Texts in Context: Traditional Hermeneutics in South Asia

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Jeffrey R. Timm
SUNY Press, Jan 1, 1992 - Religion - 324 pages
The major religious traditions of South Asia are religions of the book . All accept basic arrays of texts of scriptures, often seen as sacred reservoirs of meaning and power. The West has viewed these texts as bibles of their respective traditions, projecting onto them Western values and concerns. This book challenges such misconceptions by revealing the complex character of scripture and its interpretation in South Asian religions.

Texts in Context explores the hermeneutical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. The question of how we should understand the diversity of text-traditions is approached by asking How have traditional thinkers the exegetes within these traditions understood and utilized scripture? The answers, though remarkably diverse, do reveal important similarities and take the discussion of scripture in India to a deeper level.

This book makes accessible to the non-specialist sensibilities and approaches that have previously received little attention in the West, but have formed the basis for traditional efforts to understand and utilize scripture. It is a collaboration between contemporary thinkers and their traditional counterparts, whose voices emerge as they consider the sacred words of the religious traditions of South Asia.

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Introduction Texts in Context
Traditional Hermeneutics in Hinduism
Bhartṛhari and the Veda
Where Words Can Set Free The Liberating Potency of Vedic Words in the Hermeneutics of Śahkara
Binding the Text Vedantaas Philosophy and Commentary
Haunted by Śaṅkaras Ghost The Śrīvaiṣṇava Interpretation of Bhagavad Gītā 1866
Oral and Written Commentary ON THE TIRUVAYMOLI
Vyāsa as Madhvas Guru Biographical Context for a Vedāntic Commentator
Traditional Hermeneutics in Other South Asian Religions
Śvetāmbar Mūrtipūjak Jain Scripture In A Performative Context
Evam Me Sutaṁ Oral Tradition in Nikāya Buddhism
Vasubandhus Vyākhyāyukti on the Authenticity of the Mahāyāna Sūtras
Poetics as a Hermeneutic Technique in Sikhism
The Textual Formation of Oral Teachings in Early Chishtī Sufism
Conclusion Traditional Hermeneutics in South Asia

Scriptural Realism in Pure Nondualistic Vedānta
Hermeneutics of A Kashmiri Mahātmyā Text In Context

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About the author (1992)

Jeffrey R. Timm is Assistant Professor of Religion at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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