The Celtic Fringe and Early Orientalism in Bengal, c. 1770–1790: Editing and Analyzing the Indo-Persian Texts of the Staatsbibliothek’s John Murray Collection
Thibaut explores the archive of John Murray MacGregor (1745-1822), a Scottish officer who was instrumental in the foundation of learned societies in England, Scotland and Bengal in the late 18th century. The interpretation of this archive entails a twofold project. The first part is the reconstitution of Murray’s biography based on his English, Persian and Bengali correspondence. The second part looks at Persian translations of Buddhist texts from Arakan (in modern Myanmar) commissioned by Murray. Thibaut studies the cultural layers visible in the process of translation of the Buddhist texts by Murray’s secretaries ‘Azīz Allāh Bukhārī and Ṣādiq ʿAlī. The project as a whole explores the paths linking textual practices and scholarly traditions from Burma to Scotland on the eve of colonialism.