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Chapter 1 - Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2019

Mark McClish
Affiliation:
Northwestern University, Illinois
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Summary

Introduces the dominant paradigm that the sovereign power of kings was limited by the sacred law of dharma in ancient India. Explores the difficulties in analyzing this relationship due to the systematic overdetermination of religion in the reconstruction of India's past. Introduces and analyzes the political theology of varṇāśramadharma, "The Sacred Law of the Social Classes and Modes of Life," in which dharma's supremacy over the king's political power is encoded. Shows that the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya is uniquely positioned to examine religion and politics and investigate the salience of varṇāśramadharma to politics in the period. Introduces higher textual criticism and explains the method of the study, which is to establish what material was original to the text and what was added later and to use that distinction to demonstrate the original independence of the statecraft tradition from varṇāśramadharma.

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Chapter
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The History of the Arthasastra
Sovereignty and Sacred Law in Ancient India
, pp. 1 - 27
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Introduction
  • Mark McClish, Northwestern University, Illinois
  • Book: The History of the Arthasastra
  • Online publication: 28 June 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108641586.001
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Introduction
  • Mark McClish, Northwestern University, Illinois
  • Book: The History of the Arthasastra
  • Online publication: 28 June 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108641586.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Mark McClish, Northwestern University, Illinois
  • Book: The History of the Arthasastra
  • Online publication: 28 June 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108641586.001
Available formats
×