Publication: On Indian Philosophy

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jul 16 14:46:17 UTC 2008

Dear all,
  For your information, the following work recently appeared: 
  author: Johannes Bronkhorst
  title: Aux Origines de la Philosophie Indienne
  publisher: [Corminboeuf/Paris:] Infolio (
  date: 2008
  Table of Contents
  Préhistoire et commencements
  Les trois régions
  Le Grand Magadha et sa culture religieuse
  Le bouddhisme
  Le brahmanisme
   - le langage
   - les débats
  Le brahmanisme face aux idées de l'est
  La migration de brahmanes
  Les brahmanes nihilistes
  L'idéologie orientale brahmanisée
  La Bhagavadgiitaa
  L'ascendance d'un atomisme généralisé
  Une ontologie brahmanique
  La vision de Vaarsaga:nya
  La crise linguisti que
  Naagaarjuna et le mahaayaana
  Le saamkhya classique
  Le réalisme brahmanique
  Le relativisme des jainas
  La réponse des bouddhistses: Dignaaga
  L'impasse téléologique
  Pra;sasta et l'introduction d'un dieu créateur
  Vasubandha et l'idéalisme bouddhique
  La réaction védique
  Renvois bibliographiques
  A few observations:
  Just as the book Comment la philosophie indienne s'est développée of Michel Hulin (Paris: Panama, 2008) which was recently announced on this list, the present book gives an introduction to ancient Indian philosophy. Both authors consider the Upanisads as a sort of proto-philosophical stage after which real philosophy starts with the Bouddhists and their debates with brahmanical thinkers. Both authors also stop with ;Sa:nkara and contemporaneous authors. Bronkhorst pays more attention to the environment of various groups of thinkers, their moving through the Indian subcontinent, and their interaction and various crises. As such it is the philosophical counterpart to Bronkhorst's earlier publication on Greater Magadha (Leiden: Brill, 2007). Hulin focuses on a smaller number of works and gives extensive extracts in translation of each of them. Together the works would nicely supplement each other to form an introduction to early Indian philosophy. 
  Both works break with the older fashion to start an overview of early Indian philosophy with "philosophical" hymns from the Rg and Atharvaveda. Even then, a judgement like that of Paul Deussen (1920: 105) with regard to Rgveda 1.164, a hymn where we find, among other things, the juxtaposition of different viewpoints (RV 1.164.12), would not be entirely wrong (cf. JAOS 2000: 529): "Dieser gewaltiger Hymnus steht an der Spitze der ganzen Entwicklung der indischen Philosophie ... " , even if we should not equate "an der Spitze stehen" with a rectilinear development from proto- to fulfledged philosophy. 


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