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Language, Texts, and Society

Explorations in Ancient Indian Culture and Religion

Language, Texts, and Society by Patrick Olivelle
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This collection brings together the research papers of Patrick Olivelle, published over a period of about ten years. The unifying theme of these studies is the search for historical context and developments hidden within words and texts. Words – and the cultural history represented by words – that scholars often take for granted as having a continuous and long history are often new and even neologisms, and thus provide important clues to 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. This volume is a small contribution towards correcting that method of textual study.

Anthem Press; December 2011
420 pages; ISBN 9781843318859
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Title: Language, Texts, and Society
Author: Patrick Olivelle