Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is part of the Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 2: South Asia (HO2), which publishes scholarly reference works, bibliographies, and research tools pertaining to the political, economic, social, linguistic, and religious history of the Indian subcontinent.
The five-volume Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism -with first volume published in 2009 and to be completed in 2013 with Vol. 5- is a thematic encyclopedia, presenting the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions in original essays written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. The Encyclopedia explicitly adopts an interdisciplinary and pluralistic approach, and in it, the term “Hinduism” is used critically in the knowledge that most of the traditions that today make up Hinduism are much older than the term itself. The Encyclopedia aims at a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the tensions inherent in the academic examination of Hinduism. It emphasizes that Hinduism is a conglomerate of regional religious traditions and at the same time a global world religion. Hinduism is also both an ancient historical tradition and a living tradition flourishing in the contemporary world. It is an oral tradition, yet one with a huge number of sacred texts at its basis. Hinduism is both a religious identity and an object of academic scholarship.
Illustrated with maps and photographs, Brill’s Encyclopedia presents the learned philosophical and theological traditions of Hinduism as well as its many folk traditions. Covering the spread of Hinduism over the last two hundred years to all the continents as well as the interaction of Hinduism with other religions, it also portrays the various responses of Hindu traditions to a number of contemporary issues of great relevance today, such as feminism, human rights, egalitarianism, bioethics, and so on.