Research Focus Group Talk: Post and the Shell: The Sacrificability of Animals in the Vedic Village

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Jonathan Dickstein

November 10, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


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In this talk, Jonathan Dickstein will discuss anatomical and residential animal taxonomies as represented in canonical Vedic texts of the second and first millennia BCE. The Brāhmaṇas (900-650 BCE) in particular emphasize a residence-based categorization of animals into two main categories: “village animals” (grāmya) and “wilderness animals” (āraṇya). Following a discussion of the complexities of these two classes, Dickstein will pivot to the relationship between residence and the concept of medha, a quasi-anatomical characteristic that establishes a being’s fitness for sacrifice. The objective of this talk is to highlight the Vedic ontologization of residence, explore the anatomization of sacrificability, and preview ethical perspectives on killing and eating animals in the Vedic and post-Vedic periods.

Jonathan Dickstein is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on South Asian religious traditions, comparative ethics, animals and religion, and religion and ecology.

Sponsored by the IHC’s South Asian Religions and Cultures Research Focus Group

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November 10, 2021
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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