Sarasvati (texts & arch.II)

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Thu May 28 07:47:21 EDT 1998


On Wed, 27 May 1998, Sn. Subrahmanya wrote:

> >>Avestan is often MORE archaic than the frequently INNOVATIVE Rgvedic.
>
> Isnt it the case, that the centre innovates and the peripheral areas
> retain archisms ?

> Considering that these are oral traditions -
> doesnt this weaken your case of making the Rgveda contemporary
> to the Avesta ?

Correct about innovations, but not always: Those who brought American
English have emigrated from England 1630+.  US Engl.is sometimes more
conservative, sometimes more innovative than British Engl. Cf.
Quebecquois French : Paris French.

Avestan (and Old Persian) also have innovated in certain respects. But
Vedic has been "Indianized", Avestan has not, and it has been less
"Iranized" than Vedic has been affected by S. Asian features.

Oral tradition (well fixed in India, less so in Iran) is affected only by
minimal *phonetical* changes (on both sides, more in Iran); the texts
remain stable. No "late interpolations" which we cannot detect
immediately.


 ==========================================================================
Michael Witzel                       witzel at fas.harvard.edu



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