About Matthew Dasti

Matthew R. Dasti is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bridgewater State University.

4 thoughts on “Congratulations to Jonathan Edelmann

  1. Thank you to Matthew Dasti for this note. This position involves working in the Asian Studies Ph.D. program at the University of Florida. I will also be involved with Chitra, a Hindu Studies Center that serves the larger university and surrounding areas. I will also be involved in their Religion and Nature program, one of the first Ph.D programs in the United States to systematically address issues in Science and Religion, especially the environment. I am very excited to have such great colleagues and new opportunities.

    I recent gave a paper at the Association for Core Texts and Courses. In the 1950s leading American Universities like Columbia, Chicago, Boston College, Emory, etc. began a program of undergraduate education that involved exposing students to “core texts,” i.e. the historically significant authors over the course of history. The Bhagavad Gītā has always been on the list of core texts, and I taught it in the core text program at Mississippi State University and I will likewise teach it (far less frequently) likewise at the University of Florida.

    But as I taught it I found the need to have students attend to the commentaries. Normally I would function as the “commentarial voice,” but I think undergraduates, especially those at good universities, can and should assimilate at least two of the commentators, e.g. Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja. My paper, although short, is a prospectus for a longer project in which the generalized study of the Bhagavad Gītā includes insight from commentators. This project is inspired by Ramprasad’s Divine Self, Human Self, Bryant’s Yoga-sūtra, and Siderits’ Mūlamadhyamakakārikā.

    In addition I’m working on rethinking issues of ethics, looking at Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava conceptions of dharma and yoga in the 17th century, especially Viśvanātha and Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya.

  2. Thanks for this, Jonathan. Quick follow up: Do you find that other participants in the Association for Core Texts and Courses conference “got” the idea of the Gita as a core text, or did you have to motivate that notion for them?

    • The Bhagavad Gita, along with the Analects and a few other Chinese texts, have long been considered “core texts.” A founder of the program, Mortimer J Adler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortimer_J._Adler) first framed it as an introduction to Western texts, but quickly sought to involve non-Western texts, arts, architecture, etc. Thus my job was not to convince them that the Gita is part of the core, but that we need commentaries. In fact they all agreed, but the greatest difficulty is the lack of literature in this regard.

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