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Language, Texts, and Society

Explorations in Ancient Indian Culture and Religion

Language, Texts, and Society
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This collection brings together a series of Patrick Olivelle’s research papers, published over a period of about ten years, whose unifying theme is the search for hidden historical context and developments within words and texts. Words (and cultural histories represented by words) that scholars often take for granted as having a continuous and long history are often new – sometimes even being neologisms. They can thus provide important indications of cultural and religious innovations. Olivelle’s book on the asramas, as well as the short pieces included in this volume, such as those on ananda and dharma, seek to see cultural innovation and historical changes within the changing semantic fields of key terms. Closer examination of numerous Sanskrit terms taken for granted as central to ‘Hinduism’ provide similar results. Indian texts have often been studied in the past as disincarnate realities providing information on an ahistorical and unchanging culture. ‘Language, Texts, and Society’ is a small contribution towards correcting this method of textual study.
Anthem Press; December 2011
420 pages; ISBN 9781843318859
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