Wilhelm Halbfass

German indologist

Wilhelm Halbfass (11 May 1940 in Northeim – 25 May 2000) was a German-born Indologist.

Quotes edit

  • 'The question of an adequate standpoint [i.e., epistemology] for the evaluation and comparison of different cultural traditions has been decided by the course of history itself, and it has been decided in favor of Europe. European thought has to provide the context and categories for the exploration of all traditions of thought.'
    • quoted in Malhotra, R., & Infinity Foundation (Princeton, N.J.). (2018). Being different: An Indian challenge to western universalism.
  • During Gobineau's lifetime, the old theory of the Asian origin of the European languages and traditions, and of cultural movements from the East to the West, increasingly gave way to speculations on primeval movements from the West to the East, and on Aryan migrations from Europe, specifically Northern Europe, or even the North Pole, to India. According to these speculations, the European or Northern invaders gave their superior culture to the Indians and then lost their superiority through mixing with the local inhabitants and perished in a climate for which they were not suited. In 1903, E. de Michelis summarized this view by stating that Asia, and India in particular, was not the 'cradle', but the 'grave of the Aryans'.
    • quoted in Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan, A. (Princeton, N.J.). (2011). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines
  • The caste system and the Aryan invasion assume a paradigmatic place in Gobineau's conservative and pessimistic historiography and racial ideology.
    • Wilhelm Halbass quoted by Arvidsson, Aryan idols, 45

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