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Conceptualising Hinduism

Heinz Scheifinger

affiliation not provided to SSRN

March 1, 2009

Asia Research Institute Working Paper No. 110

The term ‘Hinduism’ is used in both popular and academic works. However, because Hinduism defies definition, exactly what authors are referring to is often left unclear. Despite this, I argue that the adoption of an approach which, crucially, does not seek to define Hinduism demonstrates that the term has utility and should be retained. Following this, I briefly consider Jean Baudrillard’s interesting views concerning religious images in the light of Hinduism – a worthwhile undertaking since the image is of paramount importance within Hinduism. I argue that applying Baudrillard’s ideas to Hindu religious images is highly problematic and then provide a further example which demonstrates that important characteristics of Hinduism may not necessarily fit comfortably with Baudrillardian ideas. Finally, I reflect upon the nature of online images of Hindu deities because certain characteristics of the medium of the Internet invite us to consider Baudrillard’s ideas further.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: Hinduism, Polythetic-prototype Approach, Darshan, Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra

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Date posted: July 20, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Scheifinger, Heinz, Conceptualising Hinduism (March 1, 2009). Asia Research Institute Working Paper No. 110. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1468282 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1468282

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Heinz Scheifinger (Contact Author)
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