The Footsteps of Vishnu

The Footsteps of Vishnu : A Historical Introduction to Hinduism

4.26 (15 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 by the 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 the unfolding 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 largely grounded 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 Hindu tradition, 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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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 28mm | 421.84g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195314050
  • 9780195314052
  • 938,228

Review quote

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 *
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About Ariel Glucklich

Professor of Theology, Georgetown University
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Table of contents

Introduction ; Chapter 1:The Dig and the Temple ; Chapter 2:Sacred Knowledge and Indian Origins ; Chapter 3:A City Where the Rivers Meet ; Chapter 4:King Janaka's Contest ; Chapter 5:Vedic Science: The Grammar of Reality ; Chapter 6:Kanishka and Krishna ; Chapter 7:Performing Arts and Sacred Models ; Chapter 8:The Second Rationality ; Chapter 9:Maps and Myths in the Matsya Purana ; Chapter 10:Shankara and Kumarila: Between Brahman and Dharma ; Chapter 11:Devotion and Knowledge: ; Chapter 12:The Eternal Dharma ; Conclusion ; Bibliography
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Rating details

15 ratings
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