Freitag, 14. Juni 2013, 15:15 - 16:45 iCal

"Does God Have Free Will? Hermeneutics and Theology in the Work of Ved?ntade?ika"

Ein Vortrag von Larry McCrea, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Sanskrit Studies, Cornell University)

Seminarraum 1 des Instituts für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2, Eingang 2.7, 1090 Wien


Ved?ntade?ika devoted his intellectual life to providing an authoritative defense of R?m?nuja’s devotion-centered theology; one which would prove convincing not only to committed ?r?vai?navas, but to a wider philosophical and intellectual public. In doing so he relied heavily on the epistemological and linguistic theories promulgated by the M?m??s? tradition of scriptural analysis. This provided a ready made and widely respected body of argument defending the claims of scripture, yet brought in its wake a good deal of unwanted baggage as well. The M?m??s? analysis of scripture and of religious action was designed precisely to rule out the intervention of a personal God, or any divine being whatsoever, in the production of scripture or in the dispensing of rewards for acts of religious merit. M?m??s? argued that scriptures were eternal and uncreated, and were authoritative precisely because no personal agent was implicated in their composition.

The adoption of M?m??s? as the basic model for both defending and interpreting scripture was not of course original to Ved?ntade?ika’s work, but was already basic to the hermeneutic employed by R?m?nuja in his ?r?bh??ya, and by his predecessor Y?mun?c?rya in his ?gamapr?m??ya. Both of these authors display a close but uncomfortable relationship to M?m??s? in their works, criticizing selected elements of M?m??s? hermeneutics while adopting its basic model of scritptural legitimation. But Ved?ntade?ika chooses to confront this problematic legacy in a far more systematic fashion than his predecessors, actually writing his own full commentary on the M?m??s?s?tra, his Se?varam?m??s? or “M?m??s? With God”, which, as its title indicates, is an attempt to reread M?m??s? in theistic terms, challenging the antitheistic principles of the earlier M?m??sakas while retaining as much as possible of their interpretive machinery.

In my talk I will examine the tension between Ved?ntade?ika’s devotional theology and the anti-theistic presuppositions of the epistemological and hermeneutical theories he employs in defending it, and to explore the consequences of the way he seeks to resolve this tension.


Larry McCrea is Associate Professor of Sanskrit Studies at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in South Asian Languages & Civilizations in 1998 from the University of Chicago, and his BA in 1989 from Cornell University and he is among the world's major experts of the Indian scriptural hermeneutics (M?m??s?), especially of its hermeneutical approach. Among his most recent book projects, The Teleology of Poetics in Medieval Kashmir, Harvard Oriental Series (Spring 2009), deals with the conceptual revolution in Sanskrit poetic theory brought about by the work of the ninth century Kashmiri ?nandavardhana. McCrea argues that the most crucial innovation ?nandavardhana introduced in the field of poetics was his application to literary analysis of a teleological approach to text interpretation imported from the discipline of M?m??s?.

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde der Universität Wien in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften


Judith Starecek
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
4277 43502