We know that there are five to ten characteristics (Lakshana) of Purana which are discussed in this post. A similar question also asked for Itihasa. I want to know are there any characteristics of Brahmanas mentioned in scripture or in works of Acharyas?
Yes, Brahmans are the very important text and part of Vedas, which contains instructions and explanation to the sacrifices and rituals and procedures for performing them. There are ten characteristics of Brahmanas described by Shabara Swami in his Bhashya on (Purva) Mimansa Sutras of Jaimini.
Shabara Bhashya on Purva Mimansa Sutra 2.1.33:
हेतुर्निर्वचनं निन्दा प्रशंसा संशयो विधिः। परक्रिया पुराकल्पो व्यवधारणकल्पना ।।
उपमानं दशैते तु विधयो ब्राह्मणस्य तु। एतद्वै सर्ववेदेषु नियतं विधिलक्षणम् ।।
Heturnirvacanaṃ Nindā Praśaṃsā Saṃśayo Vidhiḥ। Parakriyā Purākalpo Vyavadhāraṇakalpanā ।।
Upamānaṃ Daśaite tu Vidhayo Brāhmaṇasya tu। etadvai sarvavedeṣu niyataṃ vidhilakṣaṇam ।।
They are as follows:
- Hetu i.e statement of reason is the description of the cause for the sacrifice.
- Nirvachana i.e interpretation or etymology is the derivational interpretation of the words
- Nindā i.e depreciation is the the discouragement of the forbidden acts.
- Praśaṃsā i.e eulogation is the encouragement of the good acts.
- Saṃśaya i.e doubt is the clarification of doubts.
- Vidhi i.e injunction is the direction and order of rites in sacrifices.
- Parakriyā i.e act of others is the description of goodness of the sub-ordinate rites in main sacrifice.
- Purākalpa i.e ancient history is the description of historical incidents and stories.
- Vyavadhāraṇakalpanā i.e assumption of transposition is the arrangement of the instruments and objects in the sacrifice according to the ircumstances.
- Upamānaṃ i.e analogy is the example.