Max Müller's submission to the members of Convocation of the University of Oxford, 1860
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To the Members of Convocation
I beg most respectfully to offer myself as a Candidate for the Boden Professorship of Sanskrit, vacant by the lamented death of Professor H.H.W.
During the last thirteen years I have been employed by the East India Company in editing, for the first time, the text and commentary of the Rig-Veda, "the oldest authority", according to Professor Wilson, "for the religious and social institutions of the Hindus." That work is described by the Minute of the Court of Directors as "in a peculiar manner deserving of the patronage of the East India Company, connected as it is with the early religion, history and language of the great body of their Indian subject." The Veda is, in fact, to the Hindus what the Koran is to the Mohammedans.
Considering that without this work a complete knowledge of the religious teaching of the Brahmans could not be acquired, and that the want of it has hitherto proved a serious bar to Missionary exertions, I may perhaps be permitted to think that I have spent the principal part of my life in promoting the object of the Founder of the Chair of Sanskrit. Three volumes of my edition of the Rig-Veda have appeared; three more remain to be published. Professor Wilson has been at the same time preparing from my text an English translation, of which three volumes have been printed.
I am likewise engaged in the Catalogue of the large collection of Vedic Sanskrit MSS. at the Bodleian Library, which will demand much time and labour for many years. A list of my other works will be found below.
In seeking this Chair my wish is to devote myself entirely, as I did before my appointment to the Taylorian Professorship of Modern Languages and Literature, to the study of Sanskrit and the completion of works connected with it.
I shall lose no time in collecting Testimonials from the most eminent Sanskrit scholars in Europe and India, and submitting them to Members of Convocation. I shall likewise submit Testimonials from Missionaries in India, explaining the assistance they have derived from my publications in their endeavours to overthrow the ancient systems of idolatry still prevalent in that country, and to establish the truths of Christianity among the believers of the Veda.
MAX MÜLLER, FELLOW OF ALL SOULS COLLEGE
M.A. CHRIST CHURCH
ALL SOULS COLLEGE
May 16 1860