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Products for grant FEL-268510-20

FEL-268510-20
Hindu Law and the Brahmin Class on the Peripheries of India, 300 BCE - 1000 CE
Timothy Lubin, Washington and Lee University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FEL-268510-20

Sacred Law as a Device of State-Building: The Case of Gorkhali Rule in Nepal (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Sacred Law as a Device of State-Building: The Case of Gorkhali Rule in Nepal
Abstract: The conquest of “Nepal” (i.e., the Newar-ruled Kathmandu valley) during 1767–68 by the Gorkha king Prithvinarayan Saha (PNS) has been described as ushering in a period of major social changes and political realignments as power came to be concentrated in Gorkhali hands, to the detriment of the Newar kings of the three cities. With support from “Tibeto-Nepali” ethnic groups of the lower hills, PNS captured Nuwakot in 1744 and Kantipur (Kathmandu) in 1768. New and expanding regimes often seek to legitimize themselves by embracing what they take to be a compelling ideology of law and religion, one that sets the ruler up as law-giver or reformer. In South and Southeast Asia, this has usually involved the embrace and adaptation of sacred law, especially framed as Brahmanical Dharma. The Gorkhali regime adopted such a program (a) to participate in a prestigious Indian cosmpolitanism imprinted with Brahmanical religious ideals of piety and kingship; and (b) to provide a template for intergroup relations in a culturally, linguistically, and religiously diverse realm. This paper begins with an analysis of the ideological features of the "Divya Upadesa" (a compilation of what purports to be PNS's memoirs and instructions, preserved in a manuscript of ca. 1800 that alludes to earlier royal law-givers) and then examines a number of royal decrees preserved as copper-plate inscriptions or documents (lal mohar) issued by PNS and subsequent Gorkhali kings prior to the Rana coup. These provide indications of how the Gorkhali regime dealt with various social groups as they consolidated their governance. These documents provide glimpses into how top-down attempts at putting a “sacred law” ideology into practice actually proceeded, responsive to the diverse interests and agency of the subject groups themselves.
Author: Timothy Lubin
Date: 02/26/2021
Location: Conference on "Inqilab: Revolution, Rebellion, and Re-alignments in Eighteenth-Century South Asia," Conference hosted by the Davis Center, Department of History, Princeton University (via Zoom)
Primary URL: https://inqilabconf.princeton.edu/
Primary URL Description: Website of the conference: Inqilab: Revolution, Rebellion, and Realignments in Eighteenth-Century South Asia, the 2021 Davis Center Annual Conference, hosted by the Department of History, Princeton University.

Javanese Innovations in Indic Legal Science (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Javanese Innovations in Indic Legal Science
Abstract: Archives in Java and Bali (not to mention in Europe) contain manuscripts of a number of texts in Old Javanese (sometimes mixed with Sanskrit verses) detailing legal “causes of action,” using the Sanskrit rubric vyavahāra[pada] or astadasa-vyavahara as it appears in the Sanskrit Dharmasastra literature. Apart from the work conventionally but misleadingly known as the ‘Kutara Manava’, which has been published twice (Jonker’s Wetboek, 1885; Hoadley & Hooker’s Agama, 1981), in each case relying on a single manuscript, most of these have received little or no scholarly attention. Early results of my own study of these texts, however, suggest that they reflect a creative appropriation of Indic legal science as a framework for codifying indigenous Indonesian legal norms. This included a practice of formally defining criminal and civil wrongs in a casuistic manner used also for defining Sanskrit terms of legal art. Some of the Javanese expressions are more like maxims than mere titles, and can be rather colorful. Besides the Javanese terms of art, it is notable that a number of fixed expressions used in these works, mostly numbered sets (astadusta, astacora, pañcabhaya, pañcasadharaṇa), have no precedent in Sanskrit sources from India and appear to derive from Sanskrit works composed in Indonesia (or at least surviving only there). Thorough study of this literature also promises to clarify a number of legal features appearing in Indonesian inscriptions, including the formulaic lists of sukhaduhkha (wrongs subject to legal penalties, over which beneficiaries of religious endowments have authority), including this use of the term sukhaduhkha itself.
Author: Timothy Lubin
Date: 03/14/2021
Location: 231st Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society (via Zoom)
Primary URL: https://www.americanorientalsociety.org/annual-meeting/past-and-future-annual-meetings/
Primary URL Description: Past and Future Annual Meetings of the American Oriental Society

Roundtable presentation on Intellectual Histories of Law (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Roundtable presentation on Intellectual Histories of Law
Abstract: In considering how the comparative history of ancient law expands our understanding of what law is and who makes it, three axioms apply: (1) Our access to ancient law, like ancient anything, is fragmentary and lopsided in the extreme. (2) Elite viewpoints are even more overrepresented than in later eras, obscuring the role of non-elite actors. (3) Systematic attention to hearing to “what the authors didn’t mean to say” (D. Davis) about themselves and about non-elite or subaltern groups requires us to make the most of surviving documents as well as materials that are not strictly speaking legal. Extending the horizon of “ancient law” beyond Greece and Rome brings three factors to light: (1) The formal legal definition of “citizen” status turns out to be a peculiarity of Greece and Rome. (2) One encounters an extraordinary range of unfree statuses liable to be called “slave” in English, and racial or ethnic otherness is much less a factor in some systems. (3) Comprehensive systems of religious law that transcend the boundaries of particular states and that vest authority in religious experts have been neglected in earlier studies of ancient law, and of law in general, but bear comparison with other systems of “customary law” and “international law.”
Author: Timothy Lubin
Date: 03/28/2021
Location: Workshop on Decolonising Archives, Rethinking Canons: Writing Intellectual Histories of Global Entanglements, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge (via Zoom).
Primary URL: https://sites.google.com/view/darcworkshop/home
Primary URL Description: Website of the workshop on "Decolonising Archives, Rethinking Canons: Writing Intellectual Histories of Global Entanglements," Faculty of History, University of Cambridge.
Secondary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhg_Z_ShM2A
Secondary URL Description: Videorecording of the roundtable session.

The Svayambhu and Other Old Javanese Legal Texts: An Update (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Svayambhu and Other Old Javanese Legal Texts: An Update
Abstract: Progress report on work on Old Javanese legal texts and their relations to inscriptional evidence of law in premodern Southeast Asia, including the critical edition and translation of the “Svayambhu” (an old Javanese commentarial paraphrase on the Sanskrit “Manu’s Code of Law”) based on three manuscripts; diplomatic editions of manuscripts of the “Astadasa Vyavahara,” “Blahaning Astadasa Vyavahara,” Kutara Manava,” and “Svayambhu”; GREP-searchable plain text versions of all these, plus Mantrisasana and Kotaragama; and preliminary examination of other legal texts. Recent findings provide some indications of when Manu’s Code of Law began to circulate in Java, how its influence is reflected in epigraphical documents, and how Brahmanical jurisprudence was adapted by Javanese authors to local concerns and customary norms.
Author: Timothy Lubin
Author: Arlo Griffiths
Date: 04/29/2021
Location: DHARMA Project (The Domestication of “Hindu” Asceticism and the Religious Making of South and Southeast Asia, ERC 809994), Paris (via Zoom)
Primary URL: https://dharma.hypotheses.org/3580
Primary URL Description: Task-force Meetings of the DHARMA Project, with link to the Program of the Task-force D (TF-D) meeting.
Secondary URL: https://dharma.hypotheses.org/files/2021/04/TF-D-Meeting_programme.pdf
Secondary URL Description: Program of the Task-force D (TF-D) meeting of the DHARMA Project.

Brahmins, Ascetics, and the Constitution of Caste in Greater Magadha (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Brahmins, Ascetics, and the Constitution of Caste in Greater Magadha
Abstract: Johannes Bronkhorst’s “Greater Magadha” hypothesis calls attention to the decisive role of the urbanizing eastern Ganges valley in the religious history of ancient India. We find there the encounter of two distinct cultures: the Vedic (with its focus on worldly success and rewards in the afterlife) and the Magadhan (with its ideas of karma and rebirth, and its ascetic orders). The Brahmins’ response to this encounter was to adapt and appropriate new ideas and practices. Here, I clarify certain key aspects of how this adaptation proceeded, giving rise in fact to something one can call ‘Brahmanism’, and I offer a fuller explanation of what made that adaptation so successful and durable over time. The key factors I identify are these: • Confronted by new sets of religious ideals (models of dharma) taught by unworldly ascetics (śramaṇas), some Brahmins decided to compete by articulating one of their own. • Brahmin ritual authorities further sought to signal their status as religious professionals comparable to celibate mendicants by promoting the ritualized feeding of especially pious and/or learned Brahmins. • This systematic conflation of Brahminhood as a sacred profession and Brahminhood as a social status conferred by birth provided a rationale and a template for marking gradations of hierarchy and thus endowed Indian caste norms with a theological purpose and a social teleology—i.e., presenting those norms as part of a system. • This was institutionalized and given state sanction by rulers who endowed Brahmins with tax-exempt, partly autonomous foundations, and patronized Brahmanical expertise in various ritual as well "secular" matters. These factors are what made the Indian version of caste social structure distinctive and tenacious — what made it a ‘system’ with religious principles as their premises rather than merely as ex post facto justifications.
Author: Timothy Lubin
Date: 05/06/2021
Location: Symposium, “Greater Magadha: Evaluation and Retrospective,” Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta (via Zoom)
Primary URL: https://www.eventleaf.com/GreaterMagadha
Primary URL Description: Website of the symposium, “Greater Magadha: Evaluation and Retrospective,” Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta.
Secondary URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thruROmOtR8&t=4412s
Secondary URL Description: Videorecording of the lecture.

The Wise Thief and the Brahmin Felon (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Wise Thief and the Brahmin Felon
Abstract: Starting from an analysis of Mimamsa hermeneutics as employed in Medhatithi’s discussion of Manavadharmasastra 8.314–318 (the famous example of the “wise thief” who seeks the king’s punishment as a form of penance), and Vijñāneśvara’s commentary on Yajñavalkyadharmasastra 2.21, which proclaims principles for dealing with conflicts of smrti-rules, taking as an illustration the problem of self-defense against a Brahmin attacker (quoting MDh 8.348–351). In the course of reconciling the legality of the king’s court with Veda-based, otherworldly considerations such as sin and expiation, these passages show that punishments and penances constitute distinct forms of legal remedy serving different purposes and prescribed by different authorities; the case of the “wise thief” is but the contrived exception that proves the rule. This issue is shown to reflect the more thorough-going distinction between worldly obligations (social compacts, royal commands) and sacred obligations conveyed by Vedic injunctions. This distinction is further linked by the commentators to that between Dharmasastra and Arthasastra, subordinating the latter to the former.
Author: Timothy Lubin
Date: 07/26/2021
Location: 26th European Conference on South Asian Studies, University of Vienna (via Zoom).
Primary URL: https://ecsas2021.univie.ac.at/papers/3vhhw/
Primary URL Description: Webpage of the paper on the ECSAS conference website.

Religious Exemptions and Jural Autonomy in Foundation Grants of Early India and Java (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Religious Exemptions and Jural Autonomy in Foundation Grants of Early India and Java
Abstract: Endowment grants beginning in the early centuries CE conferred upon religious professionals (Buddhist, Jain, Brahmin) exemption from tax-payments and other obligations to the king, along with stipulated rights of internal legal self-governance. Similar grants of foundation appeared more widely in South and Southeast Asia throughout the following millennium, embodying regional variations on a general principle that religious institutions have a justifiable claim to be insulated from the fiscal regime of the state, even if they participate in the economy in other ways, not least by contributing to the welfare of the polity that supports them financially. Such support is an intangible asset of the state, one even quantified as proportionate to the tax revenue foregone. This status was also deemed to confer jural autonomy over the territory covered by the grant. Grants of this type implied that there was a sacral sphere of authority conceptually distinguishable from worldly affairs, however intertwined they were. Civil religion in ancient India and Java, then as today, was a balancing act of signaling the distinctness of religion (i.e., its transcendence) while implicating it in the public or private welfare of the patron (i.e., its immanence).
Author: Timothy Lubin
Date: 10/01/2021
Location: History Division at the School of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (via Zoom).
Primary URL: https://www.ntu.edu.sg/soh/news-events/events/detail/2021/10/01/research-events/religious-exemptions-and-jural-autonomy-in-foundation-grants-of-early-india-and-java
Primary URL Description: Webpage announcement of the lecture at NTU.

Astadasa Vyavahara, Perpusnas L. 882 (digital diplomatic edition) (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Astadasa Vyavahara, Perpusnas L. 882 (digital diplomatic edition)
Author: Arlo Griffiths
Author: Timothy Lubin
Abstract: Diplomatic edition of palm-leaf manuscript L. 882 belonging to the Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia, containing the Old Javanese and Sanskrit legal text known as "Astadasa Vyavahara."
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/output/diplomatic-edition/DHARMA_DiplEdAstadasaVyavaharaPerpusnasL882.html
Primary URL Description: Digital diplomatic edition of Astadasa Vyavahara, Perpusnas L. 882.
Secondary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/index-diplomatic.html
Secondary URL Description: Links to Sunda-Java-Bali diplomatic editions on the DHARMA website
Access Model: Open Access

Kutara Manava L.Or. 2215 (digital diplomatic edition) (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Kutara Manava L.Or. 2215 (digital diplomatic edition)
Author: Timothy Lubin
Author: Eko Bastiawan
Author: Marine Schoettel
Abstract: Diplomatic edition of palm-leaf manuscript Or. 2215 belonging to Leiden University, containing the Old Javanese legal text known as "Kutara Manava."
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/output/diplomatic-edition/DHARMA_DiplEdKutaraManavaLeidenOr2215.html
Primary URL Description: Digital diplomatic edition of Kutara Manava L.Or. 2215.
Secondary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/index-diplomatic.html
Secondary URL Description: Links to Sunda-Java-Bali diplomatic editions on the DHARMA website
Access Model: Open Access

Kutara Manava Manchester Balinese 2 (digital diplomatic edition) (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Kutara Manava Manchester Balinese 2 (digital diplomatic edition)
Author: Timothy Lubin
Author: Eko Bastiawan
Abstract: Diplomatic edition of palm-leaf manuscript Balinese 2 belonging to Manchester University, containing the Old Javanese legal text known as "Kutara Manava."
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/output/diplomatic-edition/DHARMA_DiplEdKutaraManavaManchesterB2.html
Primary URL Description: Diplomatic edition of palm-leaf manuscript Balinese 2 belonging to Manchester University, containing the Old Javanese legal text known as "Kutara Manava."
Secondary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/index-diplomatic.html
Secondary URL Description: Links to Sunda-Java-Bali diplomatic editions on the DHARMA website.
Access Model: Open Access

Svayambhu, Kirtya 774 (digital diplomatic edition) (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Svayambhu, Kirtya 774 (digital diplomatic edition)
Author: Timothy Lubin
Author: Arlo Griffiths
Abstract: Diplomatic edition of palm-leaf manuscript II A/3/774 belonging to Kirtya, Singarja, Bali, Indonesia, containing the Old Javanese and Sanskrit legal text known as "Svayambhu."
Year: 2021
Primary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/output/diplomatic-edition/DHARMA_DiplEdSvayambhuKirtya774.html
Primary URL Description: Diplomatic edition of palm-leaf manuscript II A/3/774 belonging to Kirtya, Singarja, Bali, Indonesia, containing the Old Javanese and Sanskrit legal text known as "Svayambhu."
Secondary URL: https://erc-dharma.github.io/tfd-nusantara-philology/index-diplomatic.html
Secondary URL Description: Links to Sunda-Java-Bali diplomatic editions on the DHARMA website.
Access Model: Open Access

Dignity and Status in Ancient and Medieval India (Book Section)
Title: Dignity and Status in Ancient and Medieval India
Author: Timothy Lubin
Editor: Jimmy Chia-Shin Hsu
Abstract: Ancient and medieval India (prior to ca. 1600) produced a vast literature dealing with the nature of the human being, the proper ordering of society, and ethical and legal norms. Sanskrit sources tend to emphasize special dignities belonging tof particular statuses according to a divinely ordained class hierarchy (varṇa-dharma), but in some contexts we hear of universally shared aspects of the human condition. Ascetic and devotional movements found ways to call into question special dignities tied to ascriptive rank. Sanskrit texts on good governance and legal process formulate general standards of justice and equity that could cut across or by-passed rank. Thus, Hindu sources illustrate how ethical and legal orders find ways to compartmentalize: to recognize that all people can share basic capacities and aspirations does not automatically sweep the field clear of status dignity. This essay draws on Jeremy Waldron's concept of human dignity as a status claim that "levels up" by attributing to all people a dignity once reserved for a privileged few. We note Hindu examples of a similar approach, as well as examples of "leveling down" by pointing out the hypocrisy of elites while extolling the virtues of which the lowly are capable.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: https://books.google.com/books/about/Human_Dignity_in_Asia.html?id=3YUkzAEACAAJ
Primary URL Description: Google books page.
Secondary URL: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3682778
Secondary URL Description: Open-access prepublication draft version.
Access Model: Not open access, but an open-access prepublication draft is available on SSRN.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Book Title: Human Dignity in Asia: Dialogue between Law and Culture
ISBN: 9781108835749

Sources of Authority in the Formation of Classical Hinduism (Book Section)
Title: Sources of Authority in the Formation of Classical Hinduism
Author: Timothy Lubin
Editor: Adheesh Sathaye
Abstract: This chapter examines this burgeoning of Sanskrit as a medium for authoritative expression during the Classical Age, noting its use not just for sacred and legal texts but also for conveying expertise in political, legal, and various scholastic subjects, and in refined literary expression. It further proposes to account for the success of such authority-claims through an analysis of the social role of ritualized practices surrounding the production and use of Sanskrit texts, and the institutions developed to promote the authority of the Brahmin communities that produced and disseminated them.
Year: 2022
Access Model: Not open access.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Press
Book Title: A Cultural History of Hinduism in the Classical Age
ISBN: 9781350024434


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