the gods

thompson at thompson at
Tue May 27 12:20:44 UTC 1997

Dear Howard, Edwin, and Martin,

It all began, you will recall, with a discussion of how well M. Mueller's
old theories of Vedic mythology stand up against newer theories. A scholar
new to the list [Greg *Downing*] made the faux pas of asking, "for the sake
of the argument", whether or not Vedic statements re Agni were meant
literally or metaphorically. I think it is a legitimate question to ask on
this list.

Along comes Howard, defending religion from logical positivism. I don't
know what kind of hermeneutic principles you all use, but this intervention
seemed to me *clearly* to be an attack, pace Howard's "apologies" [notice,
he *doesn't* apologize for the attack; he apologizes that it was
*perceived* as such. Typical].

Adhering to the principles of philology, I read Howard's post closely
[several times], trying to figure out what he meant abt algebra teachers
and realms of discourse. Now, in response to the posts of Edwin and Martin,
I have read Howard's again, just to see what it was I missed the first
times. Well, whatever I missed then I'm still missing. The post is a
chaotic rant.

My own rant, on the other hand, is an expression of annoyance with a person
who claims to be "arguing here for a clear distinction between academic and
religious speech." What were Greg Downing and the rest of us engaged in?
Whose religious values did we attack? What hidden agendas were we

If you, Howard, Edwin & Martin, want to delineate boundaries between
religion and science, be my guest [so to speak]. But I think that Greg
Downing and the rest of us should be permitted to discuss Vedic philology
without such rude, utterly unwarranted interruptions.

There. Now the anger's gone. Back to work.


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