Hindu Theology and Biology: The Bhagavata Purana and Contemporary Theory

Hardcover | February 3, 2012

byJonathan B. Edelmann

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Western intellectual history has benefited from a rich and sophisticated conversation between theology and science, leaving us with centuries of scientific and theological literature on the subjects. Yet the Hindu traditions are virtually unused in responding to the challenging questionsraised in the science and religion dialogue. This book replies to the sciences by drawing from an important Hindu text called the Bhagavata Purana, as well as its commentaries, and philosophical disciplines such as Samkhya-Yoga. One of the greatest challenges facing Hindu traditions since the nineteenth century is their own self-understanding in light of science and technology. Hoping to establish the conceptual foundations for a mutually beneficial dialogue between the Hindu Theologies and the Western Sciences, JonathanB. Edelmann faces that challenge directly. Since so much of the Hinduism-science discussion is tangled in misconstrual, Edelmann clarifies fundamental issues in each tradition, for example the definition of consciousness, the means of generating knowledge and the goal of knowledge itself. Heargues that although Darwinian theory seems to entail a materialistic view of consciousness, the Bhagavata's views provide an alternative framework for thinking about Darwinian theory. Furthermore, Edelmann argues that objectivity is a hallmark of modern science, and this is an intellectual virtueshared by the Bhagavata. Lastly, he critiques the view that science and religion have different objects of knowledge (that is, the natural world vs. God), arguing that many Western scientists and theologians have found science helpful in thinking about God in ways similar to that of theBhagavata.

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Western intellectual history has benefited from a rich and sophisticated conversation between theology and science, leaving us with centuries of scientific and theological literature on the subjects. Yet the Hindu traditions are virtually unused in responding to the challenging questionsraised in the science and religion dialogue. Th...

Johnathon Edelmann is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mississippi State University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:February 3, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199641544

ISBN - 13:9780199641543

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction: The Purpose and Possibility of DialogueA Dialogue Between Science and Religion?The Meaning of Bhagavata TheologyTypes of Biological TextsAnatomy of a Worldview1. Setting the SceneBhagavata Purana OverviewContemporary Evolutionary Theory Overview2. Ontology of Body, Mind and ConsciousnessOntology of the BhagavataPhysicalism: Views From Darwin and NeuroscienceReconciling Physicalism and the Ontology of the Bh?gavata3. Toward a Bhagavata Theory of KnowledgeThe Instruments of KnowledgeRelationships Between the Instruments of KnowledgeTestimony, Nonsensory Perception and Practice4. The Study of Nature as Vaishnava-YogaCosmic BodyCosmogonyCosmography5. Seeing Truth, Hearing TruthObjectivity in the Natural SciencesTestimony in the SciencesTransforming Vaishnava Theology: Reflections on Hermeneutics6. Moving from Nature to GodFrom Scientific Theory to GodCloser ComparisonsScience as a Form of Religious PracticeCloser ComparisonsConclusion