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Bilingual discourse and cross-cultural fertilisation: Sanskrit and Tamil in medieval India

 | 
Whitney Cox
, 
Vincenzo Vergiani

Contributors

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1Jean-Luc Chevillard had his initial training in Mathematics in the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) before switching to the field of linguistics. After a stay in South India, he decided to specialize in the history of the Tamil grammatical tradition and wrote his thesis on one of the commentaries of Tolkāppiyam. He was recruited by the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), and then by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) where he is currently “chargé de recherche” (UMR 7597, HTL). He has published a translation of Cēṉāvaraiyam (1996) and a number of articles, and a CD-ROM (Digital Tēvāram) in collaboration with S.A.S. Sarma. He is the Editor of the bi-annual linguistics journal Histoire Épistémologie Langage, and is currently preparing a critical edition and translation of the Akanāṉūṟu in collaboration with Eva Wilden.

2Whitney Cox is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit at SOAS, University of London. His primary research interests are in the fields of literary, cultural, and intellectual history of the medieval Indian subcontinent, with a special concentration on the Tamil country. Proficient in both Sanskrit and Tamil, his work charts the multiple transformations of society, polity, and textual culture during the course of the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries. He co-edited the volume South Asian Texts in History: Critical Engagements with Sheldon Pollock (AAS, 2011), his forthcoming work includes a study of philological scholarship in late-medieval times and a reinterpretation of the accession of the Cōḻa emperor Kulottuṅga I.

3Emmanuel Francis is researcher at the CNRS and member of the Centre for South Asian Studies (UMR 8564), Paris. As an historian of South India, especially Tamil Nadu, his main interests range from royal ideology, Tamil epigraphy, manuscriptology and philology, to social and cultural history of the Tamil language. He co-authored with Valérie Gillet and Charlotte Schmid three chronicles about Pallava studies in the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient 92–94 (2005–2007). He also co-authored with Charlotte Schmid the preface dealing with the genre of Tamil epigraphical eulogy (meykkīrtti) in the second volume of the Pondicherry Inscriptions (Pondicherry, 2010). His article “The Genealogy of the Pallavas: from Brahmins to Kings” has recently appeared in Religions of South Asia 5.1-2 (2011). Forthcoming is a book derived from his PhD dissertation about the royal ideology of the Pallava dynasty: Le discours royal dans l’Inde du Sud ancienne. Monuments et inscriptions pallava (IVème–IXème siècles), Louvain. He is currently preparing a critical edition and a study of the paratexts of the Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai, revised editions of the meykkīrttis of the Cōḻa kings, and is engaged in a long-running study of textual production in Tamil from a historical point of view.

4[John] Rich[ardson] Freeman is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and Religion at Duke University where he teaches courses on Indian civilization, the anthropology of religion, and Sanskrit. He is a field anthropologist with a background in Sanskrit and Dravidian languages, specializing in Malayalam and Kerala studies, folk religion and possession cults, and Hinduism in South India. Forthcoming publications include, “Śāktism, Polity and Society in Medieval Malabar,” in a volume on Śākta traditions edited by Gavin Flood and Bjarne Olesen, for Routledge Press, and “Arresting Possession: Spirit Mediums in the Multimedia”, in South Asian Festivals on the Move, edited by Axel Michaels, Ute Hüsken, and Kerstin Schier, South Asian Institute, Heidelberg and New Delhi.

5Dominic Goodall studied Greek and Latin, then Sanskrit at Pembroke College, Oxford. After studies in Hamburg, he returned to Oxford where he produced a critical edition of the opening chapters of Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha’s tenth-century commentary on the Kiraṇatantra, which he submitted as a doctoral thesis in 1995 and subsequently published from Pondicherry in 1998. Since 2000, he has been a member of the École française d’Extrême-Orient, becoming Head of the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO in 2002, where he remained until April 2011. He is currently a professor (directeur d’études) at the EFEO posted in Paris, where he gives lectures at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and he is co-editor with Dr. Marion Rastelli of the Tāntrikābhidhānakośa.

6Timothy Lubin (MTS, Harvard; PhD, Columbia) is Professor in the Department of Religion, and Lecturer in Religion and Law in the School of Law, Washington and Lee University, as well as Associated Researcher in the Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry, in India; he taught earlier at Harvard University. He publishes on a broad range of topics spanning Vedic liturgies, Brahmanical normative codes and doctrinal texts, as well as epigraphy. He is especially interested in Indian ritual, ethical, and legal traditions, the connections between them, and their reception in medieval and modern South Asia. He co-edited the volume Hinduism and Law: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2010).

7Leslie C. Orr is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Concordia University in Montreal, where she teaches in the areas of South Asian religions and women and religion. Her book Donors, Devotees and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu (NY: Oxford University Press) appeared in 2000, and she is also the author of a large number of journal articles and book chapters. Her research is concentrated in two areas: (1) the roles and activities of women in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism; and (2) the organization of religious life in the history of South India up to the late medieval period, especially with respect to interactions among religions. Her current research focuses on temple building and temple renovation in Tamilnadu.

8Charlotte Schmid is a historian of religions. Having studied the beginnings of the cult of Kṛṣṇa in the area of Mathurā, she became a member of the École française d’Extrême-Orient in 1999. Posted in Pondicherry (Tamiḻ Nāṭu) from 1999 to 2003, she is presently based in Paris. Her work on the development of Hinduism in South India is founded on archaeological material and texts (including epigraphy), in Sanskrit and Tamil, produced mostly at the time of two important dynasties of the Tamil country, the Pallavas and the Cōḻas. Her recent publications comprise Le don de voir, premières représentations krishnaïtes de la région de Mathurā (Paris, 2010), “Du rite au mythe, les Tueuses de buffle de l’Inde ancienne”, Artibus Asiae 2011 and “Rite and Representation: Recent Discoveries of Pallava Goddesses of the Tamil Land”, Marg, December 2011.

9Takanobu Takahashi is Professor in Tamil at the Faculty of Letters, University of Tokyo. His main research interests are poetry, poetics, culture and society of ancient Tamil. His works are Tamil Love Poetry and Poetics (E. J. Brill, 1995), Japanese full translation of the Tirukkuṟaḷ (Heibon-sha in Tokyo, 1999), and Japanese translation of some 170 poems from the Eṭṭuttokai (Heibon-sha in Tokyo, 2007), along with several articles in both English and Japanese.

10Herman Tieken taught Sanskrit, Middle Indic and Tamil at Leiden University. His main area of interest is Kāvya and its language use, which, beside Sanskrit, Prākrit, and Apabhraṃśa also includes Tamil. At present he is working on an edition and translation of a bunch of 70 letters in Tamil sent by family and friends between 1728 and 1737 from Colombo, Ceylon, to Nicolaas Ondaatje (Ukantācci), who had been banished by the Dutch to Cape Town, South Africa.

11Vincenzo Vergiani is lecturer in Sanskrit at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. His main areas of research are the Sanskrit grammatical tradition and the history of linguistic ideas in ancient South Asia. He is the director of the project “The intellectual and religious traditions of South Asia as seen through the Sanskrit manuscript collections of the University Library, Cambridge” (http://sanskrit.lib.cam.ac.uk/​), funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. He has co-edited Studies in the Kāśikāvṛtti. The section on pratyāhāras. Critical edition, translation and other contributions (2009).

12Eva Wilden studied indology and philosophy at the University of Hamburg, where she took a doctorate on Vedic ritual and afterwards specialised in Classical Tamil under the guidance of S.A. Srinivasan. Her habilitation Literary Techniques in Old Tamil Caṅkam Poetry: The Kuṟuntokai was published in 2006. Since 2003 she is employed as a researcher at the École française d’Extrême-Orient in Pondicherry, which for a number of years gave her the occasion to study daily with the late lamented T.V. Gopal Iyer. She is head of the Caṅkam Project, occupied with the digitisation and edition of Classical Tamil manuscripts (http://www.efeo.fr/​base.php?code=576) and organiser of a yearly Classical Tamil Summer Seminar in Pondy. After completing a critical edition plus translation of the Naṟṟiṇai (2008) and the Kuṟuntokai (2010), she is now working on the Akanāṉūṟu. In the framework of the Hamburg Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures she has also traced the transmissional history of the Caṅkam corpus, a study about to be published under the title: “Script, Print and Memory: Relics of the Caṅkam in Tamilnadu”.

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2013

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