ABOUT THE BOOK:
How did ancient Buddhists read and interpret the Buddha's words? In Voice of the Buddha, Maria Heim reads the early Buddhist scriptures with Buddhaghosa, the principal commentator, editor, and translator of the Theravada intellectual tradition. Buddhaghosa considers the Buddha to be omniscient and his words "oceanic." Every word, passage, bookindeed, the corpus as a wholeis taken to be "endless and immeasurable." Commentarial practice thus requires disciplined methods of expansion, drawing out the endless possibilities for meaning and application. Heim considers Buddhagohsa's theories of scripture and follows his practices of exegesis to yield fresh insight into all three collections of the early Pali texts: Vinaya, the Suttas, and the Abhidhamma.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maria Heim is Professor of Religion and Elizabeth W. Bruss Reader at Amherst College. She is the author of The Forerunner of All Things and Theories of the Gift in South Asia.
"Voice of the Buddha is a superb book. There is no other work quite like it, and the discipline of Buddhist Studies needs more books of this sortat once philologically careful and philosophically astute." - Richard Nance, Associate Professor of South Asian Buddhism, Indiana University, Bloomington.
"Buddhaghosa is unparalleled among Buddhist commentators because he teaches not only what a text means but also how to read that text; Maria Heim is unparalleled among Buddhaghosa scholars because she teaches us not only what Buddhaghosa said, but also how to read Buddhaghosa. This beautiful study illuminates Buddhist commentarial practice and Buddhaghosa's contribution to that practice, and is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Buddhist literature." - Jay L. Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities, Smith College, Harvard Divinity School.
"By reading over the shoulder of the great Theravada commentator Buddhaghosa, Maria Heim brings to light an ingenious and even astonishing understanding of the traditional Buddhist scriptural genres of Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma. This erudite and eloquent exposition of Buddhaghosa's profound and moving approach will appeal to all students of Buddhist scripture." - Jonathan C. Gold, Associate Professor of Religion, Princeton University.