[INDOLOGY] Completion of the first critical edition of the Paippalāda-saṁhitā, Kolkata1997-2016

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Sun Dec 31 12:47:06 UTC 2017

Dear Indologists,

I recently came in possession of vol. 4 of Dipak Bhattacharya’s edition of
the Paippalāda-saṁhitā of the Atharvaveda (Kolkata : The Asiatic Society,
2016), as far as I know not yet announced on this list.

It contains not only the first critical edition of the remaining kāṇḍas, 19
and 20, of the Paippalāda-saṁhitā (other kāṇḍas in vols. 1-3, Kolkata,
Asiatic Society, 1997, 2008, 2011) but also a detailed, erudite
introduction on the importance and implications of the Paippalāda-saṁhitā
for the cultural history – I would say, an alternative, pre-Manu or
non-Manu cultural history – of Vedism and of early Brahmanism and Hinduism.

The observations of Prof. Bhattacharya, whom I felicitate with this
important achievement, confirm, I believe, my statement on the emerging
canonical śākhās of the Veda:

“The early development of the last of the major Vedic divisions to become
independent, the Atharvavedic branches – which, unlike their Yajurvedic and
Sāmavedic predecessors, do not get a chance to develop completely before
they are almost entirely swept away by new ecological and religious
developments – lays in between these two, and shows not only evidence of a
largely agricultural environment, but also of a general resource crunch:
Brahmins who have given up an earlier semi-nomadic life-style in favour of
a more settled one are experiencing increased difficulties to find stable
niches for survival.”

(p. 180 of “From Fuzzy-Edged ‘Family-Veda’ to the Canonical Śākhas of the
Catur-Veda: Structures and Tangible Traces.” In: Vedic Śākhās: Past,
Present, Future. Proceedings of the Fifth International Vedic Workshop,
Bucharest 2011, ed. by J.E.M. Houben, J. Rotaru and M. Witzel, p. 159-192.
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University, 2016.)

Best wishes to all for 2018 !

Jan Houben

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