Help Find Puranas in Translation

Mon May 8 22:05:28 UTC 1995

What an interesting series of issues you raise.  My first question
has to be: do you need a SINGLE text or an anthology?  If the latter,
I think the most serviceable is Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. Van
Buitenen (ed. and trans.), Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in
the Sanskrit Puranas, Temple U. P., 1978--still in print and in
paperback.  It should have translated more of the epithets, and it
lacks anything from the Bhagavata Purana, but it is indeed original
texts and it has lots of the great stories.  If the former, I don't
know of anything, although Motilal Banarsidass has been translating
the Puranas seriatim for 20 years and there are lots of older trans-
lations.  The problem is any Purana is eclectic and takes editing to
be accessible, esp. to undergrads.  Here's an alternative tack.  Per-
suade your colleagues that fixation on a classical text is an in-
appropriate hermeneutic for India (there's some good bibligraphy on
this) and that contemporary retellings are, in fact, part of what the
tradition is.  The extreme case of this would be to use comic books
(including one of the Gita!)to teach the tradition, but there are a
number of less provocative alternatives.  Happy debating!
Tom Coburn, St. Lawrence University

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