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Reconsiders whether Hinduism can be considered a missionary religion.
Is Hinduism a missionary religion? Merely posing this question is a novel and provocative act. Popular and scholarly perception, both ancient and modern, puts Hinduism in the nonmissionary category. In this intriguing book, Arvind Sharma reopens the question. Examining the historical evidence from the major Hindu eras, the Vedic, classical, medieval, and modern periods, Sharma’s investigation challenges the categories used in current scholarly discourse and finds them inadequate, emphasizing the need to distinguish between a missionary religion and a proselytizing one. A distinction rarely made, it is nevertheless an illuminating and fruitful one that resonates with insights from the comparative study of religion. Ultimately concluding that Hinduism is a missionary religion, but not a proselytizing one, Sharma’s work provides us with insights both about Hinduism and about religion in general.
“Sharma is a prolific author who has made significant contributions to Hindu studies … Readers will gain insight from Sharma’s careful inquiry.” — CHOICE
Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. He is the author or editor of many books, including One Religion Too Many: The Religiously Comparative Reflections of a Comparatively Religious Hindu and Religious Studies and Comparative Methodology: The Case for Reciprocal Illumination, both also published by SUNY Press.
Table of Contents
1. The Antiquity and Continuity of the Belief that Hinduism Is Not a Missionary Religion
2. The Neo-Hindu Conviction that Hinduism Is a Non-Missionary Religion
3. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Vedic India
4. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Classical India
5. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Medieval India
6. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Modern India