South Asian Religions
Tradition and Today
Edited by Karen Pechilis, Selva J. Raj
Routledge – 2013 – 272 pages
The religious landscape of South Asia is complex and fascinating. While existing literature tends to focus on the majority religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, much less attention is given to Jainism, Sikhism, Islam or Christianity. While not nelecting the majority traditions, this valuable resource also explores the important role which the minority traditions play in the religious life of the subcontinent, covering popular as well as elite expressions of religious faith. By examining the realities of religious life, and the ways in which the traditions are practised on the ground, this book provides an illuminating introduction to religion in South Asia.
"This is a wonderful book that presents an overview of the major religions practiced in India today, focusing not only on Hinduism, the majority religion, but also with chapters on Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and tribal religions. The scholarship is excellent and the writing clear: it should be widely used as an important textbook." - Gavin Flood, University of Oxford, UK
"Finally the textbook we have been waiting for: an introduction to South Asian religions that pays full tribute to a richly pluralistic region. The chapters not only describe precepts and practices of eight distinct traditions, they consistently evoke the kinds of comparative and critical analysis that bring the study of religion to life. Complete with glossaries, insightful discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading, this volume is sure to become a treasured companion for many a student and instructor." - Corinne Dempsey, Nazareth College, USA
"The book is a useful reference for undergraduate studies and is also an invaluable resource for teachers with it excellent detailed information about the religions as well as current trends and problems under consideration in the scholarship about them." – Jennifer B. Saunders, Stamford, Religious Studies Review 2013
Introduction: In a Shared World - Selva J. Raj and the Study of Religion Karen Pechilis 1. Tribal Religions in India: Practicing Tradition Today Joseph Marianus Kujur 2. Hinduism: Practicing Tradition Today Vasudha Narayanan 3. Jain Traditions: Practicing Tradition Today M. Whitney Kelting 4. Buddhism in South Asia: Practicing Tradition Today Sunil Goonasekera 5. South Asian Judaisms: Practicing Tradition Today Nathan Katz 6. South Asian Christianity: Practicing Tradition Today M. Thomas Thangaraj 7. Islam in South Asia: Practicing Tradition Today Karen G. Ruffle 8. Sikhism: Practicing Tradition Today Pashaura Singh
Karen Pechilis is NEH Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Chair and Professor of Religion at Drew University, USA. Her books for Routledge include Interpreting Devotion: The Poetry and Legacy of a Female Bhakti Saint of India (2011).
Selva J. Raj (1952- 2008) was Chair and Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies at Albion College, USA. He served as chairman of the Conference on the Study of Religions of India and co-edited several books on South Asia.