Fragments of Indian Philosophy test

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Project Data

The project is based on the results of an earlier project involved in collecting and analyzing fragments of early Nyāya texts. It will build on a relational database that has been developed for storing fragmentary text material.

Orthodox Indian philosophical traditions are mainly represented by commentaries on the schools’ founding texts. These are ascribed to certain sages and were – according to the current state of research – finalized in their classical form by anonymous editors in the first half of the first millennium. However, in addition to the extant commentaries, it is likely that there was a considerable corpus of other works written within the various philosophical traditions during the first millennium that has not survived. Basic ideas often seem to be related to authors whose works are lost. This assumption is substantiated by the fact that such ideas are often referred to in the works of authors of opposing schools and systems.

The main aim of the proposed project is to make an attempt at comprehensively collecting and analyzing the quotations and paraphrases from and allusions to the texts of the Sāṅkhya, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Mīmāṃsā, and Lokāyata traditions with special reference to early epistemology, logic and dialectics. Another major goal of the project will be the systematic search for fragments of texts in the philosophical Sanskrit works of the Jainas, specifically in the works of the Digambara Jainas.

In addition, the project will investigate the Indian convention of quoting and referring to earlier works or views as an element of composition in other branches of scientific literature.

The project is dedicated to collecting pieces of the lost heritage of South Asian philosophy, aiming more specifically at differentiating between the various types of attestations of lost works. In some cases, a thought from a lost work is merely alluded to; in other cases, the diction of a lost work is preserved as a quote or is paraphrased. Based on this differentiation, the term “fragment” is also used here in a narrower sense, namely, as an antonym to “allusion”. Fragment is understood as a text passage that not only reflects a thought or an idea from a lost work, but also most likely retains the distinct wording of a particular theory, this having been incorporated verbatim into the work preserving it.

Fragments from Jaina texts

This subarea of the project analyzes the fragments contained in the philosophical Sanskrit texts of the Jainas. However, the focus is on the analysis of the extant texts from lost works preserved in the writings of Vidyānandin, the author of Digambara.

Until now, the various forms of textual reference to other works of Vidyānandin in the context of literary theories of intertextuality have been analyzed and a typology of intertextual references has been presented at two Indological conferences (Matsumoto, August 2012, and Rome, Dezember 2012). Currently, the intertextual references in Vidyānandin's Pramāṇaparīkṣā and references to Vaiśeṣika's doctrine of salvation in the Tattvārthaślokavārttikālaṅkara and in the Aṣṭasaharī have been analyzed.

Fragments from the works of Pāśupata

In the context of the religio-historical and literary-historical philological dissertation "Frühe Darstellungen des Pāśupata in der Kunstdichtung des Sanskrit und Prakrit" written by Christian Ferstl under the supervision of Prof Karin C. Preisendanz (University of Vienna), texts of the Pāśupata tradition are to be worked into the database project. The dissertation provides new data on the history of Śivaism, which together with the literary methods of the respective poets are to be analyzed.

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