Groningen Oriental Studies, Supplement

The Skandapurāṇa Project

ReihenherausgeberIn: Hans Bakker
Editorial Board / Council Member: Peter Bisschop, Dominic Goodall, Harunaga Isaacson, und G.J. Meulenbeld
The Skandapurāṇa offers an unprecedented glimpse into the development of Śiva worship and his mythology. This Sanskrit Purāṇa, long considered lost, was known only obliquely from testimonia in digests of Brahminical customs and social regulations. Transmitted to us in several palm leaf manuscripts from Nepal—including the oldest known dated Purāṇa manuscript (810 CE)—as well as paper manuscripts from North India, now at last this seminal text for the understanding of Indian religious traditions is made available in the superb and definitive critical text edition of the Skandapurāṇa Project.
The edition allows far-reaching new insights into the geographical expansion of the earliest community of Śiva devotees called the ‘Pāśupatas’ (the name derived from one of Śiva’s many epithets, Paśupati, ‘Lord of Creatures’) amidst the development of other religious communities in early India, and especially, the cultivation of somatic and mental techniques ( yoga), the salvific potential of pilgrimage to Śiva’s many shrines, as well as the worship of his iconic emblem ( liṅga), all of which practices were to become definitive features of the devotional repertoire of medieval—and today's—Śiva worshippers. The Skandapurāṇa is also a vital source for the history of the mythology of Viṣṇu and the Goddess.
Firmly grounded in the scholarly methods that are the hallmark of classical Indology—philology, textual criticism, and the meticulous study of manuscript sources—the Skandapurāṇa Critical Text Edition comes with an annotated English synopsis of this important, rich, but also entertaining text.

‘The Skandapurāṇa, dating in all probability from the seventh century and preserved in manuscript evidence from Nepal that postdates its creation by no more than about two centuries, provides a uniquely clear window into the world of lay Śaiva devotion and its supporting mythologies during the seminal period when the Śaiva ascetic orders were moving with the support of the laity to the centre of Indian religion. The project to produce a critical edition and analysis of the whole of this rich and lucid text is among the most important in current Indological research. The volumes published so far are of very high quality both in the scholarship of their authors and the interest of their contents. The completion of the project will be a major landmark in Indological research.’ - Alexis Sanderson
Edited by Hans T. Bakker, University of Groningen
Editorial Board: Peter C. Bisschop, University of Leiden, Dominic D.S. Goodall, EFEO, Paris, H. Isaacson, Hamburg University and G.J. Meulenbeld†.
"The Skandapurāṇa, dating in all probability from the seventh century and preserved in manuscript evidence from Nepal that postdates its creation by no more than about two centuries, provides a uniquely clear window into the world of lay Śaiva devotion and its supporting mythologies during the seminal period when the Śaiva ascetic orders were moving with the support of the laity to the centre of Indian religion. The project to produce a critical edition and analysis of the whole of this rich and lucid text is among the most important in current Indological research. The volumes published so far are of very high quality both in the scholarship of their authors and the interest of their contents. The completion of the project will be a major landmark in Indological research." - Alexis Sanderson
(on Skandapurāṇa Project, volume IIA:) "The book is of great value not only to those colleagues working on similar topics. The complexity, precision and depth of presentation of the material is exemplary for the critical edition of an Indian text. As such it might very well serve as an outstanding example in the philological training of Indologists." - Jürgen Neuß (Berlin), in: Orientalistische Literaturzeitung
(on Skandapurāṇa Project, volume I and IIA:) "The foremost benefit we gain from the growing critical edition of the Skandapurāṇa, seems to me the following: The text version, in particular the one presented in the three Nepalese manuscripts, for the very first time in Purāṇa research now firmly establishes the text of a virtually complete Purāṇa in at least the beginning of the 9th century. Such an absolute dating of a complete Purāṇa text is unprecedented. Up to now Purāṇa research had to live with a relative chronology only, as well as rather bold and for the majority quite rough dating assumptions." - H. Brinkhaus (Kiel), in: Indo-Iranian Journal