Language, Texts, and Society: Explorations in Ancient Indian Culture and Religion

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Anthem Press, 2011 - Religion - 419 pages
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This collection brings together a series of Patrick Olivelle’s research papers, published over a period of about ten years, whose unifying theme is the search for hidden historical context and developments within words and texts. Words (and cultural histories represented by words) that scholars often take for granted as having a continuous and long history are often new – sometimes even being neologisms. They can thus provide important indications of cultural and religious innovations. Olivelle’s book on the asramas, as well as the short pieces included in this volume, such as those on ananda and dharma, seek to see cultural innovation and historical changes within the changing semantic fields of key terms. Closer examination of numerous Sanskrit terms taken for granted as central to ‘Hinduism’ provide similar results. Indian texts have often been studied in the past as disincarnate realities providing information on an ahistorical and unchanging culture. ‘Language, Texts, and Society’ is a small contribution towards correcting this method of textual study.

  

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Contents

Preface
7
A Literary Study of an Upanißadic Story
13
Dharmas
53
Women and Indian Technologies of Immortality
101
The Ascetic Appropriation
121
The Middle
137
Explorations in the Early History of Dharmaåstra
155
Structure and Composition of the Månava Dharmaåstra
179
Womens Agency in the Dharmaåstras
247
A Study in åstric Intertextuality
261
A Study in åstric Intertextuality
275
Social Significance of Hair
321
An Exploration in Dietary Language
351
Dietary Rules
367
References
395
Index
413

A Study in the Language
217

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About the author (2011)

Patrick Olivelle is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions at the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as Chair of the Department of Asian Studies from 1994 to 2007. He previously taught in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington from 1974 to 1991, where he was the Department Chair from 1984 to 1990.

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