The following points derived from Gene Smith’s Among Tibetan Texts by Kurtis Schaeffer were shared today at Columbia University’s panel discussion on the future of Tibetan studies after Gene Smith.

  • Know the breadth and depth of Tibetan history
  • Read single works for depth
  • Read collected works for breadth
  • Collect all available works on a topic
  • List all unavailable works on that topic
  • Find those unavailable works
  • Make those works available
  • Collect, describe, and compare all editions of a given work
  • Know which edition you are reading and why
  • Know the material context of the text
  • Know the social context of the work
  • Know the author’s biography
  • Know the author’s teachers, students, friends’ and enemies’ biographies
  • Know the author’s collected works
  • Know the author’s teachers, students, friends, and enemies’ collected works
  • Do not trust the text to be that of the author
  • Trust the text to reveal something interesting about the context
  • Trust the work to reveal something interesting about the author
  • Rely on the context to discern what is interesting about the author
  • Study the breadth of Tibetan tradition
  • Study the depth of Tibetan history
  • Read single works with breadth
  • Read collected works with depth

One Response to “Gene Smith’s Rules for the History of Tibetan Literature”

  1. [...] Gene Smith’s Rules for the History of Tibetan Literature [...]

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