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Friedrich Max Müller and the Sacred Books of the East$
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Arie L. Molendijk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784234

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784234.001.0001

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Concepts and Ideas

Concepts and Ideas

(p.89) 3 Concepts and Ideas
Friedrich Max Müller and the Sacred Books of the East

Arie L. Molendijk

Oxford University Press

The series Sacred Books of the East exemplifies a particular kind of scholarship. Chapter 3, ‘Concepts and Ideas’, analyses the basic concepts and ideas involved in the edition. Especially important are Max Müller’s views on texts (‘book religions’), canonicity, translation, ‘Aryan’ and ‘Semitic’ languages and religions, as well as on ‘the East’ in general. Various aspects of ‘translating’ the East into the West, including the use of indigenous informants (‘walking manuscripts’) and Müller’s typical blend of a sympathetic form of orientalism, are discussed and related to the more general debate on orientalism. At least textually, the indigenous religious specialists are subjected to imperial scientific authorities, who have their own superior scholarly expertise.

Keywords:   orientalism, otherness, texts, (difficulties of) translation, the East versus the West, ‘Aryan’ and ‘Semitic’, language families, race, religious apriori, evolution

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