J. Barton Scott

J. Barton Scott

J. Barton Scott

J. Barton Scott is Assistant Professor, Department of Historical Studies and Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. His work puts religion in colonial India in transnational perspective by approaching modern Hindu thinkers as theorists of religion who can be read alongside their North Atlantic contemporaries. Scott’s current research interests include print culture in colonial India, the legal regulation of media publics, and the reception of liberalism among colonial Hindu reformers.

Scott’s paper, "Conjunctive Religion, or, How Keshub Chunder Sen Rewrote the Grammar of Modern Theology," asks how members of the Brahmo Samaj, a prominent Hindu reform society, configured the category of religion in the 1870s and 1880s, paying particular attention to Keshub Chunder Sen, the controversial and charismatic Brahmo leader. Close readings of Keshub’s English-language writings and lectures will reveal him as a theorist of religious comparison who put Protestant missionary hermeneutics to novel use. 

 

Henry Alexander Douglas. Indian missions : A Letter Addressed to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. London: Rivingtons, 1872.

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Henry Alexander Douglas. Indian Missions: A Letter Addressed to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. London: Rivingtons, 1872.

In this published letter Henry Alexander Douglas, Bishop of Bombay, gives his opinion of  Indian missions and what should be done for their improvement and expansion.

Nowhere is the Church weaker. Nowhere has the dark shadow of a sincere yet spurious spiritualism fallen thicker; obscuring faith in Christ, as come in the flesh, till faith has become comparatively impotent; too inward to make its light shine, too feeble to fight with unbelief, too much divided within itself to overthrow Satan.

Letter from Frederick Sleigh Roberts to Harendra Kishore Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bettiah. 14 April 1892.

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Letter from Frederick Sleigh Roberts to Harendra Kishore Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bettiah. 14 April 1892.

Roberts, who at the time was Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army in British India, expresses his gratitude for the Maharaja’s hospitality during his recent stay in Bettiah and inquires about his health.

W. Gifford Palgrave. Hermann Agha : An Eastern Narrative. London: Henry S. King, 1872.

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W. Gifford Palgrave. Hermann Agha : An Eastern Narrative. London: Henry S. King, 1872.

This volume contains an inserted letter from Palgrave to Harry Buxton Forman, 10 December 1885, in which Palgrave discusses his current assignment in Montevideo, his former tenure in India, some of his own writings, and Tennyson’s poems.

Letter from W. Gifford Palgrave to Harry Buxton Forman, 10 December 1885

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Letter from W. Gifford Palgrave to Harry Buxton Forman. 10 December 1885.

Palgrave offers this criticism of Tennyson and Gladstone:

By the way to what a depth of twaddle has Tennyson descended! I have just seen his “Vastness”, the inanest fustian I have come across for many a day. Some age,— I can’t quite make up my mind which exactly.— ought to be fixed, at which every poet’s, age and every statesman’s head ought to be cut summarily off, to preserve their youth from the desecrations of their age. That Tennyson and Gladstone ought both to be at once decapitated, sans phresis, nay that the operation should have been performed at least five years ago, few will, I think, deny.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot. Comparative Progress of Ancient and Modern Missions: A Paper Read at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, April 29, 1873. London : R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor, 1874.<br />

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Joseph Barber Lightfoot. Comparative Progress of Ancient and Modern Missions: A Paper Read at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, April 29, 1873. London: R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor, 1874.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot, English theologian and Bishop of Durham, was also canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In that position he wrote this paper positing that an investigation of historical mission efforts lends a more hopeful vision to modern mission work and supports a more unconventional approach.

Edwin Arnold. Indian poetry: Containing a New Edition of "The Indian Song of Songs." London : Trübner & Co., 1881. (Inscription page)<br />

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Edwin Arnold. Indian Poetry: Containing a New Edition of "The Indian Song of Songs." London : Trübner & Co., 1881.

This volume has an inscription from Edwin Arnold’s poem, “The Birth of Death.”

Whoso reads & whoso hears
This fair story of old years,
Well and wisely gives his pains;
Since thereby his spirit gains
Piety and peace & bliss; --
Nay, & heavenward leadeth this;
And, on earth, its wisdom brings
Wealth, and health and happy things.

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the astronomer-poet of Persia / rendered into English verse. Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1872 (London: G. Norman and Son, Printers).<br />

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Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the Astronomer-Poet of Persia / Rendered into English Verse. Translated by Edward FitzGerald. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1872 (London: G. Norman and Son, Printers).

The edition was translated by Edward FitzGerald, whose inscription appears in Edwin Arnold’s Indian Poetry: Containing a New Edition of “The Indian Song of Songs.” This volume of FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, which was in the Brownings’ library, bears this inscription on the title-page: "R.B. from L.L.T./ Sepr. 1874." It is unclear who gifted this volume to Robert Browning. There are numerous annotations in an unknown hand throughout the text.

Edwin Arnold. The Light of Asia, or, The Great Renunciation. Being the life and teaching of Gautama as told in verse by an Indian Buddhist. London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1890. (Title page and illustration)<br />

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Edwin Arnold. The Light of Asia, or, The Great Renunciation. Being the Life and Teaching of Gautama as Told in Verse by an Indian Buddhist. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1890.

Edwin Arnold, English poet and journalist, describes in a narrative poem the life and time of Prince Gautama Siddhartha, who after attaining enlightenment becomes The Buddha, The Awakened One.

Alfred Lyall. Verses written in India. London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., 1893.<br />

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Alfred Lyall. Verses Written in India. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., Ltd., 1893.

Alfred Lyall, British civil servant, literary historian and poet, wrote a popular collection of poetry which entered into its sixth edition in 1905.

 

- Exhibition Text by Melinda Creech

J. Barton Scott