Was Hinduism Invented?: Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction of Religion

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$28.32
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$21.78
(Save 34%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $12.04
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 63%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $12.04   
  • New (5) from $17.98   
  • Used (14) from $12.04   

Overview

Drawing on a large body of previously untapped literature, including documents from the Church Missionary Society and Bengali newspapers, Brian Pennington offers a fascinating portrait of the process by which "Hinduism" came into being. He argues against the common idea that the modern construction of religion in colonial India was simply a fabrication of Western Orientalists and missionaries. Rather, he says, it involved the active agency and engagement of Indian authors as well, who interacted, argued, and responded to British authors over key religious issues such as image-worship, sati, tolerance, and conversion.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pennington has written an important book that redirects attention to historical agents that mainstream postcolonial scholarship has largely either oversimplified or passed over. He helps to advance a new wave of scholarship that rejects the essentialism of stereotypical, unitary visions not only of 'the East' but also of 'the West.'"—Steven S.

"The flourishing of new knowledge of India's past by British and European scholars and administrators, the emergence of a post-theological notion of religion based on an comparative paradigm of universal religiousness in the contexts of cultural specificity, an increasingly insistent Protestant mission movement, a secular utilitarian notion of civilization, and a new discourse of Hindu among Indians in India were taking place simultaneously in the early nineteenth century. Brian Pennington has investigated each of these threads and their interwoven complexity and located them within the matrix of the post-colonial academic study of religion. A worthy and worthwhile contribution to understanding a misunderstood past.—Paul B. Courtright, Professor of South Asian Religions, Emory University

"I read this study of cultural encounters between early-19th-century Hindus and British Christians with a sense of profound relief. The work complicates and problematises the simplifications that much of postcolonial studies operate with. By producing a richly textured account of religious debates and evangelical traditions in Britain, it not only provides a historical context for missionary lives, it also teases apart the multiple and contradictory strands within evangelicalism, normally taken to be a seamless monolith. Changes within modern Hinduism, similarly, are shown to be authentically internal developments that accommodate, but are not dictated by, the influence of new cultural encounters. Pennington deftly combines social and doctrinal themes, and his reading of Bengali, colonial, and missionary print cultures is stimulating. This is a book of many histories, all of which are complex and unexpected."—Tanika Sarkar, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

"Was Hinduism Invented? is a timely and cogent reconsideration of Hinduism as a word, a concept and, refreshingly, a reality that became apparent in sharp focus in 19th-century British India. Penningtons command of primary sources combines with alertness to current issues in the study of religion to demonstrate why Hinduism, properly understood, sheds new light on how and on what terms India and the West discovered one another, why Hindus and Christians relate as they do today, and how religions are best conceived and studied."—Francis X. Clooney, SJ, author of Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195326000
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian K. Pennington is Associate Professor of Religion at Maryville College in Tennessee.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3
2 The other without and the other within 23
3 "Scarcely less bloody than lascivious" 59
4 Polymorphic nature, polytheistic culture, and the orientalist imaginaire 101
5 Constructing colonial dharma in Calcutta 139
6 Colonial legacies : some concluding thoughts 167
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)