Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Major Professor

Rachelle Scott

Committee Members

Johanna Stiebert, Miriam Levering

Abstract

Although the text of the Devīmāhātmya is itself a section of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, recent scholarship has taken a primarily extrinsic approach to the text and its use by emphasizing the life of the Devīmāhātmya (henceforth DM) well apart from the textual tradition of the purāṇas. A reading of the DM in the context of the MārkP is instructive, because it reveals some interesting thematic connections that are indicative of larger thematic trends within the purāṇa, which prior extrinsic studies have not explored. Broadly speaking, these themes glorify women and Goddesses as positive manifestations of some fundamental female energy and efficacy. These themes occur in the DM and also occur in other narratives within the MārkP that praise female actors who restore order in times of crisis.

An evaluation of these thematic connections will show that the DM is best understood not only as an important text in its own right, but as an important piece of the MārkP as a whole. Conversely, the subject matter of the MārkP should not be viewed as unrelated to that of the DM. Therefore, my thesis is a preliminary effort to situate a text glorifying the Goddess in its purāṇic context through an analysis of narrative and thematic content.

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