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DharmaIts Early History in Law, Religion, and Narrative$
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Alf Hiltebeitel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195394238

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394238.001.0001

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A Vedic History of Dharma

A Vedic History of Dharma

(p.51) 3 A Vedic History of Dharma

Alf Hiltebeitel

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 takes up the implications of dharma having never been a central concept in the pre‐Aśokan Vedic canon. It examines most of the Vedic canon's few prominent usages from the Ṛgveda through the mantra texts to the Upanisads in context. It first considers. the implications of dharma, in the form dhárman, having begun in the Ṛgveda as a new concept. It then pursues the use of this concept to generate novel enigmas there and elsewhere in the Vedic canon; its centrality to changing notions of kingship in these texts; and, no less important, to changing notions of the Brahmin in the consolidation of the varṇa or caste system.

Keywords:   Vedic canon, Veda, Ṛgveda, dhárman, enigmas, Upaniṣads, mantra, kingship, Brahmin, caste, varṇa

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