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Paolo Visigalli

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Editors’ Note

A Call for Reviews and Reviewers

Fire, the Greatest God (ātarš … mazišta yazata)

The Cult of the “Eternal” Fire in the Rituals in Avestan

Alberto Cantera

Abstract

The lack of evidence for the existence of fire temples in ancient Iran has been used as an argument for the absence of the concept of the “eternal fire” in the Avestan texts. However, a new analysis of the final section of the Long Liturgy shows that the fire was usually removed from the sacrificial area before the recitation of Yasna 62.7 and transported back to the “house of men” from which it had been taken. As such, the Long Liturgy partly appears as a functional equivalent of the bōy dādan ceremonies performed for the feeding of the fire at the fire temples in later times. This new reading of the final section of the liturgy is the result of a re-evaluation of the manuscripts, highlighting the shortcomings of previous editions of the Long Liturgy. Furthermore, the new interpretation approaches the Long Liturgy from a non Yasna-centric perspective, taking into account the Yasna as well as the Visperad (and other variants).

Rosa Ronzitti

Abstract

The following paper is concerned with a comparison between the Vedic hymn RV VII 55 and the Vīdēvdād chapter XVIII 16. It is argued that little lullaby-themes, aimed at quieting men as well as animals, have come to be included into sacral and religious texts from popular sources (e.g. magical charms to be performed on sleepless babies), revealing Proto-Indo-European formulae and stylistic patterns that can be reconstructed. A Hittite text and some fragments of Greek poems by Simonides and Alcman are also included in the list of the passages to be compared.

Ch. Chojnacki

Abstract

Apart from exegetical texts and short edifying stories, Jain monks wrote several literary narratives in Sanskrit, Prakrit, or Apabhraṃśa, between the 8th and 12th centuries. While they aimed at creating works as sophisticated as Hindu kāvyas in their style and plot, they also included technical passages borrowed from various knowledge systems. One of them is the science of physiognomy, which deals with human marks and their interpretation. In the past decade, K. Zysk has studied this knowledge in various Hindu and Buddhist sources and proposed several hypotheses as regards the development of the science of physiognomy in India. Since passages included in the long Jain medieval narratives have not been taken into account so far, this paper aims at exploring to what extent these sources can throw further light on the gradual establishment of this knowledge system and on its channels of transmission in India.