literature on commentarial style

Sat May 23 10:17:50 UTC 1998

On Wed 20 May Robert Zydenbos wrote

>Replies to msg 19 May 98: indology at (Adrian Burton)
> abEA> Can anyone direct me to *any* discussion of the traditional
> abEA> style used by commentators ( i.e., the literary style
> abEA> employed by the writers of bhaashya, Tiikaa, TippaNii
> abEA> etc.).

>>>One basic text on this matter is an article by Hermann Jacobi. I do not have
the precise reference, but it is included in his _Kleine Schriften_,

The intended article is probably:
"Ueber den nominalen Stil des wissenschaftlichen Sanskrits", Indogermanische
Forschungen 14 (1903):236-251. reproduced in Kleine Schriften, Wiesbaden 1970.
On this "nominal style" see also Peter Hartmann, Nominale Ausdrucksformen im
Wissenschaftlichen Sanskrit, Heidelberg 1955.

George Thompson wrote on 21 May:
>>>See also: Louis Renou: "Sur le genre du sUtra dans la litte'rature
sanskrite", in *Journal Asiatique* 251, 1963.

What understanding of the Sutra- and (other) different commentarial genres did
the authors who wrote these texts have ? The validity of Renou's
reconstructions and speculations with hindsight (e.g. on Suutra as 'leitmotiv')
is limited. The same applies to speculations on etymologies of Tamil
equivalents of the term Suutra (see Indology archive March-April 1997).
Fortunately, Bhartrhari's Mahabhasya-Diipikaa offers us a quite elaborate (5th
century C.E.) peep into the intellectual kitchen where these genres have been
produced since Vedic times (for understandable reasons, the Sanskrit tradition
favors the conservation of finished products only; and the MBhDiipikaa has
indeed been preserved, but only in a single manuscript, in a lamentable state).
This source (Bhartrhari's MBhD) was one of the major ones for some important
revisions in our modern view on the relation between different commentarial
genres in Johannes Bronkhorst's article
"Vaarttika" (Wiener Zeitschrift f.d. Kunde Suedasiens 34:123-146),
and more recently in my
"Suutra and Bhaasyasuutra in Bhartrhari's Mahaabhaasya-Diipikaa: on the theory
and practice of a scientific and philosophical genre", in: India and Beyond:
aspects of literature, meaning, ritual and thought: essays in honour of Frits
Staal, London: Kegan Paul, 1997.

If someone needs the last-mentioned article urgently: I still have a few copies
which I can send to the first two or three persons who ask me for it (please
send a brief message with your mail-address to my personal email, as I
sometimes miss parts of the Indology-list digests due to their immoral bulk).

Other recommendations:
Nalini Balbir: "The perfect Suutra as defined by the Jainas", Berliner
Indologische Studien 3:3-21.
Colette Caillat: "Le genre de suutra chez les jaina", in: Genres litteraires en
Inde:73-101. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne, 1994.

Jan E.M. Houben
Department of Languages and Cultures of South- and
Central Asia ("Kern Institute")
P.O. Box 9515
2300 RA   Leiden

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