Dave on birds

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Mon Feb 10 12:53:24 UTC 2003

For the "exactness fallacy" see precisely
Zimmermann's book which I mentioned. In Sanskrit
terminology no "European" exactness can be
expected simply because there was no phase of
collective empirical and methodological rigour
which in Europe became only possible when
scholars could quickly and widely communicate
with printed publications (cf. Elisabeth
Eisenstein). Only when printing was used scholars
could co-ordinate their observations and find
out, in the course of the sixteenth-seventeenth
century, that there is no such thing as the
unicorn, whereas the zarabha continues to be
happily taken serious in Ayurvedic texts and
their later commentaries.
It is not worthwhile to learn Dutch especially
for this purpose but for those who know it I
point to W.P. Gerritsen, De Eenhoorn en de
Geleerden: Het debat over het bestaan van de
eenhoorn van de zestiende tot de negentiende
eeuw, Leiden: Universiteitsbibliotheek, 2002.

Best, Jan

--- Klaus Karttunen <Klaus.Karttunen at HELSINKI.FI>
> When you read the cover and preface of Dave, it
> turns out that the man
> was 99 years old when he finished it and had
> worked on it many many
> years. The book is thus sort of life's work. He
> was both a Sanskrit
> scholar and an enthuasiastic ornithologist. A
> major problem was that he
> wanted ancient Indians to be ornithologists,
> too, and tried to find
> exact names for as many species as possible.
> Thus there are cases where
> he takes two Sanskrit names which I suppose to
> be synonymous and
> explains them as the names of two related
> species. Here we must be
> careful, but the book is very useful, indeed.
> By the way, zoological
> information about Indian birds can be find in
> the books of Salim Ali
> Regards
> Klaus
> --
> Klaus Karttunen, Ph.D.
> Docent of Indology and Classical Ethnography
> Institute of Asian and African Studies
> PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38 B), 00014 University of
> Helsinki, FINLAND
> phone 358-0-19122188, fax 358-0-19122094

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