Purāṇa Perennis

Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts

Edited by Wendy Doniger

Subjects: Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9780791413821, 331 pages, February 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413814, 331 pages, March 1993

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Table of contents


Part I. From Veda and Epic to Purana and Upapurana

1 The Transparent Text: Puranic Trends in the Brhaddevata
Laurie L. Patton

2 Echoes of the Mahabharata : Why is a Parrot the Narrator of the Bhagavata Purana and the Devibhagavata Purana ?
Wendy Doniger

3 The Scrapbook of Undeserved Salvation: The Kedara Khanda of the Skanda Purana
Wendy Doniger

Part II. From South to North and Back Again

4 Purana as Brahminic Ideology
Velcheru Narayana Rao

5 On Folk Mythologies and Folk Puranas
A. K. Ramanujan

6 Remaking a Purana: The Rescue of Gajendra in Potana's Telugu Mahabhagavatamu
David Shulman

7 Information and Transformation: Two Faces of the Puranas
Friedhelm Hardy

Part III. From Hindu to Jaina and Back Again

8 An Overview of the Jaina Puranas
John E. Cort

9 Jaina Puranas: A Puranic Counter Tradition
Padmanabh S. Jaini






In this volume, leading American, European, and Indian scholars including John E. Cort, Friedhelm Hardy, Padmanabh S. Jaini, Laurie L. Patton, A. K. Ramanujan, Velcheru Narayana Rao, and David Shulman discuss the subject of the Purāṇas, focusing particularly on the relationship between the "Great Puran'as" of the Sanskrit tradition and the many other sorts of Purāṇas. The Puran'as are essentially collections of stories dealing with all aspects of myth, ritual, science, and history, and the authors of these essays are all superb storytellers.

Wendy Doniger is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, including The Hindus: An Alternative History.


"I found all of the essays, regardless of focus, fascinating. Shulman's and Ramanujan's contributions are real jewels and will appeal to both specialists and general readers interested in South Asian religion. Jaini's essay is another excellent contribution, with wide-ranging insights into Jain-Hindu interactions in the course of dealing with the Jaina Puran'as. " -- C. Mackenzie Brown, Trinity University.

"Wendy Doniger's early work revealed both the intrinsic merit of these texts and their importance for understanding the whole of the Hindu tradition. This book represents the continuing fruition of Doniger's work, showing not only the degree to which it has influenced the current state and direction of Indological scholarship, but also just how rich the Puran'as are as a nexus for investigating and understanding the Hindu tradition in all its manifestations.

"The book is emblematic of both the most important current in Indological studies in the last twenty years, and of its fruition. " — Herman Tull, Rutgers University