A South Indian Digest of Commentaries on the Nyāyasūtra—the Nyāyasūtravivaraṇa Attributed to ‘Gambhīravaṃśaja:’ Critical Edition and Text Critical Study of the First Chapter


Oliver Frey

  • Supervisor: Karin Preisendanz

The purpose of this PhD project was to gain new insights into the Nyāyasūtravivaraṇa attributed to Gambhīravaṃśaja—its originality, age and position within the history of Nyāya literature and thought. The first step was to collect and document all available information about the work and obtain copies of the existing text versions in manuscript form. In a second step, the texts of the first chapter were collated and compared. Although the relationship between the text versions became soon obvious, the data was examined and evaluated in various ways in order to better understand how text-critical data may be processed towards most accurate results. Next, the text was compared with other commentaries on the Nyāyasūtra to find parallels. Finally, it was critically edited taking into account all information gathered during the investigation. To ensure transparency and comprehensibility of the procedure, the documentation of the text-critical data and the reconstruction of the archetypal text were strictly separated.

The detailed investigations confirmed what other scholars had previously suggested, namely that the Nyāyasūtravivaraṇa is predominantly a digest of passages taken from Vātsyāyana’s Nyāyabhāṣya and Uddyotakāra’s Nyāyavārttika. As an important result of the project it could be shown that its six textual witnesses can be divided into two lines of transmission: one comprising T, C and C’s apograph CP, the other M and its descendants MP and ME. T contains the most complete version of the text, and the ancestor of T and C very likely its most archetypal version. M, on the other hand, seems to be the copy of a slightly revised version. Although the Nyāyasūtravivaraṇa does not contain any new ideas or concepts, it documents what one particular scholar at the beginning of the second millennium regarded to be the core teachings of Prācīnanyāya as derived from the Nyāyasūtra.