gkb at ast.cam.ac.uk
Fri May 17 15:15:06 EDT 1996
On Fri, 17 May 1996, L.S.Cousins wrote:
> Narahari Achar writes:
> >Lance Cousins writes:
> >>Surely this is beyond serious doubt. We have a least one text still extant
> >>which is essentially a translation from Greek and there is no evidence for
> >>most later Indian astronomical ideas earlier than the period of major Greek
> >So is "Samrata-Siddhanta", an 18th century translation of Ptolemy. Can one
> >conclude that no astronomy existed in India prior to the 18th century?
> It would do, if we had no prior mention of astronomy.
What about the oral tradition then? Besides, if one knows about the
existence of the 'samrata-siddhaanta' and one does not find any prior mention
of astronomy in the texts we have now, one cannot immediately conclude
that no astronomy existed in India prior to the 18th century. There may be
other texts, yet undiscovered or lost, or there might have been a
disruption in the oral tradition.
> I couldn't agree with you about this. Both the historical and the textual
> are important for scholarship. Dating is very important for understanding
> many things in this area.
I see that other people share my views on dating!
> Unfortunately, there is a tendency sometimes to adopt a policy of 'shoot
> the messenger' because the results of scholarship are unpalatable.
I do not have any problem with the Greeks having discovered everything in
astronomy before the Indians. I would, however, like to look into the
problem of dating with the mathematical and computational tools available
through modern astronomy.
I find that Indians/Europeans tend to think that the ancient Indians/Greeks did
almost everything in most subjects! I think we should ask Martians, if
they exist, to do this study for us as they would not have our bias! :-)
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