In the first half of this course, we will trace the rise of historical criticism in the context of debates over scripture. In the second half, we will study the creation of the critical edition of the Mahābhārata, and what the completion of this edition reveals about the transmission of the epic.
Topics to be covered include historical criticism, higher and lower criticism, textual criticism, the principles of reconstruction, and how to use the edition, including its critical apparatus and appendices. Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee, The Nay Science: A History of German Indology and Vishwa Adluri and Joydeep Bagchee, Philology and Criticism: A Guide to Mahābhārata Textual Criticism will serve as required textbooks for the course.
The class will meet for three hours each week. The course is structured as a series of lectures. Students will be asked to complete brief assignments (typically between 3–5 questions) to test their comprehension of the materials presented in class. There will be final exam. This is a take-home exam.