Polyglot from the Far Side of the Moon : The Life and Works of Solomon Caesar Malan (1812-1894) book cover
1st Edition

Polyglot from the Far Side of the Moon
The Life and Works of Solomon Caesar Malan (1812-1894)

Edited By

Lauren F. Pfister



  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 25, 2022
ISBN 9781032136639
March 25, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
378 Pages 6 Color & 17 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Though recognized in the latter part of the 19th century as "the greatest Orientalist in Britain," the Geneva-born Anglican priest, Solomon Caesar Malan (1812–1894) was such an extraordinary person that he has defied any scholarly person to write a critical account of his life and works. Consequently, almost no one has written anything critically appreciative and insightful about him since his death.

A polymath with extraordinary talent for languages and sketching, among other specialized skills, Malan focused much of his life on assessing biblical translations in ancient Middle Eastern and East Asian languages, while also producing English translations of alternative expressions of Christianity found in north Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. A life-long interest of his was comparing the proverbs of his name-sake, King Solomon, with proverbial wisdom from as many cultures and languages as he could find. That interest culminated in a three-volume work that enshrined his achievements realized through his capacities as a hyperpolyglot within the context of a search for shared wisdom across many cultures.

In this volume, produced by a team of collaborators from a wide range of scholarly interests and varying expertise, we have presented a critically assessed account of the life and key works produced by Solomon Caesar Malan. In fact, it is the first work of its kind on Malan written since his death, now having occurred more than 125 years ago. Readers will journey through an itinerary that starts in Geneva before it became part of Switzerland, moves to Great Britain, and ultimately into one of the colleges in Oxford. Subsequently, it moves us into an exploration of the journey of his life that involved a huge range of places, people, and languages: starting in Calcutta, touching unusual figures from Hungary, India, and China. Those seminal experiences led Malan into studies of languages related to even more distant cultural worlds in Central, Southeastern, and East Asia. The historians among us have delved into Malan’s life in Calcutta, Geneva, and Dorsetshire, while others have explored the nature of his hyperpolyglossia, and tested the quality of his understanding of ancient literature in classical languages that include Chinese, Manchurian, Sanskrit and Tibetan. Notably, Malan’s personal library was so unique, that when he donated it to his alma mater at Oxford University, it became one of the major bibliographic precedents for what is now the Oriental Division in the Bodleian Libraries. Yet, when one follows the twists and turns of his life’s journey, and the surprises that occur from documenting the history and content of the Malan Library as well as critically analysing aspects of his opus magnum, Original Notes on the Book of Proverbs (1889–1893), we believe both general readers and scholarly specialists will be entranced.

Table of Contents

Editor’s Preface and Acknowledgements

Preface by the Rt Revd Dr. Graham Kings

CHAPTER 1

FRÉDÉRIC AMSLER

S. C. Malan’s Familial and Ecclesiastical Context in Geneva

CHAPTER 2

† R. G. TIEDEMANN

S. C. Malan at Bishop’s College, Calcutta, 1838–1840

CHAPTER 3

T. H. BARRETT

Malan as Dorset Worthy: Solomon Caesar and Valentine Ackland

CHAPTER 4

JOHN EDWARDS

Solomon Caesar Malan: Personality, Polyglossia and the Autistic Spectrum

CHAPTER 5

LAUREN F. PFISTER

Surprises within Solomon Caesar Malan’s Christian Works and His Critical Advances in Scholarly Christian Reflection

CHAPTER 6

THOMAS ZIMMER

Solomon Caesar Malan’s Understanding of Chinese Sayings and Proverbial Wisdom: A Preliminary Study of His Art and Technique of Translation

CHAPTER 7

WILLIAM YAU NANG NG

Discerning the Worldview in Confucian Proverbs: A Preliminary Reflection on S. C. Malan’s Selection of Confucian Proverbs from The Four Books

CHAPTER 8

LORETTA E. KIM

Malan’s Manjurica

CHAPTER 9

RITA KUZDER

Initiating the Discovery of Tibetan Wisdom in the Original Notes on the Book of Proverbs

CHAPTER 10

JAMES M. HEGARTY

The Sanskrit of Solomon Caesar Malan: An Anglican Savant Reads the Mahābhārata

CHAPTER 11

GYULA PACZOLAY and LAUREN F. PFISTER

From Ladakh to Budapest via Broadwindsor: The Journey of an Unusual Gift of Tibetan Books

CHAPTER 12

LAUREN F. PFISTER

Recovering the Now Invisible Malan Library

CHAPTER 13

LAUREN F. PFISTER

Breaking the Code of a Monstrous Codex: An Intellectual Journey into the Hidden Secrets of The Original Notes on the Book of Proverbs

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Editor(s)

Biography

Lauren F. Pfister is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University. Having been a Founding Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities and a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Chinese Philosophy before his retirement in the Fall of 2017, he remains active in research and writing related to Chinese-European-American comparative philosophical and comparative religious themes, with a special interest in exploring texts produced by Christian missionary-scholars related to China. Among his major English monographic writings are Striving for ‘The Whole Duty of Man’: James Legge and the Scottish Protestant Encounter with China (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2004) and Vital Post-Secular Perspectives on Chinese Philosophical Issues (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press, 2020). A volume of essays in Chinese dealing with the hermeneutics and history of the translations of classical Chinese works was published by Xiamen University Press in 2016. He was also involved in the republication of James Legge’s Chinese Classics in 2010 by the East China Normal University Press in Shanghai, when, in collaboration with others, he helped prepare new critical introductions in Chinese for each of the five volumes as well as a general introduction to the whole set. Residing now in the Colorado Rockies with his wife, he is seeking to establish a new educational and research center there under the name of the Hephzibah Mountain Aster Academy, for which he will serve as the rector.