[INDOLOGY] Eli Franco and the Fate of Indology

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Sat Dec 24 09:13:33 UTC 2016

Dear Joydeep,
This is a remarkable and stimulating essay. Here and there your rhetorics
needs rethinking and revision: "that a critical philology must" cannot be a
"fact". If you and your co-author Vishwa Adluri want to analyse indology
according to its methodological roots I suggest you base yourself first on
a sufficiently wide historical exploration of indology and
"proto-indology". You seem not aware that early "German" indologists were
in fact publishing in either French or Latin. However, if we dig further it
will then be seen that indology is neither German nor French but, for
better or for worse, DUTCH, both according to its ethnographic method
(Abraham Rogerius), linguistic method (Johannes Becanus, Schola
Hemsterhusiana -- with regard to whom the "neo-grammarians" were trying to
be, methodologically, "neo") and institutional production of knowledge (the
first Asiatic Society was Dutch: the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences:
see also my conference report of the 1995 DMG meeting in Leipzig at
One of the factual mistakes in your essay is in fact already pointing in
this direction: Johannes Bronkhorst, whom you consider representative of
your reified category of the "German indologist" apparently on the basis of
the sole criterion that he publishes much, is in fact Dutch. As for the
"moral high grounds of marxism" on which you try to formulate your
criticism, it is regrettable that you are entirely, provincially,
"occidental" and "nineteenth century" here, as you did not take into
account the reception and further development of marxism in Asia, nor in
India where it resonates with earlier knowledge systems in (see Padma
Sastri's sanskrit summary of marxist doctrine in Leninamrtam, Hoshiarpur
1973). Claiming to represent "moral high grounds" you seem not to have
addressed the problem of the glorification of violence in early marxism
(see introduction, by Karel van Kooij and me, to the Violence denied
volume, Leiden 1999), more generally in socialist thought after
Saint-Simon's "utopian" socialism (formulated partly out of deception with
directly witnessed violence in the French revolution), and prior to the
Kautsky controversy.
Best, Jan


Directeur d’Études

Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite

*École Pratique des Hautes Études*

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques

CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr



On 23 December 2016 at 10:17, Joydeep <jbagchee at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear fellow Indologists,
> On July 13, 2016 at 5:40 EDT, Eli Franco posted a review of our book, *The
> Nay Science: A History of German Indology*, to the list. He posted the
> review to the list a second time at 9:00 EDT. In the interests of science,
> we have provided a response here: https://www.academia.edu/
> 30584042/Theses_on_Indology
> Thank you,
> Joydeep Bagchee
> Dr. Joydeep Bagchee
> Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship
> <http://www.forum-transregionale-studien.de/en/revisiting-the-canons-of-textual-scholarship/fellows/detail/article/joydeep-bagchee.html>
> Academia.edu Homepage <https://fu-berlin.academia.edu/JoydeepBagchee>
> Oxford Bibliographies Online: Hinduism
> <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/obo/page/hinduism>
> The Nay Science
> <http://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-nay-science-9780199931361;jsessionid=94DFF6B197750DBE7C7E64A4FB8B28D2?cc=de&lang=en&>
> Argument and Design
> <http://www.brill.com/products/book/argument-and-design-unity-mahabharata>
> Reading the Fifth Veda <http://www.brill.com/reading-fifth-veda>
> When the Goddess Was a Woman <http://www.brill.com/when-goddess-was-woman>
> Transcultural Encounters between Germany and India
> <http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415844697/>
> German Indology on OBO Hinduism
> <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195399318/obo-9780195399318-0147.xml>
> ___________________
> What, then, is Philosophy?
> Philosophy is the supremely precious.
> Plotinus, Enneads I.III.5
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