Yigal Bronner and Lawrence J. McCreaAug 26, 2021
First Words, Last Words
New Theories for Reading Old Texts in Sixteenth Century India
Oxford University Press, USA 2021
First Words, Last Words: New Theories for Reading Old Texts in Sixteenth Century India (Oxford UP, 2021) charts an intense "pamphlet war" that took place in sixteenth-century South India. Yigal Bronner and Lawrence McCrea explore this controversy as a case study in the dynamics of innovation in early modern India, a time of great intellectual innovation. This debate took place within the traditional discourses of Vedic Hermeneutics and its increasingly influential sibling discipline of Vednta, and its proponents among the leading intellectuals and public figures of the period. First Words, Last Words traces both the issue of sequence and the question of innovation through an in-depth study of this debate and through a comparative survey of similar problems in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, revealing that the disputants in this controversy often pretended to uphold traditional views, when they were in fact radically innovative.
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