//The Encyclopaedia Mundarica of Fr. John Hoffman, SJ

The Encyclopaedia Mundarica of Fr. John Hoffman, SJ

Encyclopaedia Mundarica, is the work of Fr. John Hoffmann, SJ (1857 – 1928) assisted by Fr Arthur Van Emelen, SJ. Other Jesuits working in Chotanagpur have also helped Fr. Hoffmann in this great venture.  Fr. Hoffmann lived and worked among the Mundas (1895 – 1915), especially in Sarwada, the heartland of the tribe which is renowned for the life of the Mundas here that is unaffected by outsiders, and the purity of their language (Mundari).  In fact, before the publication of the Encyclopaedia, he had already published a Mundari Grammar in 1903. Speaking about Mundari, Hoffmann says: “It’s very characteristic structure points to a hoary antiquity, and it offers unmistakable affinities with other unexplored dialects or branches.” (Volume 1, Preface, p. ii).  He was afraid that such a treasure would be lost if it is not preserved in the written form, and therefore painstakingly studied it as much as his pastoral responsibilities permitted. His love for the people urged him to also study meticulously their social, religious, political, and land systems.

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The author is at Tarunoday, Regional Theologate, Ranchi. The Study of Mundari culture and religion has been his hobby.