Textual criticism and editorial technique are essential tools for understanding the ancient literature of South Asia. Manuscript evidence for ancient works is often abundant, but early-career scholars need to learn how to locate, read and interpret these manuscript resources, and how to turn raw manuscript readings into new knowledge about the ancient past .
This project offers its participants experience in how to edit, read critically, interpret and write about ancient Sanskrit literature. The project’s Research Fellows and Assistants go through an intensive period of applied learning in a community of practice of editorial and hermeneutical techniques. Project participants learn how to,
- Read palaeographically challenging scripts;
- Interpret scribal abbreviations, corrections and glosses;
- Evaluate and judge alternative readings and interpretations of passages in the light of literary and historical context;
- Access and interpret medieval commentaries;
- Record the processes of interpretation so that they can be understood by a wider audience;
- Evaluate and interpret a critical apparatus;
- Practice deep reading;
- Translate, applying linguistic, historical and hermeneutical considerations.
Junior members of this project develop strengths in these areas through transcription and editing work, and by attendance at the weekly project seminars.