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Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, by Michael J. Altman

By Michael J. Altman

this present day, there are greater than million Hindus in the US. yet prior to the 20 th century, Hinduism was once unknown within the usa. yet whereas americans didn't write approximately "Hinduism," they speculated at size approximately "heathenism," "the faith of the Hindoos," and "Brahmanism." In Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu, Michael J. Altman argues that this isn't a trifling sematic distinction-a case of extra politically right terminology being authorized over time-but a fashion that americans labored out their very own identities. American representations of India stated extra approximately americans than approximately Hindus.
Cotton Mather, Hannah Adams, and Joseph Priestley engaged the bigger eu Enlightenment undertaking of classifying and evaluating faith in India. Evangelical missionaries used pictures of "Hindoo heathenism" to elevate help at domestic. Unitarian Protestants stumbled on a kindred spirit within the writings of Bengali reformer Rammohun Roy. renowned magazines and customary college books used just like darkish, heathen, despotic India to buttress Protestant, white, democratic American id. Transcendentalists and Theosophists imagined the contemplative and esoteric faith of India in its place to materialist American Protestantism. Hindu delegates and American audio system on the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions engaged in a prolonged debate in regards to the definition of faith in industrializing America.
Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu is a groundbreaking research of yankee representations of faith in India ahead of the flip of the 20th century. Altman reorients American non secular heritage and the historical past of Asian religions in the United States, displaying how americans of every type imagined India for his or her personal reasons. The questions that lively descriptions of heathens, Hindoos, and Hindus some time past, he argues, nonetheless animate American debates today.

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