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Hinduism: Past and Present

Axel Michaels (Author)
Synopsis Hinduism is currently followed by one-fifth of humankind. Far from a monolithic theistic tradition, the religion comprises thousands of gods, a complex caste system, and hundreds of languages and dialects. Such internal plurality inspires vastly ranging rites and practices amongst Hinduism’s hundreds of millions of adherents. It is therefore not surprising that scholars have been hesitant to define universal Hindu traditions, beliefs, and rituals Hindus hold in common through the lens of what he together and fortifies them against foreign influences. Thus, in his analysis, Michaels not only locates Hinduism’s profoundly differentiating qualities, but also provides the framework for an analysis of its social and religious coherence. Michaels blends his insightful arguments and probing questions with introductions to major historical epochs and ample textual sources, as well as detailed analyses of major life-cycle rituals, and caste system, forms of spiritualism, devotionalism, ritualism, and heroism. Along the way he points out that Hinduism has endured and repeatedly resisted the missionary zeal and universalist claims of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. He also contrasts traditional Hinduism with the religions of the West. Engaging and accessible, this book will appeal to laypersons and scholars alike as the most comprehensive introduction to Hinduism yet published.
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About the author

Axel Michaels

Axel Michaels, Professor of Classical Indology at the South Asia Institute at the University of Heidelberg, has published widely in the fields of Indology, Anthropology and Religious Studies.

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Bibliographic information

Title Hinduism: Past and Present
Author Axel Michaels
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8125027769
length xviii+429p., Tables; Plates; Notes; References; Glossary; Index; 22cm.