Peter Wyzlic pwyzlic at UNI-BONN.DE
Fri Sep 1 11:17:33 UTC 2006

On Fri, 1 Sep 2006 07:58:29 +0100
  Valerie J Roebuck <vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET> wrote:
> Does anyone know of any research that has been done on 
>the figure of the seTThi or zreSThin, usually translated 
>as 'Treasurer',  in Buddhist texts?  I am particularly 
>interested in the development in the Dhammapada 
>commentary, where he in fact seems to function as a 
>wealthy banker or money-lender (though without the usual 
>negative connotations of the latter), but with almost 
>magical powers over money, as a result of kamma/karma in 
>previous lives.

A classic on Indian social history is Richard Fick's "Die 
sociale Gliederung im nordöstlichen Indien zu Buddha's 
Zeit" (published originally Kiel 1897, reprinted Graz 
1974). Fick deals at some length also with setthi, 
merchant guilds and so on. His main textual basis are the 
Jataka stories. In 1920, an English translation of Fick's 
monograph appeared under the title: The Social 
Organization in North-East India in Buddha's Time, 
Calcutta 1920.

Works on ancient and medieval Indian social and economic 
history generally devote some pages on setthi / zreSThin 
(or at least mention that). One example that may be a bit 
difficult to trace: Otto Stein's posthumously published 
work "Jinist Studies" (ed. by Jinavijaya Muni, Ahmedabad 
1948) deals with Jaina sources for nigama- and 
nagaraseTThi (p. 86 seqq.).

The sociologist Max Weber in his study on Hinduism and 
Buddhism deals also with setthi but, of course, not based 
on original text study, rather on sources like Fick and 

I hope it helps.

Peter Wyzlic

Indologisches Seminar der
Universität Bonn
Regina-Pacis-Weg 7
D-53113 Bonn
Deutschland / Germany

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