Scholasticism and Orality

Georges B. J. Dreyfus

in The Sound of Two Hands Clapping

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232594
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928244 | DOI:
Scholasticism and Orality

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Scholasticism revolves around the interpretation of constitutive texts in light of commentaries. This chapter examines the nature of interpretation that Tibetan scholastic practices presuppose and the tools that support such practices. In the Western medieval tradition, the core practice was the lecture (lectio), which includes both reading and the lecture proper. The lecture was supplemented by the disputation (disputatio), during which students debated questions raised by the lecture. But because of its double meaning, lectio signals the connection between aural practice and reading, a connection that may surprise those of us accustomed to think of reading as silent and solitary. The chapter discusses the connections between commentary, reading, and orality in the Tibetan scholastic tradition. The role of oral commentary can be better understood by relating it to notions of authority, the continuity of the tradition, and the transmission of the teaching.

Keywords: scholasticism; lecture; reading; disputation; oral commentary; orality; authority; transmission

Chapter.  6421 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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