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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 March 2021

Structure of the Text

Structure of the Text

Chapter:
(p.20) 4 Structure of the Text
Source:
The Rigveda
Author(s):

Joel P. Brereton

Stephanie W. Jamison

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190633363.003.0004

This chapter treats the remarkably systematic structure and arrangement of the text. This systematicity testifies to the authority of a central organizing body overseeing the collection of the hymns from the separate bardic families and the arrangement of each collection on a similar template. The existence of such an authority suggests a significant change in the sociopolitical situation in the period following the period of composition, from a loose network of clans each with its own poetic lineage and ritual practice, to a central political force aiming to consolidate the clans and produce a uniform religious system. It also treats the later transmission of the Ṛgveda, which remained entirely oral for several millennia, even after writing was introduced. Because of the perceived holiness and “revealed” nature of the text (a category known as śruti), the transmission focused on preserving the exact verbal form of the text, even when some of it ceased to be understood.

Keywords:   Family Books, Kurus, oral transmission, śruti, Śākala, Śākalya, Strophic, Vālakhilya, Soma Pavamāna

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