Fwd: [INDOLOGY] Are diacritics NOW irrelevant ? (Re: [INDOLOGY] the koti

Richard Salomon rsalomon at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Nov 30 14:49:08 EST 2010


In this general connection, please see Stephen Chrisomalis' new  "Numerical 
Notation: A Comparative History" (Cambridge, 2010), which (though not a 
collarorative effort as suggested) is intended to supersede Ifrah. My 
impression is that it will. The chapter on "South Asian Systems", at least, 
is very well done (although it does not address the issue of words for large 
numbers which started this thread, if memory serves), and the whole book is 
a very impressive performance.

Rich Salomon

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dominic Goodall" <dominic.goodall at GMAIL.COM>
To: <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2010 4:19 AM
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Fwd: [INDOLOGY] Are diacritics NOW irrelevant ? (Re: 
[INDOLOGY] the koti


This must be intended for everyone, rather than just for me:

Begin forwarded message:

> From: <mkapstei at uchicago.edu>
> Date: 26 November 2010 4:34:36 PM GMT+05:30
> To: "Dominic Goodall" <dominic.goodall at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Are diacritics NOW irrelevant ? (Re: [INDOLOGY] 
> the koti
>
>
> Ifrah's book suffers from the flaws of many large
> synthetic works -- the author cannot be (and cannot
> be expected to be!) -- a specialist in all the domains
> treated.
>
> One might of course object: well then why not organize
> a collaborative work by specialists? In response, I
> offer the lopsided and barely coherent collection
> of articles one finds in the Oxford Handbook of the
> History of Mathematics (though many of the
> articles, taken individually are useful and interesting). Multi-authored 
> works seldom attain
> to the sort of synthesis that a work by a
> single author may aspire to, even if flawed.
>
> It's certainly good to be aware of the shortcomings as
> detailed in Dauben's review, and thanks to Dominic
> for circulating it.
>
> But I don't think the case has been made yet to
> abandon Ifrah's work like the plague. It's a work of
> first reference, not of last recourse.
>
> Matthew T. Kapstein
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies
> The University of Chicago Divinity School
> Directeur d'études
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris



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