Hinduism

Hinduism

Detailed overview of Hinduism, and how a Christian can talk with a Hindu.

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About this Class

In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.

Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link. Due to technical difficulties, some of the lectures are not available, including the first lecture in the class. We are planning to re-record these the next time Dr. Tennent teaches the class.

For a summary version of the material in Lecture 1 that is missing, please listen to the first lecture in Hinduism in the Seminars section.

The missing lectures correspond to the following points in the downloadable Class outline: a. points I through II, B; b. point III, D through IV, B, 1; c. point VI except for point 2; d. point VIII; e. point XVIII. Point VII is not given in a specific lecture but is referred to throughout the course.

Lectures

Lecture 21

These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.

The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.

Lecture 22

According to Sankara, the distinction between enjoyers and objects of enjoyment doesn’t exist. Brahman is everything. The world is illusion and only the atman is Brahman. The nirguna saguna (Brahman) distinction is critical to the Advedic position. Ramanuja accepts the basic idea of monism but modifies it to reconcile plurality by embracing differentiation and particularity. He argues that Brahman is a personality which comprehends within himself all plurality (one essence with internal differentiation). Sankara says Brahman is exclusive of particularities and Ramanuja says Brahman is inclusive. Sanakara views Brahman as subject only but Ramanuja views him as object. For Sankara, there is only subject, but for Ramanuja there is subject and object. Ramanuja insisted that Brahman can have contact with the world and even become embodied without compromising any of his defining attributes. Sankara has two levels of Brahman, nirguna, saguna. Ramanuja has two modes of Brahman, hidden, revealed.

Lecture 23

Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.

Lecture 24

A. J. Appasamy became the bishop of south India. He developed a Christian interpretation of the Pramanas.  He shows how the relational themes in John’s gospel are consistent with the Bhakti tradition. He doesn’t believe Bhakti is sufficient, but uses it to prepare people for the gospel.

Lecture 25

There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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