[INDOLOGY] Publication Announcement

Matthew Robertson matthewianrobertson at gmail.com
Mon Feb 12 17:39:16 UTC 2024

Dear Colleagues,

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of my first book, Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India (OUP).

Please find a description of the work below. Interested parties may receive 30% off the title by using the code AAFLYG6. A sample chapter is also available by following this link <https://academic.oup.com/book/55730/chapter/434169835>.

Description of the work via OUP <https://global.oup.com/academic/product/purua-9780197693605?cc=us&lang=en&#>:

Personhood is central to the worldview of ancient India. Across voluminous texts and diverse traditions, the subject of the puruṣa, the Sanskrit term for "person," has been a constant source of insight and innovation. Yet little sustained scholarly attention has been paid to the precise meanings of the puruṣa concept or its historical transformations within and across traditions. In Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India, Matthew I. Robertson traces the history of Indic thinking about puruṣas through an extensive analysis of the major texts and traditions of ancient India.

Through clear explanations of classic Sanskrit texts and the idioms of Indian traditions, Robertson discerns the emergence and development of a sustained, paradigmatic understanding that persons are deeply confluent with the world. Personhood is worldhood. Puruṣa argues for the significance of this "worldly" thinking about personhood to Indian traditions and identifies a host of techniques that were developed to "extend" and "expand" persons to ever-greater scopes. Ritualized swellings of sovereigns to match the extent of their realm find complement in ascetic meditations on the intersubjective nature of perceptually delimited person-worlds, which in turn find complement in yogas of sensory restraint, the dietary regimens of Ayurvedic medicine, and the devotional theologies by which persons "share" and "eat" the expansive divinity of God. Whether in the guise of a king, an ascetic, a yogi, a buddha, or a patient in the care of an Ayurvedic physician, fully realized persons know themselves to be coterminous with the horizons of their world.

Offering new readings of classic works and addressing the fields of religion, politics, philosophy, medicine, and literature, Puruṣa: Personhood in Ancient India challenges us to reexamine the goals of ancient Indian religions and yields new insights into the interrelated natures of persons and the worlds in which they live.

From the back cover:
"Thinking precisely and clearly about personhood and its relationship to the worldhood is important.' This golden thread runs through the whole of this fascinating book that examines the social, philosophical, and religious understandings of puruṣa through Indian history. From deepest antiquity to the mid-first millennium, Robertson explores the very different evolutions of the central concept of personhood through the great traditions of Indian reflection and belief. This is a nuanced and sophisticated series of reflections on one of the most important and continuous themes in South Asian thought." -- Dominik Wujastyk, Singhmar Chair in Indian Society and Polity, University of Alberta

"This magnificent, groundbreaking study of the ancient Indian category of puruṣa, the Indian 'person,' sweeps us into a world where the dimensions of inner and outer, and body and cosmos, collapse. Also collapsing are several received notions concerning Indian metaphysics." -- David Gordon White, Author of The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography

With very best wishes to all,

Matthew I. Robertson, PhD
(he / him / his)
Lecturer, Department of History
Coordinator, Religious Studies Minor
Murray State University
mrobertson13 at murraystate.edu <mailto:mrobertson13 at murraystate.edu>
matthewianrobertson at gmail.com

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