Author: Parpola, Asko
Brand: Oxford University Press
Number Of Pages: 384
Release Date: 12-08-2015
Details: Product Description
Hinduism has two major roots. The more familiar is the religion brought to South Asia in the second millennium BCE by speakers of Aryan or Indo-Iranian languages, a branch of the Indo-European language family. Another, more enigmatic, root is the Indus civilization of the third millennium BCE, which left behind exquisitely carved seals and thousands of short inscriptions in a long-forgotten pictographic script. Discovered in the valley of the Indus River in the early 1920s, the Indus civilization had a population estimated at one million people, in more than 1000 settlements, several of which were cities of some 50,000 inhabitants. With an area of nearly a million square kilometers, the Indus civilization was more extensive than the contemporaneous urban cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Yet, after almost a century of excavation and research the Indus civilization remains little understood. How might we decipher the Indus inscriptions? What language did the Indus people speak? What deities did they worship? Asko Parpola has spent fifty years researching the roots of Hinduism to answer these fundamental questions, which have been debated with increasing animosity since the rise of Hindu nationalist politics in the 1980s. In this pioneering book, he traces the archaeological route of the Indo-Iranian languages from the Aryan homeland north of the Black Sea to Central, West, and South Asia. His new ideas on the formation of the Vedic literature and rites and the great Hindu epics hinge on the profound impact that the invention of the horse-drawn chariot had on Indo-Aryan religion. Parpola's comprehensive assessment of the Indus language and religion is based on all available textual, linguistic and archaeological evidence, including West Asian sources and the Indus script. The results affirm cultural and religious continuity to the present day and, among many other things, shed new light on the prehistory of the key Hindu goddess Durga and her Tantric cult.
Written with scholarly rigor and great erudition, this volume will be warmly received by supporters of the views that the Indus Valley script is a proto-Dravidian language and that continuities exist between IVC and Hinduism. Highly recommended.--
A highly innovative and welcome volume, bringing together the linguistic and archaeological evidence for the cultures that underlie Hinduism. Asko Parpola is uniquely well qualified to undertake this, through his major research on the Vedas and Vedic ritual and on the Indus Civilization, combined with an excellent understanding of the archaeological evidence beyond India itself. No one interested in any of these fields can afford to miss it. --J.L. Brockington, Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit, University of Edinburgh; Vice President, International Association of Sanskrit Studies
The Roots of Hinduism is undoubtedly a major contribution -- like Parpola's earlier book on deciphering the Indus script -- to the understanding of the Indus civilisation, the Aryan migrations into India, and the development of Hinduism. --
Current World Archaeology
About the Author
Asko Parpola is Professor Emeritus of Indology and South Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki.
Package Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.0 x 0.8 inches