Dialogue between characters is an important feature of South Asian religious literature: entire narratives are often presented as a dialogue between two or more individuals, or the narrative or discourse is presented as a series of embedded conversations from different times and places. Including some of the most established scholars of South Asian religious texts, this book examines the use of dialogue in early South Asian texts with an interdisciplinary approach that crosses traditional boundaries between religious traditions. The contributors shed new light on the cultural ideas and practices within religious traditions, as well as presenting an understanding of a range of dynamics - from hostile and competitive to engaged and collaborative. This book is the first to explore the literary dimensions of dialogue in South Asian religious sources, helping to reframe the study of other literary traditions around the world.
’From the early hymns of the Rig Veda and the debates and discussions of the Upaniá¹£adic sage YÄ�jÃ±avalkya, to the discourses of the Buddha, MahÄ�vÄ«ra, and Kriá¹£á¹‡a, dialogue has been the central medium by which ancient authors spoke to their listeners and readers. Yet, little scholarly work has focused on this genre. Dialogue in Early South Asian Religions, therefore, is a welcome and significant contribution to the study of ancient Indian texts produced as dialogues. Covering a broad range of texts and presenting theoretically sophisticated engagements with them, this volume should be a 'must read' for those working in Indian religion and literature.’ Patrick Olivelle, University of Texas, USA
Contents: Introduction, Brian Black and Laurie Patton. Part I Dialogues Inside and Outside the Texts: The frogs have raised their voice: Rg Veda 7.103 as a poetic contemplation of dialogue, Laurie Patton; Dialogue and apostrophe: a move by VÄlmÄ«ki?, Alf Hiltebeitel; Didactic dialogues: communication of doctrine and strategies of narrative in Jain literature, Anna Aurelia Esposito; The Buddha as storyteller: the dialogical setting of JÄtaka stories, Naomi Appleton. Part II Texts in Dialogue: Orality, authority and conservatism in the PrajÃ±ÄpÄramitÄ SÅ«tras, Douglas Osto; The dialogue of tradition: PurÄá¹‡a, GÄ«tÄ, and theological heritage, Elizabeth M. Rohlman; Dialogue and genre in Indian philosophy: GÄ«tÄ, polemic, and doxography, Andrew J. Nicholson. Part III Moving Between Traditions: Bowing to the Buddha: the relationship between literary and social dialogue in the NikÄyas, Michael Nichols; The power of persuasion: the use of dialogues to justify and promote 'early' renunciation in the Jaina and Hindu traditions, Jonathan Geen; Trusted deceivers: illusion-making ascetics, Paá¹‡á¸itas, Brahmins, and Bodhisattas and the conditions for the dialogic in ArthaÅ›Ästra and JÄtaka scenarios of rule, Lisa Wessman Crothers; Dialogue and difference: encountering the other in Indian religious and philosophical sources, Brian Black. Index.
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.