Dietrich Christian Lammerts F'14

Dietrich Christian Lammerts
Associate Professor
Religion
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

ACLS Fellowship Program 2014
Assistant Professor
Religion
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Buddhism and Written Law: A History of Dhammasattha Literature in Burma

Southeast Asia is the only region of the Buddhist world that saw the development of a codified religious law that claimed jurisdiction over both laypersons and monks. As the first book-length study to examine this distinctive legal genre known as dhammasattha (“treatise on law”), this project offers a new account of the development of Buddhist law in early Southeast Asia and demonstrates the centrality of law as a Buddhist discipline in later Burmese history. Based on manuscript and epigraphic sources, it reveals significant shifts in juridical discourse and practice between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries C.E., which call into question arguments for the uniformity of pre-colonial Buddhist legal culture and the decisive transformative impact of colonial modernity on Burmese law and Buddhism.