It was especially difficult to introduce Hinduism to the students of the World Religion class. The many religious traditions of India are intertwined throughout a long and complex history; and maybe we are wrong in our attempt to discern a single religion that we can call Hinduism.
Until the diverse traditions of Indian religion are properly separated by their history, practice, origin or language, we are left with the modern habit of introducing Hinduism as a single, multifaceted religion with dozens of important texts, and practices, spanning over three thousand years.
The following post presents an easy-to-follow orientation to studying Hinduism. Please feel free to comment.
The objective of my categories is to orient the student once and for all into religion as a topic of study.
The seven categories are:
- Prehistoric Religion
- Indigenous Religion
- Ancient Religion
- The Hindi Religions
- Religions of China
- The Abrahamic (or Revealed Religions, if you like)
- Modern Religion
It is very important to note that, in my system of categories, I ignore the claims made by any one religion. Many of the modern religions, for example, consider themselves to be a continuation of – or, often, a singularly orthodox expression of – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or one of the ancient religions. Continue reading
I had often wished for an improved system of categories when I began my study of the world religions. The categories offered were frequently unhelpful due to oversimplification, or they were difficult to remember, or simply excluded some religions all together.