Hinduism European Constructions
by
Robert A. Yelle, Lorenz Trein
  • LAST REVIEWED: 24 March 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 July 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0174

Introduction

The phrase “European constructions of Hinduism” is one that has acquired meaning only since the late 20th century, in the wake of Edward Said’s groundbreaking work Orientalism (Said 1978, cited under Foundational Works on the Postcolonial Study of India), the subaltern-studies movement in India, and the consequent wave of postcolonial studies. Such movements have raised the question of whether it is possible to have an undistorted, scientific knowledge of something called Hinduism; indeed, of whether such an entity exists. This article, without assuming to resolve such debates, traces some of the concrete historical stages in the representation of Hinduism by Europeans. It is neither a survey of Hinduism nor a survey of the European encounter with India per se. We begin with key theoretical works of postcolonial studies and historical surveys; continue with an extended, chronologically—and topically—organized overview of significant primary sources; and add sections on various, special themes in the European construction of Hinduism (such as sati and caste). An effort is made to include key agents, including early explorers and travel writers, colonial officials, missionaries, and scholars. The initial period is marked by a confusion of terms used to describe Hindus (“Banians,” “Gentoos”); by a certain sensationalism and diversity of description, which it is sometimes difficult to reconcile with the Hinduism revealed by later accounts; and by an imposition of Christian categories in which Indian religions are classified as “idolatry” or “paganism” and are ordered according to biblical chronology and sacred history. With the beginning of more systematic study of India by European scholars following the consolidation of British colonial rule, a more stable image of Hinduism developed gradually. This article covers the historical period until 1900. After this point in time, literature proliferates but adds little to the general picture. This is also the period addressed by most of the secondary works, especially those produced in postcolonial studies. In addition to key secondary works, many primary sources from the period in question have been included, for several reasons: (1) secondary accounts of colonial constructions overlap extensively, (2) inclusion of the primary works better illustrates the stages of development and variations in the European understanding of Hinduism, and (3) primary works are becoming increasingly accessible to a prospective reader online, rendering reference to such works more useful. Although, from the mid-18th century onward, English primary sources are the most numerous and important, due to the dominance of Britain as the main colonial power on the subcontinent, an effort has been made to include representative sources from a few other western European traditions. A small number of American primary sources are included also.

Foundational Works on the Postcolonial Study of India

The following works are basic to the postcolonial study of India. While Said 1978 deals with European constructions of Islamic and Arabic cultures, rather than of Hinduism, it is necessary background reading. Inden 1990 deals in large measure with central aspects of European constructions of Hinduism. Cohn 1996 and van der Veer and Breckenridge 1993, while focused more broadly on colonialism in South Asia, also contain much material of value for the understanding of how that movement affected European attitudes toward Hinduism.

  • Cohn, Bernard. Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

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    Although less focused on the religious dimensions of the colonial encounter, this work, written by an anthropologist and historian, contains groundbreaking essays on the entanglements of colonial power with British representations of South Asian languages and laws and touches on the codification of Hinduism as well as on differences in colonial and indigenous mentalities.

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    • Inden, Ronald. Imagining India. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990.

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      Spanning European constructions of Indian institutions from the colonial era to late-20th-century scholarship, contains a chapter on the characterization of Hinduism in terms of such metaphors as “jungle” as well as chapters on such important topics as caste and “Oriental despotism” or Hindu government.

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      • Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage, 1978.

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        The seminal work that arguably began the postcolonial approach, focused on the European construction of Muslims and Arabs as the “Other” of the West, an essential prerequisite for the study of the collusion of power and knowledge in other colonial contexts such as India.

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        • van der Veer, Peter, and Carol A. Breckenridge, eds. Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

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          An important, relatively early application of the critique of orientalism to British India; although the volume is not focused on religion, several essays are relevant for our theme: for example, Sheldon Pollock’s chapter on German Indology and Rosane Rocher’s on colonial codification and translation of such texts as Nathanael Halhed’s Code of Gentoo Laws and the Bhagavad Gita.

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          Historical Surveys of the European Encounter with Hinduism

          Since Raymond Schwab’s classic book The Oriental Renaissance (Schwab 1984), first published in French in 1950, discussion has been ongoing about the European encounter with India and Hinduism. British orientalists working from the late 18th century in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) are treated in Kopf 1969. The changing assessment of such orientalist scholarship in consequence of the Anglicist influence in British colonial policy is also an object of Trautmann 1997, which distinguishes “British Indomania” from “British Indophobia.” App 2010 criticizes the early-21st-century overemphasis on colonial influences on European constructions of Asian religions, including Hinduism. The author’s consideration of theological concepts and religious agendas that shaped orientalism highlights the fact that the so-called invention of Hinduism was not a creatio ex nihilo, a point also made in Sweetman 2003 in tracing back to the early 17th century the anamnesis of the concept later named Hinduism. Halbfass 1988 takes a more philosophical approach to the history of the encounter and focuses on, most especially, the resulting reforms within Hinduism.

          • App, Urs. The Birth of Orientalism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.

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            This impressive study dealing with European discoveries of Asian religious traditions is concerned also with the emergence of Hinduism as a concept of knowing religion and India. App, like Thomas Trautmann, traces this concept back to Holwell 1766 (cited under Pioneers and Amateurs). However, App portrays this as a dialogical process in which Christianity was also transformed (p. 351).

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            • Halbfass, Wilhelm. India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988.

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              A wide-ranging survey dating back to the classical world, this work written before the impact of the postcolonial turn takes a philosophical approach to the intercultural encounter. Noteworthy for adopting Paul Hacker’s idea of “neo-Hinduism” as a description of traditions shaped by the Western encounter, mainly through imitation and counterreaction. Also discusses Hacker’s characterization of Hinduism as “inclusivistic” rather than “tolerant.”

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              • Kopf, David. British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773–1835. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.

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                In Kopf’s pre-Saidian work, one can see how constructions of Hinduism by British orientalists and Bengali intellectuals overlapped and how the orientalist encounter in Calcutta at the College of Fort William changed in the early 19th century under the impact of political transformation, followed by a growing interest in nationalism as a rising constituent of Indian self-understanding.

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                • Schwab, Raymond. The Oriental Renaissance: Europe’s Rediscovery of India and the East, 1680–1880. Translated by Gene Patterson-Black and Victor Reinking. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984.

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                  Schwab’s survey of India’s appearance in European orientalism—a work that predated and influenced Edward Said (Said 1978, cited under Foundational Works on the Postcolonial Study of India)—covers an impressive amount of material and emphasizes how this renaissance shaped discourses on cultural and religious identity in European history.

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                  • Sweetman, Will. Mapping Hinduism: “Hinduism” and the Study of Indian Religions, 1600–1776. Halle, Germany: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 2003.

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                    This book is concerned with critiques of the concept of Hinduism in religious studies and the assumption that Hinduism is a monolithic construction, by elaborating chapters on authors such as Roberto Nobili, Henry Lord, Abraham Roger, and Bartolomäus Ziegenbalg.

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                    • Trautmann, Thomas. Aryans and British India. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

                      DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520205468.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      Trautmann distinguishes “British Indomania,” meaning “an enthusiasm for the ancient writings in Sanskrit, conceived as repositories of the primitive experiences and religion of the human race” (p. 97), from “British Indophobia” (a term already used in Schwab 1984, p. 194) in the early 19th century (e.g., on p. 105) He stresses that “[m]any of the elements of the way in which Hinduism is construed by the British in the period of Indomania derive from Indians and Indian sources” (p. 67).

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                      Critical Studies of European Constructions of Hinduism

                      Postcolonial approaches are concerned not only with strategies of representation and relations of knowledge formation and power, but also with agency and how these domains grounded and influenced colonial encounters and their consequences until today. Concerning European constructions of Hinduism, one can find a variety of subjects and inquiries treated: critiques of not only 19th-century works, but also more-recent studies on Hinduism because of their reproduction of colonial representations (Sugirtharajah 2003); studies of Protestant theological concepts, rather than a narrow focus on colonialism per se, as influences that framed European constructions of Indian religions (Gelders 2009, Yelle 2013); analyses of conceptual problems with the terms “religion” and “Hinduism,” and their contested status as categories in the study of religion (Balagangadhara 1994; Bloch, et al. 2010); and an increasing attention to the fact that colonial ways of knowing the “Other” heavily depended on heterogeneous fields of information (Gottschalk 2013). Adluri and Bagchee 2014 focuses more specifically on Germans’ view of Brahmanism as revealed through German scholars’ historical-critical reconstructions of Indian texts.

                      • Adluri, Vishwa, and Joydeep Bagchee. The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

                        DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931347.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Chapters 1–3 of this book translate and present primary sources pertaining to the Mahābhārata and the Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 4 offers an evaluation of these sources and shows how German scholars’ understanding of Brahmanism was largely reflected through the lens of the Reformation and its anticlerical bias.

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                        • Balagangadhara, S. N. The Heathen in His Blindness: Asia, the West, and the Dynamic of Religion. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1994.

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                          The author advances a strong version of the thesis that the category of “religion,” with its attendant subcategories of priests, scriptures, etc., was not applicable to indigenous South Asian traditions but represented the imposition of Christian models in the colonial context. While evidencing a deep knowledge of European theological and philosophical traditions, the author is less attentive to colonial history.

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                          • Bloch, Esther, Marianne Keppens, and Rajaram Hegde, eds. Rethinking Religion in India: The Colonial Construction of Hinduism. London: Routledge, 2010.

                            DOI: 10.1017/S0010417509000231Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            With contributions from David Lorenzen, Geoffrey Oddie, Sharada Sugirtharajah, Richard King, Timothy Fitzgerald, Balagangadhara, and others, this volume presents main arguments structuring the scholarly debate on the invention of Hinduism.

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                            • Gelders, Raf. “Genealogy of Colonial Discourse: Hindu Traditions and the Limits of European Representation.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 51.3 (2009): 563–589.

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                              By analyzing representations of the Brahmans in the course of the Protestant Reformation and in earlier periods, Gelders makes the argument that colonial constructions of Hinduism were shaped by theological discourses.

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                              • Gottschalk, Peter. Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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                                Different domains, such as travelogues, cartography, the census, ethnography, and archaeology, are used in this study to emphasize how religion as a concept framed knowledge about India in representations of Chainpur and Indian self-understanding into the early 21st century. Gottschalk broadens our understanding of imperial discourses about Hinduism and Islam in arguing that “specialized works on Indian religions . . . usually relied on the observations made by merchants, missionaries, soldiers, and officials during their everyday lives” (p. 332).

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                                • King, Richard. Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India andThe Mystic East.” London: Routledge, 1999.

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                                  A pioneering work in religious studies that argues for the construction of Hinduism as a philosophical doctrine and mystical tradition in a manner that coordinated with colonial and secularizing interests. Strong on critical theory and late-20th-century discourse analysis; more philosophical than historical.

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                                  • Sugirtharajah, Sharada. Imagining Hinduism: A Postcolonial Perspective. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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                                    Sugirtharajah offers an overview of orientalist representations of Hinduism, using examples such as those of William Jones and F. Max Müller, and criticizes 19th-century legacies in modern scholarship on religion and India with special reference to sati.

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                                    • Yelle, Robert. The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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                                      Building from Max Weber’s idea that Christian theology influenced secularization and disenchantment, the author considers how Protestant categories structured different aspects of the British colonial perception of Hindu myth, ritual, law, and language.

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                                      Debates over the Definition or Invention of Hinduism

                                      The term “Hindu” is not indigenous; rather, it was used by Persians as a term for those living beyond the Sindhu (Indus) River. Before the end of the 18th century, “Hindoo/ism” (later “Hindu/ism”) was not standard, and Europeans also deployed other terms, such as “Banians” (see Lord 1630, cited under Early Works to 1756, and Tavernier 1676, cited under French Works) or “Gentoos,” the latter derived from the Portuguese for gentile or native (Lorenzen 1999). Even earlier, versions of “Brahman” were used to refer to the highest or priestly caste of Hindus; such versions appear early in William Caxton’s Myrrour of Worlde (1481) and Richard Eden’s A Treatyse of the Newe India (1553). The problem of defining “Hinduism” is further complicated by the fact that no central confession exists that all Hindus are required to accept. Hinduism encompasses a vast range of practices, beliefs, and deities, and indigenous traditions have rarely found it necessary even to define what makes someone a “Hindu.” That said, there are codified distinctions that different sects or traditions adopt regarding who is permitted to worship, where, and in what form. More broadly, we find a distinction between āstikya and nāstikya views; the former are those that acknowledge the authority of the Vedas, however nominally, whereas the latter are those that reject it, although even the latter could be said to occupy a shared geographic and intellectual space (the term for those completely outside this space is mleccha). Llewellyn 2005 offers an overview of the debate over defining Hinduism. Whether Hinduism was an invention by Europeans is assessed differently by different scholars (compare Hawley 1991, Pennington 2005, and Lipner 2006). Nicholson 2010 presents a novel account based on Indian sources that traces the construction of a unified Hinduism to precolonial India. Dalmia and Stietencron 1995 is an introduction to a volume of conference proceedings that self-confessedly aims to “question the pseudo-uniformity of a contemporary Hinduism which suppresses the layeredness of tradition with increasing violence” (p. 32). Stietencron 1995, one of the contributions in the same volume, seeks to counter that violence by showing the constructed nature of Hindu identity (“May be [sic] Hindu fundamentalism today would lose some of its threatening aspects if the communal multiformity of so-called Hinduism were better known”; p. 52).

                                      • Dalmia, Vasudha, and Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Introduction.” In Representing Hinduism: The Construction of Religious Traditions and National Identity. Edited by Vasudha Dalmia and Heinrich von Stietencron, 17–32. New Delhi: SAGE, 1995.

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                                        The editors argue that the “identification . . . of one so-called religion of national proportions called ‘Hinduism’, is a relatively modern phenomenon” (p. 20). The shadow of political violence hangs over the introduction and explains some of the editors’ reluctance to grant a coherent Hindu identity or a coherent Hindu history.

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                                        • Frykenberg, Robert E. “Constructions of Hinduism at the Nexus of History and Religion.” Journal of Intellectual History 23.3 (1993): 523–550.

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                                          Frykenberg criticizes Said’s concept of orientalism (p. 533) against the background of distinguishing notions of “Hindu” (p. 524) and certain “kinds of construction” forming “what we now call Hinduism”: “Brahmanical,” “Regal/Imperial,” and “Indo-European (Orientalist)” (pp. 526–527). His approach delineates “modern Hinduism” (p. 535) along with political and discursive domains that formed a specific “structure of knowledge” about India (for instance, “Hinduism as an ancient civilization” or “a single religion”) (p. 538). Reprinted in Llewellyn 2005.

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                                          • Hawley, John Stratton. “Naming Hinduism.” Wilson Quarterly 15.3 (1991): 20–34.

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                                            Tracing orientalism back to authors such as Roberto de Nobili, Nathanael Halhed, J. Z. Holwell, Monier Monier-Williams, and F. Max Müller, Hawley claims that “Hinduism originated as a European term, not an Indian one” (p. 24).

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                                            • Lipner, Julius J. “The Rise of ‘Hinduism’; or, How to Invent a World Religion with Only Moderate Success.” International Journal of Hindu Studies 10.1 (2006): 91–104.

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                                              The invention of modern Hinduism at the interface of European and Indian agents and the occurrence of concepts such as Hindutva are for Lipner processes distinguishable (p. 103) from what he calls “Hindu polycentrism” (p. 99).

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                                              • Llewellyn, Jack E. Defining Hinduism: A Reader. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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                                                This anthology provides an insightful survey of approaches to defining and historicizing the concept of Hinduism in the study of religion, and it contains classic articles from Wilhelm Halbfass, Lipner, David Lorenzen, Will Sweetman, Brian K. Smith, Frykenberg, and others.

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                                                • Lorenzen, David N. “Who Invented Hinduism?” Comparative Studies in Society and History 41.4 (1999): 630–659.

                                                  DOI: 10.1093/0195166558.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Lorenzen argues against the “constructionist” position, especially the version that claims Hinduism was invented post-1800 by the British, in noting that the tradition was described, albeit in different words, earlier by Muslims and Portuguese. Acknowledges the diversity of different sects or subgroups, such as Śaivites and Vaiṣṇavites, and contends: “The presence of the Other [Muslim or British] is a necessary prerequisite for an active recognition of what the different Hindu sects and schools hold in common” (p. 648). Reprinted in Llewellyn 2005.

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                                                  • Nicholson, Andrew J. Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

                                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198082965.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    The author rejects both the conservative identification of Hinduism as sanatana dharma and the opposed thesis that Hinduism was invented more recently by Europeans. He presents a historical argument that the understanding of certain, previously opposed traditions (generally, those that were āstikya and that came to be represented as the six orthodox darśanas) as sharing a common core arose within Sanskritic tradition itself only in the late medieval period and influenced, in turn, the perception (both of Indians and Europeans) of a unified “Hinduism.”

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                                                    • Pennington, Brian K. Was Hinduism Invented? Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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                                                      Pennington argues that “[t]he historical role of the colonizer was not to invent Hinduism either by blunder or by design, but to introduce an economy of concepts and power relations that dramatically enhanced the value of such identity markers” such as the “already” established notion “Hindu” (p. 172).

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                                                      • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Religious Configurations in Pre-Muslim India and the Modern Concept of Hinduism.” In Representing Hinduism: The Construction of Religious Traditions and National Identity. Edited by Vasudha Dalmia and Heinrich von Stietencron, 51–81. New Delhi: SAGE, 1995.

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                                                        Articulates the extreme position that the three primary traditions of worship in Hinduism—Vaiṣṇavism, Śaivism, and Śāktism—must be classified as “separate religions” owing to the fact that they have a “different theology, rely on different holy scriptures . . . and worship a different supreme deity” (p. 51), but his claims about the incommensurability of different Hindu traditions are implausible and politically motivated.

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                                                        Indigenous Responses to European Constructions

                                                        While they are not European constructions per se, the representative works in this section show the tenor of indigenous reactions against such constructions, while also indicating the outlines of the modern debate. Young 1981 traces colonial-era debates in Sanskrit between Brahmins and Christian converts. Ramaswamy, et al. 2007 is perhaps the earliest book-length publication articulating an indigenous or pro-Hindu perspective (not all chapter authors were native Indians) from early-21st-century online debates. Balagangadhara 2012 is written by an Indian-born European professor who also identifies as an authority on the indigenous perspective; Malhotra 2011 is one of several books by a polemicist against, most especially, North American scholarship on Hinduism.

                                                        • Balagangadhara, S. N. Reconceptualizing India Studies. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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                                                          A collection of essays summarizing the thesis, developed in Balagangadhara’s earlier work (1994), that Hinduism was a Christian, European category error, and sketching the idea of a “comparative science of cultures” as a way forward out of orientalism.

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                                                          • Malhotra, Rajiv. Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.

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                                                            Written by a long-term polemicist against Western scholarly distortions of Hinduism, this book—one of several by the author—is not a work of original scholarship but deserves mention because it is a clearly written account by a spokesperson for a conservative interpretation of indigenous traditions and because it was the subject of a book review symposium in an academic journal (see Mittal 2012).

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                                                            • Mittal, Sushil, ed. “Review Symposium of Rajiv Malhotra.” International Journal of Hindu Studies 16.3 (2012): 259–408.

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                                                              With contributions by six scholars and a forty-page response by Malhotra, one of the most scholarly discussions of early-21st-century indigenous criticisms of Western scholarship on Hinduism.

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                                                              • Ramaswamy, Krishnan, Antonio de Nicolas, and Aditi Banerjee. Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America. New Delhi: Rupa, 2007.

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                                                                Emerging from the first round of indigenous and sympathizing critiques of Western scholarship on Hinduism, much of which occurred on and around the RISA (Religion in South Asia) listserv affiliated with the American Academy of Religion, this five-hundred-page-plus anthology, which includes essays by, inter alia, Balagangadhara, marks something of a watershed moment in the debates.

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                                                                • Young, Richard Fox. Resistant Hinduism: Sanskrit Sources on Anti-Christian Apologetics in Early Nineteenth-Century India. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1981.

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                                                                  The book is one of few to investigate early responses to European missionizing, with their attendant dismissals of Hindu tradition, that emanated from Sanskrit-using pandits. Also includes information on several important missionaries such as Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, William Carey, William Hodge Mill, and John Muir.

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                                                                  Early Works to 1756

                                                                  Early travel writings show a significant diversity of description, since they emanate from several linguistic traditions and appeared before the standardization of representations of India. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which historical traditions might be referred to in these accounts, which tended toward the sensational and were eagerly embraced by a public curious for knowledge of distant worlds. For further such sources, see also French Works.

                                                                  • Baldaeus, Philippus. Wahrhaftige Ausführliche Beschreibung der Berühmten Ost-Indischen Kusten Malabar und Coromandel . . . Benebst einer Umständlichen und Gründlichen Entdeckung der Abgötterey der Ost-Indischen Heyden, Malabaren, Benjanen, Gentiven, Bramines [et]c. . . . Amsterdam: Janssonius van Waesberge en van Someren, 1672.

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                                                                    Published the same year both in Dutch and German, this work by a Dutch Calvinist minister is distinguished by extensive theological diatribes against such Brahmanical doctrines as reincarnation and polytheism. Partha Mitter, in Much Maligned Monsters (p. 50), states that Baldaeus plagiarized the work of Jacopo Fenicio (1609).

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                                                                    • Barbosa, Duarte. Description of the Coasts of East Africa and Malabar. Translated by Henry E. J. Stanley. London: Hakluyt Society, 1866.

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                                                                      Travel account, parts of which were first published in Italian in 1554, of a Portuguese explorer. The “Banians” of Gujarat (possibly Jains?) are vegetarians and thus so attached to noninjury of living things (ahimsa) that the Muslims extort money from them by threatening to injure others or themselves. Barbosa uses “Bramans” to refer to the Hindu caste. There is an account of sati, as well as of the burning of hundreds of women upon a king’s death in Narsinga, and of the burial of a widow alive (c. 1518).

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                                                                      • Lord, Henry. A Display of Two Forraigne Sects in the East Indies viz: The Sect of the Banians, the Ancient Natives of India, and the Sect of the Persees, the Ancient Inhabitants of Persia. London: Francis Constable, 1630.

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                                                                        This early account refers to Hindus as “Banians” and depicts their tradition in partly Christian terms; for example, the account of creation echoes Genesis in places, and God hands down a book of laws from out of a cloud to Brahma, in an echo of Moses’s reception of the law on Mount Sinai. Various Hindu rituals, including sati, come under criticism that recalls Protestant attacks on Catholics.

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                                                                        • Picart, Bernard. The Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations of the Known World: Together with Historical Annotations and Several Curious Discourses Equally Instructive and Entertaining. Vol. 3, Concerning the Ceremonies of the Idolatrous Nations. London: William Jackson, 1734.

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                                                                          Attributed to the illustrator (Picart), this work popularized and disseminated knowledge of pagan religions. Volume 3 is in large part on Hinduism and contains copious extracts from a number of previously published authors, including Henry Lord, Edward Terry, and Abraham Rogerius.

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                                                                          • Purchas, Samuel. Purchas His Pilgrimage, or, Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in All Ages and Places Discovered, from the Creation into This Present. London: William Stansby, 1613.

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                                                                            Another compendium from earlier accounts that proved very popular through successive editions. Book 5 deals with religions of the East Indies, starting with accounts from ancient times. The account of Hinduism is divided into different chapters treating Bengal, Malabar, etc. Chapter 9, “Of the Indian Bramenes,” is of special interest. Purchas discusses, inter alia, sati, reincarnation, and the ugliness of Hindu idols.

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                                                                            • Rogerius, Abraham. De Open-deure tot het verborgen Heydendom. Leiden, The Netherlands: François Hackes, 1651.

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                                                                              Written by a Dutch Calvinist minister who had spent years in India and Southeast Asia, this work was for its time a remarkably detailed account of Hindu customs and beliefs. The focus is on Brahmans. Rogerius provides an account of yogis and “superstitious acts,” with plates illustrating carak puja (see Hook Swinging / Carak Puja), the wearing of chains and head cages, and hanging upside down over a fire.

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                                                                              • Terry, Edward. The Travels of Sig. Pietro della Valle, a Noble Roman, into East-India, . . . Whereunto Is Added a Relation of Sir Thomas Roe’s Voyage into the East-Indies. London: J. Macock, 1665.

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                                                                                Terry was a minister appointed to serve Sir Thomas Roe, English ambassador to the Mughal court. In his travel account, he presented a sketch of the religion of the “Hindoos,” whom he also called “Heathens” and “Banians,” in which such topics as sati, reincarnation, and ahimsa appear. Despite his condemnation of their religion, Terry had some positive things to say about Hindu morals.

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                                                                                • Varthema, Ludovico de. Itinerario di Ludovico de Varthema Bolognese. Rome: Stephano Guillireti de Loreno and Hercule de Nani Bolognese, 1510.

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                                                                                  An early and influential travel account that provides some information on religion in India. Account of “the King of Joghe” is about ascetic yogis. Most famous is the section on paganism in Calicut, which Varthema describes as the devil worship of the hideous idol Deumo, of whom the Brahmans are the priests. Brahmans supposedly have the right of ius primae noctis, and the locals engage in wife swapping.

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                                                                                  Early British Colonial Period, 1757–1856

                                                                                  This period is perhaps the most consequential for the European construction of Hinduism. Somewhat arbitrarily demarcated from the Battle of Plassey (1757), which gave the British a dominant position in the subcontinent and led to an increasing colonial assumption of direct authority over the government of the indigenous population, to the eve of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, this century witnessed several key phases in the construction of Hinduism: early accounts, sometimes of dubious scientific value, by amateurs; the beginning of scientific knowledge by orientalist scholars on the basis of a study of primary sources in the original languages; and Anglicist polemics against indigenous traditions, partly in reaction to the orientalists.

                                                                                  Pioneers and Amateurs

                                                                                  A number of early accounts of indigenous religions were authored by travelers in India (Dow 1768, Holwell 1766, Kennedy 1831); other works in this section are notable because their authors tried to account for Indian traditions in terms of older scholarly frameworks, such as biblical chronology or theological explanations of paganism (Faber 1816, Hamilton 1820). Most such efforts disappeared from the scholarly literature after the consolidation of the discovery of Indo-European languages, inspired through the study of Sanskrit. This discovery revealed a history distinct from the Semitic languages and was not contemplated in the pages of the Hebrew Bible.

                                                                                  • Coleman, Charles. The Mythology of the Hindus. London: Parbury, Allen, 1832.

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                                                                                    A general survey on Hinduism, with other South Asian traditions and groups added in. Obligatory sections on sati, linga, and yoni, and infanticide.

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                                                                                    • Dow, Alexander. “A Dissertation concerning the Customs, Manners, Language, Religion, and Philosophy of the Hindoos.” In The History of Hindostan. By Alexander Dow, xxi–lxxvi. London: Becket and de Hondt, 1768.

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                                                                                      Pioneering work that names the four “Bedas” (Vedas) and gives samples of Sanskrit (i.e., Devanagari) letters with transliteration. Derives “Hindoos” from “Indoo,” meaning “moon.” Argues that sati has declined and was never a religious duty in India, and that polytheism is only symbolic, since Hindus are really monotheists.

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                                                                                      • Faber, George Stanley. The Origin of Pagan Idolatry Ascertained from Historical Testimony and Circumstantial Evidence. 3 vols. London: F. and C. Rivingtons, 1816.

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                                                                                        Treats Hinduism as one manifestation of a unified, historically connected system of pagan idolatry, as evidenced by resemblances in legends concerning, for example, Creation and the Flood.

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                                                                                        • Hamilton, Alexander. A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus. Cambridge, UK: J. Smith, 1820.

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                                                                                          A late example of the attempt to reconcile the Indian data with biblical history, coming before the consolidation of the Indo-European hypothesis that made such attempts increasingly untenable.

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                                                                                          • Holwell, John Zephaniah. “The Religious Tenets of the Gentoos.” In Interesting Historical Events, Relative to the Provinces of Bengal and the Empire of Indostan. London: Becket and de Hondt, 1766.

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                                                                                            Pioneering work written by a survivor of those imprisoned in the “Black-Hole of Calcutta”; provides early account of sati and metempsychosis and is generally sympathetic to the “Gentoos.” Holwell claims to have personally witnessed many satis.

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                                                                                            • Kennedy, Vans. Researches into the Nature and Affinity of Ancient and Hindu Mythology. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1831.

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                                                                                              Kennedy argues that Hinduism combines pantheistic, polytheistic, and monotheistic elements. He anticipates F. Max Müller’s “henotheism” idea: “the characters and attributes of each being ascribed collectively to either Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva, proceeds from each . . . being . . . considered . . . as the Supreme Being himself” (p. 197). He rejects Faber’s idea that the biblical account can be reconciled with Hinduism, and he denies the identity of the Hindu trimurti and Holy Trinity.

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                                                                                              • Moor, Edward. The Hindu Pantheon. London: J. Johnson, 1810.

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                                                                                                An extended account of the Hindu gods and their iconography, which begins by asserting that “the religion of the Hindus is monotheism” (p. 1). Includes sections on ritual and other aspects of Hinduism that emphasize sensational and barbaric practices, the linga and yoni, etc.

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                                                                                                • Westall, William. The Hindoos: Including a General Description of India, Its Government, Religion, Manners and Customs. 2 vols. London: M. A. Nattali, 1847.

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                                                                                                  Not an original work but a survey of such institutions as caste, temples, yogis, and jugglers. Westall identifies Hindus as peculiarly religious and as inheritors of a degenerate idolatry. The chapter on “Remarkable Customs” continues the common practice of sensationalizing Hinduism.

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                                                                                                  Orientalism and the Beginnings of Scientific Study

                                                                                                  With the founding of the Asiatic Society by early orientalist scholars such as Sir William Jones in Calcutta in 1784, crucial impetus was given to the production of scientific knowledge regarding indigenous Indian traditions, including Hinduism. Although produced in most cases by scholars who pursued more-practical vocations as servants of the colonial administration—Jones, for example, was a judge—these works are distinguished by their intent to present an accurate account based on a study of the primary sources in the original languages.

                                                                                                  • Colebrooke, Henry T. “On the Vedas, or Sacred Writings of the Hindus.” In Asiatic Researches. Vol. 8. By Henry T. Colebrooke, 377–498. Calcutta: Royal Asiatic Society, 1805.

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                                                                                                    Written by one of the greatest of the first generation of British Sanskritists, provides an overview of the Mantra, Brahmana, and Upanishad texts attached to each of the four Vedas, with translations of some key hymns and cosmogonic myths. In a model of accuracy for its time, Colebrooke asserts that Hindus chant the Vedas for the sound of the words rather than for their sense, and he argues that much of the Veda is ancient and obsolete.

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                                                                                                    • Halhed, Nathanael Brassey. A Code of Gentoo Laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits. London, 1776.

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                                                                                                      This first English translation of a compilation of Hindu law (Dharmaśāstra) was rendered from Sanskrit into Persian by native pandits, then from Persian into English by Halhed. It includes an introductory essay on the religion and specimens of Sanskrit (Devanagari) letters. Halhed argues that “Hindoo” is a Persian term not adopted by the inhabitants of India, and he prefers the Portuguese “Gentoo.”

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                                                                                                      • Jones, William. “On the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India.” In Asiatic Researches. Vol. 1. By the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 221–275. London, 1798.

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                                                                                                        Written in 1784. Jones affirms a resemblance and connection among these pagan religions after they deviated from the monotheism of natural religion. He expresses, before Müller, the theory that polytheism is caused by false language or “the magick of poetry.” Attempts to reconcile evidences of Hinduism with the Bible and sacred history.

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                                                                                                        • Wilkins, Charles. The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon. London: C. Nourse, 1785.

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                                                                                                          The translator’s preface to this first English translation opines that this key Hindu text affirmed the idea of the unity of the deity in opposition to the polytheism and idolatry of the Vedas.

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                                                                                                          • Wilson, Horace Hayman. “Sketch of the Religious Sects of the Hindus.” In Asiatic Researches. Vol. 16. By Horace Hayman Wilson, 1–132. Calcutta: Bishop’s College, 1846.

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                                                                                                            Written in 1828. See also Volume 17, pp. 169–313 (published in 1832). As the title implies, mainly a sketch of many different sects on Hindu as well as heterodox traditions. Part 2 includes brief descriptions of several ascetic, mendicant, and tantric sects, including those of the “left handed” variety, and mentions the Pancamakara (“Five M’s”). Republished in Wilson’s Essays and Lectures Chiefly on the Religion of the Hindus, Vol. 2, edited by Reinhold Rost (London: Trübner, 1862).

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                                                                                                            Anglicism and the Debate over Indian Education

                                                                                                            Anglicism, a movement marked by “Indophobia” (Schwab 1984 and Trautmann 1997, both cited under Historical Surveys of the European Encounter with Hinduism), contested the earlier orientalist phase of romanticizing indigenous Indian traditions. The movement, which culminated in the 1835 decision, under Thomas Babington Macaulay’s leadership of the General Committee on Public Instruction, to replace instruction in indigenous traditions with European knowledge (and, where possible, the English language) constituted, like orientalism, an enduring strand of British colonialism on the subcontinent (Macaulay 1935, and see Zastoupil and Moir 1999). Grant 1830, written primarily in 1792, marks an early attempt to influence colonial policy along Anglicist (and missionizing) lines; Adam and Basu 1941, while broadly sympathetic to indigenous traditions, is included in this section for the bearing of these reports on the debates over education.

                                                                                                            • Adam, William, and Anath Nath Basu. Reports on the State of Education in Bengal (1835 & 1838) Including Some Account of the State of Education in Bihar and a Consideration of the Means Adapted to the Improvement and Extension of Public Instruction in Both Provinces. Calcutta: University of Calcutta, 1941.

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                                                                                                              Three reports published in 1835 and 1838. An invaluable snapshot of native schools in the time period; one of the few sources on indigenous instruction in Hindu traditions. While generally sympathetic, Adam is also critical of some low educational standards. He asserts that “Brahmans generally speaking have an intelligence and acuteness far beyond other Hindoos” (Report 1, p. 125).

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                                                                                                              • Grant, Charles. “Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain, Particularly with Respect to Morals; and on the Means of Improving It, Written Chiefly in the Year 1792.” In Reports from the Select Committee of the House of Commons Appointed to Enquire into the Present State of Affairs of the East India Company. Vol. 1. London: J. L. Cox, 1830.

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                                                                                                                Grant’s condemnations of Hinduism, attached to his advocacy of English-medium education and evangelization, refer to the trope of Hindu idolatry, and they were an early and influential source of colonial attitudes. Reprinted in British Parliamentary Papers, Colonies: East India, Vol. 5 (Shannon, Ireland: Irish University Press, 1977). Excerpted in Zastoupil and Moir 1999.

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                                                                                                                • Macaulay, Thomas Babington. Speeches by Lord Macauley, with His Minute on Indian Education. London: Oxford University Press, 1935.

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                                                                                                                  Titled “Minute Recorded in the General Department by Thomas Babington Macaulay, Law Member of the Governor-General’s Council, Dated 2 February 1835.” One of the most (in)famous documents of the colonial era, in which Macaulay, law member of the governor-general’s council, cast the deciding vote against continuing colonial support for indigenous education. The height of eloquence combined with the clearest articulation of British cultural chauvinism against Hinduism as superstition, which should be dispelled by English education. Excerpted in Zastoupil and Moir 1999.

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                                                                                                                  • Mill, James. History of British India. 3 vols. London: Baldwin, Craddock, and Joy, 1817.

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                                                                                                                    Mill wrote this work without any firsthand knowledge of India or its languages, and he disputed other scholars’ high regard for ancient India’s high state of civilization (Vol. 1, p. 429 and following). He denies that Hindus have a clear idea of the unity of the Godhead (pp. 228–232), and labels them more religious than other peoples: “No where among mankind have the laws and ordinances been more exclusively referred to the Divinity” (Vol. 1, p. 198).

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                                                                                                                    • Monier-Williams, Monier, ed. Original Papers Illustrating the History of the Application of the Roman Alphabet to the Languages of India. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1859.

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                                                                                                                      A collection of documents relating to the debates in the 1830s and 1850s over replacing native South Asian scripts with Roman transliteration, by an important colonial scholar.

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                                                                                                                      • Trevelyan, Charles E. On the Education of the People of India. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838.

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                                                                                                                        A recapitulation of the education debates from an Anglicist perspective. After summarizing the worst stereotypes regarding Hinduism, Trevelyan concludes: “The peculiar wonder of the Hindu system is . . . that it has been so skilfully contrived for arresting the progress of the human mind, as to exhibit it at the end of two thousand years fixed at nearly the precise point at which it was first moulded” (p. 84).

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                                                                                                                        • Zastoupil, Lynn, and Martin Moir. The Great Indian Education Debate: Documents Relating to the Orientalist-Anglicist Controversy, 1781–1843. Richmond, UK: Curzon, 1999.

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                                                                                                                          Introduces and excerpts thirty key documents from the controversy over colonial support for indigenous instruction that culminated in the 1835 decision in favor of withdrawing or reducing such support. The seventy-two-page general introduction lays out the main details usefully.

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                                                                                                                          Later British Colonial Period, 1857–c. 1900

                                                                                                                          The latter part of the 19th century is characterized, on the one hand, by the increase and consolidation of scientific and historical knowledge regarding Hinduism and, on the other hand, by the negative evaluation of contemporaneous Hinduism as a confused diversity (e.g., Monier-Williams 1883), as an example of the superstitions of primitive religion (Crooke 1968 [first published in 1896], Lyall 1891), as a fall from and corruption of the loftier ideals of the vedic period (Hopkins 1885, Muir 1858–1870), or a combination of the three. Secondary knowledge of Hindu traditions is used increasingly (e.g., in Maine 1883) to exemplify primitive society.

                                                                                                                          • Crooke, William. The Popular Religion and Folk-Lore of Northern India. 2 vols. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1968.

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                                                                                                                            Originally published in 1894. Written by the same scholar who later penned the entry on “Hinduism” for James Hastings’s Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (1908–1926), this book emphasizes the supernatural and malevolent aspects of Hinduism, which is depicted as a degraded form of the natural religion of the Aryans combined with indigenous “demonolatry, fetishism, and kindred forms of primitive religion,” such as those identified by anthropologists in primitive tribes around the world.

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                                                                                                                            • Hopkins, Edward Washburn. The Religions of India. Boston: Ginn, 1885.

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                                                                                                                              A historical survey of Hinduism from vedic times until the 1880s, with a concluding chapter on “India and the West.” Hopkins characterizes Brahmanical ritual as a fall from the purity and spontaneity of the early vedic hymns: “With the Brahmanas not only is the tone changed from that of the Rig Veda; the whole moral atmosphere is now surcharged with hocus-pocus, mysticism, religiosity, instead of the cheerful, real religion which, however formal, is the soul of the Rik” (p. 176).

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                                                                                                                              • Lyall, Alfred. Natural Religion in India. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1891.

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                                                                                                                                Lyall rejects the idea that Hinduism can be defined precisely, since Hinduism is more than a religion: it also refers to a race and a country (India). He regards Hinduism as a survival of primitive religion; namely, animism and polytheism. This assertion, rather than the “natural religion” of the deists, is the import of the book’s title. Lyall also treats of human sacrifices and sati.

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                                                                                                                                • Maine, Henry Sumner. “The Sacred Laws of the Hindus.” In Dissertations on Early Law and Custom. By Henry Sumner Maine, 1–25. London: John Murray, 1883.

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                                                                                                                                  Maine argues that the laws of Manu, like Leviticus, represented an early stage in the development of mankind when religion and law were closely intertwined.

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                                                                                                                                  • Monier-Williams, Monier. Religious Thought and Life in India. Vol. 1, Vedism, Brahmanism and Hinduism. London: J. Murray, 1883.

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                                                                                                                                    A broad and unoriginal survey of Hinduism from earliest times to then-modern reformers such as Rammohun Roy. Monier-Williams identifies diversity, adaptability, and confusion as the distinctive features of Hinduism, which he compares to a swollen river fed by many currents of opinion that “finally resolv[es] itself into an intricate Delta of tortuous streams and jungly marshes. . . . It has first borne with and then, so to speak, swallowed, digested, and assimilated something from all creeds” (p. 57).

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                                                                                                                                    • Muir, John. Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India, Their Religion and Institutions. 5 vols. London: Trübner, 1858–1870.

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                                                                                                                                      Muir’s erudite survey of vedic and other ancient Sanskrit sources covers such topics as creation myths, the racial and linguistic classification of Sanskrit speakers, and vedic deities. Of particular interest is the chapter on “Progress of the Vedic Religion towards Abstract Conceptions of the Deity” in Vol. 5 (pp. 350–420), in which Muir argues that vedic religion was polytheistic and had crude ideas of deity, but also presentiments of monotheism, as shown by such hymns as Rig Veda 10.129 and 10.164.

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                                                                                                                                      Friedrich Max Müller

                                                                                                                                      Friedrich Max Müller (b. 1823–d. 1900) was a German-born scholar who spent the majority of his adult life in England, where he began work on a decades-long project to produce the first critical edition of the Rig Veda under the auspices of the British East India Company. He ended as a professor of comparative philology at Oxford University. Along the way, he produced a voluminous corpus of writings on Indian religions and comparative religion that made him an academic celebrity. In terms of his contributions to the construction of Hinduism, Müller argued for the primacy of the Vedas; characterized Hinduism as a decline from the primitive nature worship of these texts, which represented a stage of “(kat)henotheism”—where each god is worshiped successively as absolute, in a manner that anticipates monotheism—into image worship and polytheism; and made this process the chief test case for his theory that in myth “nomina become numina”; that is, names (especially of gods) are taken as guarantors of the existence of the things they denote. This theory, as well as the “nomina-numina” formula, went back to 17th-century Christian explanations for idolatry (see Yelle 2013, cited under Critical Studies of European Constructions of Hinduism). Although Müller distinguished between “Aryan” and “Semitic” religions, and he identified the Vedas as an example of the former, as a Christian he remained committed to the project of finding a universal monotheism behind the polytheism of later Hinduism. Perhaps equally important was Müller’s editorship of The Sacred Books of the East, a famous series of English translations of Asian religious texts, which contributed to the idea of “world scriptures” along the lines of the Christian Bible. The series continued to be published for another ten years after Müller’s death in 1900. Among its volumes were translations of the Upanishads, the Sacred Books of the Aryas, the Vedanta Sutras, and the Satapatha Brahmana.

                                                                                                                                      • Kitagawa, Joseph M., and John S. Strong. “Friedrich Max Müller and the Comparative Study of Religion.” In Nineteenth Century Religious Thought in the West. Vol. 3. Edited by Ninian Smart, John Clayton, Steven Katz, and Patrick Sherry, 179–213. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                        A succinct introduction to Müller’s theories and place in the history of the study of religion.

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                                                                                                                                        • Müller, Friedrich Max. Rig-Veda-Sanhita: The Sacred Hymns of the Brahmans, Together with the Commentary of Sayanacharya. 6 vols. London: W. H. Allen, 1849–1874.

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                                                                                                                                          Notable as the first attempt to produce a critical edition of a vedic text. Served as the basis for Müller’s later theory of Hinduism as a corruption of vedic nature religion. A key example of imagining Hinduism along the lines of biblical religion.

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                                                                                                                                          • Müller, Friedrich Max. Introduction to the Science of Religion: Four Lectures Delivered at the Royal Institution, with Two Essay on False Analogies, and the Philosophy of Mythology. London: Longmans, Green, 1873.

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                                                                                                                                            In addition to “The Philosophy of Mythology,” probably the single best introduction to Müller’s theory of myth as a disease of language (though not to his views on Hinduism), noteworthy for rejecting identifications between biblical and Hindu figures on the basis of superficial phonetic resemblances and false etymologies. Müller dismisses the analogy between the Christian Trinity and Hindu trimurti, as well as the general idea of a historical relationship between Judaism and Hinduism as advanced by figures as diverse as William Jones and Louis Jacolliot.

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                                                                                                                                            • Müller, Friedrich Max. Chips from a German Workshop. 5 vols. New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1895–1898.

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                                                                                                                                              Anthology of essays. “Lectures on the Vedas” emphasizes the importance of these texts as the “Bible” of Hinduism and the oldest source on Aryan religion. “Semitic Monotheism” distinguishes between Semitic and Aryan religions. “Comparative Mythology” explains mythology as a disease of language; both the polytheism and image worship of Hinduism are corruptions from vedic religion.

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                                                                                                                                              • Müller, Friedrich Max. Contributions to the Science of Mythology. 2 vols. London: Longmans, Green, 1897.

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                                                                                                                                                Vol. 2 consists of one long chapter (pp. 427–834) titled “Vedic Mythology,” which emphasizes the antiquity of the Vedas and their priority as a source for Indo-European religion as well as for Hinduism in particular. Argues for the identity of Sanskrit Dyaus-pitar with Greek Zeus-pater and Roman Jupiter.

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                                                                                                                                                • Müller, Friedrich Max, ed. The Sacred Books of the East. 50 vols. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1962–1966.

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                                                                                                                                                  Originally published in 1879–1910 (Oxford: Clarendon). The volumes include Julius Eggeling’s translation of the Satapatha Brahmana, which introduced these ritual texts to Europeans while condemning them: “few works are probably less calculated to excite the interest of any outside the very limited number of specialists, than the ancient theological writings of the Hindus, known by the name of Brâhmanas. For wearisome prolixity of exposition, characterised by dogmatic assertion and a flimsy symbolism rather than by serious reasoning, these works are perhaps not equaled anywhere” (Vol. 12, introduction, p. ix [1882]).

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                                                                                                                                                  • Stone, Jon R., ed. The Essential Max Müller: On Language, Mythology, and Religion. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                    Useful collection of nineteen of Müller’s most important essays, with an introduction that sketches Müller’s life, contributions to scholarship, and reception. Also includes a partial bibliography of works by and about Müller.

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                                                                                                                                                    • van den Bosch, Lourens P. Friedrich Max Müller: A Life Devoted to the Humanities. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                      This thick volume provides both a biography and an extensive account of Müller’s thought, and it is the best available single-volume treatment of its subject. Van den Bosch is sensitive to the Christian dimensions of Müller’s work on comparative religion.

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                                                                                                                                                      Catholic Missionaries

                                                                                                                                                      Roman Catholic missionaries were active in India very early. One need only mention Roberto de Nobili’s mission to India in the first half of the 17th century and the various Jesuit authors of the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses (see Patouillet, et al. 1702–1776, cited under French Works). Here mention is made only of Dubois 1906, due to the author’s outsized impact on British colonialism.

                                                                                                                                                      • Dubois, Abbé Jean Antoine. Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies. 3d ed. Translated by Henry K. Beauchamp. Oxford: Clarendon, 1906.

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                                                                                                                                                        Written by a French Catholic missionary around 1807 and first published in English in 1816, this book was influential in British India. The third edition, with an introduction by Friedrich Max Müller, runs to 741 pages and provides a wealth of detail on Hindu caste, mantras, ritual practices, and doctrines. Dubois was criticized by many Protestant missionaries for his opinion that efforts to convert Hindus would meet with little success.

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                                                                                                                                                        German Protestant Missionaries

                                                                                                                                                        In the early 21st century, intense research has been undertaken not only on the Danish-Halle Mission and its history since the arrival of Bartolomäus Ziegenbalg in Tranquebar, but also on later periods of German Protestant missions in India. Bergunder 2004 shows how Hinduism was depicted in missionary reports, and Jeyaraj 2005 provides a translation of Ziegenbalg’s Genealogy. Jürgens 2006 is concerned with relations of travel reports, missionary interests, and the scientification of philological studies in Europe. Liebau, et al. 2010 focuses on various domains of missionary knowledge production. An important strand of inquiry is concerned with constructions of Indian religions and how such missionary representations are to be appraised in relation to what is called the modern “invention” of Hinduism. With respect to Nehring 2003, it can be assumed that colonial and missionary encounters are best seen as dialogical processes conditioning the emergence of highly contested categories such as Hinduism and religion, in which different actors inscribed their sometimes overtly political campaigns and self-understandings.

                                                                                                                                                        • Bergunder, Michael. “Die Darstellung des Hinduismus in den Halleschen Berichten.” In Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert: Ihre Bedeutung für die europäische Geistesgeschichte und ihr wissenschaftlicher Quellenwert für die Indienkunde. 2d ed. Edited by Michael Bergunder, 113–125. Halle, Germany: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                          Bergunder is concerned with representations of Hinduism in the Danish-Halle reports within the period after Ziegenbalg.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Jeyaraj, Daniel. Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English Translation of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg’s Original German Manuscript with a Textual Analysis and Glossary. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                            Besides the translation, this volume contains insightful remarks on Ziegenbalg’s background in Halle and Pietism and the dissemination of his original manuscript.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Jürgens, Hanco. “German Indologists avant la lettre: Changing Horizons of the Halle Missionaries in Southern India.” In Communication between India and Europe. Vol. 3, Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India. Edited by Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau, 1047–1089. Halle, Germany: Verlag der Frankeschen Stiftungen, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                              This article puts emphasis on the continuation between information provided by travel reports and the formation of Indological approaches concerning missionary understandings of vernacular languages and religion in India.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Liebau, Heike, Andreas Nehring, and Brigitte Klosterberg, eds. Mission und Forschung: Translokale Wissensproduktion zwischen Indien und Europa im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert. Halle, Germany: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                In the 19th century, the relation of mission and science was a contentious religious problem of missionary self-understanding. Dealing with the Danish-Halle Mission, this volume addresses religion in debates on the caste system and in the writings of Ziegenbalg and physico-theology.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Nehring, Andreas. Orientalismus und Mission: Die Repräsentation der tamilischen Gesellschaft und Religion durch Leipziger Missionare 1840–1940. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Three strands of missionary representation (caste, translation, and religion) are analyzed in this study highlighting the dialogic nature of knowledge production between missionaries and local informants (pp. 211, 330–331) and illustrating by means of Śaiva Siddhānta reception certain modes of constructing Hinduism as nonhegemonic (p. 308 and following, especially pp. 329–331).

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                                                                                                                                                                  British Protestant Missionaries

                                                                                                                                                                  Although the British did not officially allow missionaries to operate in their territory until 1813, the Serampore Baptist Mission (see Ward 1822) began operation in Danish-held territory north of Calcutta before the end of the 18th century. Christian clerics argued, in works such as Buchanan 1811 and Heber 1849, for the need to proselytize by highlighting the barbaric or sensational aspects of Hinduism. Later, some authors, in works such as Duff 1839, weighed in on the side of the Anglicists in their debate with orientalists. Missionary attitudes were always divided, however, with some, such as William Carey, promoting Bible translation and others, such as Alexander Duff, rejecting native South Asian languages as a vehicle for Christian education. Works such as Wilson 1832 and Robson 1874 exemplify the presentation of Hinduism in an unfavorable light relative to Christianity, while Farquhar 1913 acknowledges some value in Hinduism as a preparation for receiving the Gospel.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Buchanan, Claudius. Christian Researches in Asia. Boston: Samuel T. Armstrong, 1811.

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                                                                                                                                                                    One of a series of polemical works in which the author argues for the right to evangelize against gruesome Hindu practices: persons being crushed during the procession of Juggernaut, sati, and infanticide.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Duff, Alexander. India and Indian Missions: Including Sketches of the Gigantic System of Hinduism Both in Theory and Practice. Edinburgh: John Johnstone, 1839.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Written by a Scottish missionary, this work describes Hinduism as a confused pantheism; focuses on the sanguinary spectacles of Juggernaut, Sagar Island, Kali, and Carak Puja; and argues forcefully for the evangelization of India.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Farquhar, J. N. The Crown of Hinduism. London: Oxford University Press, 1913.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Provides a relatively positive estimation of certain aspects of Hinduism, in order to find that such elements achieve their consummation in the Christian Gospel and in Christ, who is “the Crown of Hinduism.”

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Heber, Reginald. Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India, from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824–25. 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1849.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Written by a leading early missionary, emphasis is on the cruel dimensions of Hinduism, including child murder, sati, human sacrifice, and “nach” (dancing girls). In the form of a travel diary with dated entries. Vol. 2 includes an extensive selection of Heber’s correspondence.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Maurice, Frederick D. The Religions of the World and Their Relations to Christianity. London: John W. Parker, 1847.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Includes chapters on Mahometanism and Buddhism, as well as on Hinduism, and on the relationship of the latter to Christianity. Argues that Hinduism is unchanged since Alexander the Great. There is little in the work that is original.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Robson, John. Hinduism and Its Relations to Christianity. Edinburgh: William Oliphant, 1874.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Another firsthand account by a longtime missionary. Heavily dependent on Friedrich Max Müller. Emphasizes the importance of caste and also antagonism between sects, such as Vaiṣṇavites and Śaivites.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Ward, William. A View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos. New ed. 3 vols. London: Kingsbury, Parbury & Allen, 1822.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Written by a member of the famed Serampore Trio (together with Carey and Joshua Marshman), this large work surveys Hindu history and social customs (Vol. 1), giving an especially dim view of caste; religious literature (Vol. 2); and the pantheon, rituals, and doctrines (Vol. 3). Ward argues that while it may be true the Hindus believe in the unity of the deity, there are no temples erected to his worship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Wilson, John. An Exposure of the Hindu Religion. Bombay: American Mission Press, 1832.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  A polemical work that begins with a translation of a Marathi treatise written in defense of Hinduism by Mora Bhatta Dandekara, then proceeds with a refutation. Wilson emphasizes the differences between Hinduism and Christianity and contends that Hindus really believe in idols and the power of mantras, and that they have only a confused idea of the unity of the godhead.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Works about Missionary Constructions

                                                                                                                                                                                  Frykenberg 2003 presents a positive, nuanced account of Christianity in India, in which native agency is acknowledged. Mission, however, always involves the claim for the superiority of Christianity, as shown in Oddie 2006. Several works in this section focus on the idea of “fulfillment theology,” meaning that Christianity fulfills the promise dimly glimpsed by other religions (Sharpe 1965, Maw 1990). This allows religions such as Hinduism a positive, albeit lesser value. J. N. Farquhar was a representative of this position.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Frykenberg, Robert Eric, ed. Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500, with Special Reference to Caste, Conversion, and Colonialism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Although, as described in the editor’s introduction, the primary goal of this collection is to present a more diversified picture of Christianity in India that contests the conflation of this category with colonialism and acknowledges its native developments, the volume also contributes to our understanding of missionary constructions of Hinduism: see especially Geoffrey Oddie’s chapter (pp. 155–182).

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Maw, Martin. Visions of India: Fulfilment Theology, the Aryan Race Theory, and the Work of British Protestant Missionaries in Victorian India. New York: Peter Lang, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Focuses on the work of university missionary brotherhoods, and on the theory of Christianity as a “fulfillment” of other religions, including Hinduism (on the basis of Matthew 5:17), with a section on Friedrich Max Müller and Aryan racial theories.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Oddie, Geoffrey. Imagined Hinduism: British Protestant Missionary Constructions of Hinduism, 1793–1900. London: SAGE, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        After a survey of the early period (1600–1800), Oddie focuses on the long 19th century as the key period. Claims that Charles Grant may have been the first European to use the term Hindooism and that early orientalists (William Jones, Nathanael Halhed, Charles Wilkins) assumed that Hinduism was a unified tradition. Cites Charles Darwin as a factor in changing attitudes post-1859, when theories of Christianity as a “fulfillment” of Hinduism began to emerge even before Farquhar.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sharpe, Eric J. Not to Destroy but to Fulfil: The Contribution of J. N. Farquhar to Protestant Missionary Thought in India before 1914. Uppsala, Sweden: Gleerup, 1965.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          After a survey of earlier missionary attitudes toward Hinduism, Sharpe focuses on the post-1858 shift toward greater accommodation represented by Farquhar’s notion of Christianity as a “fulfillment” of Hinduism, which allowed some provisional value to the latter tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Particular Aspects of Hinduism

                                                                                                                                                                                          This section focuses on four illustrative cases in the European construction of Hinduism: Hindus and Biblical History, comparisons between Hindus and Jews that illustrated how Christian Europeans tended to impose their preconceived ideas and received traditions on Indians; Caste divisions, which were often characterized as the “essence” of Hinduism and utterly distinct from social class in the European sense; and Sati (widow burning) and Hook Swinging / Carak Puja, both of which exemplified the barbarity of Hinduism and were the target of colonial legal prohibitions.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hindus and Biblical History

                                                                                                                                                                                          An interesting theme in the interpretation of Hinduism, the connecting of this tradition with Judaism or Mosaic tradition constituted an outgrowth of the attempt to reconcile biblical chronology or sacred history with the new ethnographic evidence emerging from the colonial encounter. Sometimes Hinduism was identified as the Ur tradition from which others, including Judaism, derived; sometimes as a corrupt and degenerate form of the revealed religion of the Bible; sometimes both were connected through a common substratum in natural or patriarchal religion. How one connected the dots depended on one’s views of Judaism and Hinduism, respectively. The genre largely disappeared from respectable scholarship with the consolidation of the historical proof of Indo-European languages, which implied a history separate from that of Semitic languages and one incompatible with biblical revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Créquinière, M. de la. Conformité des coutumes des Indiens orientaux avec celles des juifs et des autres peuples d’antiquité. Brussels: George de Backer, 1704.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            The author traces various parallels between Hinduism and Judaism and attributes these to a common basis in patriarchal tradition, one shared with pagan traditions. Créquinière compares fakirs both with ascetic Christian monks and the prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Jacolliot, Louis. La Bible dans l’Inde. Paris: Librairie Internationale, 1869.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Long after the general demise of such attempts, Jacolliot argued for a common derivation of biblical from Hindu traditions, invoking the same resemblance between the names of Manu, Moses, and Minos that others had noted previously. Deist in his inclinations, he argued that Brahmanism was a corruption of vedism, which influenced Mosaic religion on matters of ritual, caste, etc.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • La Croze, Maturin Veyssière. Histoire du Christianisme des Indes. The Hague: Les Frères Vaillant & N. Prévost, 1724.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                While the work is primarily devoted to the topic indicated by its title, Book 6 is titled “De l’idolatrie des Indes.” La Croze compares Hinduism to ancient paganism, especially that of the Egyptians, which also had a kind of caste system.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Langlès, Louis. Fables et contes indiens. Paris: Royez, 1790.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author argues that the Egyptians, Jews, and other peoples copied from (singer, literally “aped”) the Hindus, of whom the author expresses a generally high opinion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Priestley, Joseph. A Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with Those of the Hindoos and Other Ancient Nations. Northumberland, PA: A. Kennedy, 1799.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    The famous scientist extends his engagement with theological topics. Priestley acknowledged the antiquity of the Vedas and a general resemblance between Hinduism and Egyptian idolatry, while rejecting the opinion of those, such as Langlès, who contended that the Pentateuch was copied from the Vedas. Priestley instead defended the revealed status of the Mosaic institutions and their superiority to Hinduism, which naturally requires the latter to suffer by comparison in his description.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Caste

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Caste encompassed the division of the social order into four ranked classes (varna), as described in Rig Veda 10.90. It also encompassed the hundreds of narrower, local groupings called jatis that were associated with wealth and occupation and that contributed to determining one’s status and mobility. Ignoring the resemblance between caste and their own hierarchical institutions (of peasant, bourgeoisie, and aristocracy), Europeans frequently labeled caste uniquely Hindu and uniquely pernicious (Wilson 1877, Sherring 1872–1881). However, the practical reality of the caste system meant that it could not be ignored by lawyers and the courts (see Steele 1827). Given the Christian doctrine of the universal equality of believers, caste posed a special problem for missionaries, who debated whether it was an acceptable civil institution or a religious system incompatible with the Gospel (Bower 1851, Duff 1858, Forrester 1980). More-recent postcolonial treatments of caste, such as Dirks 2001, stress how colonialism contributed to the production of caste as an instrument of knowledge and control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bower, Henry. Essay on Hindu Caste. Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1851.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bower argues that caste is unique to Hinduism, both a “civil” and a “religious” institution that is fundamental to that tradition and incompatible with Christian universalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dirks, Nicholas B. Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        A modern survey of the colonial construction of caste as, first, a unified system and, second, the chief paradigm for Indian society. Shows how the colonial production of knowledge concerning India created its own object.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Duff, Alexander. What Is Caste? How Is a Christian Government to Deal with It? Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1858.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          A twenty-two-page pamphlet by an important Scottish missionary and proponent of Anglicization. Argues that caste is not merely a civil but a religious institution deeply embedded in Hinduism that must be rooted out. Notable for characterizing Hinduism as a chaotic mass of contradictions, jumbled together, with no fixed nature.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Forrester, Duncan B. Caste and Christianity: Attitudes and Policies on Caste of Anglo-Saxon Protestant Missions in India. London: Curzon, 1980.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stresses the differences among missionary attitudes toward caste, from accommodative to rejectionist, and various opinions on the civil versus religious nature of the institution. Surveys important figures such as William Carey, Reginald Heber, and Daniel Wilson and argues that the 1857 Indian Mutiny was attributed variously either to caste or the assault on caste.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sherring, M. A. Hindu Tribes and Castes. 3 vols. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink, 1872–1881.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mainly an attempt at an exhaustive descriptive inventory of different castes (jatis), divided into Benares (Vol. 1) and other regions (Vol. 2). More interesting are the dissertations in Vol. 3, which attempt to trace the history and nature of caste. Interprets the proliferation of caste as due to the mixing of groups and the tendency toward schism, as well as to the tyranny of Brahmans and the servility of other groups.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Steele, Arthur. Summary of the Law and Customs of Hindoo Castes. Bombay: Courier Press, 1827.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                A practical compilation listing Hindu law books, castes, and relevant legal provisions for use in the courts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wilson, John. Indian Caste. 2 vols. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1877.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues that caste is “the soul as well as the body of Hinduism” and “the most fearful and pernicious development ever exhibited on the face of the globe” (Vol. 1, p. 11). Vol. 1 provides an extensive chronological survey of caste as it appears in classical India literature from the Vedas onward, and it includes a section on Buddhist views of caste. Vol. 2 surveys different groups of Brahmans.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sati

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sati, or widow burning, is the practice by which a widow was burned on a pyre either together with her husband or after him. It had a religious sanction in Hindu custom as well as in mythology and certain Dharmaśāstra texts. Europeans early on singled out this practice as especially barbaric, and, following a brief period in which sati was permitted under certain conditions, the practice was completely outlawed in 1829. Some of the texts in this section (e.g., Hawley 1994, Major 2006) examine the religious and ethical problems associated with European comprehension of this Hindu practice; others consider sati as a flashpoint in the struggle to control Hinduism in the colonial context (Mani 1998).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hawley, John Stratton, ed. Sati, the Blessing and the Curse: The Burning of Wives in India. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Edited collection with contributions from leading scholars; includes both European and Indian perspectives, with attention to ethical questions, and also contains a substantive introduction by the editor.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Major, A. Pious Flames: European Encounters with Sati, 1500–1830. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A historical survey, written after the Roop Kanwar case (1987), of European accounts of sati; argues for a more nuanced approach to the issue by tracing the diversity of reactions among colonial observers to this practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mani, Lata. Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A theoretically subtle examination of early debates over sati that examines the emergence of these as a proxy for debates on the value of Hindu tradition, the scriptural basis or lack thereof for sati itself, and the role of the colonial state as a protector.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Reynolds v. United States. 98 U.S. 145, 1878.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The first Supreme Court decision on the interpretation of the “free exercise” of religion clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which upheld the governmental prohibition of Mormon polygamy, noteworthy in this context because the decision also mentioned Hindu sati as another practice too barbaric for protection.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hook Swinging / Carak Puja

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A distant second to sati in the list of Hindu practices condemned by Europeans, “hook swinging,” which referred to several practices, including carak puja, was also hotly debated and eventually outlawed. Like sati, hook swinging served as prime evidence for the barbarism and superstition of Hinduism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Dirks, Nicholas B. Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/jhi.2004.0007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dirks’s chapter on hook swinging (pp. 149–172) emphasizes the constructed nature of the practice under colonial surveillance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Oddie, Geoffrey. Popular Religion, Elites and Reforms: Hook-Swinging and Its Prohibition in Colonial India, 1800–1894. New Delhi: Manohar, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oddie challenges the idea that an objective knowledge of hook swinging is not possible. Details the diversity of practices grouped under this rubric and notes parallels in other cultures, such as the Native American Sun Dance. Noteworthy for an extensive appendix of documents on the practice and its suppression, which progressed throughout the latter half of the 19th century.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              French Works

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              French scholars made notable contributions beginning in the early period of European encounters with Hinduism (e.g., Tavernier 1676 and Patouillet, et al. 1702–1776). Despite a strong, early start in Sanskrit studies, various factors contributed to the eclipse of this field in France after the middle of the 19th century, with some exceptions (such as Barth 1879). (The field subsequently revived, but that is beyond the scope of our historical survey.) One factor was British hegemony on the subcontinent, with French influence confined mainly to the area around Pondicherry. Another factor, which is argued in McGetchin 2003, was the turn to science in the study of Indology and a subsequent decline in support for that study, as reflected in, for example, Eugène Burnouf’s chair in Sanskrit being left vacant after his death in 1852. The focus of Sanskrit studies shifted increasingly to England and, on the Continent, to Germany.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Barth, Auguste. Les religions de l’Inde. Paris: Sandoz et Fischbacher, 1879.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1075/upssa.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An erudite historical survey of Indian religions from vedic times onward. Barth emphasizes the diversity of Hinduism but also its conservatism as a survival of ancient forms of nature worship and polytheism that has proved resistant to change by external forces.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • McGetchin, Douglas. “Wilting Florists: The Turbulent Early Decades of the Société Asiatique, 1822–1860.” Journal of the History of Ideas 64.4 (2003): 565–580.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  McGetchin argues that the orientalists, who insisted on scientific accuracy in the translation of Sanskrit, carried out a successful campaign against the Florists, who were focused on the literary and romantic appreciation of Indian texts. This proved to be a pyrrhic victory, since by the middle of the 19th century, French support for Indology waned.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Patouillet, Louis, André Forgeot, Louis Vivier, et al. Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrites des missions étrangères par quelques missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jésus. Paris: H. L. Guerin, 1702–1776.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Letters composed by missionaries in the Society of Jesus as internal reports, some containing valuable information on Indian religion. Some contributors argued that Hindus had an idea of monotheism before it was corrupted into idolatry and polytheism, anticipating Friedrich Max Müller’s studies; some identified Brahma with Abraham and Sarasvati with Sarah; others pointed to the hardship for Hindu converts to Christianity, who were expelled from their “race” (i.e., caste). Partially translated as The Travels of Several Learned Missionaries (London: R. Gosling, 1714).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rocher, Ludo. Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Ezourveda was a French manuscript, supposedly representing a translation of a vedic text, presented to Voltaire in 1760. The Enlightenment philosophe found in this work evidence that religions other than Christianity possessed similar, high-minded principles. The problem was that the text was a forgery most likely made by Jesuits. Rocher recounts the history of this interesting chapter in cultural misunderstanding. For an alternative account, see App 2010, cited under Historical Surveys of the European Encounter with Hinduism).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tavernier, Jean Baptiste. Les six voyages de Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Paris: G. Clouzier and C. Barbin, 1676.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Book 3 of this extensive travel account contains about a dozen short chapters on Hinduism. Tavernier refers to Hindus as the “idolaters” to distinguish them from Mohammedans. “Brahmins” are simply one caste of these idolaters; “Banians”—a Gujarati word meaning “merchant”—is supposedly the third caste, equivalent to Vaisyas. Provides accounts of, among others, fakirs, sati, the Jagannath temple and procession, and carak puja. While opposed to their religion, Tavernier praises the morality and conduct of the “idolaters.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        German Works

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Germany arrived late to oriental studies. In the 18th century, Germans relied primarily on British scholarship for information about the religious customs and beliefs of India. But by the second half of the 19th century, the flow had reversed: German scholars took the lead in the study of Hinduism, and British writers translated their works into English. German scholarship differed, however, from British in that it focused primarily on historical-critical reconstructions of texts. Different histories of religious terms or movements were posed on the basis of these reconstructions, and German scholarship’s superiority was felt to lie in its greater attention to textual detail, philological rigor, and mastery of historical sources. In consequence, most of the literature featured here focuses on textual scholarship with only secondary implications for the construction of Hinduism. The one exception is the work of Heinrich von Stietencron b. 1933, which is discussed under Hinduism Debate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        General Introductions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Compared to the work on British orientalists, little work exists on German Indology and Hinduism. Adluri and Bagchee 2014 is the first comprehensive account of the unique features of the German discourse on Hinduism, focusing on its origins in Protestantism, its anti-Semitism, and its claim to “scientificity” (Wissenschaftlichkeit). Arvidsson 2006 discusses the role a degenerate “Hinduism,” in contrast to the original religion of the Aryan race, played in the work of Christian Lassen, Arthur de Gobineau, and F. Max Müller. Though not specific to the Hinduism discourse, McGetchin 2009 offers an excellent guide to the establishment and development of German Indology. Rabault-Feuerhahn 2013 is another introduction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Adluri, Vishwa, and Joydeep Bagchee. The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although focused primarily on German interpretations of canonical Hindu texts, the book also discusses the construction of Hindu identity through these interpretations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Arvidsson, Stefan. Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science. Translated by Sonia Wichmann. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The German interest in Hinduism was largely shaped by an interest in recovering an “Aryan” identity; Arvidsson’s book reflects this with a detailed and systematic account of the construction of this identity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • McGetchin, Douglas T. Indology, Indomania, and Orientalism: Ancient India’s Rebirth in Modern Germany. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              McGetchin discusses the context of Indian studies in Germany and thus indirectly sheds light on the concerns that motivated German scholarship on Hinduism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Rabault-Feuerhahn, Pascale. Archives of Origins: Sanskrit, Philology, Anthropology in 19th Century Germany. Translated by Dominique Bach and Rick Willet. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This formidable study discusses the disparate elements and interests that went into constituting the German preoccupation with India. Hinduism does not feature thematically, but the sections on the search for Indo-European religion(s) and German responses to the Veda are relevant.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Definitions of Hinduism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Schlegel 1834 is a linguistic, anthropological, social, and historical account of the “Hindus” that focuses primarily race and language. Hegel 1983–1985 (originally published in 1825–1826) is the primary source for G. W. F. Hegel’s views of Hinduism. Written when the -romantic-period discovery of India was threatening the deeply Pietistic Hegel’s project of securing Protestantism, the lectures place Hinduism on a low level in Hegel’s teleological-historical-hierarchical scale. Hegel’s most extensive engagement with Indian philosophy, Hegel 2001 (first published in 1827), argues for studying Indian thought only historically and anthropologically in terms of the “peculiar nature of the Indian mind” (p. 74). Oldenberg 1894 eschews discussion of classical/modern Hinduism for an account of the religion of the “Aryans, the brothers of the most advanced nations of Europe” (p. 2). Oldenberg 1915 indicates the extent to which discussion of Hinduism occurred against the background of admiration for the “reforming” religion of Buddhism, which many German Indologists considered an analogue to Protestantism. Stietencron 2001 is a compact introduction to Hinduism for students that repeats the thesis of the composite, nonorganic nature of Hinduism argued for in the author’s earlier papers (see Hinduism Debate). The work sees itself as a “corrective” presentation of Hinduism for German audiences. Michaels 1998 makes the case that Hinduism “consists of three Hindu religions and four forms of Hindu religiosity” (p. 37); the three Hindu religions are “Brahmanic Sanskrit-Hinduism,” (2) “folk religions of regions and social communities,” and “founded religions,” whereas the four forms of Hindu religiosity are “ritualism,” “spiritualism,” “devotionalism,” and “heroism” (pp. 37–40). It remains to be seen whether Axel Michaels’s classification proves more enduring (or useful) than earlier attempts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hegel, G. W. F. Vorlesungen: Ausgewählte Nachschriften und Manuskripte. Vols. 3, 4.1, 4.2, and 5, Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Religion. Edited by Walter Jaeschke. Hamburg, Germany: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1983–1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Delivered in several different forms between 1821 and 1831, these lectures offer a good picture of the anxiety Hinduism triggered in German intellectuals. Hinduism’s place in Hegel’s system keeps shifting as he struggles to account for it. The identification of Hinduism with caste dates back to these lectures, since Hegel considers caste a definitive argument for excluding Hinduism from the “religions of freedom.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hegel, G. W. F. “Ueber die unter dem Nahmen Bhagavad-Gita bekannte Episode des Mahabharata: Von Wilhelm von Humboldt.” In Gesammelte Werke. Vol. 16, Schriften und Entwürfe II (1826–1831). Edited by Friedrich Hoegemann and Christoph Jamme, 19–75. Hamburg, Germany: Felix Meiner Verlag, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ostensibly a review of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s essay on the Bhagavad Gita, this text (originally published in 1827) is actually a thinly veiled attempt to historicize and limit the significance of Indian thought, which had begun to challenge Hegel’s system. Its significance can be measured by the fact that it significantly altered the course of German Bhagavad Gita reception over the next two hundred years.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Michaels, Axel. Der Hinduismus: Geschichte und Gegenwart. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A typical example of the German historiographic approach, this volume divides the presentation of Hinduism into “Theoretische und historische Grundlegungen” (Theoretical and historical foundations), “Religion und Gesellschaft” (Religion and society), and “Von Deszendenz zu Transzendenz” (From descendance to transcendence).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Oldenberg, Hermann. Die Religion des Veda. Berlin: Hertz, 1894.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The influence of Hegel but also Lassen and Gobineau is evident in this work, which separates “barbarian priests” and “barbarian gods” (pp. 2–3) from the true vedic, Aryan heritage. Oldenberg argues that as the Aryans “mix[ed] with the dark-skinned aboriginal population of India, increasingly taking on the character traits of Hinduism,” they “became slack” and incapable of “strenuous struggle” (p. 2).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Oldenberg, Hermann. Die Lehre der Upanishaden und die Anfänge des Buddhismus. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1915.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Enormously influential book that presents Buddhism and Brahmanism as two contrasting systems: Buddhism emerged in the East and is characterized by greater intellectual, institutional, urban and social development (p. 285), while Brahmanism is found in the West and is characterized by its underdeveloped social, economic, and cultural life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Schlegel, A. W. “De l’origine des Hindous.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom 2.2 (1834): 405–446.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An example of the “biracial” theory of Indian history, according to which Indians were a blend of the white and black races (the former having entered the subcontinent from the North; the latter, indigenous to the subcontinent). Schlegel’s essay probably influenced the work of his student Christian Lassen (b. 1810–d. 1876) and, via him, Gobineau.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Stietencron, Heinrich von. Der Hinduismus. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Concern over Hindu nationalism and religious violence primarily dominates Stietencron’s presentation of Hinduism in this small book, to the point of making implausible arguments.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Characteristic Themes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Although German scholars shaped the conversation on Hinduism in the late 19th and 20th centuries, their accounts of Hinduism were colored by their own concerns: typically, a Protestant suspicion of priests, a narrative of decline, and calls for an Enlightenment of the Indian mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Narrative of Decline

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              German scholars frequently applied a Protestant understanding of religion to Hinduism, according to which “priests” corrupted the original revelation. Many works express admiration for ancient Aryan religion alongside criticisms of the degeneracy of present-day Hinduism. Modern, “historical-critical” German scholarship was to recover the ancient doctrines of the texts, enable a reformation of Hinduism, and restore India to its ancient glory. Weber 1850, Weber 1868, and Müller 1867 are important early sources for this view. Roth 1846 undertakes a historical investigation into the “decline, the transformation of a beautiful beginning into a negative outcome” (p. 357) and attributes this decline to the emergence of “a class of Brahmans” (p. 358). Roth 1852 is a good example of Rudolf Roth’s fundamentalist approach to religion; applying a genealogical-morphological model, he seeks to identify the “fundamental traits of religion that were once as common to all these peoples [the Aryan, Greek, Roman, Germanic, and Slav] as the forms of language [common to them]” (p. 68). An important work containing the text of a debate between the missionary Reverend Mitchell and Roth, Roth 1853 defends Indians against missionary criticisms of their moral values but also asserts that mid-19th-century Indians had fallen from these values. Roth 1857 argues that vedic civilization declined once the “supersenous elements of the common Aryan faith gradually gave way” to the “sensuous, the divinization of natural life” (p. 152), and offers a revealing glimpse both into the reason German Indologists studied Indian texts and the anticipated benefit of such study. Goldstücker 1864 is the best source for the kind of emancipatory, enlightenment expectations associated with the application of European ideas to the study of Hinduism, and the replacement of indigenous intellectual traditions with Western scholarship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Goldstücker, Theodor. “The Inspired Writings of Hinduism.” Westminster Review, n.s. 25 (1864): 144–169.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Goldstücker argues that the “real [read: original] faith” of the Hindus is “neither founded on the Brâhmana portion of the Vedas, nor on the Purânas, but on the Rigveda hymns” and that only a return to this fundament can “impart” “a new vitality” to the “decaying life” (pp. 77–78) of Hinduism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Müller, Friedrich Max. Chips from a German Workshop. Vol. 1, Essays on the Science of Religion. London: Longmans, Green, 1867.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The preface opines: “If there is one thing which a comparative study of religions places in the clearest light, it is the inevitable decay to which every religion is exposed . . . without constant reformation, i.e., without a constant return to its fountain-head, every religion . . . suffers from its contact with the world. . . .” (p. xxiii). Republished as recently as 2000 (Ann Arbor, MI: Making of America).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Roth, Rudolf. “Zur Geschichte der Religion.” Theologische Jahrbücher 5 (1846): 346–363.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Roth traces a process of development (and decline) from the Iranian, via the Aryan, to the Brahmanic religion and argues that the decline of Hinduism took place once “religion and divine service fell into their [i.e., the Brahmans’] hands, and their preeminence was based thereupon, a scholastic theology developed, and all religious forms became formalized and hence alienated from the living consciousness of the people” (p. 358).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Roth, Rudolf. “Die höchsten Götter der arischen Völker.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 6.1 (1852): 67–77.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another example of Roth’s Protestant thinking, this essay argues that “real history, wherever it has preserved articulate testimony from the spiritual life of a prehistorical time, offers clear outlines [and] simple and noble forms. High antiquity does not know secrets or mystagogy . . . until priestly wisdom seized control and concealed the sublime in the terror of the secret, in overwhelming masses and numbers” (pp. 67–68).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Roth, Rudolf. “On the Morality of the Veda.” Translated by William D. Whitney. Journal of the American Oriental Society 3 (1853): 329, 331–347.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Expresses the hope that workers in the “field of Indian missions” will “hold up before the [Indian] people its own antiquity” so that “it may see how its ancestors . . . were nearer the purity of truth . . .; and . . . cherished none of those follies and errors in which they themselves are apparently hoping to find their salvation now and hereafter” (pp. 346–347).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Roth, Rudolf. “Ueber die heiligen Schriften der Arier.” Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie 2 (1857): 141–153.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rare and difficult-to-read work (in Fraktur). In the conclusion, Roth expresses his hope that the Indologists, “who have become their [i.e., the Indians’] teachers and masters in the explanation of many books,” will regard Indian texts as “a valuable good—though . . . not for the sake of the wisdom that the Indians thought to find therein, but as an unfalsified testament through which primordial times manifest before us” (p. 153).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Weber, Albrecht. “Ueber die Literatur des Sâmaveda.” Indische Studien: Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Indischen Alterthums 1 (1850): 25–67.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Early text attesting to the objectives associated with the German study of Indian texts. Weber expresses his hope that the study of the Vedas will lead to “the false elements in their alleged reasoning [becoming] evident to all” and the “spirit of religious criticism [being] awakened,” thus putting “an end to the sorry plight of religious decadence in India” (p. 27).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Weber, Albrecht. “Brâhmanismus.” In Indische Streifen. Vol. 1, Eine Sammlung von Bisher in Zeitschriften zerstreuten kleineren Abhandlungen. By Albrecht Weber, 1–8. Berlin: Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1868.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reflects the prevailing view among Indologists of India as a land “mired in ethical and religious decline”; Weber argues that the solution lies in “the electrifying force of European civilization,” which, he argues, by “recovering and disseminating ancient Vedic hymns and texts” will initiate a “revolution in the minds of the thinking parts of the Indian people” (p. 7).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Criticisms of the Brahmans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Attitudes toward Brahmans in German Indology ranged from grudging respect (as Aryan brothers) for their spiritual and intellectual achievements to bitter polemic for restricting access to knowledge and enslaving the populace. Underlying the latter was a Protestant suspicion of the priesthood. German scholars belabored comparisons with Catholic clergy to explain the baleful effects of Brahmanism on Indian religious life, occasionally also invoking anti-Judaic stereotypes of the crafty, usurious Jew. Brahmans were presented as mendacious and corrupt: obsessed with power, especially vis-à-vis the ruling class, they extracted money in exchange for elaborate rituals promising salvation. Adluri and Bagchee 2014 offers a detailed overview of German attitudes, translating and summarizing key passages from Holtzmann 1854 and Holtzmann 1892 and emphasizing the Lutheran context of their views. The uncle-nephew pair of the two Adolf Holtzmanns authored some of the most vitriolic criticisms of Brahmans, whom they blamed for the downfall of a golden Germanic age (Holtzmann 1854, Holtzmann 1892). Goldstücker 1864 reflects 19th-century colonial attitudes toward native education (“jabbering thoughtlessly the words of the verse”; p. 168) and celebrates its gradual disappearance in favor of modern, “critical” (read: European) education. Garbe 1889 is a travelogue of the German orientalist Richard Garbe’s journey to India; his experiences of Hindu holy sites and the pandits of Benares flowed into the fictional account of Garbe 1894, which presents Brahmanic civilization as the greatest evil for India. Bagchi 2003 is a dispassionate and thoroughly researched look at these works and at the young Garbe’s attitudes toward Indian culture. Stietencron 1985 is a reassessment of “Brahmanization” or “Sanskritization,” on the basis of ethnographic fieldwork in Orissa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Adluri, Vishwa, and Joydeep Bagchee. The Nay Science: A History of German Indology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The authors show that anti-Brahmanism played a key structural role in German interpretations and appropriations of Indian texts, since German Indology justified itself primarily as a solution to the lack of critical oversight over the Brahmans.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bagchi, Kaushik. “An Orientalist in the Orient: Richard Garbe’s Indian Journey, 1885–1886.” Journal of World History 14.3 (2003): 281–325.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An excellent introduction to the life and ideas of Garbe, especially as recorded in his Indische Reiseskizzen (Garbe 1889). Bagchi shows Garbe to be not only an unashamed apologist for the colonial project, an advocate of religious and racial segregation, and a proponent of Aryan superiority, but also a vain, vapid, and petty individual.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Garbe, Richard. Indische Reiseskizzen. Berlin: Gebrüder Paetel, 1889.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Landmark work in which the young Garbe describes his encounters with the learned pandits of Benares. Although initially excited about India, Garbe gradually learned to mimic colonial attitudes, and this, coupled with his innate smugness, led him to produce caricatures of his teachers and to seek to teach them the meaning of “critical” scholarship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Garbe, Richard. The Redemption of the Brahman. Chicago: Open Court, 1894.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Originally published as “Die Erlösung des Brahmanen: Eine Erzählung von Richard Garbe” in Illustrierte Deutsche Monatshefte (May 1892): 201–231. This roman à clef, Garbe’s sole attempt at a novel, describes the emancipation of the Brahman Ramachandra, as he befriends the English Collector and inculcates European values of equality, free thinking, and tolerance and experiences disgust at the filth, decay, and inhumanity of Brahmanic culture. Ends with Ramachandra repudiating Brahmanism: the Collector praises him as “the future of the country” (p. 82).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Goldstücker, Theodor. “The Inspired Writings of Hinduism.” Westminster Review, n.s. 25 (1864): 144–169.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Compares Brahmanic education to “Roman Catholicism, when the multitude professing that religion was steeped in ignorance and its worship was no better than idolatry” (p. 155). The effects of Western scholarship are compared with the Protestant Reformation, and Goldstücker expresses the hope that European modes of instruction will replace native ones.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Holtzmann, Adolf, Sr. Indische Sagen. Vol. 1. Stuttgart: Verlag von Adolphe Krabbe, 1854.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Holtzmann specialized in fanciful reconstructions of ancient epics (primarily the Nibelungenlied and Homer’s Iliad), but his work on the Mahābhārata is no less unscientific. Important nonetheless because of what it reveals about German attitudes toward the Brahmans.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Holtzmann, Adolf, Jr. Zur Geschichte und Kritik des Mahābhārata. Kiel, Germany: C. F. Haeseler, 1892.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Building on his uncle’s theories in Holtzmann 1854, the younger Holtzmann explicated the Buddhist-Brahmanic struggle in terms of the opposition between Protestantism and Catholicism. The then-current condition of India is attributed to a successful “Counter-Reformation.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Brahmanen als Integratoren und Interpreten von Regionaltraditionen.” Paper presented at a symposium held in February 1983 in Heidelberg, Germany. In Regionale Tradition in Südasien. Edited by Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, 23–35. Beiträge zur Südasienforschung 104. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stietencron offers a corrective to the image of Brahmans as upholders of a rigid social hierarchy and argues that their function was rather the “colonization” of “non-Aryan territory” (p. 27). Seeking legitimacy, kings of newly founded dynasties invited Brahmans from “Āryāvarta” (p. 30) to settle in their territories, where they undertook a fusion of local traditions with Brahmanic/Sanskritic tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Christian Origins of Bhakti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bhakti, exclusive and unwavering focus on one god, presented the closest analogue to Christian monotheistic faith. As such, for many Indologists it constituted a privileged object of investigation. Many German Indologists thought Christianity was likely the source of inspiration for “monotheistic bhakti religion,” and that stories of Kṛṣṇa’s birth represented localized versions of the Christ narrative. Weber 1850 and Weber 1868 posit implausible origin stories, attributing Kṛṣṇa bhakti to the encounter of Indian Brahmans with early Christians. Weber 1868 summarizes the views of missionaries, Indologists, and historians (among the latter, William Jones and Talboys Wheeler) regarding the relationship of the Kṛṣṇa to Christ (pp. 311–316). Lorinser 1869 tries to show that parts of the Bhagavad Gita reused Christian ideas. Perhaps no scholar dedicated as many writings to discussing the issue of the Christian origins of Indian texts as Richard Garbe. In a series of works (Garbe 1913a, Garbe 1913b, Garbe 1914a, Garbe 1914b), Garbe discussed the merits of his predecessors’ arguments, which he, with few exceptions, rejected. Sharma 1987 is a pathbreaking study that rejects the existing definition of bhakti as an academic construct. It discusses the work not only of German Indologists such as Albrecht Weber and Franz Lorinser but also of British orientalists such as Horace Hayman Wilson, Monier Monier-Williams, and George Abraham Grierson. Adluri 2016 rejects the view of the Nārāyaṇīya-Studien scholars (the German Indologists Peter Schreiner, Thomas Oberlies, Reinhold Grünendahl, and Angelika Malinar) that “Viṣṇu” or “Nārāyaṇa” theologians incorporated their theology into the Mahābhārata in the guise of “bhakti,” and it shows that this view is indirectly based on the prejudices of Weber and Lorinser concerning bhakti as a specific monotheistic “religion.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Adluri, Vishwa. “Philosophical Aspects of Bhakti in the Nārāyaṇīya.” Paper presented at the Fifteenth World Sanskrit Conference, held 5–10 January 2012 in Delhi. In The Churning of the Epics and Purāṇas. Edited by Alf Hiltebeitel, Adam Bowles, and Simon Brodbeck, 127–154. New Delhi: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan and D. K. Printworld, 2016.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Continuing the thesis in Sharma 1987, this article shows why the notion that a preexisting religion called bhakti was “interpolated” into the Mahābhārata is false. Rather, the article argues for seeing bhakti as the Mahābhārata’s own creation—the outcome of its philosophical deliberation and a solution to the problem of existence in time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Garbe, Richard. “Christian Elements in the Mahābhārata, Excepting the Bhagavadgītā.” The Monist 23.3 (1913a): 321–352.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Garbe posits that the Mahābhārata was composed “over at least a millennium,” ending with the “sixth or seventh century” (p. 321). Christian influence is highly likely, but the only portion that probably “betray[s] acquaintance with Christian doctrines and Christian worship . . . is the legend of the Shvetadvīpa, the ‘White Island,’ or the ‘Island [i.e., the land] of the White People’” (p. 322).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Garbe, Richard. “Christian Elements in the Bhagavadgita.” The Monist 23.4 (1913b): 494–516.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Garbe rejects Lorinser’s hypothesis of the New Testament as the source of the Bhagavad Gita, arguing that the love of God is a universal religious sentiment, traces of which are to be found also in the Greek and Roman religions in pre-Christian times. In this respect the Indians . . . have certainly not remained behind the Greeks and Romans in development” (p. 515.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Garbe, Richard. “Christian Elements in Later Krishnaism and in Other Hinduistic Sects.” The Monist 24.1 (1914a): 35–66.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is the only work in which Garbe acknowledges a Christian influence: he notes that “the conception of Krishna as a divine child . . . is autochthonous. The celebration of Krishna’s birthday, however, is an imitation of the Christian festival” (p. 36). The remainder of the article is dedicated to examining traces of influences in medieval composers and modern (i.e., then-recent) sects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Garbe, Richard. Indien und das Christentum: Eine Untersuchung der religionsgeschichtlichen Zusammenhänge. Tübingen, Germany: J. C. B. Mohr, 1914b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Garbe discusses the views of his predecessors, including Weber and Lorinser, but rejects Christian influence on the Bhagavad Gita on the grounds that it is older than the New Testament and that their resemblance can be sufficiently explained in terms of “the inner parallelism of the religious and religion-philosophical fundamental outlooks of the Bhagavad Gita and the Gospel of John” (p. 247).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lorinser, Franz. Die Bhagavad-Gita. Breslau, Poland: G. P. Aderholz Buchhandlung, 1869.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Catholic theologian Lorinser (b. 1821–d. 1893) produced the second complete translation of the Bhagavad Gita, aiming to show that its author knew of the New Testament and had incorporated Christian ideas and views into the text. Includes a detailed appendix of all such passages: “Anhang: Ueber die in der Bhagavad-Gita vorhandenen Spuren einer Benützung christlicher Spuren und Ideen” (pp. 267–289).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sharma, Krishna. Bhakti and the Bhakti Movement: A New Perspective; A Study in the History of Ideas. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sharma argues that “Bhakti is neither a cult, nor a doctrine. Nor does it signify any specific religious mode or belief” (p. xiv). Rather, she argues for seeing it as a generic term for a range of phenomena that all are seeking to absorb and reconcile Śaṅkara’s strictly nondualistic philosophy with specific traditions of worship.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Weber, Albrecht. “Analyse der in Anquetil du Perron’s Uebersetzung enthaltenen Upanishad: Fortsetzung.” Indische Studien: Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Indischen Alterthums 1 (1850): 380–456.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Weber speculates that Brahmans must have encountered early Christians either in Alexandria or Asia Minor and thence brought back the stories of Christ, which they projected onto a wise man or hero called Kṛṣṇa. To make his theory plausible, he argues (citing Christian Lassen) that the portions of the Mahābhārata that refer to Kṛṣṇa as a divinity must be of later origin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Weber, Albrecht. Über die Kṛishṇajanmâshṭamî (Kṛishṇas Geburtsfest). Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1868.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Weber repeats his thesis (Weber 1850) that Nārada’s journey to the White Island is based on an encounter between Brahmans and Christians (pp. 318–321). He argues for a combination of “direct influence of Christian missionaries” and “independent appropriations” (p. 321) as the source of the Kṛṣṇa narrative, the native component being responsible for the prurient elements.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Neo-Hinduism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Alongside “inclusivism,” Neo-Hinduism (Neohinduismus) was one of two concepts that Paul Hacker used to deconstruct Hindu identity. He rejected the idea of an organic continuity or an organic development of Hinduism and argued that whereas traditional Hinduism did not feature concepts such as service, betterment, or an active response to life, modern Hindus such as Swami Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan had absorbed these values from the West to formulate a muscular, evangelical Hinduism as a response to Christianity. Hacker 1958 and Hacker 1978 are the two most important source texts for this view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Hacker, Paul. “Der Dharma-Begriff im Neuhinduismus.” Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft 42 (1958): 1–15.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Important article from a phase of growing radicalization in Hacker’s life, culminating in his 1962 conversion. This piece argues that the adoption of Christian charity in Hinduism is not motivated by a religious conviction of Christianity’s superiority, but an awareness of the superiority of its ethics—albeit one where the adopters were unwilling to acknowledge this superiority by converting. Translated into English as “The Concept of Dharma in Neo-Hinduism,” in Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta, edited by Wilhelm Halbfass (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), pp. 257–272.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hacker, Paul. “Aspects of Neo-Hinduism as Contrasted with Surviving Traditional Hinduism.” In Kleine Schriften. Edited by Lambert Schmithausen, 580–609. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner, 1978.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hacker’s final statement on “Neo-Hinduism,” this article argues that the development of modern Hindu identity is not part of an organic process of evolution. Whereas the tradition passively received Western cultural influences, the advocates of Hindu unity, having become “distressed and offended” (p. 236) by the overwhelming success of the West, are engaged in a rivalry with the West. Reprinted in Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta, edited by Wilhelm Halbfass (Albany: State University of New York Press), pp. 229–255.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Inclusivism”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Inclusivism (Inklusivismus) is the view that Hinduism, because it regards all religions as paths to the truth and all gods as manifestation of the one Supreme Being, does not really know of tolerance but only of a kind of inclusiveness. The view is dependent on defining tolerance as an appreciation or forbearance of the other in its difference. The German Indologist Hacker originally developed the concept as a means of defining what he found problematic about Hinduism: its unwillingness to acknowledge the absolute difference, historical uniqueness, and particularity of Christianity. Although he had been developing the concept over many years to Hinduism, his clearest statement can be found in Hacker 1983. Many scholars followed Hacker in using the concept to characterize Hinduism, though they often did so uncritically. Neither Wezler 1983 nor Mertens 2004 questions the historical context or the validity of the concept, even as both extend its application. Halbfass 1983 and Oberhammer 1983 are more sensitive to the personal issues at stake for Hacker in the concept. Bagchee and Adluri 2013 offers a critical analysis of Hacker’s use of the term. It concludes that the distinction between tolerance and inclusivism is untenable and that Hacker’s criticisms of Hindu inclusivism actually reflect a deep unease with Catholic ecumenism. Although Laine 1989 does not cite Hacker 1983, many of its ideas about Hindu syncretism are borrowed from it: James Laine echoes Hacker’s criticisms of Hinduism’s refusal to grant any religion an exclusive truth and argues for a committed engagement with Hinduism out of an awareness of one’s own faith, in language similar to Hacker’s interviews and essays on the subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bagchee, Joydeep, and Vishwa P. Adluri. “The Passion of Paul Hacker: Indology, Orientalism, and Evangelism.” In Transcultural Encounters between Germany and India: Kindred Spirits in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Edited by Joanne Miyang Cho, Eric Kurlander, and Douglas T. McGetchin, 215–229. Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia 90. New York: Routledge, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Examines the historical context of the concept in light of Hacker’s troubled relationship to Catholicism. The authors demonstrate that Hacker has an “exclusivist” understanding of religions, where Christianity not only is the sole path to salvation but should also be coupled eternally with the Latin rite and western European traditions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hacker, Paul. “Inklusivismus.” In Inklusivismus: Eine indische Denkform. Edited by Gerhard Oberhammer, 11–28. Publications of the De Nobili Research Library, Occasional Papers 2. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Key document for Hacker’s definition of “inclusivism.” Hacker contrasts Hindu inclusivism with Christian tolerance, where the former tries merely to subsume a foreign concept or idea into its own system without acknowledging its unique nature and without attempting any form of intellectual engagement with it; inclusivism is therefore “an expression of a feeling of inferiority” (p. 20).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Halbfass, Wilhelm. “‘Inklusivismus’ und ‘Toleranz’ im Kontext der indo-europäischen Begegnung.” In Inklusivismus: Eine indische Denkform. Edited by Gerhard Oberhammer, 29–60. Publications of the De Nobili Research Library, Occasional Papers 2. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Balanced evaluation of Hacker 1983; Halbfass argues that “the concept of inclusivism in Hacker’s work is not a purely descriptive or scientific concept. It is an instrument of critique of Indian, specifically neo-Indian thought and an implicit defense of Christian-European thought versus certain claims . . . of Indian thought” (p. 39).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Laine, James W. Visions of God: Narratives of Theophany in the Mahābhārata. Publications of the De Nobili Research Library 16. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shallowly disguised scholarly work that becomes explicit at the end about its commitment to an exclusive vision of the truth. Criticizing those in the “modern West” who recommend “the Indian style of universal inclusivism,” Laine argues that in “denying no religion a margin of truth,” these seemingly cosmopolitan individuals nonetheless end up “denying all the claims to exclusive truth” (p. 281).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mertens, Annemarie. “Konstruierte Realitäten—Soziale Wahrheiten: Die indische Identitätsmanagementstrategie ‘Inklusivismus.’” In The Persistent Challenge: Religion, Truth, and Scholarship; Essays in Honour of Klaus Klostermaier. Edited by Inigo Bocken, Wilhelm Dupré, and Paul van der Velde, 101–120. Veröffentlichungen des Cusanus Studien Centrums 4. Maastricht, The Netherlands: Uitgeverij Shaker, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Attempt to integrate Hacker’s concept of inclusivism into a “social-psychological theory” in an effort to penetrate “behind the normative façade of the text” by addressing its “socio-psychic dimension” (p. 102); via applying “Social Identity Theory” to the concept, Mertens arrives at the conclusion that inclusivism is a “cognitive, creative strategy of inferior religious groups to . . . reassert positive social identity” (p. 118).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Oberhammer, Gerhard. “Der Inklusivismus-Begriff P. Hackers: Versuch eines Nachwortes.” In Inklusivismus: Eine indische Denkform. Edited by Gerhard Oberhammer, 93–113. Publications of the De Nobili Research Library, Occasional Papers 2. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oberhammer notes that “inclusivism” plays a crucial role in Hacker’s notion of “early Christianity . . . as the sole true example” of a “period . . . for which he actually denies [the existence of] the phenomenon of inclusivism” (p. 106); he concludes that inclusivism is “therefore fundamentally not an empirical claim about the history of religions, but a fundamental statement of the religious theology of P. Hacker” (p. 107).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wezler, Albrecht. “Bemerkungen zum Inklusivismus-Begriff Paul Hackers.” In Inklusivismus: Eine indische Denkform. Edited by Gerhard Oberhammer, 61–91. Publications of the De Nobili Research Library, Occasional Papers 2. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Accepts Hacker’s concept and tries to see if it is also applicable to other religious traditions (e.g., Zen Buddhism), but without questioning the origins and validity of the concept itself or its heuristic function in Hacker’s thought.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hinduism Debate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As noted earlier, the question of how to define Hinduism primarily interested British scholars because of its manifold administrative, legal, and social consequences. German scholars focused primarily on ancient India and, conditioned by Indology’s origins in Protestantism, on recovering Ur texts and creating historical-critical editions. However, in the wake of Hacker’s apologetic engagement with contemporaneous Hinduism in the 1950s, this issue also became relevant to German scholars. The Tübingen Indologist Stietencron has been the primary proponent of the “no Hinduism” position. He holds that the term “Hinduism” denotes a group of religions, each with its own God, scripture, theology, ritual practices, and distinct intellectual traditions. Stietencron 1986 makes a case for speaking of different “Hindu religions” in the same sense as the “Abrahamic religions.” Stietencron 1987a, Stietencron 1987b, Stietencron 1987c, and Stietencron 1987d are four articles from an encyclopedia (on Hinduism, on God in Hinduism, on salvation in Hinduism, and on scripture in Hinduism, respectively) that seek to reinforce this claim. Stietencron 2005a (originally published in 1988) and Stietencron 2005b (originally published in 1989) seek to restrict the Western, scholarly usage of “Hinduism.” Both argue for greater plurality and openness but actually seek to deny to Hinduism the prerogative of self-definition, historical evolution, and the articulation of a pluralistic theology and worldview on par with Christianity. Stietencron 1995 is Stietencron’s longest article on the subject; besides affirming the theses of earlier writings, it argues that the thesis of a coherent Hindu identity suborns Hindu nationalism and that scholars ought to counter “Hindu self-perception.” Stietencron 2009 presents a summary of the author’s views but also makes an explicitly political and religious argument against granting Hinduism numerical superiority in the national census.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Hinduismus.” In Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Vol. 15, Heinrich II.–Ibsen. Edited by Gerhard Müller, 346–355. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Argues that the term “Hinduism” is a “misconception”: “the religions subsumed under the concept ‘Hinduism’ are as related—or as distinct—as the ‘Abrahamic’ religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” (p. 346). Stietencron identifies eight subforms: “Vedic religion,” “monotheistic Viṣṇuism,” “partly monotheistic, partly dualistic Śaivism,” “dualistic Śaktism,” “cult of Yakṣas [etc.],” “monistic Advaita Vedānta,” “Smārta,” and “Sikhism and tribal religions” (pp. 348–350).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Hinduismus/Hindu-Religionen.” In Lexikon der Religionen. Edited by Hans Waldenfels, 288–296. Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 1987a.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that “Hinduism” “cannot signify a specific religion but must be understood as a comprehensive description for a group of related but distinct religions that arose in the South Asian region. . . . They have different conceptions of God, different scriptures, and different ritual practices; each possesses its own theology, cites its own theologians, and worships a different divinity as highest God” (p. 289).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Gott: VII.” In Lexikon der Religionen. Edited by Hans Waldenfels, 226–230. Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 1987b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Subdivided into God “in Vedic religion,” “in Advaita Vedānta,” “in Viṣṇuism and Śivaism,” “in Śāktism,” and “in Neo-Hinduism,” the article consciously downplays the frequent overlapping and shared intellectual space (and pantheon) of classical and late-20th-century Hinduism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Heil/Heilsweg: II; Hinduismus/Hindu-Religionen.” In Lexikon der Religionen. Edited by Hans Waldenfels, 245–248. Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 1987c.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brief overview of the notion of salvation in Hinduism, from svarga and ayuṣ in vedic religion to jñāna and bhakti in Vaiṣṇavism. Stietencron presents these different concepts as opposing notions in different religions rather than as a shared and ascending hierarchy of values.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Heilige Schrift(en): III; Hinduismus/Hindu-Religionen.” In Lexikon der Religionen. Edited by Hans Waldenfels, 258–263. Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 1987d.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reinforces Stietencron’s thesis of Hinduism as comprising distinct religions by subdividing the literary canon into the scriptures of vedic religion (the Vedas), of Viṣṇuism (further subdivided into texts of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma, and Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa worship), of Śivaism, of Śāktism, of Advaita Vedānta, of Smārtas, and of Neo-Hinduism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Religious Configurations in Pre-Muslim India and the Modern Concept of Hinduism.” Paper presented at a conference held in October 1990 in Tübingen, Germany. In Representing Hinduism: The Construction of Religious Traditions and National Identity. Edited by Vasudha Dalmia and Heinrich von Stietencron, 51–81. New Delhi: SAGE, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This essay cites an 11th-century Śaiva text (Somaśambhupaddhati) to demonstrate that no notion of Hindu unity existed until the 19th century, but as David Lorenzen points out (“Who Invented Hinduism?,” p. 635), Stietencron “blithely jumps from the sixth century B.C. to the nineteenth century A.D. with virtually no discussion of the intervening uses of the term ‘Hindu.’”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “The Preconditions of Western Research on Hinduism and Their Consequences.” In Hindu Myth, Hindu History: Religion, Art, and Politics. By Heinrich von Stietencron, 195–226. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2005a.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Originally published as “Voraussetzungen westlicher Hinduismusforschung und ihre Folgen” in “. . . aus der anmuthigen Gelehrsamkeit”: Tübinger Studien zum 18. Jahrhundert; Dietrich Geyer zum 60. Geburtstag, edited by Eberhard Müller (Tübingen, Germany: Attempto Verlag, 1988), pp. 123–153. This essay continues Stietencron’s argument against any coherent entity called “Hinduism,” but begins from the perspective of early, Portuguese and British colonizers, and early orientalists. Stietencron is aware of the Christian and missionary beginnings of Indology but interprets this to mean an interest in identifying a single, coherent identity that could be the subject of comparison.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Hinduism: On the Proper Use of a Deceptive Term.” In Hindu Myth, Hindu History: Religion, Art, and Politics. By Heinrich von Stietencron, 227–248. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2005b.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A conceptual history of the term “Hinduism,” this work claims to argue for respecting religious plurality but all too often ignores the real sense of political and cultural unity among adherents of the faith for academic notions of differences. As in Stietencron’s other works, the political subtext is hard to miss. Originally in Hinduism Reconsidered, edited by Günther D. Sontheimer and Hermann Kulke (New Delhi: Manohar, 1989), pp. 11–27.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stietencron, Heinrich von. “Hinduism.” Paper presented at the fifth conference of the Forum für Verantwortung Foundation, held 31 March–5 April 2006 at the European Academy, Otzenhausen, Germany. In Secularization and the World’s Religions. Edited by Hans Joas and Klaus Wiegandt, 122–140. Translated by Alex Skinner. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stietencron’s political motivation for rejecting the concept “Hinduism” is most explicit in this essay, in which he explicitly places Hinduism in the context of Christianity and Islam and argues that its numerical strength in national and international censuses is the result of conceptual manipulation.

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