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Manu's Code of Law is one of the most important texts in the Sanskrit canon, indeed one of the most important surviving texts from any classical civilization. It paints an astoundingly detailed picture of ancient Indian life-covering everything from the constitution of the king's cabinet to the price of a ferry trip for a pregnant woman-and its doctrines have been central to Indian thought and practice for 2000 years. Despite its importance, however, until now no one has produced a critical edition of this text. As a result, for centuries scholars have been forced to accept clearly inferior editions of Sanskrit texts and to use those unreliable editions as the basis for constructing the history of classical India. In this volume, Patrick Olivelle has assembled the critical text of Manu, including a critical apparatus containing all the significant manuscript variants, along with a reliable and readable translation, copious explanatory notes, and a comprehensive introduction on the structure, content, and socio-political context of the treatise. The result is an outstanding scholarly achievement that will be an essential tool for any serious student of India.
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Patrick Olivelle is Alma Cowden Madden Centennial Professor in Liberal Arts and Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions at the University of Texas at Austin. His translations of the Upanishads, the Dharmasutras, and the Pancatantra all appear in the Oxford World's Classics series.
"Patrick Olivelle's new critical edition of this text, based on a full study of the extant manuscripts and the nine early commentaries on the the text, is very much to be welcomed." --The Journal of Legal History
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