A Dharma Reader

Classical Indian Law

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Editor(s): 
Patrick Olivelle
Translator(s): 
Patrick Olivelle
Historical Sourcebooks in Classical Indian Thought
  • New York, NY: 
    Columbia University Press
    , October
     2016.
     424 pages.
     $80.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780231179560.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Amy Fu Yu forthcoming.

Description

Whether defined by family, lineage, caste, professional or religious association, village, or region, India's diverse groups did settle on a concept of law in classical times. How did they reach this consensus? Was it based on religious grounds or a transcendent source of knowledge? Did it depend on time and place? And what apparatus did communities develop to ensure justice was done, verdicts were fair, and the guilty were punished?

Addressing these questions and more, A Dharma Reader traces the definition, epistemology, procedure, and process of Indian law from the third century B.C.E. to the middle ages. Its breadth captures the centuries-long struggle by Indian thinkers to theorize law in a multiethnic and pluralist society. The volume includes new and accessible translations of key texts, notes that explain the significance and chronology of selections, and a comprehensive introduction that summarizes the development of various disciplines in intellectual-historical terms. It reconstructs the principal disputes of a given discipline, which not only clarifies the arguments but also relays the dynamism of the fight. For those seeking a richer understanding of the political and intellectual origins of a major twenty-first-century power, along with unique insight into the legal interactions among its many groups, this book offers exceptional detail, historical precision, and expository illumination.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Patrick Olivelle is Professor emeritus of Sanskrit and Indian religions at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India (2013); Visnu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Vaisnava Dharmasastra (2009); Dharma: Studies in Its Semantic, Cultural, and Religious History (2009); Manu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Manava-Dharmasastra (2005); and Dharmasutras: The Law Codes of Ancient India (1999).

Keywords: 

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