Rgveda: text and tradition.

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Wed Apr 14 23:16:05 UTC 1999

At 05:00 PM 4/12/1999 -0700, you wrote:
>I have a simple question:
>Is it possible/feasible to argue in relation to the Rgvedic texts,
>that text provided the basis for tradition rather than the other way
>around ?  If tradition and text are viewed in relation to the
>historical process of production,  and social forms of
>contextualisation,  interpretation and certification then surely the
>Rgveda tells us more about the socio-political millieu in which it was
>first written down then about the situation in the protohistoric past.
> Therefore is it even a worthwhile exercise to look for remanents of
>Rgvedic culture in archaeology?

Well, this does not *look* like a simple question to me.

In my view what we have as direct evidence is simply the text of the RV
itself. We do not have direct access to this "tradition" that you refer to,
nor to "the historical process of production, and social forms of
contextualisation, interpretation and certification." These, and the
socio-political milieu in general, are things that we can only infer, only
with great difficulty, and only from the text itself.

Of course, this situation makes correlations with archaeological data
difficult, but the exercise would seem worthwhile if undertaken by someone
with these difficulties well in mind.

As for the part of your question dealing with the relation between text and
tradition, this is complicated too, and I am unable to see how one might
determine a unidirectional relation between the two.

Have I understood your question properly?


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