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Description - The Body of God by D. Dennis Hudson

This remarkable book is the crowning achievement of the great scholar of Hinduism, D. Dennis Hudson. Although Hudson died without completing it, the work has been edited and brought to fruition by editor Margaret Case. The book is a finely detailed study of a renowned Tamil Hindu temple, the Vaikuntha Perumal (ca. 770 C.E.). Hudson uses this temple as an illustration of one major current and historical stage in South Indian Vaisnava religion. He offers a sustained reading of the temple as a coherent, organized, minutely conceptualized mandala, whose code can be cracked by close analysis of the temple iconography and structure, in the light of major literary and religious texts. Hudson takes the reader step by step on a tour of the temple, moving from the bottom level up, from one sculpted panel to the next. His primary thesis is that the temple itself constitutes a summa theologica for the Bhagavata tradition centered on Krishna as it had developed through the eighth century-by which time this tradition was already at least a thousand years old and had spread widely across South Asia and into Southeast Asia. He argues that, through its full expression of the theology and religious practices of this tradition, the temple offers a crucial hermeneutical key for understanding other temples and texts of the Bhagavata religion.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195369229
ISBN-10: 019536922X
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 164mm x 41mm)
Pages: 608
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 1-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - D. Dennis Hudson

About the author: D. Dennis Hudson (1938-2006) was Professor Emeritus of World Religions at Smith College from 1970 until his retirement in 2000. He published numerous articles, most related to his lifelong study of Vaikintha Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. In addition, he published Protestant Origins in India: Tamil Evangelical Christians, 1706-1835 in 2000. About the editor: Margaret Case was for many years Asian Studies editor at Princeton University Press. She is the editor of Govindadeva: A Dialogue in Stone (1996) and author of Seeing Krishna: The Religious World of a Brahman Family in Vrindaban (2000). She organized this volume from virtually complete but differently structured chapters, and compiled the glossary with diacritical marks.