Between Jerusalem and Benares
Comparative Studies in Judaism and Hinduism
Publication Year: 1994
Published by: State University of New York Press
TItle Page, Copyright
I am grateful to my dear wife, Sharon, yedidat nafshi, for helping me apply Lamaze-like breathing techniques during the labor of this book, and for her spiritual nurturance and discipline of both author and...
When we first went from Jerusalem to Benares, some twenty years ago, my wife and I met an old man on the Sarnath bus. Not knowing us, not knowing whence we had arrived, he began to speak to us in hushed tones, as if conveying a great secret. He loved Benares...
1 Introduction: Judaism and Hinduism: Cultural Resonances
Growing up, I had no idea that one day I would become so immersed in the comparative study of Judaism and Hinduism. It all began when, as a teenager, friends introduced me to the practice of silent mantra meditation, vegetarianism, and Indian philosophy. During the...
2 The Love and Hate of Hinduism in the Work of Jewish Scholars
Many great Jewish scholars of religion have been motivated not by love of religion but by hatred of religion, or at least by anger directed against religion, or fear or loathing of religion. Freud and Marx are the most outstanding examples of brilliant Jewish haters of religion but there are others. The strange Hass-Lieb relationship that has bound...
PART ONE Historical Encounters
3 Lexical Borrowings in Biblical Hebrew from Indian Languages as Carriers of Ideas and TechnicaI Concepts
India is a long way from Palestine and culturally very different, and therefore, especially for early periods, contacts are not sufficiently probable to assume, without further evidence, that mere similarity of words for more or less similar concepts is due to linguistic borrowing...
4 Abraham and the Upanishads
Abraham, "the father of a multitude of nations" (Gen. 17.4), is seen by the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as their founder. This is not only because of the universalistic elements included in the faith of the Patriarch, but also because Abraham...
5 Between Jews and Greeks: The Indian Model
When the three sons of Noah divided the earth among themselves, the eastern sector of the inhabited world, stretching from the Euphrates to the Indian Ocean, was allotted to the descendants of Shem. Easternmost Asia was assigned to the thirteen sons of Yoqtan, a great-greatgrandson of Shem: "These, proceeding from the River Cophen...
6 A Hindu Response to the Written Torah
In January of 1854, in the midst of a busy life opposing Christian missions to the Hindus in northern Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Arumuga Navalar (1822-79) published a major refutation of Protestantism. He wrote it in Tamil prose and printed it on his own press. The booklet, The Abolition of the Abuse of Saivism, was reprinted in Madras...
7 Yom Kippur: The Festival of Closing the Doors
C. J. Fuller provides fresh insight into the relationship between the polytheistic pantheon and Indian social structure, arguing that the worship of deities at the lower levels of the pantheon legitimates the hierarchical nature of the caste system, whereas the worship of Sanskritic deities at the upper levels of the Hindu pantheon...
PART TWO Cultural Resonances
8 Veda and Torah: The Word Embodied in Scripture
The differences between the Hindu and Jewish traditions have often been emphasized, so much so that these two traditions have generally been characterized as representing opposite ends of the spectrum of world religions. Indeed, "Hinduism" and "Judaism" have been...
9 From Dharma to Law
The few pages that follow seek merely to highlight what the comparatist may regard as the most significant aspects of Robert Lingat's theory] and draw attention to related discussion in other areas of legal history. Though the present writer is strongly disposed to favour Lingat's approach and its equivalents elsewhere, the...
10 Union and Unity in Hindu Tantrism
The fundamental preoccupation of Hinduism is to put an end to the infernal cycle of rebirths (samsara) and thus to attain deliverance (,em>moksa).1 The Hindu ideal aims at fusion with the totality (brahman), which abolishes all individuality (atman). In this regard, the different...
11 Union and Unity in Kabbalah
It would be difficult to find anything more conclusive than the oftrepeated Jewish declaration of faith, the proclamation of the divine unity: "Hear Israel, YHVH our God, YHVH is one" (Deuteronomy 6.4). The latter, according to the kabbalists, relates to the union of masculine...
12 Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and Sri Aurobindo: Towards a Comparison
There is a passage in Rabbi Kook's Lights of Holiness1which provides some encouragement for the exploration ventured in the following pages. Kook writes: "The doctrine of evolution that is presently gaining acceptance in the world has a greater affinity with the secret teachings...
Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 1994
OCLC Number: 834142732
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