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Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science
by Stefan Arvidsson
translated by Sonia Wichmann
University of Chicago Press, 2006
Cloth: 978-0-226-02860-6 | Paper: 978-0-226-02861-3
Library of Congress Classification BL660.A7813 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 200.8909

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.

See other books on: Europe | Ideology | Indo-Europeans | Mythology, Indo-European | Wichmann, Sonia
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