Philosophy in the Mahābhārata and the History of Indian Philosophy

Philosophy in the Mahābhārata and the History of Indian Philosophy The study of philosophical terms and doctrines in the Mahābhārata touches not only on important aspects of the contents, composition and the historical contexts of the epic, but also on the historiography of Indian philosophy. General ideas about the textual history of the epic and the distinction between “didactic” and “narrative” parts have influenced the study of epic philosophy no less than academic discussions about what is philosophy in India and how it developed. This results in different evaluations of the place of philosophical texts in the epic and their relationship to the history of Indian philosophy. While some scholars have suggested that there is a “philosophy of the epic” its composers wished to propagate, others have argued that “philosophy” is included in the epic either in a “proto” form or in a variety of doctrines (often presented is “mixed” or “unsystematic” ways) they deemed relevant. The article discusses these views and some of the heuristic assumptions on which they are based. It proposes to widen the scope of analysis by paying more attention to the interplay of narrative and didactic passages, the various ways in which philosophy is presented in the epic, and its connection to a larger spectrum of the reception of philosophy in textual genres and by audiences outside the expert circles of the philosophical schools. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Indian Philosophy Springer Journals

Philosophy in the Mahābhārata and the History of Indian Philosophy

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Non-Western Philosophy; Philosophy of Religion; Religious Studies, general
ISSN
0022-1791
eISSN
1573-0395
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10781-016-9294-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The study of philosophical terms and doctrines in the Mahābhārata touches not only on important aspects of the contents, composition and the historical contexts of the epic, but also on the historiography of Indian philosophy. General ideas about the textual history of the epic and the distinction between “didactic” and “narrative” parts have influenced the study of epic philosophy no less than academic discussions about what is philosophy in India and how it developed. This results in different evaluations of the place of philosophical texts in the epic and their relationship to the history of Indian philosophy. While some scholars have suggested that there is a “philosophy of the epic” its composers wished to propagate, others have argued that “philosophy” is included in the epic either in a “proto” form or in a variety of doctrines (often presented is “mixed” or “unsystematic” ways) they deemed relevant. The article discusses these views and some of the heuristic assumptions on which they are based. It proposes to widen the scope of analysis by paying more attention to the interplay of narrative and didactic passages, the various ways in which philosophy is presented in the epic, and its connection to a larger spectrum of the reception of philosophy in textual genres and by audiences outside the expert circles of the philosophical schools.

Journal

Journal of Indian PhilosophySpringer Journals

Published: Feb 10, 2016

References

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