Sacrificed Wife/Sacrificers Wife: Women, Ritual, and Hospitality in Ancient India

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byStephanie W. Jamison

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This book concerns the conceptual position of women in early India, specifically in the Vedic and early epic periods (c.1500-200 BCE), and it seeks to make contributions both to Indology and to gender studies. By focusing on a single female role--the activities of the "Sacrificer's Wife" insolemn ritual--and by extracting the rich materials on her role from the voluminous technical ritual manuals, the author isolates a set of conceptual functions the wife fills in ritual practice. These functions can then be observed in other cultural institutions in which womenparticipate--particularly the system of hospitality and gift exchange that regulated the relations between mutually obligated strangers in ancient India and the system of marital exchange. Besides filling a large gap in our understanding of ancient India, this work makes a general contribution to the study of women and gender, not merely by supplying information about a place and time poorly represented in these studies, but also by suggesting some methodologies involvingsensitivity to language and linguistic analysis to employ in approaching women and gender in other ancient cultures.

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This book concerns the conceptual position of women in early India, specifically in the Vedic and early epic periods (c.1500-200 BCE), and it seeks to make contributions both to Indology and to gender studies. By focusing on a single female role--the activities of the "Sacrificer's Wife" insolemn ritual--and by extracting the rich mate...

Stephanie W. Jamison is at Harvard University.

other books by Stephanie W. Jamison

Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.13 × 6.06 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195096630

ISBN - 13:9780195096637

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Table of Contents

Part I: IntroductionPart II: Sacrificed Wife/Sacrificer's Wife: The Mth of Manu's CupsPart III: The Wife in RitualA. The Wife and Other Ritual ActorsB. Situating the Wife in RitualC. Sexuality and Fertility--Symbolic RepresentationsD. Sexuality and Fertility--The AsvnamedhaE. Sexuality and Fertility--"Negative" RepresentationsF. Hospitality and Exchange Relations: The Soma SacrificePart IV: The Anxieties of HospitalityA. Introduction--Oghavati and AhalyaB. Hospitality and Hostly PerilsC. Manu's Cups Revisited I: The Cow, the Wife and the Power of the GuestD. Manu's Cups Revisited II: The Vocabulary of HospitalityE. Exploited Guests and Reluctant ReceiversPart V: Women and MarriageA. Marriage and ExchangeB. Marriage by CaptureC. Maidenly Self-DeterminationPart IV: Finale

Editorial Reviews

"The scholarship is extremely fine. Jamison has investigated thoroughly all major literature on the subject....Her writing is very clear and lively. She shows the ways in which these rituals address very human problems and situations. Jamison's discussions represent a significant advance inthe methods of ritual analysis, and will enable the Vedic material to be brought into larger discussions of women in India."--Joel P. Brereton, University of Missouri