Authority, Anxiety, and Canon

Essays in Vedic Interpretation

Edited by Laurie L. Patton

Subjects: India And South Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9780791419380, 334 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791419373, 334 pages, July 1994

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Table of contents

Wendy Doniger

Laurie L. Patton

Part One: The Vedas Reflect on Themselves

1. The Mastery of Speech
Canonicity and Control in the Vedas
David Carpenter

2. Veda in the Brahmanas
Cosmogonic Paradigms and the Delimitation of Canon
Barbara A. Holdrege

3. The Veda and the Authority of Class
Reduplicating Structures of Veda and Varna in Ancient Indian Texts
Brian K. Smith

Part Two: The Vedas in Classical Discourse

4. Puranaveda
Frederick M. Smith

5. From Anxiety to Bliss

Argument, Care, and Responsibility in the Vedanta Reading of Taittiriya 2. 1-6a
Francis X. Clooney, S. J.

6. "Whither the Thick Sweetness of Their Passion?"
The Search for Vedic Origins of Sanskrit Drama
David L. Gitomer

Part Three: The Vedas in Modernity and Beyond

7. The Authority of an Absent Text
The Veda, Upangas, Upavedas, and Upnekhata in European Thought
Dorothy M. Figueira

8. From Interpretation to Reform
Dayanand's Reading of the Vedas
John E. Llewellyn

9. Redefining the Authority of Scripture
The Rejection of Vedic Infallibility by the Brahmo Samaj
Anantanand Rambachan

10. Poets and Fishes
Modern Indian Interpretations of the Vedic Rishi
Laurie L. Patton

Laurie L. Patron




Authority, Anxiety, and Canon elucidates a principle fundamental to Hinduism's self-understanding—the Veda—while at the same time examining the methodological issues of the role of canon in religious tradition. Spanning the early periods of Indian religious history up to the twentieth century, the book combines theoretical sophistication and detailed scholarship to produce one of the first comprehensive works on Vedic interpretation since Louis Renou's Le Destin Du Veda.

Laurie L. Patton is Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at Bard College.


"What a feast these essays provide! Together they constitute the most sophisticated yet accessible volume I have come across in years. There are moments in reading when I simply had to pause to write the word 'stunning' and to ponder the implications of what the author had just said. " — Thomas B. Coburn, St. Lawrence University

"This anthology assembles a series of superbly researched and written articles around the theme of authority and anxiety as it displays itself in the Hindu tradition. The authors are the best of the generation of young scholars now establishing or having established their names in the field. There is a very good level of conversation among the articles, and the editor's introduction does an exceptionally clear and compelling job of setting forth the issues of canon and authority with respect to the place of the Vedas in traditional Hindu culture and modern Western scholarly and Hindu traditions. The volume is well crafted, coherent, and well written. " — Paul B. Courtright, Emory University