Between Complicit Entanglement and Creative Dissonance

Gita Dharampal-Frick and Milinda Banerjee

in Religious Interactions in Modern India

Published in print March 2019 | ISBN: 9780198081685
Published online July 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780199097661 | DOI:
Between Complicit Entanglement and Creative Dissonance

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Focusing on the nexus between Rammohun Roy’s religious deliberations and William Wilberforce’s religious policies, the chapter emphasizes the interconnections between the developments of the nineteenth-century public spheres in Britain and India. Wilberforce’s intervention involved constructing a new model of Hinduism and the Hindu ‘other’ from the perspective of Anglo-Protestant Christianity. Rammohun Roy set a trajectory of transnational ethical–religious debate followed subsequently by other Indian public intellectuals. However, the meaning both gave to the term ‘religion’ differed. While Wilberforce regarded only one religion as authentic and true, Roy looked for the truth shared by all (elite) forms of religion. Starting with a comparative evaluation of different theological–religious traditions, he later integrated this with Enlightenment as well as Christian reformist and anti-Trinitarian vocabularies. At the same time, Roy shared the anti-idolatry penchant of Christian missionaries, while he undertook what the authors call a de-provincialization of Christian theology.

Keywords: Rammohun Roy; William Wilberforce; public spheres; Hinduism; Anglo-Protestant Christianity; anti-Trinitarian vocabularies; Enlightenment; de-provincialization

Chapter.  11658 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion ; Asian History

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