The Hindus: An Alternative History

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9780143116691: The Hindus: An Alternative History

An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions, The Hindus elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds.

Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account: many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated even within a century; its central tenets karma, dharma, to name just two arise at particular moments in Indian history and differ in each era, between genders, and caste to caste; and what is shared among Hindus is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the things that are unique to one group or another. Yet the greatness of Hinduism - its vitality, its earthiness, its vividness - lies precisely in many of those idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today.

Wendy Doniger is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world. With her inimitable insight and expertise Doniger illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon. Without reversing or misrepresenting the historical hierarchies, she reveals how Sanskrit and vernacular sources are rich in knowledge of and compassion toward women and lower castes; how they debate tensions surrounding religion, violence, and tolerance; and how animals are the key to important shifts in attitudes toward different social classes.

The Hindus brings a fascinating multiplicity of actors and stories to the stage to show how brilliant and creative thinkers - many of them far removed from Brahmin authors of Sanskrit texts - have kept Hinduism alive in ways that other scholars have not fully explored. In this unique and authoritative account, debates about Hindu traditions become platforms from which to consider the ironies, and overlooked epiphanies, of history.

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Review:

You will learn a huge amount about both the main thoroughfares and neglected byways of Hindu history. ( Jonathan Wright, Sunday Herald)

It is one of the most profound and enlightening anatomisations of Hindu history I have ever read. ( Jonathan Wright, Sunday Herald)

Scholarly, witty, and even-handed... one of the most profound and enlightening anatomisations of Hindu history I have ever read. ( Jonathan Wright, Sunday Herald)

About the Author:

Wendy Dobniger is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago.

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 226 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Don t miss this equivalent of a brilliant graduate course froma feisty and exhilarating teacher. - The Washington Post An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth, The Hindus offers a new way of understanding one of the world s oldest major religions. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account. Many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated within a century; its central tenets arise at particular moments in Indian history and often differ according to gender or caste; and the differences between groups of Hindus far outnumber the commonalities. Yet the greatness of Hinduism lies precisely in many of these idiosyncratic qualities that continues to inspire debate today. This groundbreaking work elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds, the inner life and the social history of Hindus. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780143116691

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 226 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Don t miss this equivalent of a brilliant graduate course froma feisty and exhilarating teacher. - The Washington Post An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth, The Hindus offers a new way of understanding one of the world s oldest major religions. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account. Many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated within a century; its central tenets arise at particular moments in Indian history and often differ according to gender or caste; and the differences between groups of Hindus far outnumber the commonalities. Yet the greatness of Hinduism lies precisely in many of these idiosyncratic qualities that continues to inspire debate today. This groundbreaking work elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds, the inner life and the social history of Hindus. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780143116691

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