Publication Announcement

Andrew Nicholson andrew.nicholson at STONYBROOK.EDU
Tue Sep 28 15:40:34 UTC 2010

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the publication of my book:

Nicholson, Andrew J.  Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian
Intellectual History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
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Anyone who wishes to receive a 30% discount on the $45 cover price can
enter the discount code "NICUN" at checkout on the Columbia University
Press website.

With best regards,
Andrew J. Nicholson
Assistant Professor
Department of Asian and Asian American Studies
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5343 USA
Tel: (631) 632-4030  Fax: (631) 632-4098

Nicholson, Andrew J.  Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian
Intellectual History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

Book Description:

Some postcolonial theorists argue that the idea of a single system of
belief known as "Hinduism" is a creation of nineteenth-century British
imperialists. Andrew J. Nicholson introduces another perspective: although
a unified Hindu identity is not as ancient as some Hindus claim, it has its
roots in innovations within South Asian philosophy from the fourteenth to
seventeenth centuries. During this time, thinkers treated the philosophies
of Vedanta, Samkhya, and Yoga, along with the worshippers of Visnu, Siva,
and Sakti, as belonging to a single system of belief and practice. Instead
of seeing such groups as separate and contradictory, they re-envisioned
them as separate rivers leading to the ocean of Brahman, the ultimate

Drawing on the writings of philosophers from late medieval and early modern
traditions, including Vijnanabhiksu, Madhava, and Madhusudana Sarasvati,
Nicholson shows how influential thinkers portrayed Vedanta philosophy as
the ultimate unifier of diverse belief systems. This project paved the way
for the work of later Hindu reformers, such as Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan,
and Gandhi, whose teachings promoted the notion that all world religions
belong to a single spiritual unity. In his study, Nicholson also critiques
the way in which Eurocentric concepts—like monism and dualism, idealism and
realism, theism and atheism, and orthodoxy and heterodoxy—have come to
dominate modern discourses on Indian philosophy.


"Unifying Hinduism does much more than deal with the philosophy of
Vijnanabhiksu, it questions in an intelligent and constructive manner how
Indian philosophy has been studied in modern scholarship—-and ways in which
it has been done wrong." — Johannes Bronkhorst, University of Lausanne,

"Andrew J. Nicholson's courageous and challenging thesis is that processes
of unification were at work in early modern India, particularly in the
attempt by Vedanta philosophers to create hierarchies of philosophical
schools, and these processes 'made possible the world religion later known
by the name Hinduism.' Unifying Hinduism is a fluent, eminently readable,
and absorbing study of a period in Indian intellectual history that fully
deserves the attention it is now receiving." — Jonardon Ganeri, University
of Sussex

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