Indo-Aryan im-/e-migration discussion and beyond

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Jun 1 13:58:36 UTC 1998

On Sun, 31 May 1998, Jan E.M. Houben wrote:

> Is there a way to proceed the discussion and to make it more fruitfull

> It could also be more fruitful to focus on part-problems rather than directly
> problem of the age of the Vedic literature.

good point, but you probably evoke the same spirits as before (note the
reaction to studying abroad!).... because the age of the Vedas is also a
matter of ... belief.

(from Feuerstein/Frawley to... let's say, W. Rau, (who , some decades
ago, wanted to put the RV later than 1000 BC...)

> The two periods of urbanization are now
> archeologically well established,  ...
> Aryans must have been around in the north of the Indian subcontinent.

Your statement about internal chronology (RV ---> YV  and no rice --->
rice)  are indeed staple food for Vedicists.

> though some variations in ordering and redaction remained possible <<of

precisely, though little REAL additions (the Rgveda Khila-s)

> later times the Rgvedic hymns are fixed in more and more precise ways
> (zAkalya, preceding pANini).

but RV Brahmanas  show how *little* phonetic variation there actually

> creation of NEW hymns (according to authentic and traditional
> techniques)
> only few hymns as available now have been petrified.

Actually we can see the transition point (little observed!) in the NEW
speculative hymns of the AV (Saunaka Samhita 8-12, PS 16-17)
 (See: Inside the Texts, Beyond the texts, Cambridge 1997)

> To determine this
> melting point and to associate it with an archeological context will be
> an important task of cooperating Vedic philologists and South Asian
> archeologists,

See recent discussion on iron: no Iron in RV, first iron in AV (in its
"speculative section", but belonging to older part of AV, still to its
nucleus :  found both in Saun. and Paipp. stanzas). Details in "Inside the
texts..."  > >

Iron is dated in S. Asia to 1200 BC.


Michael Witzel                       witzel at

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