Patrick Olivelle

Jan 9, 2023

Reading Texts and Narrating History

Collected Essays III

Primus Books 2023

"The close attention required for editing and translating gives Olivelle an unparalleled understanding of the texts and inspires numerous articles and essays contained in this volume that draw out key ideas and insights from those same sources. Only careful philological editing and the hard, interpretive choices of translation enable progress in our historical understanding of India. Among the advances that philology makes possible is an improved sense of chronology in ancient India. Although uncertain chronologies still pose challenges for this period, readers are invited to note how often Olivelle makes arguments based on historical simultaneity or sequence. His feel for the texts and his scrutiny of the historical markers in them enables him to place ideas, institutions, and authors in plausible chronological contexts. Taken together, Olivelle’s many editions and translations function as both the foundation and the justification for the shorter writings in this volume. In addition to questions of social history and material culture, the volume also addresses the subject of law, affirming that law in India has a history. Olivelle practices enabling scholarship, a form of academic work that makes other scholarship possible. It opens conversations rather than closing them, and it invites instead of concluding." ̶̶ Donald R. Davis, Jr. 

Patrick Olivelle is Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin and a past President of the American Oriental Society.

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Raj Balkaran

Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see

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