Coming Soon: ‘The śrāddha: The Development of Ancestor Worship in Classical Hinduism by Dr. Matthew Sayers

Coming soon to Religion Compass: ‘The śrāddha: The Development of Ancestor Worship in Classical Hinduism’ by Dr. Matthew Sayers – PROVISIONAL ABSTRACT:
The association of Hinduism with reincarnation is well-known, but this connection obscures a long tradition of ancestor worship. The ritual texts of the Vedic and later Hindu traditions describe in detail the procedure for several forms of ancestral rite. This paper outlines the development of the theological discourse on ancestor worship from its earliest expression to the formation of Classical Hinduism early in the Common Era and highlights the underlying theological, social, and practical concerns that shaped that discourse. The development that culminated in the theological construction of an enduring model of ancestor veneration, the śrāddha, revolves around two central tensions, between the solemn and domestic ritual traditions and between the ritual and renunciation traditions. The resolution of the first tension produces the śrāddha. The reactions to the second tension in the ritual literature shape the śrāddha, bringing it to its classical form, and generate the complex soteriology of later Hinduism.

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