AW: [INDOLOGY] Yoga Body, a book by Mark Singleton
saf at SAFARMER.COM
Tue Mar 8 18:41:56 UTC 2011
Alex Michaels writes:
> A homonym is generally a word with the same spelling (homograph) and
> the same
> prononciation (homophon), but different meanings. In this sense yoga
> (Skt.) and
> yoga (Engl.) might be regarded as homonyms. I think it is this what
> meant. But only if both "yogas" really mean something different, and
> remains disputed.
The claim that there are manifold "yogas" - and not just two - isn't
new and isn't in dispute among serious yoga historians. E. Washburn
Hopkins' was already talking about multiple "yogas" in his classic
1901 study, "Yoga-Technique in the Great Epic," in JAOS, which can be
read in full here:
Hopkins introduced the term 'yogas' himself on p. 348. The work covers
a lot of linguistic ground beyond the Mahabharata, in which multiple
senses of the word 'yoga' and cognate terms are manifold, as Hopkins
pointed out at length.
David Gordon White also often makes the same point, most recently in
his long discussion of the evolution of premodern ambiguities in the
term in _Sinister Yogis_ (2008). White cites here among things Peter
Schreiner's observation that the term shows up nearly 900 times in the
Mahabharata, with manifold senses, many in conflict, traced earlier by
White's book in press on the reception of the _Yoga Sutras_ (including
its commentarial traditions) also reportedly deals with the same topic
in later medieval eras.
In other words, "The same name or word used to denote different
things," as the primary definition of 'homonym' has it in the OED.
What recent yoga historians including Elizabeth De Michelis, Joseph
Alter, David Gordon White, Mark Singleton, and others are trying to
unwind in medieval and modern times are all these multiple senses,
just as Hopkins was doing in his classic study of ancient uses of the
term over 100 years ago.
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