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The Significant Leap from Writing to Print: Editorial Modification in the First Printed Edition of the Collected Works of Sgam po pa Bsod nams rin chen
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2013-07
Publisher: Tibetan and Himalayan Library
Sources ID: 128207
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)

Creator's Description: New textual technologies inspire and force interpretive communities to rethink the way a text is perceived and used. Today, the possibilities of computers and the internet lead text-users to digitize materials and make sources searchable. This, in turn, changes the nature of texts, how they are used, and how they are understood. Past technological revolutions have had similar strong ramifications on the history of literature. In Tibet, one such shift was the spread of printing in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Much money, time, and effort had to be invested in transforming handwritten manuscripts to printed texts, which impelled Tibetans to take a new look at the existing literature. Publishers and editors often sat down to reorganize and emend texts of the manuscript tradition in order to make them more reader-friendly, thus justifying the increased circulation of the texts that printing made possible. Yet, modifying the texts also meant changing their significance in terms of how the texts and their authors were subsequently perceived. Relying on redaction and source criticism, the present article analyzes the editorial modifications that were imposed when the collected works of Sgam po pa Bsod nams rin chen, a twelfth-century founder of the Bka' brgyud tradition, were printed for the first time, and reveals the religious and literary ramifications this textual transformation involved. (2013-07-01)