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Jewish Theology and World Religions$
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Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764098

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764098.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Encountering Hinduism

Encountering Hinduism

Thinking Through Avodah Zarah

(p.263) Eleven Encountering Hinduism
Jewish Theology and World Religions

Alon Goshen-Gottstein

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses Hinduism from a Jewish perspective. It explores the nature of Hinduism, exposing its complexity, and moving beyond the simplistic understanding to a more accurate picture of Hindu theology and reality. Jews in Indian societies have lived with an attitude of acceptance towards their Hindu neighbours. The chapter then offers an honest reappraisal of avodah zarah applied to contemporary Hinduism, finding support for new theological understanding of Hinduism in the rabbinic wisdom of the medieval sage Menahem Me'iri and the contemporary thinker Adin Steinsaltz. The religious conversation with Hindus is important because of the spiritual opportunities it presents. As such, the chapter considers the Hindu quest for God and the model of Hindu saints as significant topics for a Jewish–Hindu conversation. Nuancing one's understanding of avodah zarah and of Hinduism must continue, and the dialogue on spirituality and the benefits of spiritual exchange must advance.

Keywords:   Hinduism, Hindu theology, Jews, Indian societies, avodah zarah, Menahem Me'iri, Adin Steinsaltz, Hindus, Hindu saints

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