FROM THE RHETORIC OF BLAME TO THE INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE (WILHELM HALBFASS'S REPLY TO EDWARD SAID'S CRITIQUE OF ORIENTALISM) (Od retoriky obvinovania k medzikulturnemu dialogu (Odpoved Wilhelma Halbfassa na kritiku orientalizmu Edwarda W. Saida))
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The paper focuses on the response of distinguished German indologist Wilhelm Halbfass to Edward Said's highly acclaimed but controversial book Orientalism (1979). Halbfass himself is the author of a path-breaking study titled Indien und Europa (1981)/India and Europe (1988), which explores the intercultural encounter of India and Europe, from pre-Alexandrian antiquity until the present. He relied on the German hermeneutical tradition represented by the work of Martin Heidegger and especially Hans-Georg Gadamer who had re-evaluated the notion of prejudice. Said and Halbfass represent two opposing interpretations of colonial intellectual history: the one stressing the violence of colonial intervention and at the other representing the hermeneutic conception of an authentic intercultural encounter. For Said, the systematic employment of Western power-knowledge obscured the human truth of the Orient. For Halbfass, in contrast, the structure of ‘power-knowledge' does not prevent a fruitful and meaningful encounter. Said's work has been reviewed and critiqued by many, including prominent orientalists, who are the target of the indictment. However, Halbfass's work and his reply to the Saidian critique of Oriental studies offer more than that. It proposes a constructive alternative to the discourse about non-Western cultures: a discourse with them.
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