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The Modern Spirit of AsiaThe Spiritual and the Secular in China and India$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128146

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128146.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

The Making of Oriental Religion

The Making of Oriental Religion

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 3 The Making of Oriental Religion
Source:
The Modern Spirit of Asia
Author(s):

Peter van der Veer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691128146.003.0003

This chapter explores the making of oriental religion. It analyzes the emerging field of oriental studies and comparative religion, especially the project of Sacred Books of the East, headed by Friedrich Max Müller. It goes beyond the study of orientalist scholarship by examining the role of the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. The major analytical issue is the extent to which these products of Western scholarship and imagination have produced forms of religious categorization that have had an actual impact on religious belief and practice in India and China. The modern moralization of indigenous traditions as part of attempts to create religions that are at the same time universally respected (world religions) and national religions could only be done owing to orientalist interpretations of these traditions.

Keywords:   oriental religion, oriental studies, Sacred Books of the East, Friedrich Max Müller, India, China, world religions, moralization

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