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Hindu Theology and Biology

Jonathan B. Edelmann

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641543
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732232 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641543.001.0001

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Hindu Theology and Biology

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Western intellectual history has benefited from a rich and sophisticated conversation between theology and science, leaving us with centuries of scientific and theological literature on the subjects. Yet the Hindu traditions are virtually unused in responding to the challenging questions raised in the science and religion dialogue. This book replies to the sciences by drawing from an important Hindu text called the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, as well as its commentaries and philosophical disciplines such as Sāṁkhya-yoga. One of the greatest challenges facing Hindu traditions since the nineteenth century is their own self-understanding in light of science and technology. Hoping to establish the conceptual foundations for a mutually beneficial dialogue between the Hindu theologies and the Western sciences, this book faces that challenge directly. Since so much of the Hinduism–science discussion is tangled in misconstrual, this book clarifies fundamental issues in each tradition, for example the definition of consciousness, the means of generating knowledge, and the goal of knowledge itself. It argues that although Darwinian theory seems to entail a materialistic view of consciousness, the Bhāgavata’s views provide an alternative framework for thinking about Darwinian theory. Furthermore, it argues that objectivity is a hallmark of modern science, and this is an intellectual virtue shared by the Bhāgavata. Lastly, it critiques the view that science and religion have different objects of knowledge (that is, the natural world vs. God), arguing that many Western scientists and theologians have found science helpful in thinking about God in ways similar to that of the Bhāgavata.

Keywords: Hinduism; evolution; science and religion; consciousness; epistemology; Bhāgavata Purāṇa; Charles Darwin; objectivity; religious experience; Hindu theology; Sāṁkhya-Yoga; Śrīdhara Svāmin

Book.  272 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Hindu Theology and Biology

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Setting the Scene in Hindu Theology and Biology

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The Study of Nature as Vaishnava-Yoga in Hindu Theology and Biology

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Seeing Truth, Hearing Truth in Hindu Theology and Biology

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Moving from Nature to God in Hindu Theology and Biology

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Conclusion in Hindu Theology and Biology

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