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The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition Paperback – October 28, 1994

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


"I like very much the way in which Pintchman carefully establishes the interrelationships between saakti, maya, and prakrti concepts that might not at first appear to be closely connected. This book nicely reveals their organic integration, an integration that Hindu culture itself recognized and elaborated only gradually over the centuries. She avoids reading later Sakta or Tantric theological ideas back into the earlier literature, yet she convincingly demonstrates how the later ideas are firmly rooted in the ancient traditions. Thus, the book provides the reader with a sense both of the continuities involved in the development of the Great Goddess concept, as well as the major transformations of tradition that such a development entailed." -- C. Mackenzie Brown
"There are two complementary, arresting features of this book. One is the broad sweep of the author's inquiry into the history of three concepts that are fundamental to the Great Goddess. She follows a thread of continuity that has never been so crisply delineated. The result is kind of a conceptual "adventure story" told in flashbacks: we know what the mature conception is, as it is now common knowledge. Where it came from makes for very interesting reading. The second striking feature is the provocative, suggestive linking of this history to contemporary issues regarding gender and women." -- Thomas B. Coburn
"The author provides a thorough discussion of the main concepts relating to the feminine principle in the intellectual, literary traditions of Hinduism. She shows that goddess worship is not a marginal expression but is central to even the most orthodox elements of Hinduism. She also brings together much far-flung scholarship from India, Europe, and the United States without duplicating any of it." -- Kathleen M. Erndl

From the Back Cover

This book explores the rise of the Great Goddess by focusing on the development of sakti (creative energy), maya (objective illusion), and prakrti (materiality) from Vedic times to the late Puranic period, clarifying how these principles became central to her theology.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press; 2nd edition (October 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791421120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791421123
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read for anyone serious about studying the Goddess traditions of Hinduism. The writing style is lucid and dense, so while she makes really interesting connections, she also assumes a working knowledge of Hinduism. This book is not for beginners, and it's not a quick read - but it's worth reading if you already have a grounding in Hindu traditions, understand Hindu concepts and keywords, and have a basic knowledge of Hindu theology, cosmology and cosmogony.

Pintchman begins with the feminine principle in Vedic literature (including the Upanisads and Brahmanas), where she explores the Goddess in relation to the elements, focusing primarily on earth and water. The second part of the book focuses on the three main manifestations of Goddess in Hindu theological and philosophical discourse - Prakriti (nature), Maya (illusion) and Shakti (power) - with a thorough review of the relevant literature. Finally, she explores the Puranas, focusing primarily on the Devi Mahatmya, but also surveying Vaishnava, Shaiva and Shakta puranas. Her discourse on cosmology/cosmogony and the introduction of the feminine principle of creation as the consort of the masculine God is particularly interesting to those studying the Shakta branch of Hinduism.

Again, this may be a challenging book to read if you're not well-grounded in Hindu studies, but it is a wealth of scholarly insight into a fascinating and growing field.
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The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition
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