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Paolo Visigalli


The essay demonstrates the longevity and pervasiveness of Indic and Indic-derived etymological analyses (nirvacana) across literary traditions, in Sanskrit, Pāli, and Chinese. To exemplify different indigenous approaches to etymology, the essay explores emic analyses of the word araṇya ‘wilderness’. It traces the analyses found in Chāndogya Upaniṣad (8.5) and in the works of the etymologists (Nirukta) and grammarians (vyākaraṇa; uṇādisūtra). It also considers Paramārtha’s nirvacana-inspired analysis of Chinese alianruo 阿練若 (araṇya), and identifies a similar analysis in Aggavaṃsa’s Saddanīti. The essay shows etymological analyses’ sophistication and variety of purposes.

Jonathan Silk and Peter Bisschop

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.