Woods, James Haughton, 1864-1935

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Woods graduated from Harvard in 1887 and taught philosophy at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of James Haughton Woods, ca. 1860-1961 (inclusive) (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76972939

James Haughton Woods (1864-1935), a scholar of Greek and Indic philosophy, graduated from Harvard University in 1887 with an A.B. degree in Philosophy and English composition. He spent most of the next two decades at various institutions in England, continental Europe, and India. He studied theology and ecclesiastical history at Oxford and Cambridge, followed by ancient and medieval history and philology at the Universities of Strassburg and Berlin. After completing his Ph.D. studies in Germany, he returned to Harvard and spent two years teaching as an Instructor of Anthropology and Philosophy. He developed an interest in Indic philosophy, which led him back to Europe to study under Paul Deussen (1845-1919), one of the founders of Indic studies in Europe. After further study in India at Benares and in Kashmir, he returned to Harvard in 1903 and was appointed to the Department of Philosophy, first as Instructor, and then Professor of the Philosophical Systems of India. He remained in the department until his retirement in 1934. During this time, he served as the Chair of the Division and Department of Philosophy from 1915-18, 1920-27, and 1930-33. He published numerous translations of Pali and Sanskrit scriptures, as well as works of secondary scholarship.

Woods's interest in Buddhism led him into the study of East Asia, and he made several extended trips to Japan during his years on the Harvard faculty. He actively promoted the development of academic positions dedicated to the study of East Asia. He also worked to establish a permanent chair in Chinese, which was first filled by Chao Yuen Ren in 1922. His greatest success, however, came from working in tandem with Wallace Donham and others to secure funding from the estate of Charles Hall for the founding of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, for which he served as a trustee. Although Woods passed away before the Department of Far Eastern Languages was established, he helped to provide the institutional and intellectual backing that became the framework for its success.

From the description of Letters to James Haughton Woods, 1885-1931 and undated. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 659325715

James Haughton Woods (1864-1935), a scholar of Greek and Indic philosophy, graduated from Harvard University in 1887 with a degree in Philosophy and English composition. He spent most of the next two decades at various institutions in England, continental Europe, and India. He studied theology and ecclesiastical history at Oxford and Cambridge, followed by ancient and medieval history and philology at the Universities of Strassburg and Berlin.

After completing his Ph.D. studies in Germany with a thesis entitled “Erktennis-Theorie und Causalität,” he returned to Harvard, where he continued to pursue his studies and spent two years teaching as an Instructor of Anthropology and Philosophy. He developed an interest in Indic philosophy, which led him back to Europe to study under Paul Deussen (1845-1919), one of the founders of Indic studies in Europe. Woods would later translate into English Deussen’s magisterial System des Vendanta, the first comprehensive presentation of an Indian philosophical system to be published in the West. After further study in India at Benares and in Kashmir, he returned to Harvard in 1903 and was appointed to the Department of Philosophy, first as Instructor, and then Professor of the Philosophical Systems of India. He remained in the department until his retirement in 1934. During this time, he served as the Chair of the Division and Department of Philosophy from 1915-18, 1920-27, and 1930-33. He published numerous translations of Pali and Sanskrit scriptures, as well as works of secondary scholarship that include Practice and Science of Religion: A Study of Method in Comparative Religion (1906) and Integration of Consciousness in Buddhism (1929).

Woods’s interest in Buddhism led him into the study of East Asia, and he made several extended trips to Japan during his years on the Harvard faculty. He actively promoted the development of academic positions dedicated to the study of East Asia, and succeeded in securing funds for the temporary appointments of Professors Anesaki (1913-15) and Hattori (1915-16), who taught the first classes on Japanese history and culture ever offered at Harvard. He also worked to establish a permanent chair in Chinese, which was first filled by Chao Yuen Ren in 1922. His greatest success, however, came from working in tandem with Wallace Donham and others to secure funding from the estate of Charles Hall for the founding of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, for which he served as a trustee. Although Woods passed away before the Department of Far Eastern Languages was established, he helped to provide the institutional and intellectual backing that became the framework for its success.

(Text adapted from the Harvard University Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations website.)

From the guide to the Letters to James Haughton Woods, 1885-1931 and undated., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Relation Name
associatedWith Bergson, Henri, 1859-1941. person
associatedWith Bhandarkar, Ramkrishna Gopal, Sir, 1837-1925 person
associatedWith Brooks, Phillips, 1835-1893. person
associatedWith Charles S. (Charles Sanders) Peirce person
associatedWith Department of Interior Ecclesiastical Bureau corporateBody
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952 person
correspondedWith Douglas, Norman, 1868-1952 person
associatedWith Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Woods person
correspondedWith Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926 person
associatedWith Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965. person
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Dept. of Philosophy. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Dept. of Philosophy. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Dept. of Philosophy. corporateBody
associatedWith Henshaw, Samuel, 1852-1941 person
associatedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966. person
associatedWith James family. family
correspondedWith James Haughton Woods person
associatedWith James, William, 1842-1910. person
correspondedWith Joffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire, 1852-1931 person
correspondedWith John Dean Bickford person
correspondedWith King, William Lyon Mackenzie, 1874-1950 person
correspondedWith Loftus, Edward H. person
associatedWith Mittra, Babu Mokshada Das. person
associatedWith Mr. Woods person
correspondedWith Münsterberg, Hugo, 1863-1916 person
associatedWith M. Woods. person
associatedWith Nai Aab. person
correspondedWith Nichols, Rose person
correspondedWith Okakura Kakuya. person
correspondedWith Palmer, George Herbert, 1842-1933 person
correspondedWith Peirce, Juliette. person
associatedWith Royce, Josiah, 1855-1916 person
correspondedWith Sabatier, Paul, 1858-1928 person
associatedWith Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907. person
associatedWith Santayana, George, 1863-1952. person
correspondedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
correspondedWith Sayaji Rao Gaekwar III, Maharaja of Baroda person
associatedWith Sorley person
correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
associatedWith Tōfukuji (Kyoto, Japan) corporateBody
correspondedWith Wendell family. family
associatedWith William Wilberforce Newton) person
associatedWith Willie person
associatedWith Wood family. family
associatedWith Woods, Elizabeth. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
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Birth 1864

Death 1935

Americans

English,

French

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