The Hindus: An Alternative History

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Penguin Press, 2009 - Hinduism - 779 pages
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A narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions, this book 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; 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, one of the world's foremost scholars of Hinduism, illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon.--From publisher description.

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