epics and oral traditions

Klaus Karttunen KJKARTTU at elo.Helsinki.fi
Mon Jun 9 15:34:24 UTC 1997

Two comments to J. Baltuch:
>More generally, if writing played no role in the
>transmission, how come there are manuscripts at all?
>What was the purpose of writing things down?
Is it not so, at least partly, that writing the texts down in written 
form started with commentaries. This has been suggested as the origin of 
several classical DharmazAstra texts.

>On the other hand there do seem to be traditions which
>do not use (have never used?) writing at all, for example
>Nambudiri Samavedins.
Thet learn their Vedas by heart, but in fact they do have manuscripts, 
too, and have had quite a some time (centuries, at least). Nambudiris 
have been literally very active and composed, in addition to works 
belonging to other genres of literature, commentaries to their own Vedic 

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