Robert Antoine

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Robert Antoine (1914 in Belgium – 1981) was a Belgian Jesuit priest, missionary in India. Professor of Comparative Literature at the Jadavpur University, he was a Sanskritist and musician. He was co-founder, with Pierre Fallon, of Shanti Bhavan, a dialogue centre at Calcutta.

Education[edit]

Antoine entered the Society of Jesus in 1932, was sent to Calcutta in 1939, dedicated himself to the study of Sanskrit, and became the first Jesuit to obtain a Master's Degree from the University of Calcutta in Sanskrit philology.[1] Besides this, he held a Licentiate in Philosophy, a Licentiate in Theology, a B.A. Classics.

Work[edit]

Antoine arrived in India in 1939 and became an Indian citizen in 1950. His untimely death from liver cancer occurred in 1981. During the 42 years he spent in India, mainly in Calcutta, he contributed much to the Bengali culture, the diffusion of Sanskrit and the life of the Church in Bengal. In the words of Felix Raj, “he was an eminent priest, a scholar, an accomplished teacher, a gifted musician and singer and a dear friend.” From 1956, he was lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature of the Jadavpur University. He also taught at St. Xavier's College, Calcutta. An admiring student described him as follows: “With his kurta, pyjamas, slippered feet and suntanned complexion… he was virtually the established guru of the Bengali Hindu youth of the Jadavpur University, and the much-esteemed guide, philosopher and friend of many orthodox and influential Bengali Hindu families.” He radiated among them from Shanti Bhavan. This he had founded with Pierre Fallon in 1951 as a centre of inter-faith, inter-cultural dialogue and their home amidst a population of middle-class intelligentsia. For many years, their periodical, Darśan Cakra, attracted keen professors of philosophy and other intellectuals. But Shanti Bhavan was above all a centre of friendly conversations, music, songs, bhajans and Eucharistic liturgy. From there Antoine produced his ten books (Sanskrit manual, Bengali hymn book, translations, Indological essays, ecumenical dialogue, etc.) and as many articles.[2]

Special mention must be made of Religious Hinduism, which Antoine, with some other Jesuit friends, had planned, first as a series of 24 monthly letters which appeared from June 1957 to June 1959, then, with Joseph Neuner and Richard De Smet as editors, as an enlarged book in 1964. Antoine contributed himself nine of the chapters of this book; a 'third' revised edition was produced in 1968, and a fourth in 1997.

Bibliography[edit]

Primary bibliography[edit]

  • “Religious Symbolism in the Kausitaki Upanisad.” Baroda Journal of the Oriental Institute (1951).
  • “A Pioneer of Neo-Hinduism: Bankim C. Chatterjee.” Indica, IHRI Commemoration Volume. Bombay: St. Xavier’s College, 1953.
  • “The Gospel and Modern Indian Thought.” Lumen Vitae (Brussels) (1953).
  • A Sanskrit Manual for High Schools. 2 parts. Calcutta, St. Xavier’s College, 1953.
  • “Music Indian and Western.” The Annual Souvenir of 1958. Calcutta: Sarat Bose Academy, 1958.
  • Where We All Meet: A Dialogue. Light of the East Series, no. 51, Calcutta: Catholic Orphan Press, 1957.
  • “Indian and Greek Epic.” Quest (April 1958).
  • Gan Kara Nava Git: A Bengali Hymn Book. Calcutta: Shanti Bhavan, 1963.
  • Liturgy of Holy Week. [See R. De Smet, “Foreword,” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal, 3rd rev. edition, ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner (Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968) 2.]
  • “The Eucharist and the Industrialization.” India and the Eucharist. Ed. Bede Griffiths et al. (Ernakulam: Lumen Institute, 1964) 61-70.
  • “General Historical Survey.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 23-30.
  • “Sacred Books and Religious Literature.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 31-40.
  • “Hindu Ethics: 1. General Ethics.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 108-116.
  • “Hindu Ethics: 2. Special Ethics (Caste, Āśramas, etc).” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 117-125.
  • “Rituals and Worship.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 154-162.
  • “Hindu Saṃskāras.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 163-171.
  • “The Mahābhārata.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 215-224.
  • “Nineteenth Century Reform Movements.” Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 276-286.
  • “The Present Situation.” [In collaboration with P. Fallon.] Religious Hinduism: A Presentation and Appraisal. 3rd rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Allahabad: St Paul Publications, 1968. 308-320.
  • Introduction to Upanisads. Monograph. Pune: Papal Seminary, 1965.
  • The Mystery of Man. Calcutta, Xavier Publication, 1967.
  • Virgil’s Aeneid. Translated into Bengali. Calcutta, Jadavpur University, 1972.
  • Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa. Translated into English. Calcutta, Writer’s Workshop, 1972.
  • Seven Theban Tragedies. Translated from the Greek to Bengali. Calcutta, Jadavpur University, 1974.
  • Rama and the Bards: Epic Memory in the Ramayana. Calcutta: Writer’s Workshop, 1975.
  • “Homo Viator.” The Visvabharati Quarterly (Calcutta) 41/1-4 (1975–76) 1-17.
  • “The Curse in Oedipus Rex and Abhijnanasakuntalam.” Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature 18-19 (1980–81) 1-12.
  • “The Technique of Oral Composition in the Ramayana.” Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature 21 (1983) 1-21.
  • “The Technique of Oral Composition in the Ramayana.” (contd.) Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature 22 (1984).
  • “Hindu Ethics: 1. General Ethics.” Religious Hinduism. 4th rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997. 149-158.
  • “Hindu Ethics: 2. Special Ethics (Castes, Āṣramas, etc.).” Religious Hinduism. 4th rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997. 159-169.
  • “Rituals and Worship.” Religious Hinduism. 4th rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997. 200-209.
  • “The Hindu Saṃskāras.” Religious Hinduism. 4th rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997. 210-219.
  • “The Mahābhārata.” Religious Hinduism. 4th rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997. 267-278.
  • “Reform Movements of Modern India.” Religious Hinduism. 4th rev. edition. Ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner. Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997. 343-356.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Avant-propos," R. De Smet and J. Neuner, eds., La quete de l'eternel: Approches chretiennes de l'Hindouisme, tr. Roger Demortier, Museum Lessianum, section missiologique n. 48 (Desclee de Brouwer, 1967) 7-8.
  2. ^ De Smet, “Foreword,” Religious Hinduism, 4th rev. edition, ed. R. De Smet and J. Neuner (Mumbai: St Pauls, 1997) 16