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Edited by Bernard Feltz, Marcus Missal and Andrew Cameron Sims

Neuroscientists often consider free will to be an illusion. Contrary to this hypothesis, the contributions to this volume show that recent developments in neuroscience can also support the existence of free will. Firstly, the possibility of intentional consciousness is studied. Secondly, Libet’s experiments are discussed from this new perspective. Thirdly, the relationship between free will, causality and language is analyzed. This approach suggests that language grants the human brain a possibility to articulate a meaningful personal life. Therefore, human beings can escape strict biological determinism.

Dániel Balogh


Located in Vidisha District, Madhya Pradesh, the area of Badoh-Pathari is home to a rock shelter with a sculpted panel depicting seven mother goddesses. A weathered inscription next to the sculptures was reported as early as 1926. The inscription is dateable to the fifth century on the basis of its palaeography and the art-historical dating of the site. Though partly effaced beyond hope of decipherment, roughly half of the text can be read with confidence, while some of the rest may be restored conjecturally, and some speculatively. The epigraph pays homage to Rudra and Skanda in addition to the Mothers themselves, and is thus a key resource concerning mātṛ worship in the Gupta period. It mentions the otherwise unknown local ruler Jayatsena of Avamukta (a region also named in the Allahabad pillar inscription), and may refer to the reign of Kumāragupta (I).

Cristina Guardiano and Melita Stavrou


This paper investigates aspects of adjectival modification in Romance and Greek of Southern Italy. In Italiot Greek, prenominal adjectives obey restrictions that do not exist in Standard Modern Greek, where all types of adjectives are allowed in prenominal position. As far as postnominal adjectives are concerned, in the textual tradition of Calabria Greek there is evidence of postnominal adjectives systematically articulated in definite nominal structures (henceforth DP s), in a structure similar to the so-called polydefinite construction that is typical of Standard Modern Greek (and of Greek in general since ancient times). Some residual evidence of such a construction is also found in Salento. Yet, in the varieties currently spoken in the two areas, postnominal adjectives are never articulated. The paper explores these patterns, with particular attention to the mechanisms potentially responsible for the loss of polydefiniteness.

Ezra la Roi


This paper challenges the commonly held view that the Classical Greek potential optative has a subjective epistemic semantics, the result of a conceptual confusion of subjectivity and epistemic modality inherited from our standard grammars. I propose that this view becomes less convincing when the optative’s unique interaction with the subjective particles ἦ and ἄρα is incorporated into the analysis. Rather, the potential optative has a non-subjective epistemic semantics presenting an epistemic judgment as interpersonally accessible to the conversational participants. Frequencies of combination with ἦ and ἄρα, linguistic tests for subjectivity on the potential optative, and contrastive contextual analyses corroborate this view.

From the editors

A new year, a new issue

Dag T.T. Haug, Brian D. Joseph and Anna Roussou

Francesco Mambrini


We study the distribution of the nominal and copular construction of predicate nominals in a subset of authors from the Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank (AGDT). We concentrate on the texts of the historians Herodotus, Thucydides (both 5th century BCE) and Polybius (2nd century BCE). The data comprise a sample of 440 sentences (Hdt = 175, Thuc = 91, Pol = 174). We analyze the impact of four features that have been discussed in the literature and can be observed in the annotation of AGDT: (1) order of constituents, (2) part of speech of the subjects, (3) type of clause and (4) length of the clause. Furthermore, we test how the predictive power of these factors varies in time from Herodotus and Thucydides to Polybius with the help of a logistic-regression model. The analysis shows that, contrary to a simplistic opinion, the nominal construction does not drop into irrelevance in Hellenistic Greek. Moreover, an analysis of the distributions in the authors highlights a remarkable continuity in the usage patterns. Further work is needed to improve the predictive power of our logistic-regression model and to integrate more data in view of a more comprehensive quantitative diachronic study.

Trans-Sectual Identity

Materials for the Study of the Praśnottararatnamālikā, a Hindu/Jaina/Buddhist Catechism (I)

Jonathan A. Silk and Péter-Dániel Szántó


The Praśnottararatnamālikā is a small tract containing 62 questions, paired with their answers. It is extraordinary that this text has been transmitted within Hindu, Jaina and Buddhist traditions, in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Tibetan, variously attributed to different authors. The present study examines what is known of the text, which from early on drew the attention of modern scholars, and presents editions of its Sanskrit and Tibetan versions, along with a translation and annotations.

Vedic Cosmology and Ethics

Selected Studies


Henk W. Bodewitz

Edited by Dory H. Heilijgers, Jan E.M. Houben and Karel van Kooij

How did ‘Vedic man’ think about the destiny of man after death and related ethical issues? That heaven was the abode of the gods was undisputed, but was it also accessible to man in his pursuit of immortality? Was there a realm of the deceased or a hell? What terms were used to indicate these ‘yonder worlds’? What is their location in the cosmos and which cosmographic classifications are at the root of these concepts? The articles by Henk Bodewitz collected in this volume, published over a period of 45 years, between 1969 and 2013, deal with these issues on the basis of a systematic philological study of early Vedic texts, from the Ṛgveda to various Brāhmaṇas, Āraṇykas and Upaniṣads.


Henk Bodewitz

Edited by Dory Heilijgers, Jan Houben and Karel van Kooij