Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2006 - History - 354 pages
Critically examining the discourse of Indo-European scholarship over the past two hundred years, Aryan Idols demonstrates how the interconnected concepts of “Indo-European” and “Aryan” as ethnic categories have been shaped by, and used for, various ideologies.
Stefan Arvidsson traces the evolution of the Aryan idea through the nineteenth century—from its roots in Bible-based classifications and William Jones’s discovery of commonalities among Sanskrit, Latin, and Greek to its use by scholars in fields such as archaeology, anthropology, folklore, comparative religion, and history. Along the way, Arvidsson maps out the changing ways in which Aryans were imagined and relates such shifts to social, historical, and political processes. Considering the developments of the twentieth century, Arvidsson focuses on the adoption of Indo-European scholarship (or pseudoscholarship) by the Nazis and by Fascist Catholics.

A wide-ranging discussion of the intellectual history of the past two centuries, Aryan Idols links the pervasive idea of the Indo-European people to major scientific, philosophical, and political developments of the times, while raising important questions about the nature of scholarship as well.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

While kind of a dry read (it might have read better in the original Swedish), Arvidsson has taken on the difficult job of precisely outlining all the variety of ways that people have used the image of ... Read full review

Contents

From Noahs Sons to the Aryan Race The Foundation Is Laid
13
A Place in the Sun The Paradigm of Nature Mythology
63
Primitive Aryans Research near the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century
124
Order and Barbarism Aryan Religion in the Third Reich
178
Horsemen from the East Alternatives to Nazi Research
239
Conclusion
309
Bibliography
325
Index
341
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Stefan Arvidsson is assistant professor at the University of Halmstad and a researcher at the University of Lund. Sonia Wichmann received a Ph.D. from the Department of Scandinavian at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bibliographic information