An Introduction to Hinduism
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An Introduction to Hinduism

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Providing a much-needed thematic and historical introduction to Hinduism, this text traces the development of Hindu traditions from ancient origins and the major deities to the modern world. Emphasis is given to the tantric traditions, Hindu ritual and Dravidian influences.
Paperback, 367 pages
Published July 13th 1996 by Cambridge University Press
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In attempts to figure out my research interests for graduate school I took on this book upon the recommendation of a friend. Nonetheless, it was incredibly insightful with a few chapters needing to be read twice due to the book's dryness and the confusing way it is structured.

I'll begin by noting that as a Muslim trying to find parallels between Hinduism and Islam I started this book in hopes of answering two questions: (1) Is Hinduism in fact a monotheistic religion? (2) Do Hinduism and Islam...more
Christopher Smith
Excellent and very scholarly introduction to Hinduism, though to tell the truth it was a bit dense for a beginner. It took me a long time to wade through it, but I learned a great deal. Even those who are quite familiar with Hinduism could undoubtedly profit from reading it.
Ata A
This is an okay introduction to Indian religious traditions ("Hinduism"). I felt that the philosophical and creedal matters were well explained. However, topics seemed to be scattered throughout the book in no rational order. The Basics end up being explained in the later chapters, when they should have been explained in the earlier chapters. I still read it occasionally just to brush up on issues, and I have continue to find it beneficial.
Feb 05, 2014 Santjitsing marked it as to-read
curious to read this book
This is hardly an "introduction" to Hinduism - it's more like an overview. One drawback is that the author is biased towards the area where he has done research in Kerala. I learned a lot, though, even if I didn't completely grasp everything.

I would particularly recommend the first couple chapters. They address the early origins of Hinduism and the debate about whether it came from the Aryans or was indigenous. Very interesting.
An outstanding overview of the complex history and identities of Hinduism. This would be very useful as a textbook for college-level courses, and will also appeal to non-specialists looking for a scholarly treatment. Excellent discussions of the bhakti traditions and of the remaking of Hinduism by the Hindu Renaissance of the nineteenth century. Probably too advanced for an absolute beginner in religious studies.
Patrick Mcmurray

I thought that this book was an excellent, nuanced introduction to the Hindu religion. It provided some scholarly insights combined with an interesting history of Hinduism's evolution.
Wasn't bad, although it dismisses almost every 19th century philosopher without hesitation, and it doesn't quite treat nationalist groups with academic equality.
This book is very academic and (despite the title) I wouldn't recommend it to someone who has no knowledge of Hinduism or Indian history.
First book I read on Hinduism. After reading this book understood the complexity of Hindu culture and religion.
A bit dense and complicated but nuanced in the best of ways.
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