2nd degree (Master)
Department of Asian Studies
Coordinator Office Hours:
Prof Yigal Bronner
Appayya Dīkṣita was one of India’s leading intellectuals in the sixteenth century and a man of many contradictions: a committed spokesperson for the nondualistic theology of Advaita Vedānta who also strongly promoted the worship of the god Śiva; a devout Śiva polemicist who composed powerful hymns to Viṣṇu and other Viṣṇu-centered works; a thinker renowned throughout India who worked outside the big courts and intellectual centers of his period and operated individually, with little institutional support; and a traditionalist who was also a bold innovator. Research on Appayya Dīkṣita is still in its infancy, partly because of these contradictions, but also because we lack basic information about his life and corpus. In this seminar we will familiarize ourselves with Appayya Dīkṣita, the context in which he lived and worked, and his intellectual legacy.
The Seminar has two main objectives: 1. To provide an overview of the changing political and intellectual worlds of India in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with an emphasis on the rise of new scholarly centers (Banaras in particular), academic networks, lineages, and modes of patronage, and the topics and methodologies of the period’s self-styled “new intellectuals.” 2. To engage in an in-depth analysis of Appayya Dīkṣita’s life and work, with a special emphasis on his contributions to the traditions of nondualism (Advaitavedānta), Śaivism, Vaiṣṇavism, Mīmāṃsā, literary theory, and semantics, in an attempt to shed light on his broad scholarly vision.
Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
To read comfortably secondary literature and its sciences in the early modern era (Sanskrit students will be encouraged to read primary literature as well), to become familiar with the traditional Sanskrit disciplines, and to understand the intellectual impact of Appayya Dīkṣita, one of India’s leading scholar-innovator in the sixteenth century.
Please consult divisional requirements
Teaching arrangement and method of instruction:
Seminar: in class conversation and student presentations
India’s new intellectual in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The new intellectuals in a new global world.
The new intellectuals in the new south.
Appayya Dīkṣita: His place and his times.
Vedānta in early modernity.
Appayya Dīkṣita’s contribution to early-modern Vedānta and Śaiva Vedānta.
Appayya Dīkṣita as a Śaiva polemicist and as a Vaiṣṇava theologian.
Appayya Dīkṣita’s contribution to Mīmāṃsā, grammar, and other sciences.
Appayya Dīkṣita as a literary theorist and as a semanticist.
A Family of Scholars: Appayya Dīkṣita’s descendants.
[For a detailed course plan, please consult the Moodle website.]
For a detailed list of required reading, please consult the Moodle website
Additional Reading Material:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 100 %
Grade will be determined by:
1. 9 short weekly responses to the reading materials and participation (50%).
2. Two short class presentations of an assigned article.