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

By Michael J. Altman

this present day, there are greater than million Hindus in the US. yet earlier than the 20 th century, Hinduism was once unknown within the usa. yet whereas american citizens 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 an insignificant sematic distinction-a case of extra politically right terminology being authorised over time-but a fashion that american citizens labored out their very own identities. American representations of India stated extra approximately american citizens than approximately Hindus.
Cotton Mather, Hannah Adams, and Joseph Priestley engaged the bigger eu Enlightenment venture of classifying and evaluating faith in India. Evangelical missionaries used photographs of "Hindoo heathenism" to elevate help at domestic. Unitarian Protestants came across a kindred spirit within the writings of Bengali reformer Rammohun Roy. well known magazines and customary college books used a dead ringer for 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 chronic debate concerning the definition of faith in industrializing America.
Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu is a groundbreaking research of yankee representations of faith in India earlier than the flip of the 20 th century. Altman reorients American spiritual historical past and the background 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 long ago, he argues, nonetheless animate American debates today.

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