Thapar: The Past Before Us
The Past Before Us : Historical Traditions of Early North India / Romila Thapar. - Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2013. - xvii, 758 S. : Kt.
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-- Angekündigt für November 2013 --
The claim, often made, that India—uniquely among civilizations—lacks historical writing distracts us from a more pertinent question, according to Romila Thapar: how to recognize the historical sense of societies whose past is recorded in ways very different from European conventions. In The Past Before Us, a distinguished scholar of ancient India guides us through a panoramic survey of the historical traditions of North India. Thapar reveals a deep and sophisticated consciousness of history embedded in the diverse body of classical Indian literature.
The history recorded in such texts as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is less concerned with authenticating persons and events than with presenting a picture of traditions striving to retain legitimacy and continuity amid social change. Spanning an epoch of nearly twenty-five hundred years, from 1000 BCE to 1400 CE, Thapar delineates three distinct historical traditions: an Itihasa-Purana tradition of Brahman authors; a tradition composed mainly by Buddhist and Jaina scholars; and a popular bardic tradition. The Vedic corpus, the epics, the Buddhist canon and monastic chronicles, inscriptions, regional accounts, and royal biographies and dramas are all scrutinized afresh—not as sources to be mined for factual data but as genres that disclose how Indians of ancient times represented their own past to themselves. [Verlagsinformation]
PART I: THE SEARCH FOR A HISTORICAL TRADITION
1. Searching for Early Indian Historical Writing. 3
2. Towards Historical Traditions. 49
PART II: THE EMBEDDED TRADITION
3. Fragmentary Narratives from the Vedas. 87
4. The Mahābhārata. 144
5. The Rāmāyaṇa. 208
PART III: INTERLUDE: THE EMERGING HISTORICAL TRADITION
6. Genealogies in the Making of a Historical Tradition: The Vaṃśānucarita of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa. 265
7. Early Inscriptions as Historical Statements (Up to c. the Sixth Century AD). 319
8. History as Literature: The Plays of Viśākhadatta. 353
PART IV: ALTERNATIVE HISTORIES
9. The Buddhist Tradition: Monks as Historians. 381
10. The Monastic Chronicles of Sri Lanka. 414
11. Buddhist Biographies. 442
PART V: THE HISTORICAL TRADITION EXTERNALIZED
12. Historical Biographies: The Harṣacarita and the Rāmacarita. 471
13. Biographies as Histories. 507
14. Inscriptions as Official Histories - and the Voice of the Bard. 547
15. Vaṃśāvalīs: Chronicles of Place and Person—The Rājataraṅgiṇī. 597
16. The Chamba Vaṃśāvalī. 626
17. The Prabandha-cintāmaṇi. 651
18. Therefore: Looking Back and Looking Forward. 681
ROMILA THAPAR is Emeritus Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Wikipedia [en].
- The Past Before Us: Historical Traditions of Early North India. xvii, 758 S. (2013).