German Indology – A Case of Misology Masquerading as Philology

Misguided science or willful fraud?

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According to the ancient Greeks, philology is the study of ancient myths and tales to understand one’s immortal nature and relationship to the divine. Indologists claim that their study of ancient Indian texts is philology. In this essay, I analyze the work of three pioneers of German Indology whose work continues to serve as a foundation for the field of Indology today. Based on my analyses, I evaluate whether the disparate and divergent outcome of applying the text-historical method would qualify as a product of a philological undertaking under the ancient Greek definition of the term. I also comment on the impact that the findings of Indology have had on how people of Indian origin view their ancient texts and associated traditions.

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Venkat Nagarajan is a Bay area based economist, and a Ph.D. student at the Hindu University of America