Blame mankind, not God, for mess

January 2, 1998

WHILE appreciating many of the remarks made by Linda Woodhead in reviewing my Studies in Modern Jewish and Hindu Thought (THES, December 12), much of what she says fails to reach its target since I was not concerned with her discipline of religious studies but with intellectual history.

Talk of a "lost world", mentioned once in the title and twice in the body of the review, fails to recognise the extent to which yesterday's problems are carried over to today. The radical critique of "civilisation" (now posing as the "global"), work and the human condition, myths about "the east", and the ugliness of nationalism in many of its aspects, are all themes concerning contemporary times no less than the era she regards as "dated" and "vintage". I disagree radically with her assumption that all must now appear before "postmodern tribunals". A closer reading would show that the "historical and cultural" embedding of the ideas examined has been stressed.

Margaret Chatterjee

Westminster College, Oxford

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