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Leaving Hinduism

Chapter in book
Authors Clemens Cavallin
Published in Leaving Religion / edited by Daniel Enstedt, Göran Larsson, Teemu T. Mantsinen
Pages 13-27
ISBN 978-90-04-33092-4
Publisher Brill
Place of publication Leiden
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 13-27
Language en
Subject categories Religious Studies, History of Religions


To know whether you have left a country or not, it is essential to know where the border is. Such a demarcation of territory is contingent in the sense that the demarcation could have been drawn elsewhere—and probably has. Sometimes, the borders are first drawn on a map to create the country in question and then are implemented later. Sometimes, however, the boundaries grow organically through centuries of warfare and cultural negotiations and follow the natural terrain of rivers and mountains. The notion of Hinduism as a world religion has both this artificial, neat character and the fuzzy boundaries resulting from the accumulation of religious ideas, practices, and cultural traits over millennia. As Knut Jacobsen remarks in his introduction to Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Hinduism “does not refer to a homogeneous religious tradition but a conglomerate of rituals, religious narratives, art, music, institutions, traditions, theologies, artefacts, and activities” (Jacobsen 2013). Therefore, leaving “Hinduism” is both easy and exceedingly challenging.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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