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  • Hindu Sectarianism: Difference in Unity

    Elaine M. Fisher

    Chapter from the book: Fisher, E. 2017. Hindu Pluralism: Religion and the Public Sphere in Early Modern South India.


    The word “sectarian,” in the vast majority of monographs, serves merely as a stand-in for the conjunction of “Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism,” Hindu religious communities that are popularly conceived as separatist movements dissenting from an imagined universal, primordial Hinduism. In contrast to the assumptions of early Orentalism, our historical archive tells a very different story: sectarianism, as it emerged in the late-medieval and early modern period, was not a fragmentation of original unity but a synthesis of originally discrete religions that gradually came to be embraced by the umbrella category of a unified Hindu religion in the early second-millennium. This chapter narrates the story of the transition between the Śaivism of the “Śaiva Age” and the sectarian Śaivism of the second millennium that promoted itself as the most orthodox expression of a religion we may call Hinduism.

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    Fisher, E. 2017. Hindu Sectarianism: Difference in Unity. In: Fisher, E, Hindu Pluralism. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.24.b

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    Published on Feb. 28, 2017


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