The south Asian bombs and RV date problem

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Wed Jun 3 00:41:57 UTC 1998

In reply to these remarks of S. Kalyanaraman:
>So too indology. I find in this statement an elaboration of the
>problem of method that Houben had talked about in an earlier posting
>commending a study of, say, the topic of the date of the RV. The
>'method' in subjective disciplines (such as indology) tends to start
>with a 'model': in the case of the RV, the model tends to be either
>IE-centric or I-centric with the latter moving the centre of gravity
>towards the Gangetic belt. The unravelling of the 'truth' has to occur
>by testing the model with 'data'.
Briefly, let me tell you what my method is:

I read the Rgveda as much as I can. I study its grammar, its poetics, its
world-view -- from as many points of view as possible. I compare it to
traditions that are known to be related to it, starting with Avestan, and
other Indo-European traditions. I read scholarship that places the RV
within the Indic linguistic area. When I sense similarities with more
remote cultures, I study those similarities too. I make regular effort to
THINK about the RV in as many ways as I can conceive. But I try always to
be faithful to the text.

I do not consider my knowledge of the RV "subjective." I consider it the
product of many years of study of that text. As for the Indo-Aryan
migration/emigration controversies, my method is very simple, and very
limited in its scope:

If a given position does not agree with what I know of the RV I reject it.
If it agrees, I entertain it.

I try to keep my mouth shut when I know that I don't know a given topic.

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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