Chapter

The Date of the Veda

Edwin Bryant

in The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137774
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195137779.003.0013
 						The Date of the Veda

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The various attempts made to date Sanskrit texts (the Veda) are examined in the context that if the Ŗgveda (the earliest of the texts) is at least a millennium older than its commonly accepted date, then the possibility of Dravidian and/or Munda and/or unknown linguistic influences on Vedic Sanskrit being the result of the speakers of these languages intruding on an Indo-Aryan-speaking area after the other languages had already left, as opposed to vice versa, becomes a much more serious consideration. Moreover, the relationship between Vedic and Proto-Indo-European would need to be reconsidered, and any proposal associating the overland trajectory of the Indo-Aryans with the Andronovo culture, a southern Iranian route, or any Post-Harappan culture in the subcontinent, loses value. For these and other reasons, a much older date for the Veda is foundational to the Indigenous Aryanist position; if by contrast, the oldest strata of the Ŗgveda cannot be far removed from the conventionally accepted date of 1200 or 1500 B.C.E., then the Indigenous Aryanist case loses cogency. The chapter examines the dating of Proto-Indo-European first, before going on to look at the dating of the Veda itself, paying special attention to astronomy and its bearing on Vedic chronology. The author concludes that none of the evidence presented so far in the book convincingly settles the debate, and that the only evidence that could do this with any degree of certainty would be the decipherment of the script from the Indus Valley civilization.

Keywords: astronomical evidence; dating Proto-Indo-European; India; Indigenous Aryanism; Indo-Aryan origins; Proto-Indo-European; Ŗgveda; Sanskrit texts; Veda; Vedic chronology

Chapter.  17684 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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