Back of the Book
Helene BRUNNER was a pioneering scholar of Saivism whose work helped to forge the scholarly reputation of the French institutions of research in Pondicherry. This volume of essays offered in her memory reflects the range of her interests and offers thereby a picture of the state of tantric studies today. Prefaced to the volume is a biographical sketch of Helene Brunner by her colleague and friend of many years, Andre PADOUX (director de recherché honoraire of the CNRS), as well as a complete list of her published works.
Theological and philosophical aspects of tantric literature are addressed in the contributions of Gerhard OBERHAMMER (emeritus professor, Vienna), Francesco SFERRA (Professor, Universita degli Studi di Napoli L'Orientale), and Raffaele TORELLA(Professor at La Sapienza, Rome). Peter BISSCHOP (Lecturer, Edinburgh) and Marion RASTELLI (Austrian Academy of Sciences) throw light on connections between the tantric and puranic religious worlds. Diwakar ACHARYA (Lecturer, Kyoto) has uncovered and published primary source material about initiation in pre-tantric Saivism. Iconography and tantric ideas that underly it is the subject of the article of Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat (Membre del'Academie des Inscriptions & Belles-Letters). Leslie C. ORR and Richard H. Davis (Professors of Religion at Concordia university and Bard College respectively) combine the evidence of inscriptions and tantric literature to present what we know of the participants in South Indian temple festivals in medieval times. Tantric speculations about the alphabet, particularly its written form at the time of redaction of the scriptures of the Trika, is the focus of Somdev VASUDEVA (Editor, Clay Sanskrit Library). A scripture of the Siddhanta, the 100-verse recension of the Kalottara, is edited for the first time by Dominic GOODALL (Head of the Pondicherry Center of the EFEO). Judit TORZSOK (Lecturer, Charles-de-Gaulle University, Lille 3) examines explanations given in the tantras of the "meaning" of ritual.
The largest contribution of all, taking up a third of the book, is the magisterial survey of Kashmirian Saiva exegetical literature by Alexis SANDERSON (Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics, All Souls, Oxford).
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