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A religion of the book? On sacred texts in hinduism


Leach, Robert (2014). A religion of the book? On sacred texts in hinduism. Expository Times, 126(1):15-27.

Abstract

In this article I provide an overview of the identity, role and function of sacred texts in Hinduism. Hinduism’s tremendous diversity extends to the numerous ways in which different types of texts have been identified as sacred and used by Hindu practitioners. It would be a mistake to attempt to summarise the role of sacred texts in the lives of Hindus, since different texts have had different roles and performed different functions. In the following, therefore, I address what I identify as the four major types or categories of sacred text in Hinduism independently of each other, while noting the commonalities they share, and some of the ways in which texts belonging to the different categories have engaged with one another. The first three of the four categories of text I address consist of Sanskrit works, and the names of the categories are Sanskrit terms which have been applied by Hindus to their own literature (Veda/Śruti; Smṛti; Tantra, Āgama and Stotra). In the final section, I depart from using “insider” terminology and address “sacred texts in vernacular languages”.

Abstract

In this article I provide an overview of the identity, role and function of sacred texts in Hinduism. Hinduism’s tremendous diversity extends to the numerous ways in which different types of texts have been identified as sacred and used by Hindu practitioners. It would be a mistake to attempt to summarise the role of sacred texts in the lives of Hindus, since different texts have had different roles and performed different functions. In the following, therefore, I address what I identify as the four major types or categories of sacred text in Hinduism independently of each other, while noting the commonalities they share, and some of the ways in which texts belonging to the different categories have engaged with one another. The first three of the four categories of text I address consist of Sanskrit works, and the names of the categories are Sanskrit terms which have been applied by Hindus to their own literature (Veda/Śruti; Smṛti; Tantra, Āgama and Stotra). In the final section, I depart from using “insider” terminology and address “sacred texts in vernacular languages”.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:16 Jan 2015 09:47
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 09:45
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0014-5246
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0014524614537167

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