Śrīprapāduka’s Nyāyasūtravivaraṇa – Critical Edition, Text Critical Study and Content Analysis


Oliver Frey

  • Supervisor: Karin Preisendanz

The philosophical tradition called "Old Nyāya" (ca. 300-1050 CE), well known for its achievements in the field of methodical thinking, i.e. argumentation theory (dialectics and eristic) and logic, has left us a rich treasure of Sanskrit works. Even though much has been achieved since the beginning of modern Nyāya studies 200 years ago, further light needs to be thrown on many aspects of the teachings of this tradition and its historical development.

The purpose of this PhD project is to establish a first critical edition, together with a text critical study and content analysis, of one of these works, namely of Śrīprapāduka's commentary on the Nyāyasūtra called Nyāyasūtravivaraṇa (NSV). For the critical edition and text critical study, I will rely on an innovative method established and used in several research projects at the ISTB, where traditional methods of textual analysis and criticism are combined with cutting-edge, highly sophisticated cladistic methods adopted from evolutionary biology which are used to analyse and graphically display the relationships among different textual witnesses. To achieve the third goal, I will apply the conventional philological-historical method , supplemented by tools provided by today's information technologies.

The work process is divided into five overlapping phases: 1. Gathering of manuscript copies, first examination and description of the manuscripts; 2. creation of a critical apparatus (collation); 3. carrying out of cladistic analyses and creation of a first hypothetical stemma; 4. text critical analysis of the variants (recension) and reconstruction of an archetype of the text of the available manuscripts; 5. analysis of the content of the work with a view to the determination of its originality, age and position within the history of Nyāya literature and thought.

The results of this research will provide new insights into the mentioned aspects of the NSV, and contribute to a better understanding of Nyāya teachings and the history of the Nyāya tradition as a whole.