Darwin-L Message Log 8:102 (April 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<8:102>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Apr 27 19:37:18 1994

Date: Wed, 27 Apr 1994 20:37:06 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: April 27 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro


1794 (200 years ago today): Sir WILLIAM JONES, English jurist and student
of Oriental languages, dies at Calcutta, India.  The son of a mathematician,
Jones's precocious intellect won him admission to Harrow School and to
University College, Oxford, where he developed his remarkable linguistic
skills, eventually mastering more than twenty languages including French,
German, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, Hindi,
and Sanskrit.  The necessity of securing an income led him to the study of
law, and in 1783 he took up a position in the British colonial administration
in India, which provided him ample opportunity to study the history of Indian
law and language.  He will be remembered by future scholars as one of the
founders of historical linguistics for his comparative studies of the language
family that will come to be called Indo-European: "The Sanscrit language,
whatever be its antiquity, is a wonderful structure; more perfect than the
Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either;
yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs,
and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by
accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three
without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps,
no longer exists."

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