This book is an indispensable resource for students and researchers wishing to develop a deeper understanding of one of the world's oldest and most multifaceted religious traditions.
Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby, leading scholars in the field, have brought together a rich variety of perspectives which reflect the current lively state of the field. Studying Hinduism is the result of cooperative work by accomplished specialists in several fields that include anthropology, art, comparative literature, history, philosophy, religious studies, and sociology. Through these complementary and exciting approaches, students will gain a greater understanding of India's culture and traditions, to which Hinduism is integral. The book uses key critical terms and topics as points of entry into the subject, revealing that although Hinduism can be interpreted in sharply contrasting ways and set in widely varying contexts, it is endlessly fascinating and intriguing.
I will begin my review of this book by recommending that every scholar of Hinduism read it. I do not state this merely as a generic form of praise, but to draw attention to the fact that any teacher or researcher of Hindu traditions, whatever his or her methodological perspective, has much to gain by carefully reading through each of its 28 chapters. This is because the raison d'eE tre of the volume is to survey current issues and methods of religious studies research by favoring a breadth and diversity of approaches as they are manifest within scholarship on the Hindu tradition. As such, most readers of this book may expect to find in it a remedy for the regrettable (but unavoidable) myopia that naturally results from specialization. Hindu scholars desiring to ease the nagging feeling that they are out of touch with research models other than their own (here I speak from experience) could hardly ask for a better collection of essays. - Christopher R. Austin, McMaster University, Canada