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The Rigveda$
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Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190633363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190633363.001.0001

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Dating and Authorship

Dating and Authorship

(p.13) 3 Dating and Authorship
The Rigveda

Joel P. Brereton

Stephanie W. Jamison

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the vexed problem of the dating of the Ṛgveda, which is complicated by the oral nature of the text: because it was composed within an oral tradition, which valued the use and reuse of traditional verbal formulations, it is hard to pinpoint the date when a particular poetic work was crystallized; and because it was transmitted only orally for several millennia, there are no datable manuscripts or inscriptions that can fix the earliest date of composition. The chapter also treats the question of authorship: on the basis of poem-internal evidence as well as on the later index to the Ṛgveda, we can conclude that the thousand or so hymns were composed by a large number of named individual poets, who belong to named poetic lineages or families over several generations.

Keywords:   oral composition, poetic formulae, poetic lineage, Family Books, migration, Bronze Age, Anukramaṇī

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