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I just finished Eric Adler's The Battle of the Classics, and wanted to say something about Joel Christiansen's review linked below. I am not sure what motivates the review (I speculate a bit below), but it gives a very misleading impression of the book. 1/x


The meat of the criticism is that the history Adler gives is insufficiently critical. Adler describes a few figures who had a great influence on how the modern US university was formed. It's certainly critical: it focuses on the social Darwinism of these figures. 2/x

Other insinuations and suggestions in the review seem wildly off the mark, distorted, or inappropriate-- for example, that the book is clickbaity (it is scholarly) or conservative (hardly) or connected to the events at the Capitol (give me a break). 3/x

The core question: in what sense is classics inherently racist? Classics is old. On Adler's account, it begins in ancient Rome and is revived in the Renaissance. Slavery (Christiansen's primary concern) is also very old. Let's say classics is an education for slaveowners. 4/x

It's worth remembering that literacy itself is elite throughout most of this history. Literacy is, then, also the education of slaveowners. We can honor oral and musical traditions without denying that literacy is, generally, good. 5/x
Rig Ved 1.36.7

To do a Namaskaar or bow before someone means that you are humble or without pride and ego. This means that we politely bow before you since you are better than me. Pranipaat(प्राणीपात) also means the same that we respect you without any vanity.

1/9


Surrendering False pride is Namaskaar. Even in devotion or bhakti we say the same thing. We want to convey to Ishwar that we have nothing to offer but we leave all our pride and offer you ourselves without any pride in our body. You destroy all our evil karma.

2/9

We bow before you so that you assimilate us and make us that capable. Destruction of our evils and surrender is Namaskaar. Therefore we pray same thing before and after any big rituals.

3/9

तं घे॑मि॒त्था न॑म॒स्विन॒ उप॑ स्व॒राज॑मासते ।
होत्रा॑भिर॒ग्निं मनु॑षः॒ समिं॑धते तिति॒र्वांसो॒ अति॒ स्रिधः॑॥

Translation :

नमस्विनः - To bow.

स्वराजम् - Self illuminating.

तम् - His.

घ ईम् - Yours.

इत्था - This way.

उप - Upaasana.

आसते - To do.

स्त्रिधः - For enemies.

4/9

अति तितिर्वांसः - To defeat fast.

मनुषः - Yajman.

होत्राभिः - In seven numbers.

अग्निम् - Agnidev.

समिन्धते - Illuminated on all sides.

Explanation : Yajmans bow(do Namaskaar) before self illuminating Agnidev by making the offerings of Havi.

5/9