victor van Bijlert victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL
Thu Jan 15 17:23:50 UTC 2009

This sounds like a sarcastic comment. Perhaps there is some truth to it, but
on the other hand, for a dept. devoted to religious studies, it would not be
unusual to review a fresh translation of a well-known religious document
like the Bhagavad Gita.

Often I noticed the tendency in religious studies to be on two tracks: a
purely critical one and one in which one is also a bit of a believer. This
is discernible in many Dutch universities. But I do not think this is
typical of the Netherlands. In the USA we find very similar tendencies. So I
do take a little exception to the qualifications 'provincial and very

Rather one does observe some political correctness in certain academic
quarters, especially regarding modern Islam. As far as contemporary Hinduism
is concerned, I have not seen much political correctness in the Netherlands.
In fact, there is very little genuine academic interest in modern Hinduism,
with the emphasis on genuine and academic. And this in spite of the fact
that Hinduism is the second largest non-Christian religion in the
Netherlands with approximately between 120,000 to 200,000 adherents.

Even for policy-makers Hinduism hardly exists whereas Islam is a thing much
studied. There is a study-document on religions in the Netherlands,
published in 2005 by the Dutch Scientific Council for Government-policy. The
book contains 515 pages, 5 out of which are devoted to Hinduism and 2 to
Buddhism. The rest is taken up by Islam, indigenous Christianity, migrant
Christianity and some Judaism. 

I apologise to burden this list with these facts but I felt, I should reply
to the challenge thrown out by Prof Staal.

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] Namens FRITS STAAL
Verzonden: donderdag 15 januari 2009 3:44
Onderwerp: Re: Gita

Good for the Dutch provincial and very religious universities (fortunately
very few of them) to learn something new...
> Victor,
> I will send you a copy.  Will you kindly send a copy of the review to me
> when it appears?
> Thanks for your interest,
> George
> victor van Bijlert wrote:
>>If you send me a review copy, I would review it for the journal on
>>comparative religious studies from the Free University Amsterdam.
>>My postal address is:
>>Burg.Patijnlaan 1062
>>2585 CE Den Haag
>>The Netherlands

Frits Staal

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