Hinduism as a Missionary Religion

By Arvind Sharma

Subjects: Hindu Studies, Religion, India And South Asian Studies, Asian Religion And Philosophy, Asian Studies
Paperback : 9781438432120, 203 pages, January 2012
Hardcover : 9781438432113, 203 pages, April 2011

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Table of contents


1. The Antiquity and Continuity of the Belief that Hinduism Is Not a Missionary Religion

2. The Neo-Hindu Conviction that Hinduism Is a Non-Missionary Religion

3. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Vedic India

4. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Classical India

5. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Medieval India

6. Hinduism as a Missionary Religion: The Evidence from Modern India



Reconsiders whether Hinduism can be considered a missionary religion.


Is Hinduism a missionary religion? Merely posing this question is a novel and provocative act. Popular and scholarly perception, both ancient and modern, puts Hinduism in the non-missionary category. In this intriguing book, Arvind Sharma re-opens the question. Examining the historical evidence from the major Hindu eras, the Vedic, classical, medieval, and modern periods, Sharma's investigation challenges the categories used in current scholarly discourse and finds them inadequate, emphasizing the need to distinguish between a missionary religion and a proselytizing one. A distinction rarely made, it is nevertheless an illuminating and fruitful one that resonates with insights from the comparative study of religion. Ultimately concluding that Hinduism is a missionary religion, but not a proselytizing one, Sharma's work provides us with new insights both on Hinduism and the consideration of religion itself.

Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. He is the author or editor of many books, including One Religion Too Many: The Religiously Comparative Reflections of a Comparatively Religious Hindu and Religious Studies and Comparative Methodology: The Case for Reciprocal Illumination, both also published by SUNY Press.


"Sharma is a prolific author who has made significant contributions to Hindu studies … Readers will gain insight from Sharma's careful inquiry." — CHOICE