This volume presents a comparison of seven major religious reformers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: For Islam, Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad ‘Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida; for Hinduism, Dayananda Sarasvati and Swami Shraddhananda; for Confucianism, K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao. Each of these reformers attempted to bring a major world religion in line with global modernity by creatively reinterpreting the traditions on which this religion was based. The book outlines the lives and major ideas of these reformers, highlights the similarities between them, interprets their agenda as expressions of peripheral geoculture (centrist liberalism, antisystemic movements, positivism) in line with the Modern World-System (MWS) approach and links them with their ‘fundamentalist’ successors from the mid-twentieth to the early twenty-first centuries. This way, the author seeks to redress the Eurocentric bias that sometimes sneaks into the MWS perspective.
While there are numerous studies dealing with each of these reformers, the original contribution of this book is to provide a systematic comparison between them and to interpret them within a larger theoretical framework. It will be of interest for scholars and students working on issues related to religion, modernity and historical sociology.
Introduction, 1. Islam: Salafiyya, 2. Hinduism: Arya Samaj, 3. Confucianism: Kung-Yang, 4. Centrist Liberalism, 5. Antisystemic Movements, 6. Positivism, Conclusion
Much work on contemporary religion in Asia considers the subject from the perspective of the great religions, often focusing on the development of official beliefs, and the development of formal institutions. The books in this series, on the other hand, examine the actual practice of religion in everyday life in modern Asian societies. They reveal a very rich picture of varying religious practices, many of them new and non-traditional. The religions of Asia are undergoing much radical change not only communal religious revivalism, but also an explosion of urban piety, popular preaching, charismatic churches, and on-line religion. The books cover a wide range of subjects in the countries of East, Southeast, South and Central Asia. The series welcomes innovative approaches to theory and methods in the study of religion and religions, and work which considers religion in relation to culture, politics, ethnicity or gender.
Bryan S. Turner is Presidential Professor of Sociology, Graduate Center, City University of New York and Professor and Director of the Centre for Religion and Society at the University of Western Sydney.