Richard Nance, Learning to Read: Lessons from the Vyākhyāyukti Literature

Professor Richard Nance
Associate Professor of Religious Studies,
Indiana University Bloomington
        Learning to Read: Lessons from the Vyākhyāyukti Literature
TUESDAY, January 30th, 5:00 PM, Swift 201
The workshop will consist of a presentation by Professor Nance followed by time for discussion. 
Attributed to the great Sarvāstivādin thinker Vasubandhu, the fifth-century Buddhist text The Logic of Explication (Vyākhyāyukti) is perhaps best known today for the philosophical arguments it offers against dismissing Mahāyāna traditions as insufficiently Buddhist. But to narrowly focus on these arguments is to risk missing both the text’s broader agenda and its imbrication with two additional texts that make up what has sometimes been called “the Vyākhyāyukti literature.” The effort to read these three texts together generates intriguing philological and hermeneutic puzzles. I will present a few of these puzzles, offer tentative suggestions as to how each might be (dis)solved, and highlight some implications that such work carries for how we might think about these texts, their authors, their transmission across the centuries, and our own roles as interpreters.

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.


The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao ( or Taryn Sue ( in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

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