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Religion in India : A Historical Introduction - Fred W. Clothey

Religion in India

A Historical Introduction

Paperback Published: 21st December 2006
ISBN: 9780415940245
Number Of Pages: 296

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Religion in India is an ideal first introduction to India's fascinating and varied religious history. Fred Clothey surveys the religions of India from prehistory and Indo-European migration through to the modern period. Exploring the interactions between different religious movements over time, and engaging with some of the liveliest debates in religious studies, he examines the rituals, mythologies, arts, ethics and social and cultural contexts of religion as lived in the past and present on the subcontinent.

Key topics discussed include:


  • Hinduism, its origins and development over time

  • minority religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism and Buddhism

  • the influences of colonialism on Indian religion

  • the spread of Indian religions in the rest of the world

  • the practice of religion in everyday life, including case studies of pilgrimages, festivals, temples and rituals, and the role of women

Written by an experienced teacher, this student-friendly textbook is full of clear, lively discussion and vivid examples. Complete with maps and illustrations, and useful pedagogical features, including timelines, a comprehensive glossary, and recommended further reading specific to each chapter, this is an invaluable resource for students beginning their studies of Indian religions.

'What sets this book apart is (a) the emphasis on the arts, (b) discussion of rituals at various points in the narrative, and (c) its attention to the other [non-Hindu] religions of India and, to some extent, their interaction. This promises to be the best introduction to date on the religion of India.'" - Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida, USA" 'Clothey's purpose is worthy and necessary. At present there is no complete textbook for undergraduates on the religions of India.'" - Rick Jarow, Vassar College, New York, USA" 'This is an extremely worthwhile endeavor, and it should produce a book for which there is considerable need. The endeavor is also, of course, an extremely ambitious one, especially the goal of combining accessibility and contextual richness. But, from what I have read, it seems likely that Clothey's book will go far toward achieving this goal.'" - Anne Feldhaus, Arizona State University, USA"

Prefacep. ix
List of illustrations and mapsp. xiii
On Wearing Good Lensesp. 1
Lenses used through the yearsp. 2
Pejorative putdownp. 2
Romanticismp. 4
"Noble savage"p. 6
Interpretation by impositionp. 7
"Benign neglect"p. 9
On understanding the "nature" of religionp. 10
Recommended readingp. 12
Sources of Indian Religionp. 14
Hunting communitiesp. 15
Agricultural communitiesp. 16
The "Indo-European" influencep. 20
The Vedic periodp. 21
The ritual systemp. 23
Hymns and commentariesp. 26
Recommended readingp. 28
The Early Urban Periodp. 30
The Upanisadsp. 31
The "heterodoxies"p. 36
Jainismp. 37
Early Buddhismp. 41
Recommended readingp. 48
Timeline of Chapters 2 and 3p. 50
The Urban Periodp. 51
The contextp. 52
Kingship and arthap. 56
Theism: Buddhist and vaidikap. 56
Devotionalismp. 60
Articulation of an "urban" ethicp. 61
The householdp. 63
The role of womenp. 63
Jati or castep. 66
The symbolism of foodp. 67
Yogap. 68
Summaryp. 69
The epicsp. 69
Aesthetics and the artsp. 72
Religious life at the popular levelp. 76
Developments in Buddhismp. 78
Kingshipp. 79
Ethicsp. 79
Attitude toward city-statep. 79
Pantheonp. 79
Iconographyp. 80
Sacred spacesp. 80
Recommended readingp. 84
Timeline of Chapter 4p. 86
The Post-classical Periodp. 87
South Indiap. 87
Bhaktip. 90
The emergence of templesp. 93
The Colasp. 96
Deities as reflections of cultural historyp. 100
Philosophical developmentsp. 102
Saiva Siddhantap. 102
Vedantap. 103
North Indiap. 107
Temple constructionp. 108
Tantrismp. 109
The rise of the goddesses to "high deity" statusp. 111
Buddhism and Jainismp. 114
Recommended readingp. 116
Timeline of Chapter 5p. 120
The Coming of Islamp. 122
The origins of Islamp. 123
Sunnis and Shi'isp. 124
Islam in Indiap. 125
The political contextp. 127
Diversity of Islam in Indiap. 131
Sunnisp. 131
Shi'isp. 132
Sufismp. 133
Recommended readingp. 136
Developments in the Late Medieval Periodp. 137
Orthopraxyp. 137
Hindu politiesp. 138
Devotionalismp. 141
Marathip. 142
Bengalip. 144
Hindip. 145
Accommodation and appropriationp. 150
Conversionp. 152
Syncretismp. 154
Sikhismp. 156
Recommended readingp. 159
Timeline of Chapters 6 and 7p. 161
Streams from the "West" and their Aftermathp. 162
Religious minoritiesp. 163
Jewish communitiesp. 163
"Cochin Jews"p. 163
Bene Israelp. 165
Syrian Christiansp. 166
Zoroastrians or Parsisp. 168
The "colonial impact"p. 171
The Portuguese, British and other Europeansp. 171
The Indian responsep. 175
Stage onep. 176
Stage twop. 178
Neo-bhaktip. 179
Muslim responses to colonialityp. 181
Inter-religious relations: conciliation and confrontationp. 183
Pre-independence Indiap. 186
Recommended readingp. 189
Religion in Contemporary Indiap. 193
The contextp. 193
The practice of religionp. 197
Pilgrimages and festivalsp. 197
Varanasip. 198
Palani, Tamil Nadup. 200
Festivalsp. 201
Makara Vilakku, Sabaramala, Keralap. 201
Bonalu, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradeshp. 202
Festivals in other religious communitiesp. 205
The shrine or temple as the focus of religious expressionp. 206
Ritual in other religious communitiesp. 209
Religious innovation, hybridization, and reinterpretationp. 210
The changing faces of deitiesp. 210
Conversions of another kindp. 212
Gurus and their movementsp. 214
The Brahmakumarisp. 214
The Satya Sai Baba movementp. 216
The resurgent rightp. 217
Recommended readingp. 221
India's Global Reachp. 224
Greater India in Asiap. 224
The westward impetusp. 228
Early contactsp. 228
The colonial periodp. 230
The modern erap. 232
The emigration of South Asiansp. 236
Recommended readingp. 245
Glossaryp. 248
Notesp. 260
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415940245
ISBN-10: 0415940249
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 21st December 2006
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 15.24  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1

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