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Defining Hinduism is concerned not only with what Hinduism is, but also with what it has been, and with the history of the term "Hinduism". Defining Hinduism brings together essays by some of the most influential and interesting scholars working on the religions of South Asia today. The volume also offers a comprehensive general introduction to the subject as well as individual introductions to each of the three parts of the book. This reader will be a valuable tool for the study of the world's third largest religion.
Introduction: The Problem of Defining Hinduism
PART I: Definitions of Hinduism
1 Wilhelm Halbfass – The Idea of the Veda and the Identity of Hinduism
2 Julius J. Lipner – Ancient Banyan: An Inquiry in the Meaning of "Hinduness"
PART II: Hinduism in the Precolonial Period
3 David N. Lorenzen – Who invented Hinduism?
4 Will Sweetman – Unity and Plurality: Hinduism and the Religions of India in Early European Scholarship
PART III: Hinduism in the Colonial Period and in Independent India
5 Brian K. Smith – Questioning Authority: Constructions and Deconstructions of Hinduism
6 Robert Eric Frykenberg – Constructions of Hinduism at the Nexus of History and Religion
PART IV: Hinduism and Caste
7 Mary Searle-Chatterjee – "World Religions" and "Ethnic Groups": Do these Paradigms Lend Themselves to the Cause of Hindu Nationalism?
8 Gail Omvedt – Introduction to Dalit Visions
9 Timothy Fitzgerald – Problems with "Religion" as a Category for Understanding Hinduism