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Sir William Jones

Geburtstag: 28. September 1746
Todesdatum: 27. April 1794

Sir William Jones war ein britischer Indologe und Jurist. Er war ab 1783 Richter am Obersten Gericht in Kalkutta. Er ist besonders durch seine Arbeiten zur indogermanischen Sprachfamilie bekannt.

Zitate Sir William Jones

„What constitutes a state?
Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain.
And sovereign law, that state's collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill.“

—  William Jones

Ode in Imitation of Alcæus, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare: "Neither walls, theatres, porches, nor senseless equipage, make states, but men who are able to rely upon themselves", Aristides, Orations (Jebb's edition), vol. i. (trans. by A. W. Austin); By Themistocles alone, or with very few others, does this saying appear to be approved, which, though Alcæus formerly had produced, many afterwards claimed: "Not stones, nor wood, nor the art of artisans, make a state; but where men are who know how to take care of themselves, these are cities and walls."—Ibid. vol. ii.

„From all the properties of man and of nature, from all the various branches of science, from all the deductions of human reason, the general corollary, admitted by Hindus, Arabs, and Tartars, by Persians, and by Chinese, is the supremacy of an all-creating and all-preserving spirit, infinitely wise, good, and powerful, but infinitely removed from the comprehension of his most exalted creatures; nor are there in any language (the ancient Hebrew always excepted) more pious and sublime addresses to the being of beings, more splendid enumerations of his attributes, or more beautiful descriptions of his visible works, than in Arabick, Persian, and Sanscrit, especially in the Koran, the introductions to the poems of Sadi', Niza'm'i and Firdaus'i, the four Védas, and many parts of the numerous Puránas: but supplication and praise would not satisfy the boundless imagination of the Vedánti and Sufi theologists, who blending uncertain metaphysicks with undoubted principles of religion, have presumed to reason confidently on the very nature and essence of the divine spirit, and asserted in a very remote age, what multitudes of Hindus and Muselmans assert… that all spirit is homogeneous, that the spirit of God is in kind the same with that of man, though differing from it infinitely in degree, and that, as material substance is mere illusion, there exists in this universe only one generick spiritual substance, the sole primary cause, efficient, substantial and formal of all secondary causes and of all appearances whatever, but endued in its highest degree, with a sublime providential wisdom, and proceeding by ways incomprehensible to the spirits which emane from it; an opinion which Gotama never taught, and which we have no authority to believe, but which, as it is grounded on the doctrine of an immaterial creator supremely wise, and a constant preserver supremely benevolent, differs as widely from the pantheism of Spinoza and Toland, as the affirmation of a proposition differs from the negation of it; though the last named professor of that insane philosophy had the baseness to conceal his meaning under the very words of Saint Paul, which are cited by Newton for a purpose totally different, and has even used a phrase, which occurs, indeed, in the Véda, but in a sense diametrically opposite to that, which he would have given it. The passage to which I allude is in a speech of Varuna to his son, where he says, "That spirit, from which these created beings proceed; through which having proceeded from it, they live; toward which they tend and in which they are ultimately absorbed, that spirit study to know; that spirit is the Great One."“

—  William Jones

"On the Philosophy of the Asiatics" (1794)

„Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven,
Ten to the world allot, and all to heaven.“

—  William Jones

Reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919) Compare: "Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six, Four spend in prayer, the rest on Nature fix", Translation of lines quoted by Edward Coke.

„Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.“

—  William Jones

A Persian Song of Hafiz, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

„Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung.“

—  William Jones

A Persian Song of Hafiz, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare: "'T was he that ranged the words at random flung, Pierced the fair pearls and them together strung", Eastwick: Anvari Suhaili. (Translated from Firdousi).

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„The fundamental tenet of the Védántí school, to which in a more modern age the incomparable Sancara was a firm and illustrious adherent, consisted, not in denying the existence of matter, that is, of solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but, in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending, that it has no essence independent of mental perception, that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms, that external appearances and sensations are illusory, and would vanish into nothing if the divine energy, which alone sustains them, were suspended but for a moment; an opinion which Epicharmus and Plato seem to have adopted, and which has been maintained in the present century with great elegance, but with little publick applause; partly because it has been misunderstood, and partly because it has been misapplied by the false reasoning of some unpopular writers, who are said to have disbelieved in the moral attributes of God, whose omnipresence, wisdom, and goodness are the basis of the Indian philosophy… [N]othing can be farther removed from impiety than a system wholly built on the purest devotion; and the inexpressible difficulty, which any man, who shall make the attempt, will assuredly find in giving a satisfactory definition of material substance, must induce us to deliberate with coolness, before we censure the learned and pious restorer of the ancient Véda; though we cannot but admit, that, if the common opinions of mankind be the criterion of philosophical truth, we must adhere to the system of Gotama, which the Bráhmens of this province almost universally follow.“

—  William Jones

II. pp. 238-239
"On the Philosophy of the Asiatics" (1794)

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