Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Richard V. De Smet: missing items

Daniel De Smet, nephew of Fr Richard De Smet, got in touch with me yesterday, thanking me for the copy of Brahman and Person that I had sent him, and asking me to send him, once again, a list of items he could look for. Going through one of his earlier mails to me, I found, to my great surprise, that he had listed the following items as being in his possession:
3. no date but written for St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India
a survey of Four Centuries
40 pages +notes

4. a small pack from p 33 till 65 + notes
starting with
point 6. The Creative Assimilationists
7. The Apophatists
8. Christians in Dialogue with Advaitins

5. "Trajectory of My Dialogical Activity"

This is amazing! I think we have managed to trace at least part, if not the whole, of the missing MS about the Jesuit Contribution to Vedanta. Or perhaps the Christian Encounter with Vedanta! I am excited. I hope Daniel manages to send me copies.

See the following from De Smet, "Samkara Vedanta and Christian Theology," Review of Darshana 1 (1980) 33:
This survey of the attitudes adopted by Christian scholars towards Śāṅkara Vedānta in this century is summed up from a monograph (now in the press) in which I have studied the four centuries of encounters between Christians and Vedānta beginning with Robert de Nobili (1577-1656).

I recall distinctly De Smet telling me that he was working on the text while in Rome in 1990. He said he had the basic matter, but was enriching it with material found in the Jesuit Archives. He was staying that year first in the Jesuit Casa degli Scrittori near their Generalate, and then in the Civilta' Cattolica house near the Borghese Gardens. Perhaps it in that year that he left his manuscript with his nephew.

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