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Rule-extension Strategies in Ancient India

Ritual, Exegetical and Linguistic Considerations on the "tantra</I>- and "prasaṅga</I>-Principles

Elisa Freschi and Tiziana Pontillo

This study focuses on the devices implemented in Classical Indian texts on ritual and language in order to develop a structure of rules in an economic and systematic way. These devices presuppose a spatial approach to ritual and language, one which deals for instance with absences as substitutions within a pre-existing grid, and not as temporal disappearances. In this way, the study reveals a key feature of some among the most influential schools of Indian thought.
The sources are Kalpasūtra, Vyākaraṇa and Mīmāṃsā, three textual traditions which developed alongside each other, sharing – as the volume shows – common presuppositions and methodologies. The book will be of interest for Sanskritists, scholars of ritual exegesis and of the history of linguistics.


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The present study is a complete and revised version of the preliminary study that appeared as Freschi and Pontillo 2012. All translations are the authors’, unless explicitly stated. Other authors’ translations have been reproduced for the sake of comparison, only in the case of significant divergence. In some cases the texts reproduced have been adapted to the orthographic conventions of this book as for sandhi rules. This book is the result of a joint work entirely discussed and shared by both authors. However, Elisa Freschi is generally responsible for the Mīmāṃsā sections (sections 2.6 and 3.3 and chapter 4 except sections 4.1.2 and and Tiziana Pontillo for the Vyākaraṇa sections (sections 2.7, 3.4, 4.1.2), whereas the Introduction, the Conclusions and the Śrautasūtra sections have been authored by Elisa Freschi (section 1, sections 2.1–2.5, section 2.8 and section 3.2) or by Tiziana Pontillo (section 3.1, section 3.5, section and section 5). We should like to express our thanks to James Benson, Maria Piera Candotti and Eivind Kahrs for enlightening discussions on several points of this book, and to Saroja Bhate, Anna Radicchi and Johannes Bronkhorst for contributing to its preliminary steps. We are also grateful to Timothy Lubin for having discussed the translation of Baudhāyana Śrautasūtra 24.1 with us, to Asko Parpola for his elucidating comments on the history of the ūha (modification of a mantra) practice and for many precious suggestions for further inquiries on this subject, and...

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