Obituary for Prof. Dr. Willem Bollée

Published: 23.09.2020

It is with deepest regret that we announce the sad news that Mr. (Apl.) Prof. Dr. Willem Bollée (*1927) passed away completely unexpectedly on May 16, 2020. Prof. Bollée had a long-standing relationship with the South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg, where he habilitated in 1977 under Prof. Berger (studies on Sūyagaḍa 1977, Steiner, Wiesbaden) and taught for over two decades (1975-1997). During this time he also represented Prof. Sontheimer and Prof. Berger.

His teaching and research focused on Jinism and early Buddhism, with a special interest in Central Indian texts that had not yet been translated. In search of such texts, he also repeatedly went on research trips to South and Southeast Asia, for example to (present-day) Myanmar and Thailand in the early 1960s. He was happy to share this rich wealth of experience with his students in order to awaken their enthusiasm for South and Southeast Asian cultures and religions, in addition to providing a sound philological education.

Beginning with his dissertation on Ṣaḍviṃśa-brāhmaṇa (Utrecht, 1956), Prof. Bollée published numerous editions, translations and indexes including Vyavahāra bhāṣya pīṭhikā (2006, Hindi Granth Karyalay, Mumbai), Samantabhadra Deva's Ratnakaraṇḍaka Śrāvakācāra (2010, Sundara Prakashana, Bangalore) and A cultural encyclopaedia of the Kathāsaritsāgara in keywords (2015, Universitätsverlag Halle-Wittenberg).

As a tireless academic, Prof. Bollée was scientifically active until the last day. Two of his works: Stylistic repetition in Bāṇaʼs Harṣacaritam and Kādambarī (Feb. 2020) and the revised 2nd edition of his monograph Gone to the dogs in ancient India (Mar. 2020) are published this year by CrossAsia-Repository. He was also a contributor to the Pali Dictionary Critical Pali Dictionary in Copenhagen and Hamburg.

Prof. Dr. Willem Bollée received the prestigious Acārya Hemacandra Sūrī Award in recognition of his achievements and merits in the field of Jinism (2004) and Prakrit Jñānabhāratī International Award (2005).

Prof. Bollée leaves behind his wife, Prof. em. Dr. Annegret Bollée (Chair of Romance Linguistics and Medieval Studies at the University of Bamberg).

University of Heidelberg / SAI | South Asia Institute Obituary in German.
Translated by Raoul Hübner
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