Patrick Olivelle's two volumes presenting first the four oldest dharmasūtras, in updated and refurbished editions and new translations, and next his critical edition and translation of the Mānavadharmaśāstra are both meticulous works of fundamental scholarship that will stand as the normative forms of these five texts for decades to come. Olivelle's contributions as an editor in each volume are very different, and these contributions are examined and discussed in some detail, particularly in the case of the critical edition of the Manu, which presents a number of important issues of lower and higher textual criticism. In the case of the sūtra volume, the discussion turns to a general comparison of Olivelle's translations of the sūtras to Bühler's and then to a closer examination of Olivelle's translational policies for the word dharma and two words in particular used by the sūtras to describe the good of doing dharma, kṣema and niḥśreyasa. In the discussion of the edition of Manu, particular attention is given to his assembly, analysis, and presentation of the fifty-three witnesses used for the new edition of the Manu. Following that, there is a discussion of the nature of the tradition that gave rise to the text and used it, a discussion that calls into question some of Olivelle's basic conclusions about the formation and development of the text of the Manu śāstra.
The regular serial publication of the Society, issued quarterly, is the Journal of the American Oriental Society. The first volume, published in 1843-49, set the tone for all time in the broad scope of subject matter and the solidity of its scholarship. It included studies of Arab music, of Persian cuneiform, and of Buddhism in India, and brought to a wide audience the then novel theories of Pierre E. Du Ponceau, assailing the doctrine of the "ideographic" character of the Chinese script. From that year to the present day, the Journal has brought to the world of scholarship the results of the advanced researches of the most distinguished American Orientalists, specialists in the literatures and civilizations of the Near East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Inner Asia, the Far East and the Islamic World. The pages of the Journal are always open to original and interesting contributions from scholars. To assure competent and impartial appraisal of the scholarly level of the material submitted for publication, the editorial staff is composed of recognized scholars in each of the major areas served by the Society. Membership in the AOS includes an annual subscription to the Journal.
The American Oriental Society is the oldest learned society in the United States devoted to a particular field of scholarship. The Society was founded in 1842, preceded only by such distinguished organizations of general scope as the American Philosophical Society (1743), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780), and the American Antiquarian Society (1812). From the beginning its aims have been humanistic. The encouragement of basic research in the languages and literatures of Asia has always been central in its tradition. This tradition has come to include such subjects as philology, literary criticism, textual criticism, paleography, epigraphy, linguistics, biography, archaeology, and the history of the intellectual and imaginative aspects of Oriental civilizations, especially of philosophy, religion, folklore and art. The scope of the Society's purpose is not limited by temporal boundaries: All sincere students of man and his works in Asia, at whatever period of history are welcomed to membership.