A Hindu Perspective

Arvind Sharma

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 A Hindu Perspective

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Religious diversity is a central issue in the study of religion. To begin with, there are the diverse religions that are conventionally listed minimally as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. But the more we extend the scope of the term “religions,” the greater the diversity. But whereas in the other traditions, religious diversity has happened in spite of their centralizing beliefs and practices and is historical in nature, within Hinduism, it is theological and philosophical in nature, a nature that finds expression in its history. The tolerant and even welcoming attitude toward religious diversity is evidenced in Hinduism at several levels: deities, scriptures, scriptural interpretation, sects, and so on. The religious variety within Hinduism has had profound implications for the way it looks at other religious traditions. It tends to view these traditions as a further extension of its own variety and, therefore, in principle capable of being assimilated within it. This has major implications for Hindu identity.

Keywords: Hinduism; religion; deities; scriptures; scriptural interpretation; sects; religious traditions; Hindu identity

Article.  5502 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion ; Hinduism

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