In a forthcoming book on the history of German Indology, Adluri argues that 19th and 20th century German scholarship on the Indian epic reveals more about the debates internal to German history than objective aspects of the Mahābhārata. In this paper, I reconstruct his thesis, focusing especially on what Adluri terms the “Brahmanic hypothesis,” i.e., the claim that Brahmins refashioned an original heroic epic (Indo-Germanic or Āryan) as a powerful instrument of their new theological and political agenda. In the first section,
I trace the origins of the Brahmanic hypothesis in German Mahābhārata scholarship of the 19th century, before then turning to Adluri’s analysis of the hypothesis in the context of its Lutheran anti-Catholic origins. I then argue that this approach opens up a completely new perspective on the history of the German academic discourse on India. In the concluding section, I then apply his
insights to a consideration of some recent critiques of the CE and attempts to redefine it in a manner retrogressive to the CE’s stated intentions.
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