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Tradition and Reflection: Explorations in Indian Thought.

The present work forms a kind of companion volume to the author's India and Europe, and indeed there are extensive quotations from the earlier work in the first chapter; it is also to a large extent composed of material already published and consists of a series of separate essays linked by the theme of Indian philosophical reflection on the meaning of the Hindu tradition. The core chapters 3-6 "are thoroughly revised and greatly enlarged versions of my four Studies in Kumarila and Sankara, which were published in 1983" (p. viii). The degree of enlargement varies. In chapter 3 ("Vedic Orthodoxy and the Plurality of Religious Traditions," corresponding to chapter Ill of Studies) the last section on the concept of adhikara (pp. 66-74) is new but, because of the way in which the book is compiled, discussion of adhikara recurs at pp. 274-79 and 380-84. Chapter 4 (corresponding to Studies, ch. I) has new material on the Thugs (pp. 103-7) and the Iranian evidence (pp. 109-10) to extend his treatment of the "liberators from Samsara." But in chapter 5 (Studies, ch. II) only the epilogue (pp. 180-82) is new and there are just minor changes in the rest (mainly, as elsewhere, adding translations to longer quotations from Sanskrit). Similarly, in chapter 6 (the appendix to Studies), the new part is the last section, on "Sankara and Classical Yoga," which now rounds off this assessment of the Yogasutrabhasyavivarana.

Chapter 7 is wholly new and discusses the use of medical metaphors in the Indian religious traditions in relation to the search for identity. This leads naturally into the discussion of whether classical Indian thought had an anthropology in chapter 8, a revised version of the article which Halbfass contributed to Waldschmidt's Festschrift. The treatment of karma and related issues in chapter 9 is drawn from his article in Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions and the analysis of various views on the varna system in chapter 10 translates his monograph, Zur Theorie der Kastenordnung in der indischen Philosophie.

The character of the different parts varies: some, especially the new linking chapters 1-2 and 7, seem intended mainly for the general reader but others are much more technical (ch. 6 was evidently earlier thought to be particularly technical, since it was relegated to the appendix of Studies). This inevitably raises the question of the work's readership and it does seem that it will be most useful to the scholar, who will probably, however, already have encountered the Studies and the separate articles. While it is certainly welcome to have Halbfass' further thoughts on these topics, there seems less need to have the original in extenso (and the impression of using space for the sake of it is increased by the way that the publishers have handled the notes, which are spaced widely and cover around a third as many pages as the text of each chapter). There is important new material here but it has to be searched for.
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Author:Brokington, J.L.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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