method of dating RV, III

Mon Jun 15 21:46:43 UTC 1998

Having initiated this thread a few weeks ago when I found the Indo-Aryan im-/e-
migration discussion somewhat stagnating, I would now like to conclude, for
reasons of time, my own contributions to it (others may continue, of course),
with a question:

Are we witnessing the transformation of part of South Asia's proto-history into

The name proto-history was invented to take into account the peculiar situation
of South Asia, with its (Vedic) texts apparently without any corresponding
archeological traces, and archeological cultures without (written) testimonies
(cf. Sankalia in his book Prehistory and Protohistory of India and Pakistan,
Pune 1974). A book like Inside the Texts - Beyond the Texts (see earlier in
this thread) shows that the classical Indological paradigm has now progressed
to much more satisfactory models integrating textual and archeological data
than, say, 50 or 60 years ago. I am especially thinking of the contributions by
Falk, Parpola, Rau, and Witzel.

I thank
Sn. Subrahmanya
Lakshmi Srinivas
S Krishna
S Kalyanaraman
George Thompson
Lars M. Fosse
and others for their reactions,
and especially also Michael Witzel for becoming a spokesman of the progressing
classical paradigm (for its philological basis not just European, cf.
pataNjali: yat s'abdam Aha tad asmAkam pramANam . . . ). A state-of-the-art
overview of this succesful paradigm is found in Witzel's introduction to the
above-mentioned book (sorry to mention it so often, just now I am reading it;
other relevant publications have been mentioned in this and related threads).

I appreciate the challenges emerging from attempts to establish alternative
paradigms and hope they continue (and become of better quality).

I would not recommend banning a discussion of presuppositions (someone's
proposal in this thread), but it is to be admitted that presuppositions cannot
be discusse at each and every step. A better awareness of the history of
Indology and how certain models became dominant within the classical paradigm
(mainly without colonially or post-colonially biased state-support, and
nowadays even: in spite of the general neglect of Indological studies in
countries outside India) would be welcome. It is a pity that Oldenberg's
insightful Vedaforschung (1905) which discusses the struggle for the right
method in the beginning decades of Indology has not yet been translated into
English (or has it?).


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