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LÉVI, SYLVAIN:

French Orientalist; born at Paris March 28, 1863. He received his education at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, where he became "agrégé ès lettres" in 1886. Here, too, three years later he was appointed "maître de conférences" in Sanskrit; and in the following year his duties were so extended as to include lecturing on the religions of India in the section for the science of religion. Of both these departments he is now (1904) the director. In 1889 Lévi was promoted to be "chargé de cours" in Sanskrit in the Faculty of Letters; and the next year he received the degree of "docteur ès lettres," presenting as his thesis "Quid de Græcis Veterum Indorum Monumenta Tradiderint." The same year saw the publication of his "Théâtre Indien," which is the standard work on its subject. In 1894 Lévi was appointed professor of Sanskrit in the Collège de France, a position which he still holds.

In addition to the two works already mentioned, Lévi has edited and translated the first eight chapters of Kshemendra's "Bṛhatkathamanjari" (Paris, 1886), and has published a treatise entitled "La Doctrine du Sacrifice dans les Brahmaṇas" (ib. 1898). He is also the author of numerous briefer studies, especially in the "Journal Asiatique," as well as of many reviews of Oriental books; and he is a collaborator on the "Revue Critique" and "La Grande Encyclopédie," to which he has contributed a large number of articles dealing with the literature and religion of India.

Lévi has been president of the Société de Linguistique de Paris and of the Société des Etudes Juives; he is also a member of the committee of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. In 1897 he was sent on a mission to India by the Ministry of Public Instruction.

Bibliography:
  • La Grande Encyclopédie.
S. L. H. G.
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