My project examines the scholarly use and adaptation of a cannonical list of gods from Bronze Age Mesopotamia and Syria.
In the Renaissance, as in earlier periods, scholars often mastered new fields by working through a body of sources, making excerpts from them and filing them under topical headings in commonplace books. Johann Buxtorf (1564-1629) was the most celebrated Hebraist in the Christian learned world at a time when the study of Jewish texts of many kinds was expanding rapidly. One of his commonplace books survives, in Basel.
In the early modern period the principal arena for intellectual dispute for Brahminical thinkers writing in Sanskrit was the proper interpretation of the canonical literature of the Vedānta. It was agreed by the many contesting positions that these texts were the sole source of correct knowledge, and that the Sanskritic trivium of learned practices: grammar, sentential analysis, and logical proof, were the proper means for interpreting them.
The paper will focus on two scholarly activities that can be interrelated but are not necessarily so: the etymological explanation of the alleged meanings of individual words, and the allegorical explanation of the alleged meanings of individual myths, stories, and cult practices. Both these practices need to be examined carefully in their fundamental differences from (and also similarities to) their modern counterparts.
In the tenth century, Constantinople saw an overambitious project that attempted to unify available historical knowledge into a single, comprehensive, multivolume work of history. We call the scarce remains of this project Excerpta Constantiniana. Under the supervision of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII (945–959), a team of Byzantine scholars reshaped dozens of complete historical writings in Greek.
The textworkers in the Greco-Roman tradition, who guarded, preserved, transmitted, and explained their canonical texts needed a reason (or at least a justification) to interfere in the texts that they considered foundational, important, and in principle models of correctness and clarity.
In the framework of the learned textual practice working group I will examine Saadiah’s Tafsīr, an Arabic translation of the Pentateuch of originally Jewish provenance, became a foundational text also of the Coptic Church, whose study and preservation had to be cultivated vigilantly, which text-critical functions it fulfilled as a point of comparison to other Arabic versions of the Pentateuch, and which learned textual practices this
In this paper I investigate the relation between the ritual use made of the Vedas and their codification as canon. In doing so I want to highlight the importance of the concept of mantradevatā, ‘the deity who presides over the ritual formula’, as a system of classifying the Vedic canon.