Miracle as Modern Conundrum in South Asian Religious Traditions

Edited by Selva J. Raj & Corinne G. Dempsey

Subjects: Religion, Comparative Religion, Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology
Paperback : 9780791476345, 232 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791476338, 232 pages, October 2008

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments

1. Introduction: Divine Proof or Tenacious Embarrassment? The Wonders of the Modern Miraculous
Corinne G. Dempsey

Part I. Miracles and Modern Ambivalence

2. The Neo-Vedanta Miracle
Robin Rinehart

3. Allopathic ‘Miracles’ and Medical Itineration among Satnamis and Christians in Late Colonial Chhattisgarh
Chad M. Bauman

4. Kataragama and the Tsunami: The Adbhuta, Ascarya and Pratiharya
Sunil Goonasekera

Part II. Making and Breaking Shrine Reputations

5. Showing Miracles in Rajasthan: Proof and Grace
Ann Grodzins Gold

6. A Miracle (or Two) in Tiruchi
William P. Harman

7. The Science of the Miraculous at an Upstate New York Hindu Temple
Corinne G. Dempsey

Part III. Managing the Establishment: Miracles and Popular Expression

8. An Ethnographic Encounter with the Wondrous in a South Indian Catholic Shrine
Selva J. Raj

9. The ‘Deep Secret’ of Karamat: Miraculous Acts, Revelation and Secrecy in a South Indian Sufi Tradition
Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger

10. Media of Miracles, Miracles of Media: Clairvoyants and Commercials on South Asian TV Networks in the Diaspora
Neelima Shukla-Bhatt

Contributors
Index

Looks at perceptions of the miraculous in a variety of contemporary South Asian religious traditions-Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

Description

Claims of the miraculous are foundational to faith and skepticism, making and breaking religious careers and movements in their wake. Drawing on a variety of South Asian religious traditions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity—this book revolves around the theme of conundrum, demonstrating how miracles offer divine proof, tenacious embarrassment, and, in many cases, both. The contributors explore not only how modern miracles are conundrums themselves but also how they make conundrums out of assumed divides between scientific and supernatural realms, modernity and tradition, the West and the rest, and ethnographer and native.

"This topic and the various ancillary questions raised by the contributors lie at the heart of understanding religiosity. This is an excellent, even courageous, compilation, and the sheer magnitude of so many different types of miraculous stories presented within a sensitive and astute framework makes this an outstanding contribution to the study of religion. " — Constantina Rhodes Bailly, author of Shaiva Devotional Songs of Kashmir: A Translation and Study of Utpaladeva's Shivastotravali

Contributors include Chad M. Bauman, Corinne G. Dempsey, Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger, Ann Grodzins Gold, Sunil Goonasekera, William P. Harman, Selva J. Raj, Robin Rinehart, and Neelima Shukla-Bhatt.

Corinne G. Dempsey is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and the author of Kerala Christian Sainthood: Collisions of Culture and Worldview in South India and The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York: Breaking Convention and Making Home at a North American Hindu Temple and coeditor (with Selva J. Raj) of Popular Christianity in India: Riting between the Lines, also published by SUNY Press. Selva J. Raj (1952–2008) was Chair and Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies at Albion College and coeditor (with William P. Harman) of Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia, also published by SUNY Press.

Corinne G. Dempsey is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and the author of Kerala Christian Sainthood: Collisions of Culture and Worldview in South India and The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York: Breaking Convention and Making Home at a North American Hindu Temple and coeditor (with Selva J. Raj) of Popular Christianity in India: Riting between the Lines, also published by SUNY Press. Selva J. Raj (1952–2008) was Chair and Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies at Albion College and coeditor (with William P. Harman) of Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia, also published by SUNY Press.