SV: Age of the Veda ...

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Tue Nov 30 19:50:07 UTC 1999

Jonathan Silk [ at YALE.EDU] skrev 30. november 1999 18:57:
I think it is incautious and
> potentially misleading to toss around dates like 4500 BCE , as Fosse
> has done, although he is rather careful to state that he does not
> claim this as a date for all or even part of RV. Not all his readers
> may be so careful.

Apparently, there is a need for precision here: I did not say that the Rig as
we know goes back to the year 4.500 BCE. I said that some of its material may
be as old (typical example: the purusha hymn as compared to Germanic material,
see Bruce Lincoln on the subject in "Myth, Cosmos, and Society".) This is
logical unless we assume that myths have wandered from India to Northern
Europe. Or, axiomatically: Mythical material that cannot be regarded as a loan
MUST be inherited "genetically" and consequently go back to the period when the
Indo-Europeans were together - wherever and whenever that was. The point of
break-up is often said to be about 4,500 BCE. It is a rough figure, and I am
not dogmatic about it.

As for the Rig as we know it: I am quite comfortable with Witzel's dating, and
I have no problems whatsoever regarding parts of the RV as younger than 1200.
In fact, if we compare the Atharvic versions of certain hymns in the RV, the RV
versions may be younger than the Atharvic.

The "deeper" point here is, of course, that if you pick out certain hymns of
the RV and claim that they show a greater age than the conventional one, you
may be right in terms of content, but not ipso facto in terms of language and
metrics. In other words: No one has really managed to "kill" Max Mueller's
date. Whatever his reasons, his instinct was good.

Hope this clarifies my position.

I'll be away from my email for the next week. If someone react to this, s/he
will not get any answers right away.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

In fact, I am quite comfortable with

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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