[INDOLOGY] Studies on the word 'vipra'?

Samuel Wright swright at nalandauniv.com
Thu Dec 11 14:52:49 UTC 2014

Dear List Members,

Can anyone point me to any studies dealing with the uses/meanings of the
term 'vipra'? While it is usually glossed as 'brāhmaṇa', I'm wondering if
there were any semantic changes in this term, particularly in the 16th/17th

Keith and MacDonnell's 'Vedic Index' (page 302, vol. 2) provides some very
early glosses such as "inspired singer" but then it is noted that "[i]n the
epic style it comes to mean no more than 'Brahmin.'"

Yet, Medhatithi comments on Manusmrti 3.199:

vipragrahaṇam anuvādatvāt kṣatriyādipradarśanārtham |

I'm also aware of Staal's very brief remarks in his article 'Sanskrit and
Sanskritization' (pg. 267).

Any suggestions would be appreciate on why the word 'vipra' might be used
as opposed to 'dvija' or 'brāhmaṇa' as well as which studies on the word
are available, if any.

Many thanks,

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