LÉVI, SYLVAIN (1863–1935), French Orientalist, born in Paris. Lévi, known for his Etude critique sur le théâtre indien (1890), became professor of Sanskrit at the Collège de France (1894), and later director of the Institute of Indian Studies at the Sorbonne (1904). He published Le Népal, étude historique d'un royaume hindou (3 vols., 1905–08); L'Inde et le monde (1926); and a study on the Jews in South India (in rej, 89 (1930), 26–32). Lévi founded the French School of the Far East in Hanoi, and later directed the French-Japanese Institute in Tokyo (1926–28). After his return to France he was elected mayor of Andilly, near Paris. He also joined the Zionist Commission headed by Chaim *Weizmann, and set up discussions with the Allied delegations at the Versailles Peace Conference (1919). He left the commission, however, contending that the Zionist program for Palestine opposed French interests in the Middle East. From 1920 until his death Lévi served as president of the Central Committee of the *Alliance Israélite Universelle and of the Société d'Etudes Juives.
Hommage à Sylvain Lévi… (1964); C. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), 267, 304–6.
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