Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science by Stefan Arvidsson

By Stefan Arvidsson

Seriously interpreting the discourse of Indo-European scholarship during the last 2 hundred years, Aryan Idols demonstrates how the interconnected techniques of “Indo-European” and “Aryan” as ethnic different types were formed by means of, and used for, quite a few ideologies.Stefan Arvidsson strains the evolution of the Aryan suggestion throughout the 19th century—from its roots in Bible-based classifications and William Jones’s discovery of commonalities between Sanskrit, Latin, and Greek to its use via students in fields corresponding to archaeology, anthropology, folklore, comparative faith, and historical past. alongside the way in which, Arvidsson maps out the altering ways that Aryans have been imagined and relates such shifts to social, historic, and political methods. contemplating the advancements of the 20 th century, Arvidsson makes a speciality of the adoption of Indo-European scholarship (or pseudoscholarship) by means of the Nazis and by way of Fascist Catholics. A wide-ranging dialogue of the highbrow heritage of the previous centuries,  Aryan Idols hyperlinks the pervasive concept of the Indo-European humans to significant medical, philosophical, and political advancements of the days, whereas elevating very important questions about the character of scholarship besides.

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Extra info for Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science

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At the same time, the ground was prepared for researching the spiritual and religious universe of this immutable dominant group: What religion and mythology is suitable to cultural heroes? In the two centuries of research on Indo*Europeans, several different theories about their religion have been presented. One of these theories supported, and was in turn supported by, the image of the Indo-Europeans as civilized farmers. Among many of the thinkers that we have already met in the previous chapter there were ideas, conceptions, facts, and conclusions that became fundamental for the construction of this theory.

One might wonder whether he has in mind the pre~Muslim religion of the Iranians. Zoroastrianism, rather than the religion that emerges in the Vedic texts. Schlegel had in fact become acquainted with Zoroastrianism in Paris. where he had not only learned. Sanskrit but also studied the sibling of this language. Avestan. l He had presumably become acquainted with the Avestan imaginary world through a translation that was by chance accessible in French. The reason for this -accidental translation" was that the Indomanic hypothesis that the cultural history of India was even older than that of the Hebrews had raised the question of whether the oldest r~Ligious texts of India might be as venerable as the ancient source texts of Christianity.

For example. how the Aryans were dressed. what kind of utensils they used, and that they were a beautiful and virtuous master race that lived in Pamir and stood on the threshold of becoming a true cultural people. His method also revealed that the primitive Aryans were settled livestock farmers, but that they had begun to develop some form of agriculture and private ownership. According to Pictet. the primitive Aryans also had a great desire for freedom, which would form the basis of future artistic development.

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