In this paper, I propose that finding Dionysus’ counterpart in India is a futile task unless the relation focuses on Dionysus as a divine force of nature variously manifest following the meaning of the Rig Veda verse mentioned above. As Nietzsche saw the Dionysian as a force of nature inherent in the human, it becomes a much more plausible thesis to ascertain a relation of Dionysus to India through Indo-European comparative mythology and philology. This is so because many scholars have given objective status to assertions about Dionysus’ relation to India that can at best be only subjectively attested. The fields of Indo-European comparative mythology and philology, because of their very nature of dealing with a body of literature that is yet unattested, provide space for an objectively plausible, though still subjectively arguable, thesis for a relation of Dionysus to India. All this will become evident as we travel from Germany in the early twentieth century to the culture of the Indo-Europeans through Rome, Greece, Persia, Iran, and India.
In this paper, I explore how Otto Schrader, Krishna Belvalkar, Franklin Edgerton, and Vishwa Adluri justify the plausibility of a Kashmir recension of the Gita by employing the lectio principle. Lectio difficilior means that the more difficult reading is probably the better and older one since scribes may often simplify the difficult reading into a simple one, the lectio facilior, for the later versions of a text. The employment of the lectio principle then pervades these scholars’ discussions about the plausibility of a Kashmiri recension of the Bhagavad Gita. However, the problem with the lectio principle is that scholars may employ it to justify their interpretations of a text, although some other interpretations of the exact text may be more plausible. While Adluri calls attention to the employment of the lectio principle by the other scholars regarding the plausibility of a Kashmir Recension of the Bhagavad Gita, he employs the lectio principle himself to justify his opinions which are mainly against Schrader. The use of the lectio principle is thus problematic because of its subjective nature that leaves open the question of what interpretation is definitely, and objectively, more plausible.
In the Nay Science – A History of German Indology, Vishwa Adluri and Joy Bagchee make three crucial claims: that the historical-critical method used by German Indologists to study the Indian Epic Mahābhārata evolved out of the Neo-Protestantism of the eighteenth century; that this unacknowledged origin of the historical-critical method led German Indologists to pseudo-critical interpretations such as the presence of an Indo-Germanic race in the Indian Epic; and that scholars should not use supposedly scientific methods to discern the truth of texts in the humanities. By exploring (1) how an early German Indologist, Adolf Holtzmann, projected Neo-Protestantism onto German Indological research, (2) how the conclusions from this method express unacknowledged theological biases and prejudices, and (3) how the authors think that a practitioner-scholar, Gandhi, better engages with an interpretation of the Indian Epic, I show how the authors make out their argument. Although the authors’ objections to the methods of German Indology are compelling, I think that by employing a practitioner-scholar to counteract German Indological scholars’ mode of scholarship, the authors made Gandhi an easy target of modern scholarly biases against practitioner-scholars.
In "Against Interpretation," published in 1966, Susan Sontag argues against specific approaches to interpreting an artwork that reduces it to an exploration of its content. Sontag claims that an interpretation tries to squeeze more meaning into the content than is already there in the form of the artwork. Hence, Sontag claims, an interpretation of content devalues the sense of form. Sontag asserts that the content consists of the "prescriptive" (12) ideas of an artwork that enable a viewer to arrive at an artist's "picture of reality" or "statement" (4) through an interpretation of its form. In turn, form is the "descriptive" (12) elements of the painting - such as figures, colors, and lines - that should be, in and of themselves, enough to evoke a response in the viewer. Sontag considers this response to the form of the artwork the evocation of its "thing" - the experience of the artwork as it is. It is this individual and unmediated experience of art she considers the stuff of magic, claiming that an interpretation transforms a possibly "incantatory, magical" (3) experience of the artwork into a "portentous" interpretive one. Therefore, Sontag urges viewers to curtail the inclination to interpret the "content" of an artwork so that they can experience its magic - such that it provokes a magical experience (14).
In his book, The Religion of the Future, Unger groups distinct philosophies under the term Overcoming the World (henceforward, OW). This is problematic because Unger makes several metaphysical and epistemological claims about OW without clearly identifying which of these distinct philosophies supports his allegations. Specifically, Unger groups Vedānta under OW without distinguishing between Advaita and Dvaita Vedāntas – two similar but distinct traditions within Vedānta. Thus, while he mainly criticizes the views of Advaita Vedānta, which are similar but not equal to those of Buddhism, Dvaita Vedānta contradicts many of Unger’s assumptions on Vedānta. Thus, Unger misleads students who read his book into thinking that Advaita and Dvaita Vedāntas are the same. While I will not deal in this paper with the reasons why Unger might have decided to do so, I will introduce and clarify some of the distinctive features within the Dvaita Vedānta tradition that render his criticism of Vedānta in favor of his concept for a future religion problematic and biased.
In this paper, I argue that Callicles has plausible reasons to accuse Socrates of playing word tricks around the notions of nature and convention. Whether Callicles is right or wrong to accuse Socrates of doing so is not the question here but how Plato makes us see by what Socrates and Callicles say the plausible reasons Callicles thinks he has to think he is right. At first, Socrates conventionally regards Callicles as an opponent worthy of engaging in dialectic. As his way of doing philosophy fails to engage Callicles, however, it naturally reveals that Socrates thinks otherwise of Callicles than what he conventionally said. To substantiate this thesis, I will focus extensively on Callicles’ Great Speech and Socrates’ short speeches before and after it.
Certain German scholars’ secular approach to studying Sanskrit in late 18th and early and middle 19th century Europe influenced the establishment of the Wales Professorship of Sanskrit at Harvard. This influence contrasted it with some English scholars’ religious concerns. While these English scholars were attempting to aid in the Christian conversion of the Hindus, those German scholars were leading the academy into comparative philology. The establishing of the Boden Professorship of Sanskrit at Oxford, the German dominion of the Sanskrit teaching professoriate in the Continent, and the German mentorship of early American scholars interested in the study of India attested to this interplay between a German secular approach with, and an English religious concern to the study of Sanskrit.