Synopses & Reviews
In the beginning, says the ancient Hindu text the Rg Veda, was man. And from mans sacrifice and dismemberment came the entire world, including the hierarchical ordering of human society. The Head Beneath the Altar is the first book to present a wide-ranging study of Hindu texts read through the lens of René Girards mimetic theory of the sacrificial origin of religion and culture. For those interested in Girard and comparative religion, the book also performs a careful reading of Girards work, drawing connections between his thought and the work of theorists like Georges Dumézil and Giorgio Agamben. Brian Collins examines the idea of sacrifice from the earliest recorded rituals through the flowering of classical mythology and the ancient Indian institutions of the duel, the oath, and the secret warrior society. He also uncovers implicit and explicit critiques in the tradition, confirming Girards intuition that Hinduism offers an alternative anti-sacrificial worldview to the one contained in the gospels.
Collins analyzes French anthropological philosopher Réne Girard's (b.1923) lectures on the Sanskrit Brahmanas at the Bibliothéque nationale de France in October 2002, published in English in 2011 asSacrifice. He places them in the context of the rest of Girard's work, current Indiological scholarship, and primary texts from theHindu tradition. He also considers Girard's predecessors, heirs, rival, and critics and some frequently overlooked Hindu myths andrituals. He concludes buy pondering the significance of Girard waiting so long in his career to address Hindu myth.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The Head Beneath the Altar is the first book to present a wide-ranging study of Hindu mythology through the lens of René Girards mimetic theory of the sacrificial origin of religion and culture. The book provides a careful reading of Girards work, drawing connections between his thought and those of his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors, and it examines two Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramaya?a.
About the Author
Brian Collins holds the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University.