James L. Fitzgerald jfitzge1 at UTK.EDU
Tue Apr 17 11:32:50 UTC 2001

I would like to join my voice to the sentiments of gratitude and
appreciation to Domink Wujastyk just expressed by Prof. Kumar, and expressed
earlier by others.  Indology has been of great value over the several years
I have read it and I regard that value as a gift from Dominik.  I remember
the two or three earlier rounds of this discussion of the fundamental nature
of the list, and I have always agreed with the value of the more open and
democratic form of discussion and exchange that Dominik has opted for.  I
still think those values are important, but now I also think there is a
place for a more closed discussion.  There are several other fora that
foster the uninhibited challenging of assumptions and time-honored
conclusions.  It is the "uninhibited" aspect of much of the recent
discussion that devalues the list, in my judgment--posts uninhibited by any
sense of obligation to be informed by existing and past scholarly results
and discussions; uninhibited by any sense of responsibility to reasonable
and scholarly discourse.  The lack of inhibition derives, I think, from the
fact that some people (and this has nothing to do with anyone's ethnic
origins) are dominated by their existential commitments or anxieties
(religious, philsophical, political, or social) and are not much interested
in the discussion of issues apart from the urgent emotions of their faith or
resentments.  As a professor of religious studies at a university in the
(not aptly named) "Bible belt" of the US, I encounter this boundary all the
time.  People of a certain religious temper have difficulty picking up on
the "impious," or even "blasphemous" discussions of secular scholars or
scholars working outside their community of faith (I have upon occasion
thought of recommending we all reread Van A. Harvey's _The Historian and the
Believer_).  I think people full of political or social anger may be
compared to the impatiently pious in this regard.  It is not that I like to
imagine scholarship isolated from these passions and concerns, but I do
think scholarship is a worthwhile and valuable enterprise, and it does
require some isolation from people who are not committed to it, do not
understand it, do not care about it, who even may find it inconvenient or
threatening.  Scholarship is valuable enough that it deserves *some*
channels of communication unto itself.  So I hope that an Indology list
closer to the one Dominik has always had in mind can find some way to
continue to exist.  And, as others have done, I will volunteer to lend a
small hand, if a co-operative effort can be of any use.


Jim Fitzgerald

James L. Fitzgerald, Professor             jfitzg1 at bellsouth.net,
jfitzge1 at utk.edu
Dept. of Religious Studies                    office:  (865) 974-2466
501 McClung Tower                           fax:      (865) 974-0965
Univ. of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN, 37996-0450

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