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Translated for the Glass Cabinet Only? Thai Translations of Buddha’s Word Examined in Their Cultural Context


Buddhism in contemporary Thailand is labelled “Theravada Buddhism” while the “Pali canon”, or the “Tipitaka”, is regarded as the canonical scriptures of this branch of Buddhism. In this lecture, Susanne Ott will not only reflect on canonization and the general role of translation in creating “-isms” and underpinning identities and power relations. She will mainly draw from her context-oriented research about the Thai translations of the Tipitaka, thereby viewing translation not as a merely linguistic but as a cultural phenomenon. Driven by the question as to why Thai translations of the Tipitaka are sometimes criticized for their poor intelligibility and “clunkiness”, the following aspects will be reflected on: the role of the scriptures, the purpose of the translations, target audience, agents involved in translating and the place of politics in the whole process, the different concepts and ideas about translation used in various contexts and fields in Thailand, traditional Pali education and other related aspects of cultural history.

Dienstag 17.01.2017

18:15-19:45 Uhr

Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1

Asien-Afrika-Institut: Raum 120