Potential misunderstanding

gthomgt at COMCAST.NET gthomgt at COMCAST.NET
Tue Nov 16 20:17:48 UTC 2010

Dear List, 

Lars Martin and I have had a private and amicable discussion of this matter.  It appears that some of the features of his edition of the Gita which I cited in my brief book notice were imposed by his editor and should not be attributed to Lars Martin himself.  I make it clear in the note that I consider Lars Martin a good Sanskritist and that his interpretation of the Gita is a reliable one.  I note  a couple of passages where the translation is not quite accurate, as well as one sloka [3.15] where lines cd are lost.  Other than such minor things, my main point was about the sociolinguistic register of both the introduction and the translation: the diction seemed to me to be too colloquial.  Another feature of the book which struck me as inconsistent was its fetishization of devanagari on the book's covers [multi-colored devanagari everywhere!].  While I have no argument with the use of devanagari in this edition, I do think that it is inconsistent pedagogy to dismiss accurate transliteration of it both in the introduction and the translation [in the introduction, accurate, standard, transliteration is abruptly dismissed as "ugly"].  

In any case, I acknowledge the fact that Lars Martin is no New Ager.  May any and all misunderstandings be hereby dispelled. 

George Thompson 

p.s.  By the way, in his personal communication with me, Lars Martin states that he plans to send a copy of my book notice to his editor, in order to persuade him to trust more in Lars Martin's own scholarly instincts in the future.  Also, let it be noted that this book notice also discusses [positively] Angelika Malinar's 2007 book: The Bhagavad Gita: Doctrines and Contexts, Cambridge Univ. Press. 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lars Martin Fosse" < lmfosse at GETMAIL.NO > 
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk 
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 1:44:55 PM 
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Potential misunderstanding 

Dear list! 


George Thompson has recently published a critique of my translation of the 
Bhagavad Gita which contains a possibly misleading piece of information. 
Thompson brackets my translation in the New Age category, thereby 
potentially creating the impression that I myself am a supporter of New Age 
religiosity. I am nothing of the sort. I am in no way involved with New Age. 

            My translation was published by a small American publisher 
specialising in Yoga texts. The series also contains the Hatha Yoga 
Pradipika, translated by Brian Dana Akers, as well as the Shiva Samhita and 
the Gheranda Samhita, both translated by James Mallinson. More to follow. 
The books mostly have the same format: a short, popular introduction, the 
Sanskrit text with interlinear translation, an index. There are no 
bibliographies, no comments, no critical apparatus and no footnotes. The 
editions are partly intended for the mass market, partly for students of 
Sanskrit and others who would like to read the text with an interlinear 
translation, or simply have quick access to the Sanskrit source. Thus, they 
have been stripped down to the bare essentials. I personally find it 
difficult to associate these editions with New Age, but everybody can be the 
judge of that. 


Best regards, 


Lars Martin Fosse 


Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse 
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114, 
0674 Oslo - Norway 
Phone: +47 22 32 12 19 Fax:  +47 850 21 250 
Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45 
E-mail: lmfosse at getmail.no   


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