Alf Hiltebeitel

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

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Hinduism has numerous cosmogonies and no single or standard cosmogony. Earlier cosmogonies tend to supply pieces of later ones, which tend to emerge along with new movements and the textual genres they generate. We will proceed historically from Rig Vedic cosmogonies to a few found in the ethnographic present, all of which are too complex to summarize in any more than their most salient details. There is a long history in scholarship on Hinduism of placing cosmogony at the center of things and then turning to other matters. As this bibliography will show, many entries date from an early period—up to about 1940—when it was of interest to know how a religious tradition like Hinduism conceived of the creation of the universe, to compare this either implicitly or explicitly with biblical and Christian concepts, and to theorize the origins of such “unrevealed” views, most often as arising from “nature religion” or “speculation.” A second period of heightened interest can then be located during the 1960 and 1970s, marked by two trends: the magnetism of Mircea Eliade’s writings on the prestige of the cosmogonic myth, which elicited essays from major scholars on India, which were published the journal History of Religions, which Eliade edited; and the work of Madeleine Biardeau in demonstrating the systematic theological and philosophical complexity of Indian Puranic cosmogonies.

Article.  8259 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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