2 p.m. until 6 p.m., 29 February, 2008
The Russell Room, Balliol College, Oxford
In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries the scholarly discipline of vyakarana, one of the most prominent of the Sanskrit shastras, reached a high water mark in Banaras in both its forms: as grammatical knowledge system and as philosophy of language, especially in the formulations of Bhattoji Diksita and Nagoji Bhatta, two intellectuals from the South who made a profound impact on their discipline.
This much is well known What has not been remarked upon so often is that both Bhattoji and Nagoji, as well as other grammarians / language philosophers of the period, wrote works in disciplines other than vyakarana, and became involved in the activities that occupied many leading Brahmin intellectuals based in Banaras.
At this workshop we seek to explore the social and intellectual history of grammarians in early modern Banaras Why was grammar and language philosophy so important at this time? Why were philosophers so interested in fixing the understanding of meaning? What was the intellectual profile of grammarians and the range of their output, beyond strictly disciplinary grammatical works? What was the nature of their engagement and contribution to the notoriously disputatious intellectual scene in Banaras in those days? What were their links to social and political settings in Maharashtra? What was their engagement with contemporary social and scientific or technological issues? What was their teaching career like, and what became of their disciples, children and schools of thought? What explains the unexpected and unusual durability of the collective memory of Bhattoji and Nagoji as distinctive individuals, even today?
- Polly O’Hanlon (Oxford) “Is a Social History of Sanskrit Pandits Possible”
- Madhav Deshpande (Michigan) “Sanskrit Grammarians in Vedantic Disputes: Bhattoji, Rangoji, and their Opponents"
- James Benson (Oxford) “Commentators and Commentaries on Bhattoji”
- Jan Houben (Paris) “Bhattoji's Brilliant Fundamentalism: Grammar, Ritual, Religious Life”
- Maria Piera Candotti (Leiden) “Changing rule-order: what was at stake in reorganizing Panini’s text?”
- Pascale Haag (Paris) “Philology in a Rural Setting: Grammar and Genealogical Chronicles in Bengal”
- Christopher Minkowski (Oxford) “Philosophers of Grammar on the Types of People”
Oxford-Princeton Comparative Philology Project
Astor Visiting Lecturer programme, University of Oxford
Inner and South Asian Subfaculty of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
Contact: Christopher Minkowski, Oriental Institute, Oxford: firstname.lastname@example.org.