Jan Willem de Jong

Jan Willem De Jong

Jan Willem de Jong

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Jan Willem (J. W.) de Jong (1921–2000) was a 20th century indologist and buddhologist.

Birth and Education

J. W. de Jong was born in Leiden on 15 February 1921. He attended primary school and gymnasium in Leiden, and went on to study at the University of Leiden from 1939–1945, where he began his life-long study of the "canonical languages" of Buddhism: he took Chinese as his major, while minoring in Japanese and Sanskrit. With the closing of the university in 1940 following the German invasion of the Netherlands, de Jong was forced to continue his studies on his own. With the war's end in 1945, the university reopened and de Jong passed his candidaatsexamen. In 1946, he traveled to the United States as a visiting professor at Harvard University, where he continued his study of Sanskrit texts.

From 1947-1950, he lived in Paris studying at both the Sorbonne and the Collège de France, where he began studying Tibetan. While still in Paris, he met his future wife Gisèle Bacquès, whom he married in 1949. That same year, he was awarded his PhD from the University of Leiden; his doctoral thesis was a critical translation of Candrakīrti's Prasannapadā. He also began studying Mongolian.

He returned to the Netherlands in 1950 to act as senior research assistant (1950–1954) and continuing academic employee (1954–1956) at the Univ. of Leiden, working at the university's Sinologisch Instituut; in 1956, he became the first Chair of Tibetan and Buddhist...
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