Georges Dumézil


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An influential French scholar of comparative philology and mythology, who developed the theory of a tripartite division underlying Indo-European thought and social structures, in which the functions of particular deities correspond to the three major divisions of society—i) priests and rulers, ii) warriors, and iii) producers. His work was comparative and thematic in method, and much of his analysis was derived from Indian materials, particularly the Mahābhārata. His writings continue to be influential, if controversial, in some areas of Western Indology, especially in Epic and mythological studies, and in discussions of the origins of the varṇa system.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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