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Alden Scholar Series

Dr. Toke L. Knudsen (November 2016)

Alden Scholar Series Fall 2016


Translating the Treatise Beautiful: From Sanskrit Verse to English Prose

Dr. Toke L. Knudsen (November 2016)

The Siddhāntasundara (literally, Treatise Beautiful) is a Sanskrit treatise on astronomy from about 1500 CE by the scholar-astronomer Jñānarāja, a native of Maharashtra in western India. Translating the Treatise Beautiful, a technical work from a different cultural sphere, directly from original manuscripts is a challenging task. The treatise is written in verse, sometimes employing sophisticated poetic techniques, presenting technical items like parameters and formulae in a way different from what we are used to. The talk will focus on how this 500-year-old treatise has been preserved and received by the scribal tradition of India, and the challenges involved with translating its Sanskrit verse to modern English prose.

Abstract written by author for submission to the Alden Scholar Series Organizing Committee.

Knudsen, Toke L. (2014). The Siddhāntasundara of Jñānarāja: An English Translation with Commentary. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.