[INDOLOGY] Query on negation

Birgit Kellner kellner at asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de
Mon May 20 19:25:18 UTC 2013

Brendan Gillon once argued that the distinction between the two types of 
negation called prasajyapratiṣedha and paryudāsa is precisely the one 
that accounts for the different interpretations in Patrick Olivelle's 
example: a syntactic difference in terms of whether the negation has 
wide scope (prasajyap.) - "not knowing the dharma" - or narrow scope 
(paryudāsa) - "knowing something that is not dharma". But I can't think 
of indicators other than context that would allow to determine which 
interpretation is to be preferred.

   author = {Gillon, Brendan S.},
   title = {Two Forms of Negation in Sanskrit: prasajyapratiṣedha and 
   journal = {Lokaprajñā },
   year = {1987},
   volume = {1/1},
   pages = {81-89},

With best regards,

Birgit Kellner

Am 20.05.2013 21:09, schrieb Patrick Olivelle:
> bhoḥ paṇḍitāḥ!!
> I have a question regarding a negative prefix "a" when used in a compound.
> For example, at Manu 8.59 we have the compound "adharmajñau", which in my translation I have rendered as "two men ignorant of the Law" taking the negative prefix to apply to the whole compound "dharmajñau". Medhātithi commenting on this verse (and the Smṛticandrikā [Mysore ed. III: 287] cites Medh approvingly) appears to think that these two men were proficient in adharma, that is, in subterfuge (chala). Then the compound would consist of adharma and jña -- adharma being here ways of subverting justice. In the Smṛticandrikā the example given is a man who, knowing that other kinds of evidence is valid only for a year (I am not sure how he gets this??), gets a document written with 10 thousand paṇas, when it should have been just 5 thousand. This is the chala or adharma (ways of getting around legal procedures) in which the man if proficient.
> This sort of ambiguity must occur also in other similar compounds. Is there a way to detect that? Or is it just a matter of context and interpretation. Have the grammarians talked about this?
> Thanks.
> Patrick
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Prof. Dr. Birgit Kellner
Chair in Buddhist Studies
Principal Investigator
Deputy Speaker Research Area D "Historicities and Heritage"
Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context - - the 
Dynamics of Transculturality"
University of Heidelberg
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