Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Feb 24, 2000 - Religion - 160 pages
23 Reviews
Hinduism is practiced by about 80 percent of India's population, and by about 30 million people outside India. But how is Hinduism defined, and what basis does the religion have? In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott provides clear insight into the beliefs and authority of Hindus and Hinduism, and considers the ways in which it has been affected by colonialism and modernity.

Knott offers succinct explanations of Hinduism's central preoccupations, including the role of contemporary gurus and teachers in the quest for spiritual fulfillment; and the function of regular performances of the Mahabharata and Ramayana--scriptures which present the divine in personal form (avatara) and provide models of behavior for everyone, from kings and warriors to servants and children, and which focus on the dharma, the appropriate duties and moral responsibilities of the different varna or classes. The author also considers the challenges posed to Hinduism at the end of the twentieth century as it spreads far beyond India, and as concerns are raised about issues such as dowry, death, caste prejudice, and the place of women in Hindu society.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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A good introduction/overview. - Goodreads
Pretty good, concise introduction to Hinduism. - Goodreads
Hard to imagine a better short introduction. - Goodreads
As the title says, a very short introduction indeed. - Goodreads

Review: Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

User Review  - Aaron - Goodreads

A good introduction/overview. I wasn't sure which philosophical direction I wanted to take my research in Hinduism, but this helped significantly. Read full review

Review: Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

User Review  - David - Goodreads

I approached this book with very little knowledge about Hinduism and an open mind. The author does a good job of presenting Hinduism in an unbiased manner, which I appreciate. She does not shy away ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)


Kim Knott is Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds and the President of the British Association for the Study of Religions. She has written on modern Hinduism, religions in Britain, and gender and religion.

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