Synopsis

The contributors were requested to center their articles on or have them take as their starting point one or more of Halbfass’ three major books: Indien und Europa (1981) and its English version India and Europe (1988) (IE), Tradition and Reflection (1991) (TR) and On Being and What There Is (1992) (OB). It was also emphasized that the book was not intended as a kind of felicitation volume. Rather, it was made known that the book was envisaged as one that would contain critiques, questions, comments, supplementary observations, different perspectives, etc.

The papers that could finally be included in the present volume originate from twenty- three scholars working in eleven countries spread over three continents; they have been grouped into five broad topical sections by the editors. Halbfass’ critical response commences with a long introductory essay in which, among other things, he assesses in a masterly manner the state of Indian studies almost twenty years after the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism. Halbfass’ responses to the individual contributions follow in four essays after the corresponding sections; because of their brevity the responses to sections four and five are joined in one essay.

It is not a surprise that the largest number of papers centers on or touches upon topics dealt with in Indien und Europa, namely, the contributions by Andrew O. Fort (also relating to TR), Yohanan Grinshpon, Klaus Karttunen, Dermot Killingley, Frank J. Korom, Jitendra Nath Mohanty, Srinivasa Rao (also referring to TR), Reena Sen and Sergei D. Serebriany. Tradition and Reflection forms the subject and starting point of the second large group of papers, by Johannes Bronkhorst, Stuart Elkman, Minoru Hara, Jan E. M. Houben, Bruce M. Perry (also referring to IE) and John Taber; Albrecht Wezler offers significant supplementary observations on the conception of karman. On Being and What There Is has caught the attention of three contributors only; Kunio Harikai (who is also inspired by TR) and Viktoria Lysenko both take specific observations in the book as the starting point of their own related investigations and reflections, whereas Joseph S. O’Leary examines in a very broad and substantial manner whether the question of being was at all addressed in Indian philosophy. That only three contributors specifically respond to On Being and What There Is may be due to the fact that its impact had not yet been fully realized at the time the editors’ invitations to the volume were sent out. However, three other authors respond from their respective viewpoints to all three major works of Halbfass: Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Fred Dallmayr and Rada Ivekovic. Ben-Ami Scharfstein, for his part, presents us with his fundamental reflections on a comparative history of world philosophy, an undertaking in which he feels encouraged by Halbfass’ example of joining two intellectual worlds, namely, those of India and the West.