The Importance of Religion reveals the significance of religion in modern times, showing how it provides people with meaning to their lives and helps guide them in their everyday moral choices Provides readers with a new understanding of religion, demonstrating how in its actions, texts and world views religion is enduring and vividly engages with the mystery of the world Offers striking arguments about the relationship of religion to science, art and politics Engagingly written by a highly respected scholar of (...) religion with an international reputation"--Provided by publisher. (shrink)
This 2004 book is about the ascetic self in the scriptural religions of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. The author claims that asceticism can be understood as the internalisation of tradition, the shaping of the narrative of a life in accordance with the narrative of tradition that might be seen as the performance of the memory of tradition. Such a performance contains an ambiguity or distance between the general intention to eradicate the will, or in some sense to erase the self, (...) and the affirmation of will in ascetic performance such as weakening the body through fasting. Asceticism must therefore be seen in the context of ritual. The book also offers a paradigm for comparative religion more generally, one that avoids the inadequate choices of either examining religions through overarching categories on the one hand and the abandoning of any comparative endeavour that focuses purely on area-specific study on the other. (shrink)
While there are overt philosophies of the person in both dualistic and non-dualistic Śaivism that developed their doctrines explicitly in relation to each other and to non-Śaiva traditions, especially Buddhism, many Śaiva texts exemplify what might be called a pre-philosophical discourse. Such works contain philosophical ideas but do not present systematic arguments and are often regarded as divine revelation. It is this layer of the articulation of concepts linked to practices that the paper exposes, which the arguments of the later (...) philosophers reflect upon and from which they develop. The claim here is that through an analysis of pre-philosophical literature, texts such as the Netra-tantra, we can build a picture of the conceptual universe of the early medieval period that forms the basis for the development of thinking by the later philosophers. One way of doing this is through the micro-study of particular textual passages and from that to build a larger picture of pre-philosophical discourse. (shrink)
Religion and the Philosophy of Life considers how religion as the source of civilization transforms the fundamental bio-sociology of humans through language and the somatic exploration of religious ritual and prayer. Gavin Flood offers an integrative account of the nature of the human, based on what contemporary scientists tell us, especially evolutionary science and social neuroscience, as well as through the history of civilizations. Part one contemplates fundamental questions and assumptions: what the current state of knowledge is concerning life itself; (...) what the philosophical issues are in that understanding; and how we can explain religion as the driving force of civilizations in the context of human development within an evolutionary perspective. It also addresses the question of the emergence of religion and presents a related study of sacrifice as fundamental to religions' views about life and its transformation. Part two offers a reading of religions in three civilizational blocks-India, China, and Europe/the Middle East-particularly as they came to formation in the medieval period. It traces the history of how these civilizations have thematised the idea of life itself. Part three then takes up the idea of a life force in part three and traces the theme of the philosophy of life through to modern times. On the one hand, the book presents a narrative account of life itself through the history of civilizations, and on the other presents an explanation of that narrative in terms of life.". (shrink)
While Ricoeur wishes to relate the concept of narrative to identity and ethics, Girard sees the development of ethical conscience in myth. This paper examines this difference, arguing that the implicitly universal human nature that he posits, driven by mimetic desire, compromises subjectivity as narrative identity, as developed in Ricoeur's work. This paper attempts to read Girard alongside Ricoeur, in order to suggest that there is a problematic tension implicit in Guard's work between subjectivity and drive. To do this, I (...) describe Ricoeur's understanding of mimesis and how this is related to truth and narrative identity. Then turning to Girard, I show how his linking of violence to truth repudiates the possibility of the attestation of truth as subjectivity. (shrink)
The Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā: The Earliest Surviving Śaiva Tantra, vol. 1: A Critical and Annotated Translation of the Mūlasūtra, Uttarasūtra and Nayasūtra. Edited by Dominic Goodall in collaboration with Alexis Sanderson and Harunaga Isaacson with contributions of NiraJan Kaflr, Diwakar Acharya, and others. Collection Indologie, no. 128, Early Tantra Series, no. 1. Pondichéry: institut Français de Pondichéry, Paris: École Française d’Extrême-Orient, Hamburg: Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg, 2015. Pp. 662. Rs. 1200, €52.
The Teachings of the Odd-Eyed One: A Study and Translation of the Vīrūpakṣapañcāśikā with the Commentary of Vidyācakravartin, by David Peter Lawrence, provides a critical translation and a philosophical and historical introduction to a work of the nondualistic Śaiva tradition of Kashmir, the Virūpakṣapañcasikha (VAP) with a commentary (Vivṛti) by Vidyācakravartin. The text was composed sometime during the twelfth century, probably in Kashmir judging from the Śārada manuscripts that remain, the terminus a quo being suggested by the use the text (...) makes of Abhinavagupta (ca. 950-1020 C.E.) and the terminus ad quem being the twelfth-century Mahārtha-mañjarīparimala by Maheśvarānanda, who quotes it. The text proclaims .. (shrink)
Early Tantric Vaiṣṇavism: Three Newly Discovered Works of the Pañcarātra, the Svāyambhuvapañcarātra, Devāmṛtapañcarātra and Aṣṭādaśavidhāna, Critically Edited from Their 11th and 12th Century Nepalese Palm Leaf Manuscripts. Edited with an introduction and notes by Diwakar Acharya. Collection Indologie, vol. 129, Early Tantra Series, vol. 2. Pondichéry and Hamburg: Institut Français de Pondichéry, École Française d’Extrême-Orient, Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg, 2015. Pp. lxxxvi + 229. Rs. 700, €30.