In classical times, India’s diverse groups – whether defined by family or caste, professional or religious association – settled on a concept of law. How did they reach consensus? Was it based in religion or transcendent knowledge? Did it depend on time and place? What apparatus existed to ensure justice and fair verdicts?
Addressing these questions and more, A Dharma Reader traces the definition and process of Indian law from the third century bce to the middle ages. Its breadth captures the centuries-long struggle by Indian thinkers to theorize law in a complex society.
The volume includes new and accessible translations of key texts, notes that explain the significance and chronology of selections, and a comprehensive introduction that summarizes the development of various disciplines in intellectual and historical terms.
With exceptional detail and historical precision, this Reader provides unique insights into the legal interactions among India’s many groups.
Patrick Olivelle is professor emeritus of Sanskrit and Indian religions at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India (2013); Visnu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Vaisnava Dharmasastra (2009); Dharma: Studies in Its Semantic, Cultural, and Religious History (2009); Manu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Manava-Dharmasastra (2005); and Dharmasutras: The Law Codes of Ancient India (1999).