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The Nay Science offers a new perspective on the problem of scientific method in the human sciences. Taking German Indological scholarship on the Mahabharata and the Bhagavadgita as their example, Adluri and Bagchee develop a critique of the modern valorization of method over truth in the humanities.
The authors show how, from its origins in eighteenth-century Neo-Protestantism onwards, the critical method was used as a way of making theological claims against rival philosophical and/or religious traditions. Via discussions of German Romanticism, the pantheism controversy, scientific positivism, and empiricism, they show how theological concerns dominated German scholarship on the Indian texts. Indology functions as a test case for wider concerns: the rise of historicism, the displacement of philosophical concerns from thinking, and the belief in the ability of a technical method to produce truth.
Based on the historical evidence of the first part of the book, Adluri and Bagchee make a case in the second part for going beyond both the critical pretensions of modern academic scholarship and and the objections of its post-structuralist or post-Orientalist critics. By contrasting German Indology with Plato's concern for virtue and Gandhi's focus on praxis, the authors argue for a conception of the humanities as a dialogue between the ancients and moderns and between eastern and western cultures.
Vishwa Adluri is Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hunter College.
Joydeep Bagchee is Lecturer in Philosophy at Philipps-Universitšt Marburg.
Table of Contents
Introduction A History of German Indology The History of German Indology as a History of Method The Origins of the Historical-Critical Method in Neo-Protestantism of the 18th Century The Origins of Philology in the Argument for the Immortality of the Soul Defining the Scope of Inquiry Plan of Study
Chapter 1: Historical Identity and Narrative Constructs in an Indo-Germanic Setting The Birth of German Mahabharata Studies The Indo-Germanic Original Epic: The Buddhist Poetic Composition Buddhism and Protestantism Protestantism, the Counter-Reformation, and the Prosecution of Heresy The Twin Brahmanic Redactions Brahmanism and Catholicism Return to the Problem of Textual Reconstruction
Chapter 2: Text-Historical Reconstruction and the Struggle for an Objective Canon The Bhagavad Gita in German Indology The Theistic Gita: Richard Garbe The Epic Gita: Hermann Jacobi A Practical Gita: Hermann Oldenberg The Trinitarian Gita: Rudolf Otto The Soldier's Gita: Theodor Springmann The Aryan Gita: Jakob Wilhelm Hauer The Brahmanic Gita: Georg von Simson What is the German Gita?: A Review
Chapter 3: German Indology in the Context of the European Geisteswissenschaften Problems with the Critical Method The Scientification of Protestant Theology in the Critical Method The Secularization of Protestant Theology in the Study of the History of Religions The Institutionalization of Protestant Theology in Indology Three Notions of Science: Positivism, Historicism, and Empiricism Criticisms of the Positivistic Notion of Truth From Historicism to Hermeneutics
Conclusion Writing under Erasure Creating the Object of Scientific Research Honest Heretics or Neo-Brahmins?
Afterword: Gandhi on the Gita Problem Notes Bibliography Index