Reconstructing a Religious Biography

Pashaura Singh

in Life and Work of Guru Arjan

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679212
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080687 | DOI:
Reconstructing a Religious Biography

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This chapter provides a backdrop for the entire study and lays down its foundation by addressing/defining the basic issues and concepts related to religious biographies. It not only explores the nature of religious biographies but also contrasts them with hagiographies. It discusses the approaches adopted by scholars like Frank E. Raynolds, Donald Capps, John Dominic Crossan, and W. H. McLeod. It also looks at the major trends in recent scholarship, in Sikh studies, and analyses the shift from the search for the historical figure to the current focus on memory, tradition, and representation. In reconstructing this religious biography, a multidisciplinary approach is used which encompasses insights from a variety of disciplines ranging from history to anthropology, sociology, and literary and textual studies. Before proceeding, the chapter defines certain terms and concepts such as ‘myth’, ‘culture’, tradition, and ‘hermeneutics’.

Keywords: religious biography; hagiography; Frank E. Raynolds; Donald Capps; John Dominic Crossan; W. H. McLeod; Sikh studies; myth; hermeneutics

Chapter.  5491 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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