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Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language

Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh

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Peter G. Riddell

In Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language: Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh Peter G. Riddell undertakes a detailed study of the two earliest works of Qur’anic exegesis from the Malay-Indonesian world. Riddell explores the 17th century context in the Sultanate of Aceh that produced the two works, and the history of both texts. He argues that political, social and religious factors provide important windows into the content and approaches of both Qur’anic commentaries. He also provides a transliteration of the Jawi Malay text of both commentaries on sūra 18 of the Qur'ān ( al-Kahf), as well as an annotated translation into English. This work represents an important contribution to the search for greater understanding of the early Islamic history of the Malay-Indonesian world.

The Malay Hikayat Miʿrāj Nabi Muḥammad

The Prophet Muḥammad’s Nocturnal Journey to Heaven and Hell. Text and Translation of Cod. Or. 1713 in the Library of Leiden University

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Edited by Th.C. van der Meij and Nannoo Lambooij

Texts about the nocturnal journey of the Prophet Muḥammad (Mi‘rāj) abound in the Muslim world and outside. International attention has never been afforded to any version of text in any language of the Indonesian archipelago. One old version of the text from the area, the Malay Hikayat Mir’āj Nabi Muḥammad is presented here in Malay and English translation. The introductory chapters place the text in a wider context in Indonesian literatures while the manuscript of the text (Cod.Or. Leiden 1713) is described in detail. The text and translation purport to enhance interest in this important text in the Muslim world as seen from the Malay/Indonesian perspective.

Mpu Monaguṇa's Sumanasāntaka

An Old Javanese Epic Poem, its Indian Source and Balinese Illustrations

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Edited by Peter Worsley, S. Supomo, Thomas Hunter and Margaret Fletcher

Mpu Monaguṇa's early thirteenth century epic poem Sumanasāntaka is a vernacular rendering of Kālidāsa's story of Prince Aja and Princess Indumatī told in the Raghuvaṃśa. In it the poet exploits his source narrative to describe and comment on the Javanese world of his times.
In Mpu Monaguṇa's Sumanasāntaka the authors offer an edited text and translation of Mpu Monaguṇa's epic kakawin and extensive commentary on the editing of the manuscripts and history of the poem and its story, the relationship between the Old Javanese poem and Kālidāsa's Raghuvaṃśa, the way in which the poem imagines the lived environment of ancient Java in the early thirteenth century and Balinese painted representations of the story of Prince Aja and Princess Indumatī.

Duty, Language and Exegesis in Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā

Including an edition and translation of Rāmānujācārya’s Tantrarahasya, Śāstraprameyapariccheda

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Elisa Freschi

The book is an introduction to key concepts of Indian Philosophy, seen from the perspective of one of its most influential schools, the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā, which flourished from the 7th until the 20th c. AD. The book includes the critical edition and translation of Rāmānujācārya's Śāstraprameyapariccheda, which is part of his Tantrarahasya (written in South India, after the 14th c.). This text has never been translated before and it is one of the clearest elaboration of the Prābhākara thought.

The book particularly aims at presenting the linguistic, deontic-ethic, hermeneutic and epistemo-logical thought of the Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā. Detailed glossary and indexes make it possible to use the book as a reference-tool for Indian philosophy and linguistics.

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Edited by William Cummings

Beginning in the 1630s, a series of annalists at the main courts of Makassar began keeping records with dated entries that recorded a wide variety of specific historical information about a wide variety of topics, including the births and deaths of notable individuals, the actions of rulers, the spread of Islam, trade and diplomacy, the built environment, ritual activity, warfare, internal political struggles, social and kinship relations, eclipses and comets, and more. These Lontaraq bilang were a clear departure in form and function from the genealogically-structured chronicles being composed about the ruling families of Gowa and Talloq in the same era. By the end of 1751, nearly 2400 entries had been completed.
These records are a rich lode of information for scholars interested in virtually any aspect of life in premodern Makassar, and are a rare and precious resource for scholars of Southeast Asia. This is the first English translation and annotation of the annals.
Full text (Open Access)

Arjunawiwāha

The Marriage of Arjuna of Mpu Kanwa

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Stuart Robson

The Arjunawiwāha is one of the best known of the Old Javanese classics. This volume presents a new text, based on Balinese manuscripts, with a complete translation, building on the work done by earlier writers. An introduction provides ample background information, as well as an original interpretation of the significance of the text, within its historical and cultural setting. This poem was written by Mpu Kanwa in around A.D. 1030 under King Airlangga, who ruled in East Java. It is Mpu Kanwa’s only known work, and is the second oldest example in the genre of kakawin. The poem is a narrative, but also contains passages of description, philosophical or religious teaching of great interest, as well as remarkable erotic scenes. Parts of the tale have been depicted on early temple reliefs and in paintings, and the text is still recited in Bali by literary clubs and in temple ceremonies.
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A Chain of Kings

The Makassarese Chronicles of Gowa and Talloq

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William P. Cummings

The chronicles of Gowa and Talloq are the most important historical sources for the study of pre-colonial Makassar. They have provided the basic framework and much of the information that we possess about the origins, growth, and expansion of Gowa during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During this period Gowa and its close ally Talloq became the most powerful force in the eastern Indonesian archipelago, and historians have relied heavily on the chronicles to chart the developments of this period. Available for the first time in English translation, the two texts will offer historians and other scholars an invaluable foundation on which to base interpretations of this crucial place and time in Indonesian history. This volume is required reading for scholars of pre-modern Southeast Asia, including historians, linguists, anthropologists, and others.
Full text (Open Access)

Edited by J. Noorduyn and A. Teeuw

Preserved on undated palm-leaf manuscripts, Old Sundanese texts are generally in poor condition and unavailable to a wider audience. There are limited texts in any form of Sundanese, and only limited knowledge of Old Sundanese. In presenting three long Old Sundanese poems, Noorduyn and Teeuw, in a heretofore unequalled English-language study of Old Sundanese literature, bring to the light works of importance for further linguistic, literary and historical research.
The three poems, The Sons of Rama and Rawana, The ascension of Sri Ajnyana and The story of Bujangga Manik: A pilgrim's progress were undiscovered before this book. The first two were found in a nineteenth-century manuscript collection of the former Batavian Society and are now in the National Library of Indonesia in Jakarta, while the third was donated to the Bodleian Library in Oxford as early as 1627, though it was not identified as an Old Sundanese poem until the 1950s.

Bhomantaka

The Death of Bhoma

Edited by A. Teeuw and S.O. Robson

The Bhomantaka, or the Death of Bhoma, is a wide-ranging tale of the sweet romance of Samba and Yajñawati, of the defeat of the demon Bhoma by King Kresna and his minions in a truly monumental battle, and many more incidents and descriptions, a product of the sophisticated literary tradition of early Java. The poem is written in Old Javanese (composed by an author who does not mention his name or that of his king), in an idiom that presents many difficulties for the modern reader. This book contains an edition of the text, a translation, and an extensive explanatory introduction—enough to make the work accessible—and was produced by a team of two, both senior scholars of Old Javanese and experienced in producing readable English translations.
It will become apparent in the course of reading that there are still numerous philological problems attaching to the text and its interpretation, but on the other hand it is also a fact that it contains many a passage of delightful poetry, philosophical teaching and other cultural information. As a result we get a glimpse of what Java was like perhaps eight and a half centuries ago, and of the thought-world of the Javanese of that age – a world where legendary, mythological or divine beings do battle, and kings march out to restore the welfare of the realm.
This publication takes its place in a long line, from the author via the copyists, in Java and in Bali, who faithfully and lovingly transmitted the work, down to the first edition of the text in 1852 and then the first translation in 1946. In this way a literary tradition of great value has been preserved for the future, and the KITLV Press now offers this contribution to coming generations of students of Old Javanese and to scholars of comparative literature around the world.

Bidasari

Jewel of Malay Muslim Culture

Julian Millie

The sly wit and silky eroticism of the verse genre known as romantic syair were staple dishes on the Southeast Asian cultural menu, especially in the Malay, Islamic regional centres. Yet very few examples are available in translation for the many readers interested in the genre, and attempts by academics to account for their powers of attraction are even rarer. This book is the author’s effort to convey the seductive qualities of the sexiest of the romantic syair, the ‘Poem of Bidasari’. Few Malay works have been loved and disseminated to the extent the Syair Bidasari has. It was translated in other languages of the region like Makassarese and Maranao and adapted for the Malay theatre and cinema.
Three tasks are attempted in the book: a transliteration into Roman characters of one of the surviving Malay manuscripts of the poem, a translation of that manuscript into English, and an inquiry into the poem’s virtues. The intertexts drawn upon in the analysis reveal the author’s conviction that understanding of traditions of kesenian rakyat (popular arts) such as pantun and the Malay theatre provides the background that allows the text to signify most powerfully.