Geography of Hinduism

Alf Hiltebeitel

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:
Geography of Hinduism

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The classification of contemporary “world religions” into the two categories of missionary religions (Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam) and religions tied to specific lands (Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, African Religions), however strained it may be, allows one to underscore the importance of geography in understanding Hinduism. To begin to “map” and “explore” the geography of Hinduism is to reckon with a vast “subcontinent.” For this, interdisciplinary tools are available, beginning with those of the geographer and the archaeologist; soon taking in the findings of linguists, historians, historians of science, and of scholars of literature, religion, and the arts; and then those of anthropologists and sociologists. As these endeavors make clear, however, the mapping of South Asia is not just a modern scholarly venture; it has also been done in some Hindu texts. We thus can expect to find a reiterative quality to the geography of Hinduism, not only across both disciplines and texts but across our efforts to table its contents. Moreover, mappings of South Asia extend beyond the subcontinent: cosmologically to the universe, and historically to periods of a “greater India” and of a Hindu diaspora.

Article.  9645 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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