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The Mythico-Ritual Syntax of Omnipotence

David Lawrence
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 48, No. 4 (Oct., 1998), pp. 592-622
DOI: 10.2307/1400019
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1400019
Page Count: 31
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The Mythico-Ritual Syntax of Omnipotence
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Abstract

The use of theories of Sanskrit syntax by Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta to explain the action of monistic Śaiva myth and ritual is examined. These thinkers develop a distinctive approach to syntax that reductionistically emphasizes the role of the true Self/Śiva as omnipotent agent, in opposition to the denigration of agency by the majority of Hindu as well as Buddhist philosophies. An analogy to the Indian discussions is seen in the typological effort of Kenneth Burke's "Grammar of Motives," and it is suggested that indigenous theories of action syntax would be a useful focus for comparative research.

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