Sanskrit

Classical Sanskrit is the transcultural, transregional language par excellence for the civilizations that have flourished in South Asia. For its beauty and complexity, it has been called “the language of the gods.” For nearly three millennia, South Asian seers and sovereigns, poets and philosophers, scholars and scientists composed texts of astonishing literary beauty and incredible logical rigor in Sanskrit. Indeed, to be a South Asian intellectual was to be a master of Sanskrit—not merely to be fluent in it, but to understand the rigorous linguistic underpinnings of the language (its morphology, syntax, and prosody) as well as to absorb the complex theories of aesthetics and hermeneutics that govern Sanskrit texts. The study of Sanskrit is therefore absolutely essential for unlocking the profundities and  the complexities of the life of the mind and of the heart in classical South Asia. It offers many lifetimes’ worth of insight into worlds of literature, linguistics, law, ritual, and philosophy—all the more so, since millions of precious manuscripts remain unstudied and untranslated in the original Sanskrit. Studying Sanskrit also provides a powerful foundation for studying the modern South Asian languages, most of which bear the deep imprint of the language of the gods. It is thus the key not just to South Asia’s past, but also to its present and to its future.
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Sanskrit 101A Elementary Sanskrit
Instructor: Nell S. Hawley; M/W/F, 12:00-1:15 (Fall)
Students learn fundamental skills in Classical Sanskrit, the language that was, for many hundreds of years, the most prestigious and broadly-deployed medium of intellectual and literary expression across South Asia. In the first year of study, students develop capabilities in analytical reading (and, secondarily, in writing, speaking, and listening) that will enable them to interpret Sanskrit texts on a foundational level. Participation in this course lays a solid groundwork for students to engage with Sanskrit texts in a wide array of styles and genres­—poetry, narrative, philosophy, scripture­—as their studies progress.

Sanskrit 102AR Intermediate Sanskrit
Instructor: Nell S. Hawley; M/W/F, 9:00-10:15 (Fall)
A reading course designed to give students the tools necessary for advanced study in Classical Sanskrit. Readings in epic (itihāsa) or narrative (kathā), poetry (kāvya) or systematic thought (śāstra) will introduce students to a variety of important genres and their distinctive conventions. A focus upon the Sanskrit tradition’s categories of analysis - grammatical, commentarial and prosodic - will enable students to begin to make sense of original Sanskrit texts as generations of the tradition’s own readers have.

Sanskrit 201AR Advanced Philosophical Sanskrit
Instructor: Parimal Patil; T/Th, 12:00-1:15 (Fall)
An advanced Sanskrit reading course focusing on the development of skills in either classical belles lettres (kāvya) or scholastic, commentarial prose (śāstra). In the former, emphasis is on the ability to re-arrange complex poetic forms into digestible prose word order. In the latter, students learn both the stylistic conventions of scholastic Sanskrit and the technical vocabulary of the relevant intellectual discipline.

Sanskrit 250R Nth Year Sanskrit
Instructor: Parimal Patil; T/Th, 12:00-1:15 (Fall)
An advanced course for students who have completed at least four years of formal Sanskrit instruction. Texts and topics will vary from year to year.