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date: 20 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Composed in the twelfth century ce, the Epitome of the Law (Mitākṣarā) by Vijñāneśvara is a celebrated and influential compendium of Indian law and jurisprudence. In form a commentary on the versified Laws of Yājñavalkya, it presents sophisticated and multifaceted discussions of all the major topics dealing with Hindu religious and legal duties collectively called dharma. This chapter examines Vijñāneśvara’s approach to basic problems of legal philosophy such as the sources and types of law, legal interpretation and reasoning, legal and moral obligation, the role of the state, and legal pluralism. It concludes by considering the driving metaphor that underlies Vijñāneśvara’s legal philosophy: law is a ritual, both the act and the obligation.

Keywords: India, philosophy, law, jurisprudence, dharma, Dharmaśāstra, Vijñāneśvara

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