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Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Encyclopedia of World Religions)

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Authors: Constance A. Jones, James D. Ryan
  • ISBN: 9780816054589
  • Price: LE 136.00
  • Special Offer Price: LE 108.80
  • Number Of Pages: 552
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Categories Encyclopedia  
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The Encyclopedia of World Religions series (J. Gordon Melton, series editor) turns its attention to Hinduism. The series, which will eventually include 6 of the world's major religions, complements more general resources, such as The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion (1995), with a highly focused, contemporary approach. Packed into this trim volume are more than 600 A?Z entries with enough information for most users, without overwhelming anyone. For those wanting more, suggestions for further reading accompany almost every entry. The tone and diction of the writing are nontechnical and well-suited for the target audience of high school and up. As with most specialized works, some of the encyclopedia's major topics (for example, the Kama Sutra and Mahatma Gandhi) are also found in more general works. However, examples abound of lesser-known Hindu personalities and concepts that are not adequately covered elsewhere. For instance, approximately one-fourth of the volume's entries are biographical, covering more than 150 yogis, gurus, teachers, and saints. Many of these are late-twentieth-century figures who are not household names outside of the Hindu community. A significant portion of the volume's more than 70 black-and-white photographs accompany these biographical profiles. More than a dozen geographical treatments are highlighted through some of the work's longer entries. Most notable are the entries for Africa, Bali, Scandinavia, Trinidad, and the U.S. The encyclopedia functions, in part, as a glossary as well, defining many Hindu terms. Lesser-known concepts (e.g., Punya, or karmic merit) are explained in entries that are several sentences in length and include brief bibliographies. Intermixed with the people, places, and technical terms are entries for festivals, deities, organizations, key sites, locations, and more. Jainism and Sikhism, two religious traditions with roots in Hinduism, also receive attention with frequent references. The encyclopedia opens with a full but concise introduction to Hinduism, followed by an 11-page Hindu chronology that covers the most notable events in the 3,000 years of Hindu history. A thorough index provides the perfect finishing touch to this user-friendly encyclopedia, which is an ideal fit for large or small public and academic libraries. Osburn, Wade.