10. Interpreting ‘Brahmanization’ in the Indian Buddhist Monastery with J. Z. Smith

Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion - Barbara Krawcowicz

Nicholas Witkowski [+-]
University of San Diego
Nicholas Witkowski is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego. He received his PhD in Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. His current project, Lifestyles of Impurity, is a study of low-/outcaste communities in first millennium South Asia that employs the theoretical armature of historians of the everyday.

Description

Following Smith’s description of ritual as “creation of a controlled environment” Nicholas Witkowski in his chapter proposes a new interpretation (a redescription?) of how early Indian Buddhist monastics navigated the forces of Brahmanization at work in the early centuries of the Common Era. As Witkowski observes, recent scholarship in the field has tended to view the Brahmanizing forces as authoritative in Indian society, and thus, as a force the Buddhist monastic order was compelled to reckon with, and ultimately submit to. Questioning this narrative and using the example of Buddhist monastic resistance to Brahmanical attempts to enforce a totalizing purity regime in everyday society, Witkowski argues that in fact ritual practice was limited to the “controlled environment” of Brahmanical circles of social authority and did not spread to the field of “ordinary” or “everyday” life in the India of the early centuries CE.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Witkowski, Nicholas. 10. Interpreting ‘Brahmanization’ in the Indian Buddhist Monastery with J. Z. Smith. Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Oct 2023. ISBN 9781781799840. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39936. Date accessed: 26 Nov 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39936. Oct 2023

Dublin Core Metadata