Review: On the Origin of the Early Indian Scripts [Book Review]


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Abstract
Several recent publications have questioned prevailing doctrines and offered new views on the antiquity of writing in early India and on the source and early development of the Indian scripts (Brāhmī and Kharoṣṭhī). Most of the new studies agree in assigning the origin of these scripts to a later period, i.e., the early Mauryan era (late fourth to mid third centuries B. C.), than has generally been done in the past, and in deriving them from prototypes in Semitic or Semitic-derived scripts. The main works to be evaluated here are Oskar von Hinüber's Der Beginn der Schrift und frühe Schriftlichkeit in Indien and Harry Falk's Schrift im alten Indien: Ein Forschungsbericht mit Anmerkungen. Also discussed are two recent articles on similar topics, Gérard Fussman's "Les premiers systèmes d'écriture en Inde" and Kenneth R. Norman's "The Development of Writing in India and its Effect upon the Pāli Cannon," as well as some other relevant publications. The authority and significance of this new trend toward assigning a later date of origin for the Indian scripts is evaluated and placed in the context of broader historical and cultural issues
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DOI 10.2307/604670
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Artificial Languages Across Sciences and Civilizations.Frits Staal - 2006 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 34 (1-2):89-141.

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