American Oriental Society

Abstracts of Communications Presented

at the 207th Annual Meeting

23-26 March, 1997



Ashok Aklujkar
The Nirukta notion of karmopasamgraha nipata
Of the many passages in Yaska's Nirukta which pose challenges for interpreters, the one offering a definition of the karmopasamgraha or karmopasamgraharthiya nipata or particle has proved to be particularly challenging and has justifiably attracted the attention of serious students.

The passage is a part of the main discussion of the nipatas in the Nirukta (1.4-11), which discussion, in turn, can become problematic if the notion of karmopasamgraha is not understood properly. Such a problem was indeed felt by the ancient commentators Durga and Skanda-Mahesvara. Of the 13 nipatas grouped by Yaska as karmopasamgraharthiya, they could reconcile only the first six ( ca, a, va, aha, ha, u) with their understanding of karmopasamgraha and had to declare the remaining seven ( hi, kila, ma, khalu, sasvat, nunam, sim) as incidentally listed and illustrated. Modern scholars (Bhat, Mehendale, Bronkhorst, and Falk, in addition to some translators of the Nirukta) have rightly sensed that this amounts to recognizing a fourth variety of the nipatas, the admittance of which conflicts with Yaska's (1.4) recognition of only three varieties in his opening statement: atha nipata uccavacesv arthesu nipatanti: apy upamarthe, api karmopasamgraharthe, api pada-puranah.

The present paper will attempt to present an alternative understanding of the karmopasamgraha nipata discussion that the author hopes will be least problematic and will retain the defensible elements of the earlier discussions.

Muhammad Amanullah
Controversy Over the Implementation of Just Retribution Against a Muslim Who Kills a Non-Muslim Dhimmi or Mu`ahid
Many non-Muslim foreigners today have to live in all Muslim countries for diplomatic, economic, business, and job purposes. Knowledge of Islamic criminal law concerning non-Muslims is important for these foreigners (who fall under the category of mu`ahid), as well as for local non-Muslims, who are mostly known as dhimmi. Understanding this law also is necessary for governments that want to implement Islamic Shari`ah in their countries. Probably the most sensitive issue of the Islamic criminal system pertaining to non-Muslims is whether a Muslim receives just retribution for killing a non-Muslim or not. Some modern scholars, such as Schacht and Anderson, only briefly refer to this issue of retribution. Other scholars, such as `Oudah and El-Awa, discuss the same issue but not in depth. However, these studies fall short of providing detailed justification of the supporters of this qisas and arguments of the opponents. My study, based on classical Islamic fiqh literature, provides opinions and detailed justifications offered by classical Muslim jurists concerning this type of retribution. I conclude that Hanafi jurists, arguing through the Qur'an, Sunnah, athar, ijma`, and reason, maintain that a Muslim must receive just retribution for the intentional killing of a non-Muslim dhimmi or mu`ahid. Other Muslim jurists, such as Shafi`i, ibn Shabrumah, Thawri, Awza`i, Malik (in most cases), and Ahmad, contradicting the Hanafis, advocate that a Muslim should not receive qisas for this kind of homicide. Although these opponents try to establish their view through the Qur'an and hadith, Hanafis counter these arguments. Based on arguments and counterarguments of Hanafis to their opponents, I further conclude that the Hanafi view about this issue is better supported than that of their opponents, and Hanafi opinion is more appropriate than others' in order to protect the rights of non-Muslims in an Islamic environment.
Jensine Andresen
Khotanese Tantric Texts
Khotanese fragments from Chinese Turkestan show that a form of Tantric Buddhism was present in Khotan from at least the 8th to the 10th centuries. These textual fragments invoke multifarious Buddhas, a number of which are arranged in the directions of the Tantric mandala. Utilizing translations of the Khotanese texts provided by P. Oktor Skjaervo, this paper compares passages from Khotanese fragments to Indian Tantric Buddhist texts of the same period (e.g., the Candamaharosa Tantra, the Guhyasamaja Tantra, the Hevajra Tantra, the Mañjusrimulakalpa, the Sarvadurgatiparisodhana Tantra, and the Sarvatathagatatattvasamgraha) to examine similarities and differences in the ritual invocation of Buddhas and to suggest possible patterns in, and dating of, the dissemination of Tantric Buddhism to Khotan. More specifically, this paper considers the arrangement of Dundubhisvara, Aksobhya, Ratnaketu, and Amitayu around a Tantric mandala described in one Khotanese fragment to the same arrangement of Buddhas in a Sanskrit Indian text, the Suvarnaprabhasa. To conclude, this paper presents some general features of an uniquely-Khotanese form of Tantric Buddhism that is culturally distinct from its Indian precursor.
Alfonso Archi
Formation of the West-Hurrian Pantheon
Some gods, like Adamma and Ashtabil, known to us from the West-Hurrian pantheon, are already attested in the Ebla texts, about 1,000 years earlier. This does not mean that the Hurrians were already present in Northern Syria at that time. Those gods go back to a pre-Hurrian period. Some of them, like Hepat, are of Semitic origin. Others, like Adamma, Ammarigu and Shalash, seem to go back to a pre-Semitic substratum.

When that social structure which expressed those gods dissolved with the desctruction of Ebla (about 2,350 B.C.), they did not find a place in the dominant pantheon of those Amorite people who established themselves in Northern Syria. Having therefore become local gods, they were included in the pantheon of the Hurrians, who, from the first centuries of the second millennium began to establish themselves west of the Euphrates, in Northern Syria and Eastern Anatolia.

M. M. al-Azami
On Norman Calder's Studies in Early Muslim Jurisprudence, with General Reference to Muwatta of Imam Malik in the recension of Yahya b. Yahya al-Masudi al-Laithee
The author rejects Muslim scholars' accounts of Muwatta's authorship, transmission and the biography of Yahya al-Laithee.

Calder uses the method of secular historians, working within the rules of their discipline based on the `achievement' of Goldziher, Schacht and Wansbrough using the Jacob Neusner technique in Rabbinical studies.

However, Calder has completely ignored the criticism leveled upon Goldziher and Schacht by scholars such as Nabia Abbott, M. M. al-Azami, and Fuat Sezgin. Not only that, but Calder does not differentiate between the nature of Rabbinical literature and that of Hadith. Neither does he give any logical explanation in discarding the Muslim sources, nor does he follow the rational approach, except his speculative wishes, which is far from any approved discipline, even the secular one. The only exception is if one names any conclusion contrary to all available fact and related data---reached by any speculation as a secular historian discipline.

Julia M. Asher-Greve
Frontality and Goddesses
Frontal positions in narrative representation is relatively rare. Deities depicted en face turn outward to the viewer whereas figures depicted in profile are detached from the viewer. M. Shapiro (1973) suggested that figures represented en face are symbols or carriers of messages, and that the contrast of frontal and profile distinguishes between different symbolic events. Frontality as dominant or exclusive posture may be applied to figures with different meaning. Complementing Shapiro's theory with gender analysis lends particular weight to goddesses who from the Early Dynastic to the Old Babylonian periods are more often shown en face than gods.

This paper analyzes the implication en face representation of goddesses has for the evaluation of their status in third millennium Mesopotamia and the theory of gradual marginalization of goddesses.

Gary Beckman
"Babyloniaca Hethitica": The `pabilili Ritual' from Boghazköy (CTH 718)
As one of only two Hittite rituals to include sizable passages in Akkadian language, this composition addressed to the Ishtar-type Pirinkir presents an excellent point of departure for the consideration of southern influence upon the religious practice of Hatti. I will elucidate the position of this ritual within the stream of Hurrian-mediated Mesopotamian tradition at the Hittite capital and will demonstrate its close relationship to "The Ritual for the Goddess of the Night" (CTH 481).
Daniel Boucher
Gandhari and the Early Chinese Buddhist Translations: An Old Hypothesis Reconsidered
Since the groundbreaking studies of Bailey and Brough, scholars have assumed that many if not most of the Chinese Buddhist translations of the first several centuries C.E. derive from Indian source texts written in a Northwest Middle Indic language now widely known as Gandhari. This assumption has been based upon a rather small number of transcriptions of Indian proper names and technical terms whose reconstructed pronunciation in ancient Chinese appears to coincide with what is known of the phonology of Gandhari Prakrit. This paper is an attempt to call this assumption into question. It aims to demonstrate that problems in the translation process itself must qualify what can be known about the Indian source language underlying a Chinese translation. Such translation infelicities will point us toward a much more nuanced appreciation of the forces at work in the production of these texts. Only then can the complexity of these hybrid works be adequately appreciated so as to illuminate the textual traditions of Buddhism on both sides of the Himalayas.
Joel P. Brereton
The Race of Mudgala and Mudgalani
Rgveda 10.102 is one of the most perplexing of the Vedic akhyana hymns. It describes a race which is won by Mudgala, a victory that is remarkable because his driver was his wife Mudgalani and his vehicle a bull-drawn cart. While that much of the narrative is clear, the purpose of the hymn and many of its details are obscure, and as a result, it has given rise to a variety of different interpretations.

This paper proposes that the hymn was composed to be part of a niyoga ritual, a ritual that appointed a substitute for a man who lacked a son and who was either impotent or dead. The child of the man's surrogate and the man's wife was reckoned as his heir The race of Mudgala and Mudgalani is the effort to win a son, and their victory promises that the man for whom the hymn is recited and the ritual performed will also have a son. Interpreting the hymn in this way allows us to see its more difficult verses as riddles that refer to the process of substituting a potent male for an impotent husband.

Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley
The Present Situation of the Mandaeans of Iran
This is a field report from a trip made possible by an Individual Research Grant from the American Academy of Religion to the Mandaeans of Iran in April 1996. No foreign scholar of Mandaeism had visited the Mandaeans of Iran since the 1930's. Even Prof. R. Macuch, who was an Iranian citizen and who spent much time in Tehran, never visited the Mandaeans in Khuzistan, their home ground. I went to Ahwaz and to Tehran and by special invitation from the Mandaeans themselves and from Muslims academics. In Ahwaz, I was treated like royalty by the Mandaeans, invited to rituals, taken on visits, giving conferences in the mandi (community house), having numerous theological conversations---also with priests. My task in Tehran was surprisingly political-activist: since 1980, the Mandaeans have been deprived of their status as a protected religion, but a fatwa by President Khamenei last year encourages cautious optimism. Both Mandaeans and Muslims asked me to address this situation, and I gave lectures and conferences on Mandaeism and on the academic study of religion.

The condition of the Mandaean community---its priests, yalufas (learned laymen), and lay people---will be treated and internal and external problems highlighted. Internally, the community is challenged by an increasing number of intermarriages and by emigration. Rules of purity are continually challenged, and the recent wars have had their effects. Still, ritual life continues, the priests enjoy undisputed authority, and children receive instruction in the religious traditions. Externally, Muslim suspicious attitudes towards the religion continue, and I will specify the most important ones. Unavoidably, anecdotes will illustrate my experiences. This report is intended to exemplify how one might combine traditional scholarship with forms of activism, the latter being a challenging proposition in a theocratic country.

Dexter E. Callender, Jr.
"Your Timbrels and Your Pipes": An Interpretation of Accoutrements of the Primal Man in Ezekiel 28
Ezekiel 28:11-19 preserves an oracle against the king of Tyre uttered in the form of a lament. The lament is allegorical and presents a figure to whom the king is likened. Scholarship has long suspected that the figure who forms the basis of the allegory is a variant of the first man known from the Genesis account. But this is far from certain; the language is difficult, and there are many unanswered questions. One of the most elusive aspects of the text regards the two words tuppeka and neqabeka, two items the figure is stated to possess. These words were translated by AV "your tabrets and pipes." This translation is curious within the context. As a result, scholars have offered other suggestions. No consensus has as yet been established, nor has the discussion progressed much beyond conjecture. Some suggest the phrase reflects "[technical terms] from the industrial arts" (e.g. Zimmerli); others suggest "ornaments and settings" (e.g. Cooke). This paper concludes that the most plausible translation is, in fact, "your timbrels and pipes," a reference to musical instruments. Such a conclusion is warranted primarily on the basis of philological and textual evidence, and further clarifies the relationship between this text and other allusions to the primal man in Israelite literature. If this conclusion is to be accepted, an interesting parallel emerges with the Indo-Iranian traditions of the primal man figure, who is similarly depicted. This conclusion also invites a sober and judicious reassessment of the connections between Israelite literature and thought and that of regions farther east, particularly with regard to basic mythic traditions such as those concerning the primal man. This paper is a part of a larger project examining the significance and use of "primal man" traditions in ancient Israel and the ancient Near East.
George Cardona
Some issues concerning Vakyapadiya 2.64-87
In a series of karikas of the second kanda of his Vakyapadiya (VP 2.64-87), Bhartrhari presents arguments that would be used by proponents of the view that words ( padani) in utterances are the meaningful units, against the position that an utterance has to be considered an indivisible meaningful unit. Both the particular examples used and the principles these are invoked to illustrate make clear that the arguments in question are those a Mimamsaka would present, and this is recognized by commentators. In this paper, I will discuss the following points: why Mimamsakas and mimamsa principles of interpretation must be singled out for the most extensive discussion; why Punyaraja makes a point of illustrating each of the principles invoked with examples from common usage ( loke), Vedic usage ( vede) and Panini's grammar ( sastre). I shall argue that Bhartrhari singles out Mimamsakas because it is they who adopt exegetical principles that require recognizing the word as a fundamental unit, so that the most fundamental difference in outlook concerning utterances and their meanings holds between them and Bhartrhari. Punyaraja also is compelled to illustrate the principles in question with examples from three spheres because, in order to establish the absolute validity of these principles, they must be shown to hold not only for Vedic utterances but also for everyday usage and in grammar, where such usage is followed. In brief, it is Mimamsa, with its principles for interpreting Vedic utterances that is most fundamentally opposed to tenets maintained by grammarians.
Houcine Chouat
Orientalist interpretations of the Texts Regarding the writing of the Prophetic Sunnah
The theory constructed by the majority of Orientalists regarding the recording and compilation of the Sunnah---that the sunnah was not written down until the second century of the Hijrah and later---is based on their approach to understanding, interpreting, and analyzing the hadiths that ordered the Sunnah to be written down and the hadiths which discouraged that, as well as the statements of the Companions and Successors on this issue.

Thereafter they constructed on the basis of this theory a group of dangerous conclusions that cast doubt upon the religious value of the immaculate sunnah.

This approach and the conclusions based on it are not conceded by Muslim specialists in the field, who emphatically deny the validity of the methodology employed in treating the texts, and therefore, the conclusions based on it.

In this paper I will examine the most salient features of the approach of Orientalists in interpreting the texts on recording the Sunnah, and I will show how it has frequently resulted in erroneous conclusions.

I will contrast it with the methodology of Hadith scholars for interpreting these texts, as they are the specialists in this field, and I will show how their methodology yielded results consistent with the established views of Islam and realities of history.

Norman Cigar
Religion and Power in Pre-Colonial Morocco: The `Agagiza Movement
This is a study of the significance for Moroccan society of the `Agagiza movement, a religious sect deviating from mainstream Islamic orthodoxy. Flourishing during a period of weakened state power from the 16th century to at least the end of the 17th century, when it was eliminated by force, this movement was probably the most widespread phenomenon of its kind in Morocco in the last four centuries. The thesis will be argued that, given the interrelation between religious practice and the political and social order---and legitimacy---in pre-colonial Morocco, organized religious deviance was inevitably seen as a political threat by the state and the orthodox religious establishment and that, conversely, political opponents of the state were predisposed to cast their ideas in religious terms.

The study concludes that the `Agagiza appear to have been typical of the messianic-mahdist movements which abounded in Moroccan history, most of them as a protest against the central government. Although all the extant records were written by the `Agagiza's enemies, it is clear that this movement was widespread, reaching a significant area of Morocco's heartland, with followers both in the countryside and in cities, and among both Arab and Berber tribes. Given the relationship between political legitimacy and religion, the `Agagiza were bound to be suppressed as soon as the newly-established `Alawi state was in a position to do so.

The study examines both the doctrinal differences with orthodox Islam and the social and political context of religious dissidence. This is the first analysis done of the `Agagiza, and is based on the extant legal texts written by the religious establishment intended to provide a case against the sect, as well as on information culled from contemporary chronicles.

Mark R. Cohen
What was the Pact of `Umar? A Literary-Historical Study
The Pact of `Umar ( `ahd `umar; also al-shurut al-`umariyya, "Stipulations of `Umar"), is the basic document outlining the obligations of the non-Muslims living in Dar al-Islam (territory ruled by Islam) and defining the relationship of the ahl al-dhimma, or dhimmis, "protected people," with Muslims and with the Islamic state. In modern scholarship, the problem of the Pact of `Umar has assumed three interrelated aspects. First, the question of origins: who wrote it and when was it compiled? Second, the question of form: why does the Pact take the odd form of a letter from the non-Muslims to the caliph, listing the conditions of their subordination, rather than the form of an agreement designed by the caliph himself? And third: what are the sources and meaning of the stipulations? This paper will deal with the first and second of these questions only.

The paper is based on a study of over two dozen versions of the document, including several included in a virtually unnoticed Arabic manuscript of a tenth-century hadith treatise on "The Stipulations of the Christians" located by the author in Dar al-Kutub, the Egyptian National Library. The author carefully defines, from a literary perspective and with greater precision than before, what, exactly, medieval Muslims (and non-Muslims) understood the Pact of `Umar to be (and those variants that "look like" but are really not versions of the Pact, properly speaking). By applying evidence of administrative practice in the medieval Muslim state he explains, further, why the seemingly peculiar literary form was not at all peculiar to medievals. In short, he attempts to solve the mystery that vexed Tritton and his followers and to increase our understanding of this essential text for the history of Muslim- non-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages.

Signe Jansen Cohen
The svetasvatara Upanisad Reconsidered
This paper presents the results of a text-critical study of the svetasvatara Upanisad. The svetasvatara Upanisad is considered one of the earliest saiva texts. In this theistic upanisad, siva, who is identified with atman/brahman, is promised as the creator of the universe. However, a text-critical analysis of the sU shows that certain stanzas are linguistically and metrically later than the main part of the text. When these later additions are removed from the sU, very little remains of the text's saiva character. When the older part of the text is read by itself, it seems that the "one God" referred to in the text is not siva, but atman. This paper will show how a misreading of one stanza may have led to the transformation of the sU from a theistic upanisad deifying atman, to a saiva text.
Robert Joe Cutter
So Many Women, So Little Time: The Deposal of Cao Fang (r. 239-254)
Cao Fang, who was made emperor at the age of eight, was a weak ruler at the end of the Wei Dynasty. The accounts of his deposal for putative lascivious behavior, which will be examined here, make interesting reading. They not only shed light on palace intrigue in the mid-third century but also enhance our understanding of relations between men and women and concepts of morality during the Three States period.