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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

June 5th, 2007

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01:25 pm - Hinduism isn't Vedism, sorry
Hmm. . . Do I send my post in response to "Vedic and Hindu is really the same thing" to the public list, or do I not?

Arg. I've spent an entire hour's lunch writing it, looking up source material, and putting it together. It's a good post, too, citing my translator when needed, and the book I got the information from. . . I dunno.

These are the issues with sitting down with the source material and seeing that the scholarship on it has more holes than the amateur work does.

I admit, I do worry about doing a "scholarship bomb" on the ADF lists. I figure asking for a source citation once is probably enough: I'm not trying to stomp out dissent, but I need a source citation in order to discuss this stuff intelligently. I know what a scholarship bomb will do, though, and that's shut people up or hurt them: I've seen it happen often.

(FYI, my favourite point in my response is that if we can call the Vedics "Hindu" because Hinduism evolved from Vedism, then we can call Jews "Muslims".)

I'm going to sit on this post a while longer.

One of these days, I expect that I'll meet Wendy Doniger and I'll have to play nice on this infernal topic. I'm not looking forward to that.

Edit: Thank you, Cei. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: "A Mile High in Denver", -JB

(22 comments Leave a comment)


Date:June 5th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
i'm not familiar with the term "scholarship bomb." could that potentially be followed up with Ian's motto "because you might fuckin' learn something?"

you could always post it here...

[User Picture]
Date:June 5th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)

Well, fine then!

Sorry, but I don't buy it. It's far too reductionistic, for one thing. Buddhism and Jainism both derive from Vedism, as well, but it's astounding how different they look from both Vedism and Hinduism. If you're going to say that a religion is the same as the one it evolved from, you've got to take the whole cart. I'm terribly uncomfortable with referring to all these religions as "Vedism".

It's very much like saying that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are really the same thing, or that we can refer to Jews as "Muslims" because Islam evolved out of Judaism. Do you understand why I don't get your argument here? The religions are just *so* different that they seem to require different names.

There is a clear enough divide between what's in the four Vedas and what's in the later texts as to suggest that they're not all that similar.

But there are two particular points that need to be made about your above note: the word "siva" is an adjective applied to Rudra in RV X.92.9, not a name of Rudra. Rudra is sometimes referred to as "siva", not "Shiva is sometimes called Rudra" as you indicate, as "Shiva" doesn't exist in the Vedas, only appearing in later Indic texts. "Siva", in that verse, simply means "kindly" (Maurer's translation, p. 120 of his "Selections"). He's a minor deity in the Vedas, anyway, certainly not a prominent one, and no one can quite explain how "Rudra as Shiva" becomes so prominent, as it makes no real sense as a natural evolution (the hymns are very much, "Thanks for the medicine and bring home our warriors; now please don't hurt me you big scary monster!").

I'm also completely unconvinced by "Ganesha isn't mentioned, but he's there." The Vedics, had they a deity called Ganesha, would have mentioned him, and if someone had fulfilled his ritual function under a different name, that deity would also be mentioned. So, I'll ask again: what's your source citation? What deity fulfills this function and later becomes Ganesha (thus, I presume, disappearing from the pantheon under Hinduism)? Without a source from one of the four Vedas or a Vedic Brahmana, I don't think this argument is going to convince me at all.

You are, though, correct that Hinduism is becoming more and more widely accepted as a modern constructive interpretation of the hundreds of Indic religions in academic circles.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:June 5th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Well, fine then!

ADF-Druidry has both members and non-members, so I generally consider it "lighter fare" in terms of what folk can handle, scholarship-wise, and try my best to be as light and welcoming as possible, and this piece just isn't that, really.

It's probably about just right for a non-scholarly all-member list, but to a list that generally presents our "face" to a lot of people, I figure it's a bit over the top.
[User Picture]
Date:June 5th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Well, fine then!

It's not over the top at all. If that list is presenting our "face" to the people, it is absolutely needed to correct ill-informed comments.
[User Picture]
Date:June 5th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Well, fine then!

Oh, certainly. I just think that Cei did it nicer than I could have with the above post :)
[User Picture]
Date:June 5th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
"Scholarship bombing" is basically trotting out as many references as you can to support your argument and destroy another person's. It often results in very long emails that ramble for a long time about many things tangentially related to the topic at hand.

The threshold of what's a "bomb" and what isn't is different for each situation: what's a bomb on ADF-Druidry is just par for the course on ADF-Scholars, for instance. There also may be an implication of "talking down" in a bomb, too.

After sitting on the above reply for a while, and seeing Cei's very simple response, it's obvious mine is one of those bombs. I'm too close to the topic right now to have judged it accurately in the first place, and so I was smart to sit on it.
Date:June 5th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
well, thanks for posting it here, anyway. i don't mind being 'talked down to' if it means i'll 'fucking learn something' :) but that's just me :)
[User Picture]
Date:June 5th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, neither do I. In fact, I spend as much time as possible learning from those who most consider "talking down". Heck, once you can recognize that that's what they're doing, you've probably gotten to the point that you no longer need to learn that particular lesson any longer :)

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