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Understanding World Religions Cp. 7
Questions relating to Chapter Seven, "The Origins of Yogic Religions," from Irving Hexham "Understanding World Religions," Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2011
Terms in this set (20)
Understanding World Religions - The Origins of Yogic Religions
These flash cards are based on Chapter 7 of Irving Hexham's book "Understanding World Religions" (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2011)
Is it true that the Himalaya Mountains isolated India from the outside world?
Although many people believe this is is untrue. There are many passes that invaders and traders took through the Himalayas as well as sea routes to India.
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) believed that the word "Hindu" ought to be ...
Disguarded as a relic of colonialism. Most later Indians disagreed.
Who was Nehru?
A disciple of Gandhi he became India's first Prime Minister in 1947 and played a key role in shaping post-independence India through the Congress Party.
Which nineteenth century scholar established the basic framework for Indian religious history?
May Müller (1823-1900) who was Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford.
What is the name of Müller's basic theory?
The Aryan Invasion Theory which argues that around 1500 BC light skinned invaders from Central Asia gradually conquered India and destroyed its preexisting civilizations.
According to this theory what was the name of the native Indians?
Dravidians who were said to be a dark skinned people. After the Aryan invasions it is argued they became the lower classes or castes.
The earliest Indian texts are called? And what are they about?
The Vedas which tell the stories of the gods and stress the importance of sacrifice. In many ways they are similar to early Greek writings.
Following the Vedas what are usually seen as the next type of religious text to develop in India and what are they about?
When were the Vedas first written?
In fact the Vedas were not written down until the sixteenth century when they were collected by Muslim rulers. Before that they existed as oral traditions which many scholars believe date back to between 2000 and 1500 BC.
What was the name of the earliest Indian civilization?
The Indus Valley Civilization which was first excavated in the early 20th century. After lasting over 1000 years it declined around 1500 BC giving support to the Aryan invasion theory.
What destroyed the Indus Valley Civilization?
The Indus Valley Civilization consisted of at least ten major cities in a desert area that is now divided between India and Pakistan. Modern archeologist believe that the most likely cause for its decline was an earthquake that changed the flow of the major river system that supported a large population in the area. This is linked with ecological collapse.
How did early British officials regard the religion of Indians?
Most leading figures in the British East India Company were agnostics who had great respect for the history of Hindu civilization. They thought that the Indian religion they observed in a state of severe decline and had become very superstitious.
Did the East India Company encourage missionaries and the conversion of Indians to Christianity?
No they positively discouraged mission activity and banned missionaries from the territories they ruled because they thought Christianity would cause social unrest and interfere with trade.
Once Christian missions were established in India in the mid-19th century did they force conversion on Indians in their mission schools and colleges.
No. The missionaries were remarkably tolerant and most Indian leaders, particularly those who fought for independence from the British, were educated in mission schools. There they retained their own religions whether they were Hindu, Muslim, or Sikh. Today former missionary colleges are among the top ten universities in India and are well respected.
Were the Dravidians the original inhabitants of the Indus Valley?
Traditional histories and textbooks make this claim but modern archeology has revealed a remarkably diverse culture with many ethnic groups living together.
Do we know anything about the religion of the Indus Valley peoples?
No although there are intriguing hints in archeological finds, particularly seals, that suggest a continuity with later traditions.
How does the religion of the Indus Valley Civilization seem to relate to later religious traditions?
The evidence is complex. On the one hand there are seals that seem to portray a Siva like figure suggesting a later link to the Hindu tradition. On the other there are decorative motives like the "papal leaf" that are also found in Buddhist art.
Has the Aryan Invasion theory been replaced by an alternative theory?
Not yet. In fact, this is still a hot topic in Indian studies. The most likely solution is a compromise that replaces the idea of a violent invasion with the slow migration of peoples from Central Asia and Iran.
How is water important in all of this?
As far as we can tell rituals involving water and bathing were important in the Indus Valley. They are also very important in the Hindu tradition and to a lesser extent Buddhism.
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Understanding World Religions Cp. 1
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