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An Introduction to Hinduism (Introduction to Religion) Paperback – August 8, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0521438780 ISBN-10: 0521438780

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Product Details

  • Series: Introduction to Religion
  • Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521438780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521438780
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This new introduction to Hinduism is distinguished by exceptionally useful chapter divisions, good detail combined with ease of reading, and a particular focus on the integrated quality of the evolution of Hindu thought....The book's balance between scholarly detail and clear, readable elucidation of issues is commendable....In all, this is a valuable contribution to the undergraduate classroom. Libraries whose Hinduism holdings include other good introductions should, nonetheless, acquire this one." Choice

"Flood's book is a very welcome newcomer, comprehensive, detailed and judicious." Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Theological Studies

"...is one of the best and most informative intiations into Hinduism to date." Journal of Indo-European Studies

"An Introduction to Hinduism is a highly readable and authoritative conspectus on this great religion....An Introduction to Hinduism will surely find a much wider audience, for scholars of comparative religion, Indologists, and non-specialists in their distinctive ways will certainly find this handsome book well worth reading." David Hicks, Asian Thought and Society

Book Description

Providing a much-needed thematic and historical introduction to Hinduism, this text traces the development of Hindu traditions from ancient origins and the major deities to the modern world. Emphasis is given to the tantric traditions, Hindu ritual and Dravidian influences.

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Customer Reviews

The book is clearly written, and every chapter is loaded with information.
sunsoul
I enjoyed parts of this text that I had a vague familiarity with, but the remainder was too much to handle.
damaster1519
This book is a useful tool for somebody who wants to read more on Hinduism.
Olesya

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Donald R. Davis Jr. on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Gavin Flood's introduction is not only comprehensive, but readable. I have taught this book for two years now and feel that my students glean a sense not just of Hindu traditions today but also of the history and transformations of Hindu traditions through time. The best thing about the book is the subtle incorporation of the latest scholarly work on Hinduism. At the same time, Flood appreciates the insider's perspective and what is really significant to Hindus themselves. Flood has conducted research in both North and South India and is sensitive to the geographic differences of religious practice in India.
Previous reviews on amazon.com suggesting that Flood uses the Aryan migration question as an organizing principle of his book are ludicrous. He devotes a total of 5 pages to this discussion in the middle of the second chapter. Hardly an obsession. Furthermore, the unsubstantiated charge of Orientalism by another reviewer also seems misplaced. A minute's glance at the bibliography shows that Flood has used Indological (textual), anthropological, historical, and feminist scholarly literature to produce his introduction.
This is an excellent work on the history of Hindu religious traditions that deserves a place among the best out there.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Previous reviews of this text have shown either a very strong like or dislike and I have to place myself with the former. As noted in other reviews, the attacks are wide of the mark. Professor Flood is one of the leading scholars within his field and has taught Hinduism for many years at various universities and both the depth of his learning and the ability to relate this in a clear but not simplistic way to students are demonstrated here. Anyone seeking an introduction to Hinduism need look no further than this book that provides an excellent account of all its major features incorporating recent scholarship and clear analysis. My only regret is that this book was not on the market when I was an undergraduate student! I hope prospective readers will not be put off by the partial reviews given herein but will recognize this book as the definitive introduction to its subject, it is sure to become a classic eclipsing the older standard works entirely.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By sunsoul on June 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I recommend this book for the reader who has some knowledge of Hinduism and would like to delve a little deeper into the subject.

The book is clearly written, and every chapter is loaded with information. Flood knows this area very well, and he expertly guides the reader through the bewildering, and often contradictory world of Hindu philosophy and theology.

I feel that this book would work best if read along with a book that focused more on Hindu religious practice. As Flood concentrates more on the thematic trends and concepts within Hinduism, rather than on the practical, everyday rituals and rites of passage that make the religion so vibrant and alive. His book sets the picture, it gives the reader a framework from which to start painting one's own conceptual view.

I would suggest then also reading such books as "Darshan" by Eck, and "Samskara: Rites of a Dead Man" by Murthy, in conjunction with this in order to get a more holistic and in-depth understanding of a complex subject.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a single introduction to Hinduism this is the book to buy. Flood has a first rate grasp of his sources, and manages to write in a manner that is at once scholarly and reader-friendly. The diversity of Hinduism is such that it is difficult to do justice to its variety. This Introduction to Hinduism brings us as close as any book can to an appreciation of that variety.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having read a number of introductory works on Hinduism in my studies I have found this one unsurpassed in the range of its coverage. Not only that, but it incorporates much recent theory in many areas of Indic studies. Regarding archeological evidence of an invasion of India, it is a well known adage of that discipline that lack of evidence is not evidence of lack - Flood's thought is in accord with mainstream thought in this matter, and besides, in an introductory book, the most accepted theories are those that should be covered. Anyone approaching Hinduism for the first time as a serious student, whether at degree level or as an intelligent observer, will find this book the best work to approach the subject.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "spf80" on October 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Flood's writing is very dry, but he certainly knows what he is talking about. This book is not so much an introduction for people looking to learn something new, but a great reference for those hoping to learn more.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having read several similar titles I would say that this highly readable book is perhaps the best I have come across. Flood brings the important strands together in easily manageable chapters, and includes much imortant recent scholarship.
To link this book or its author to an 'orientalist' agenda (as an earlier reviewer appears to) is frankly ridiculous.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book I was looking for. Flood has achieved a scholarly analysis of Hinduism's roots, development and dependence on ritual. To be fair, you should have some familiarity with Indian history before reading this book; I recommend John Keay's wonderful History of India. I am a practicing Buddhist now studying Indian history, and Flood's depiction of the interdependence and antagonism between these two traditions is insightful.
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