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古代インドの女性観 (1)

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  • コダイ インド ノ ジョセイカン 1

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Problems of gender have been attracting the attention of scholars such as sociologists, historians, and anthropologists, but if we are expected to write about the same problems in ancient India, Sanskrit philologists have to resort to textual evidence. Based upon such evidence as the Smrti prescriptions of asvatantrya about women, the literary motif of sex-change, and the traditional custom of Suttee, people are often inclined to emphasise as a characteristic of Indian society the predominance of men over women. But we meet also counter-evidence such as the eulogy of the mother, the idea of the better-half, and stories of pati-vratas. Often the negative side is revealed in stri-svabhava (the nature of condemned women) and the positive side in stri-dharma (women's duty as their ideal). In a series of papers we are planning to elucidate these aspects, but here in this paper we shall collect passages relevant to chaste women (pati-vrata) and discuss the mystic power inherent in women's chastity.




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