Veda and Torah

Transcending the Textuality of Scripture

By Barbara A. Holdrege

Subjects: Asian Religion And Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791416402, 765 pages, November 1995
Hardcover : 9780791416396, 765 pages, November 1995

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Table of contents



Part 1 The Word in Creation

1 Veda and Creation

Veda and Creation in Vedic Texts
Veda and Creation in Post-Vedic Mythology
Veda and Creation in the Darsanas

2 Torah and Creation

Torah and Creation in Pre-Rabbinic Texts
Torah and Creation in Rabbinic Texts
Torah and Creation in Kabbalistic Texts
Comparative Analysis 1
Veda and Torah in Creation

Part 2 From word to text

3 Veda and Cognition

Veda and Cognition in Vedic Texts
Veda and Cognition in Post-Vedic Mythology

4 Torah and Revelation

Torah and Revelation in Rabbinic Texts
Torah and Revelation in Kabbalistic Texts
Comparative Analysis 2
Cognition of Veda and Revelation of Torah

Part 3 Text in practice

5 Veda in Practice

Recitative Transmission of the Vedic Samhitas
Theurgic Conceptions of Vedic Sacrifice andRecitation
Interpretation of the Vedas
Appropriation of the Veda

6 Torah in Practice

Written Transmission of the Sefer Torah
Interpretation of the Torah
Theurgic Conceptions of Torah Study and Practice
Appropriation of the Torah
Comparative Analysis 3
Veda and Torah in Practice




Note on Translation and Transliteration

Selected Bibliography



Enlarges our understanding of the term "scripture" through a comparative study of Veda and Torah.

Barbara A. Holdrege is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a comparative historian of religions specializing in Hindu and Jewish traditions.


"In this book Barbara Holdrege has set a high standard for comparative work and has made an important contribution to both Hindu and Jewish studies. She has looked at Veda and Torah not simply as 'scripture,' but as systems of meaning, symbol systems, each with its own affiliated meanings, each with its symbolic context, and each with its history of interpretation. By addressing the whole complex in which Veda and Torah have been transmitted and by seeing their uses and interpretations in the traditions that they enliven, Holdrege has problematized and expanded the usage of the term 'scripture' and has enriched the possibilities for significant comparative study." —Diana L. Eck, Harvard University

"I found Holdrege's knowledge and treatment of the Hebrew material exemplary. There can be no doubt that she has made a fascinating contribution in her analysis of the Hebrew texts in themselves, in her conceptual treatment of the notion of 'text' in Judaism, and in her instructive comparison of the Jewish and Hindu attitudes concerning this topic. In this latter domain I see her book as pioneering. Especially remarkable is the fact that in her treatment of Jewish religion she resorts to a large spectrum of Jewish corpora, beginning with Midrashic texts and ending with Kabbalah." —Moshe Idel, Hebrew University

"This book is a remarkable piece of scholarship. The way in which the author employs traditional, text-based methods to enlarge scholarly understanding of what 'texts' are is revolutionary. The author demonstrates that scriptures are not just texts, one kind of religious medium alongside others, but constituent parts of religious and cultural life in ways that have been previously unappreciated and that will clearly be of interest to anthropologists and semioticians, as well as to historians and comparativists of religion." —Thomas B. Coburn, St. Lawrence University

"Holdrege has produced a unique piece of work: one that is equally learned and scholarly in two completely different religious traditions. This is a remarkable achievement in and of itself and offers the possibility for a comparative study that is vastly more informed than what has passed for comparative religion in the past. Holdrege addresses some of the most important questions in the study of religion in this work: What are the sources of authority and legitimation in any given religious tradition? How are those sources—the 'canons' of religious traditions—represented, and how are they appropriated and reappropriated in the process of legitimating religious change? Her answers to these questions are informed, interesting, and significant contributions to the field of religious studies as a whole." —Brian K, Smith, University of California, Riverside