[Buddha-l] Re: Watery dharma

curt at cola.iges.org curt at cola.iges.org
Wed Dec 19 10:28:45 MST 2007

Zagorin has another really fascinating book on the subject of religious intolerance. It is called "Ways of Lying: Dissimulation, Persecution and Conformity in Early Modern Europe". That book is part of very broad debate that has been going on for decades among western scholars about how to factor in deception, in all it's varieties, when evaluating the writings of people who live and work in places and times when people are not necessarily free to always say exactly what they think. For obvious reasons this is an especially important, and tricky, subject for anyone interested in western intellectual history.

Richard Popkin, author of "The History of Skepticism from Savonarola to Bayle" is another important voice in this debate - as is none other than Leo Straus, intellectual godfather of Neoconservatism (Strauss wrote a seminal work on the subject titled "Persecution and the Art of Writing").

Curt Steinmetz

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Hayes" <rhayes at unm.edu>
To: "Buddhist discussion forum" <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 12:09:57 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_York
Subject: [Buddha-l] Re: Watery dharma

On Wed, 2007-12-19 at 08:34 -0800, Katherine Masis wrote:

> (I think Richard has a piece on the misreading of modern pluralism
> in(to) early Buddhism.) 

That piece was written during my blues period. (It's still available at
http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/download.html or
http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/bahuvada.pdf )

The pluralism item is one of several that I wrote on the wrong-headed
anachronicity of seeing classical Buddhism as anticipating modernist
(and post-modernist) positions on politics, the environment, psychology,
interfaith pluralism and religious tolerance. Unfortunately, these
pieces got me a badly undeserved reputation in some quarters as being a
raving anti-Buddhist modernist. That's only one-third accurate. I'm not
at all anti-Buddhist, and I'm not much of a modernist (and decidedly not
a post-modernist). As for raving, I stand as accused. Just name a topic,
and I'll rave until either the cows come home or the sheep run away.

As for Perez Zagorin, I'm sure you realize he taught at Amherst College,
Vassar, McGill, University of Rochester, University of Virginia,
Princeton and several other places. I'm not sure how much I would trust
a fellow who had such a difficult time holding down a steady job. If you
want to read the work of a McGill professor who was much better at
keeping a job, I'd recommend Stephen Leacock. At least he had a sense of
humour and a well-earned reputation for being a grumpy misanthrope. Some
say Leacock was an anti-Semitic misogynist, but that is only a partial
truth. He was equally against---or, at least prepared to make fun
of---pretty much everybody.

Richard Hayes

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