[Marxism] Am I a Jew?

Joseph Catron jncatron at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 04:35:19 MDT 2012


On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 5:21 AM, dan <d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr> wrote:

Is "Hinduism" a construct of the British Raj ? Obviously not, as "Hinduism"
> was alive with metaphysical controversies in the period -100 BC to +800AD.
> Stacks upon stacks of religious treatises were written in that period,
> learned men were busy copying, reading and commenting on philosophical
> texts. Long before the arrival of Islam.
>
> IT's as though you asked me to write a six page essay on "Paganism in the
> Roman Empire as a construct of 4th century Christianity". Well, I would
> start by pointing out that inhabitants of the Mediterrenean did not
> self-identify as "PAgans" until the 4th century AD, but that there
> certainly was "something" that was "PAgan" in the Roman Empire.
>

Right, that's the thesis (as I understand it) of Mishra and the others:
that the British lumped a number of different things together into
something called Hinduism, a categorization which then caught on locally.
The question is not whether those things had prior historical existences.
Of course they did. Paganism is a near-perfect comparison.


> I would like to see someone prove to me that by the 7th century AD,
> "Hinduism" was not already almost fully-fledged in particular as regards
> metaphysical speculation (the Upanishads were written several centuries
> earlier !) and had not already acquired all the characteristics that are
> presently associated with Hinduism (reincarnation, karma, puja,
> vegetarianism, etc.)


I think the more relevant question is whether, in the 7th century (or the
17th), it would have occurred to anyone on the subcontinent that
the Upanishads, dozens of far-flung tribal religions having nothing to do
with them, and a number of other things were all parts of a single
religious/cultural identity called Hinduism. That's how the word is used
and what it is understood to mean today.

-- 
"Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen
lytlað."



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