UNDER RECONSTRUCTION -- Our new beautifully-designed, fully responsive site will soon be unveiled...

Language, Texts, and Society

Explorations in Ancient Indian Culture and Religion

Patrick Olivelle

Language, Texts, and Society

A collection of research papers by Patrick Olivelle, unified in their search for historical context and developments hidden within words and texts.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9780857284310
December 2011 | 420 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 14+ figures, tables and charts
PRICE:  £60.00  /  $99.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

This collection brings together the research papers of Patrick Olivelle, published over a period of about ten years. The unifying theme of these studies is the search for historical context and developments hidden within words and texts. Words – and the cultural history represented by words – that scholars often take for granted as having a continuous and long history are often new and even neologisms, and thus provide important clues to 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. This volume is a small contribution towards correcting that method of textual study.

Readership: Students and scholars of ancient India, and to scholars working in comparative culture and religion.

Author Information

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.

Table of Contents

Preface; Abbreviations; I. Young Śvetaketu: A Literary Study of an Upaniṣadic Story; II. dharmaskandhāḥ and brahmasaṃsthaḥ: A Study of Chāndogya Upaniṣad 2.23.1; III. Orgasmic Rapture and Divine Ecstasy: The Semantic History of ānanda; IV. Amṛtā: Women and Indian Technologies of Immortality; V. Power of Words: The Ascetic Appropriation and the Semantic Evolution of dharma; VI. Semantic History of Dharma: The Middle and Late Vedic Periods; VII. Explorations in the Early History of Dharmaśāstra; VIII. Structure and Composition of the Mānava Dharmaśāstra; IX. Caste and Purity: A Study in the Language of the Dharma Literature; X. Rhetoric and Reality: Women’s Agency in the Dharmaśāstras; XI. Manu and Gautama: A Study in Śāstric Intertextuality; XII. Manu and the Arthaśāstra: A Study in Śāstric Intertextuality; XIII. Unfaithful Transmitters: Philological Criticism and Critical Editions of the Upaniṣads; XIV. Sanskrit Commentators and the Transmission of Texts: Haradatta on Apastamba-Dharmasūtra; XV. Hair and Society: Social Significance of Hair in South Asian Traditions; XVI. Abhaksya and Abhojya: An Exploration in Dietary Language; XVII. Food for Thought: Dietary Rules and Social Organization in Ancient India; References; Index