Modes of Philology in Medieval South India
Philology was everywhere and nowhere in classical South Asia. While its civilizations possessed remarkably sophisticated tools and methods of textual analysis, interpretation, and transmission, they lacked any sense of a common disciplinary or intellectual project uniting these; indeed they lacked a word for ‘philology’ altogether.
Arguing that such pseudepigraphical genres as the Sanskrit puranas and tantras incorporated modes of philological reading and writing, Cox demonstrates the ways in which the production of these works in turn motivated the invention of new kinds of sastric scholarship. Combining close textual analysis with wider theoretical concerns, Cox traces this philological transformation in the works of the dramaturgist Saradatanaya, the celebrated Vaisnava poet-theologian Venkatanatha, and the maverick Saiva mystic Mahesvarananda.