Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg's Tamil by Will Sweetman, R. Ilakkuvan

By Will Sweetman, R. Ilakkuvan

The Bibliotheca Malabarica is an annotated catalogue of Tamil manuscripts amassed by means of the missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg in the course of his first years in India (1706–1708). The 3rd component to this catalogue, including 119 entries overlaying works of Hindu and Jaina provenance, presents a desirable perception into Tamil literary works in vast stream at the eve of colonialism. The creation assesses the nature of Ziegenbalg’s library within the context of the resources from which he received manuscripts. Will Sweetman’s translation is then augmented through annotations which establish the works and touch upon Ziegenbalg’s view of them. It identifies for the 1st time one textual content — the Tirikāla cakkaram — which was once formative for Ziegenbalg’s view of Hinduism from his earliest letters from India to his magnum opus, the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter (1713). A concluding bankruptcy considers different Tamil works pointed out in Ziegenbalg’s writings after 1708.

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Zvelebil, Companion Studies, –. ⁸⁰ Only eight of the manuscripts in Halle are works mentioned by Ziegenbalg in the third, “heathen,” section of the Bibliotheca Malabarica. Of these, six are didactic works, much favoured by both Ziegenbalg and later missionaries. ey were copied in , long after Ziegenbalg’s death, and are bound together with one of the other two works (Paramarakaciya mālai;  ). e other work is Cittiraputtiranayiṉār katai ( ). All of these works have been published—there is no treasure trove of lost Tamil literature in Halle.

Z. Holwell and Alexander Dow, it was the extracts from Ziegenbalg in La Croze which provided Voltaire’s primary evidence of an ancient Indian monotheism which served his attack on established Christianity (e Birth of Orientalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, )). ¹⁰⁰ e exception is a translation into Telugu by Schultze of a hundred rules on conduct.  | Bibliotheca Malabarica is includes grammatical and lexicographic works, but also Ziegenbalg’s Genealogia der Malabarischen Götter, Gründler’s Medicus Malabaricus, and a translation into Tamil of omas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ.

On this trope see also Herman Tieken, “Blaming the Brahmins: Texts Lost and Found in Tamil Literary History”, Studies in History , no.  (): –. ⁷⁵ Norman Cutler, Songs of Experience: the Poetics of Tamil Devotion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ), . ⁷⁶ In , William Taylor wrote “I was told some years ago that the ascetics (or Pandárams) of the Saiva class seek after copies of this poem with avidity, and uniformly destroy every copy they find. It is by consequence, rather scarce, and chiefly preserved by native Christians” (William Cooke Taylor, A Catalogue Raisonnée [ sic] of Oriental Manuscripts in the Library of the (late) College, Fort Saint George, now in charge of the Board of Examiners,  vols.

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