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From the Publisher"In "The Final Word, a majestic and comprehensive book by any standard, Tony K. Stewart pulls together the work of a scholarly lifetime. . . This book is a landmark in its field. One can scarcely resist calling it the final word."—Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"The Caitanya Caritamrta is one of the great works of Bengali literature, and it deserves a great exposition. That is what we are given in The Final Word - but not only that. Tony K. Stewart's book makes a major contribution to the religious, intellectual, and social history of early modern India."
—Sheldon Pollock, William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Columbia University
"It is difficult to overstate the significance of the Gaudiya Vaisnava movement for Bengal, for India, and now for the world. Yet what steps led from the ecstatic bliss of Caitanya to the religious movement? How did this god-obsessed man become known as god himself? With comprehensive scholarship, Tony K. Stewart answers these questions and traces the creation of the central text of the movement, the vast Caitanya Caritamrta, and its transformation from pious text, to hagiographical index, to symbol of identity, to the icon that itself is the object of worship."
—Ralph W. Nicholas, William Rainey Harper Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago
"There are few books that can deservedly be called masterworks, but Tony Stewart's The Final Word is certainly one of them. The fruit of a lifetime of fine-tuned historical scholarship, theoretical sophistication, exhaustive translation work, and ethnographic experience, this book is sure to revolutionize our understanding of not only these important Bengali texts and traditions, but of the very nature of religion, tradition, translation, sainthood, and secrecy. A stunning and deeply significant achievement."
—Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University