The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective

Hardcover | June 1, 2008

byAriel Glucklich

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Most books about Hinduism begin by noting the immense size and complexity of the subject. Hinduism is vast and diverse, they say. Or it doesn't exist at all - Hinduism is merely a convenient (and foreign) term that masks a plurality of traditions. In either case, readers are discouraged bythe sense that they are getting only a tiny sample or a shallow overview of something huge and impossible to understand. This book is designed to be accessible and comprehensive in a way that other introductions are not, maintaining an appealing narrative and holding the reader's interest in theunfolding sequence of ideas through time and place. Each of the 13 chapters combines historical material with key religious and philosophical ideas, supported by substantial quotations from scriptures and other texts. The overarching organizational principle is a historical narrative largelygrounded in archaeological information. Historic places and persons are fleshed out as actors in a narrative about the relation of the sacred to ordinary existence as it is mediated through arts, sciences, rituals, and philosophical ideas. Although many books purport to introduce the Hindutradition, this is the only one with a broad historical focus that emphasizes archaeological as well as textual evidence. It will nicely complement Vasuda Narayanan's forthcoming introduction, which takes the opposite approach of focusing on the lived experience of Hindu believers.

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Most books about Hinduism begin by noting the immense size and complexity of the subject. Hinduism is vast and diverse, they say. Or it doesn't exist at all - Hinduism is merely a convenient (and foreign) term that masks a plurality of traditions. In either case, readers are discouraged bythe sense that they are getting only a tiny sa...

Ariel Glucklich is a Professor of Theology at Georgetown University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:June 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195314050

ISBN - 13:9780195314052

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"As predicted by the metaphor encoded in the title, this book has a wonderful span -- and the terrain is not what everyone else has already seen." --John Stratton Hawley, Professor of Religion, Barnard College, Columbia University, and author of Three Bhakti Voices and, forthcoming, The Memory of Love "Ariel Glucklich here tackles the enormous question of the interface between the physical world and what he calls ultimate reality in India, balancing the solid data of archeology and other evidence of material culture with the speculations of texts about the meaning behind physical reality. Engaging and provocative, written in a clear, high- spirited style, this book is simultaneously a good read and a good education." --Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School, and author of The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology "Ariel Glucklich has given us a rich and compelling introduction for those who long, like we all do, for a richer narrative of Hindu culture. This beautifully written book connects the philosophical, historical, scientific, and aesthetic dimensions of Hindu worlds. Its elegant syntheses are indeed contemporary bandhus in their own right. When we have absorbed its pages, we will stand at the crossroads of the many ideas of what Hinduism has been and what Hinduism is now. And through our expert guide, we will be better able to mark out our own pathways of understanding." --Laurie L. Patton, Howard O. Candler Chair in the Study of Religion and Professor of Early Indian Religions, Emory University