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By Dorothy Matilda Figueira

In Aryans, Brahmins, Jews, Dorothy M. Figueira offers a desirable account of the development of the Aryan fantasy and its makes use of in either India and Europe from the Enlightenment to the 20 th century. the parable matters a race that inhabits a utopian prior and provides upward thrust first to Brahmin Indian tradition after which to ecu tradition. In India, notions of the Aryan have been used to increase a countrywide identification less than colonialism, person who allowed Indian elites to spot with their British rulers. It additionally allowed non-elites to establish a counter id serious in their place within the caste approach. In Europe, the Aryan delusion supplied convinced thinkers with an starting place tale that may compete with the Biblical one and will be used to decrease the significance of the West’s Jewish background. eu racial hygienists made a lot of the parable of a natural Aryan race, and the Nazis later checked out India as a cautionary story of what may occur if a kingdom didn't stay “pure.” As Figueira demonstrates, the background of the Aryan fantasy is additionally a heritage of analyzing, interpretation, and resourceful building. at the beginning, the ideology of the Aryan used to be imposed upon absent or fake texts. over the years, it concerned innovations of making, evoking, or distorting the canon. each one development of racial id used to be fascinated with key problems with interpreting: canonicity, textual accessibility, interpretive suggestions of analyzing, and excellent readers. The book’s cross-cultural research demonstrates how identities may be and are produced from texts and illuminates an engrossing, frequently stressful historical past that arose from those creations.

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If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant—I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact, more truly human, a life not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life—again I should point to India .

Moreover, had the Veda been available, Schlegel judged that its value would have been minimal. Of necessity, the Veda would have long since been falsified (Schlegel 1966: 251). Original revelation, long lost to the Indians with the loss of the Veda, had completely degenerated (Schlegel 1966: 207). What resulted from its distortion and loss? Detoured from the path of truth, Indians fell prey to wild fiction and coarse error (“System der Seelenwanderung und Emanation”). The Veda, in its imagined pure form, represented lost truth and thus had authority as an irretrievable artifact.

The Hindus), that every nation has its own religion. For this reason, they do not force anyone to accept theirs” (cited in Halbfass 1988:61). We have seen how in the French Enlightenment discourse, India provided an alibi: by satisfying, through spacial displacement, the need for a new social and religious geography. Moreover, Indian religion also illustrated how “natural light” had been eclipsed through superstition, fanaticism, and idolatry. As Wilhelm Halbfass has noted, this theme of the suppression of natural light through superstition enjoyed great popularity among thinkers of the Enlightenment.

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