Berkeley Mīmāṃsā Reading Workshop: with Alexis Sanderson
Workshop | October 4 | 3-6:30 p.m. | 341 Dwinelle Hall
Alexis Sanderson, Spalding Professor Emeritus of Eastern Religions and Ethics, University of Oxford
Institute for South Asia Studies, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professorship in South and Southeast Asian Studies, Center for Buddhist Studies, South Asia Studies Theories and Methods Townsend Working Group, Saṃskṛtaparaṃparā: The Berkeley Sanskrit Studies Fund, Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion
This two-day workshop will offer Sanskrit scholars across the Bay Area the opportunity to engage deeply with Mīmāṃsā, the preeminent school of Indian hermeneutics, while thinking more broadly about the state of philology in the field of South Asian Studies. Organized by Lisa Brooks, Kashi Gomez, Priya Kothari, and Janet Um, the workshop will take up the issues of scriptural interpretation, philology and methodological recuperation.
Our proposed engagement with mīmāṃsā stems from two key concerns. Firstly, while mīmāṃsā initially emerged as the discipline of Vedic exegesis, it was further developed into a more diffuse theory of language which finds its way into a wide array of genres, from ritualistic texts and scientific treatises to exegetical discourse, poetics and literary commentary. Secondly, in recent years, leading scholars have cast mīmāṃsā as the philological school par excellence of premodern India.
As such, we have identified philology as one of the key disciplines of South Asia studies. We recognize that mīmāṃsā continues to shape how we read Sanskrit texts in modernity and engage in discourse about Indic traditions and Hindu and Buddhist theology and practice. This workshop is a unique opportunity to enrich our own textual engagements and encourage discussion about the potentials and limits of such philological recuperation efforts in the field of Indology. With these goals in mind, we pose the following workshop questions: What does it mean to cast the mīmāṃsā school of scriptural interpretation as an Indic philology? And what does it mean to claim philology as the pre-eminent mode of engagement with Sanskrit texts?