BLOOMFIELD, Maurice

BLOOMFIELD, Maurice (born Blumenfeld). Bielitz, Austrian Silesia (now in Poland) 23.2.1855 — San Francisco CA 13.6.1928. U.S. (German Jewish Origin) Indologist. Professor in Baltimore. Born in the then Austrian Silesia as son of Solomon Bl. and Beatha Jaeger he moved in the age of four to the U.S.A. with his family, and lived in Milwaukee and Chicago. He started his studies 1871-74 at University of Chicago, then 1876-77 at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina (M.A. 1877). Further studies 1877-78 at Yale under Whitney, then at Johns Hopkins under Lanman (Ph.D. 1879). In 1879 went to Germany, where he soon became influenced by the Junggrammarians. One year in Berlin studying Indology (Weber, Oldenberg, Zimmer), IE (J. Schmidt) and Celtic philology (Zimmer); another year in Leipzig under Windisch, G. Curtius, Brugmann, and Leskien. Entered in good relations with many colleagues.

In 1881 MB was invited to become Lanman’s successor as the Professor of Sans­krit and Comparative Philology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (starting as Associate Professor). Married in 1885 with Rosa Zeisler (d. 1920), one son (a physician) and one daughter, again in 1921, with Helen Townsend Scott, no children. Visited Europe several times: 1884 in Tübingen working with Roth, 1899 with Garbe, 1902 at Hamburg OC, 1905 at Algier OC, and 1908 at Copenhagen OC, 1911 in Scotland. Hon. LL.D. 1906 Princeton, 1908 Furman, Hon. L.H.D. 1916 Chicago, Dr. h.c. 1922 Padua. He retired in 1926 because of an illness (and was succeeded by Edgerton), spent his last years in California. His nephew was —> L. Bl.

MB was a many-sided Vedic scholar, whose major work was the Concordance, an indispensable help for scholars for many years. Originally he was interested in the Atharvaveda, but also in comparative IE, made research on adaptation and on formation of nouns and their suffixes. Also taught Avestan and Lithuanian. Several unfinished plans: an encyclopaedia of literary motifs and an annotated translation of the Rigveda. For MB the Rigveda was a pure ritual text, a viewpoint, which helped him to correct some misunderstandings in its interpretation. He was a popular teacher, whose many students include: L. C. Barrett, H. H. Bender, F. R. Blake (Philippine scholar), G. M. Bolling, G. W. Brown, W. N. Brown, E. W. Burlingame, F. Edgerton, E. W. Fay, H. M. Johnson, H. W. Magoun, R. N. Albright, S. G. Oliphant, R. S. Radford, and K. F. Smith.

Publications: diss. Noun-formation in the Rig-Veda. Ms. 1879.

– “Seven Hymns of the Atharva-Veda”, AJPh 7, 1886, 446-488.

edited & tr.: “Das Gṛhyasaṁgraha-pariśiṣṭa des Gobhilaputra”, ZDMG 35, 1881, 533-587; “The Kauśika-Sūtra of the Atharva-Veda”, JAOS 14, 1890, 68+422 p.

– “Contributions to the Interpretation of the Veda” 1-7. AJPh 7, 1886, 466-488; AJPh 11, 1890, 319-356; JAOS 15, 1893, 143-188; AJPh 12, 1891, 414-443; JAOS 16, 1896, 1-42; ZDMG 48, 1894, 565-578; AJPh 17, 1896, 399-437.

transl. Hymns of the Atharva-Veda. 790 p. S.B.E. 42. Oxford 1897.

The Atharva-Veda and Gopatha-Brāhmaṇa. 136 p. Grundriss II:1B. Strassburg 1897; Hindi transl. by Surya Kanta. Kashi Sanskrit Ser. 166. Varanasi 1964.

edited with R. Garbe: The Kashmirian Atharva-Veda. 1901 (facsimile).

Vedic Concordance. An alphabetic index to every line of every stanza of the published Vedic literature. 1100 p. H.O.S. 10. Cambridge Mass. 1906; Rig-Veda Repetitions. 1-2. 690 p. H.O.S. 20 & 24. Cambridge Mass. 1916.

The Religion of the Veda. 300 p. N.Y. 1908.

The life and stories of the Jaina Saviour Pārçvanātha. 254 p. Baltimore 1919.

with F. Edgerton: Vedic Variants. 1-3. 340+570+513 p. Philadelphia 1930-34.

a great number of articles and reviews, especially in JAOS, PAOS, AJPh, TAPA, PAPA, PAPS.

Sources: Life-sketch and bibliography in Bloomfield Volume 1920, xvii-xxxi (with photo); obituary and additional bibliography by Edgerton in JAOS 48, 1928, 193-199; *G. M. Bolling, Language 4, 1928, 214-217; W. W. Briggs Jr. in Briggs (ed.), Biogr. Dict. of N. Am. Class. 1994, 47-49; *A. V. W. Jackson, Dict. Am. Biogr. 2, 386-388; *S. W. Jamison, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 111f.; *C. W. E. Miller, AJPh 49, 1928, 305; Nat. Cyclop. of Am. Biogr. 10, 1909, 400, several further contemporary accounts in Am. Biogr. Arch. 1st & 2nd Series; *Wikipedia (with photo).

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