Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Language of DisenchantmentProtestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robert A. Yelle

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199924998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199924998.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 25 June 2019

“A Disease of Language”

“A Disease of Language”

The Attack on Hindu Myth as Verbal Idolatry

Chapter:
(p.33) 2 “A Disease of Language”
Source:
The Language of Disenchantment
Author(s):

Robert A. Yelle

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199924998.003.0002

Chapter 2 examines the background of the colonial attack on Hindu mythology, which borrowed from an earlier critique, associated with Francis Bacon and scientific empiricism, of the habit of taking words as things. A deeper historical investigation shows that Protestant iconoclasm and literalism contributed to these polemics against verbal idolatry. A tradition of Christian comparative mythology, which culminated in the Victorian scholar Friedrich Max Müller’s theory of Hindu myth as a “disease of language,” explained pagan idolatry and polytheism as a linguistic confusion. The effort to purify discourse by removing such distortions and creating a transparent, neutral medium for scientific description had theological dimensions, inasmuch as the smashing of verbal idols was identified with the restoration of the true name of God.

Keywords:   mythology, Friedrich Max Müller, Francis Bacon, Royal Society, idolatry, iconoclasm, monotheism, Prisca theologia, literalism, translation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .