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Feeding the Dead: Ancestor Worship in Ancient India

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Feeding the Dead outlines the early history of ancestor worship in South Asia, from the earliest sources available, the Vedas, up to the descriptions found in the Dharmshastra tradition. Most prior works on ancestor worship have done little to address the question of how shraddha, the paradigmatic ritual of ancestor worship up to the present day, came to be. Matthew R. Sayers argues that the development of shraddha is central to understanding the shift from Vedic to Classical Hindu modes of religious behavior. Central to this transition is the discursive construction of the role of the religious expert in mediating between the divine and the human actor. Both Hindu and Buddhist traditions draw upon popular religious practices to construct a new tradition. Sayers argues that the definition of a religious expert that informs religiosity in the Common Era is grounded in the redefinition of ancestral rites in the Grhyasutras. Beyond making more clear the much misunderstood history of ancestor worship in India, this book addressing the serious question about how and why religion in India changed so radically in the last half of the first millennium BCE. The redefinition of the role of religious expert is hugely significant for understanding that change. This book ties together the oldest ritual texts with the customs of ancestor worship that underlie and inform medieval and contemporary practice.

About the Author

Matthew R. Sayers is Assistant Professor of Religion at Lebanon Valley College.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Introduction

Chapter 1: Ancestral Rites in the Early Vedas

Chapter 2: The Solemn Ancestral Rites

Chapter 3: The Domestic Rice-ball Sacrifice to the Ancestors

Chapter 4: The sraddha-rite

Chapter 5: Ancestral Rites in the Buddhist Literature

Chapter 6: Soteriology

Chapter 7: Mediation

Conclusion

Appendix

Notes

Glossary of Sanskrit Terms

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199896431
Author:
Sayers, Matthew R.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Subject:
Hinduism
Subject:
Religion & Theology | Hinduism
Subject:
Religion-Eastern - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 illus.
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
6.1 x 9.2 x 0.6 in 0.5 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » World History » India
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Hinduism » General

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