Graduate Book Report on "The Nay Science."

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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.
Last updated on 04/26/2022