256 pages | 10 B/W Illus.
This is the first book fully dedicated to Indian philosophical doxography. It examines the function such dialectical texts were intended to serve in the intellectual and religious life of their public. It looks at Indian doxography both as a witness of inter and intra sectarian dialogues, and as a religious phenomenon. It argues that doxographies represent dialectical exercises, indicative of a peculiar religious attitude to plurality, and locate these ‘exercises’ within a known form of ‘yoga’ dedicated to the cultivation of ‘knowledge’ or ‘gnosis’ (jñāna).
Concretely, the book presents a critical examination of three Sanskrit doxographies: the Madhyamakahṛdayakārikā of the Buddhist Bhāviveka, the Ṣaḍdarśanasamuccaya of the Jain Haribhadra, and the Sarvasiddhāntasaṅgraha attributed to the Advaitin Śaṅkara, focusing on each of their respective presentation of the Mīmāṃsā view.
It is the first time that the genre of doxography is considered beyond its literary format to ponder its performative dimension, as a spiritual exercise. Theoretically broad, the book reaches out to academics in Religious Studies, Indian Philosophy, Indology, and Classical Studies.
1 The Beginnings of Mādhyamika Doxography: Bhāviveka’s MHK
2 The Beginnings of Jaina Doxography: Haribhadra’s ṢDS
3 The Beginnings of Advaita Doxography: Śaṅkara’s SSS
Face-to-face conversation and dialogue are defining features of South Asian traditional texts, rituals and practices. Not only has the region of South Asia always consisted of a multiplicity of peoples and cultures in communication with each other, but also performed and written dialogues have been indelible features within the religions of South Asia; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam are all multi-vocal religions. Their doctrines, practices and institutions have never had only one voice of authority, and dialogue has been a shared tactic for negotiating contesting interpretations within each tradition.
This series examines the use of the dialogical genre in South Asian religious and cultural traditions. Historical inquiries into the plurality of religious identity in South Asia, particularly when constructed by the dialogical genre, are crucial in an age when, as Amartya Sen has recently observed, singular identities seem to hold more destructive sway than multiple ones. This series approaches dialogue in its widest sense, including discussion, debate, argument, conversation, communication, confrontation and negotiation. Opening up a dynamic historical and literary mode of analysis, which assumes the plural dimensions of religious identities and communities from the start, this series challenges many outdated assumptions and representations of South Asian religions.