An account of the Bauddho-Vaishnavas, or Vitthal-Bhaktas of the Dakhan”, JRAS 7, 1843, 64-73; “On the modern Deities worshipped by the Hindus in the Dekkan”, JRAS 7, 1843, 105-112; “Analysis of the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, with special reference to the History of Buddhism”, JRAS 8, 1846, 319-329.

Kalpa Sutra and Nava Tatva, illustrative of the Jain Religion. 144 p. L. 1848.

– “An Essay on the Vernacular Literature of the Marathas”, JBRAS 1:1, 1841, 1-10; “The Dowry received by Kashivan. – A Extract derived from the Rig-Veda, illustrative of the state of Hindu Society, twelve centuries before the Christian Era”, JBRAS 1:2, 1841, 52-56.; “An Essay on the language of the Aboriginal Hindus”, JBRAS 1:3, 1842, 103-126; “Inscription copied from an ancient Tablet, found at Nágpúr, (Nagpore) with the same in modern characters, accompanied by a Translation, and with some remarks”, JBRAS 1:4, 1842, 149-154; “A Collection of Words from the language of the Todas, the chief tribe of the Nilgiri Hills”, JBRAS 1:4, 1842, 155-167; “Observations on the Grammatical Structure of the Vernacular Languages of India”, JBRAS 3:1 (12), 1847-48 (1849), 71-76 & 3:2 (13), 1848-50 (1851), 1-7, 196-202 & 4:1 (15), 1852, 15-20; “A Comparative Vocabulary of the Non-Sancrit Vocables of the Vernacular Languages of India”, JBRAS 4:1 (15), 1852, 117-131 & 4:3 (17), 1853, 319-339; “Historical Names and Facts contained in the Kanheri (Kenery) Inscriptions; with Translations appended”, JBRAS 5:13, 1853, 1-34; further brief articles in JBRAS.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; C. Galewicz, “The Missionaries in the Race for Putting the Veda to Print: Rev. John Stevenson and His Threefold Science of 1833”, Cracow Indological Studies 21:1, 2019, 137-164; Stache-Weiske 2017, 563; Trautmann 1957, 155-158; family in findagrave.com.

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