[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

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