A New Book on The Bhagavad Gītā by Ithamar Theodor

I am excited to share with you this exciting news! I am teaching a writing seminar on the Bhagavad Gītā at Cornell this semester and this is truly what we are looking forward to having in the class. Check out the info from amazon.com!

This volume is a systematic and comprehensive introduction to one of the most read texts in South Asia, the Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā is at its core a religious text, a philosophical treatise and a literary work, which has occupied an authoritative position within Hinduism for the past millennium.

This book brings together themes central to the study of the Gītā, as it is popularly known – such as the Bhagavad-gītā’s structure, the history of its exegesis, its acceptance by different traditions within Hinduism and its national and global relevance. It highlights the richness of the Gītā’s interpretations, examines its great interpretive flexibility and at the same time offers a conceptual structure based on a traditional commentarial tradition.

With contributions from major scholars across the world, this book will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of religious studies, especially Hinduism, Indian philosophy, Asian philosophy, Indian history, literature and South Asian studies.

6 Replies to “A New Book on The Bhagavad Gītā by Ithamar Theodor”

  1. Manasicha, am I right that the information below the cover is the publisher’s information? If so, can you tell us what made *you* select this book for the writing seminar? Are you going to propose the articles in the book as examples for essays connected to the BhG for your students to write?

    And, completely OT: How are you planning to lead a hands-on class online? (I am always looking for good ideas!)

    • Dear Elisa,

      The book presents the Gītā from various perspectives and time periods. The articles can hopefully show my students how to engage with the Gītā academically. They can be good sources for the final paper that my students have to write at the end of the course. I definitely want to point my students to some articles from the book like the ones on Śaṅkara and the Śrīvaiṣṇavas, in particular. A lot of my students are interested in how the Gītā was used in the nationalist movement also.

      For the class, I have found that a break-out room function on zoom can be very effective. Also, I ask a couple of students to take turns presenting the reading at the beginning of each class, and I invite them to keep a weekly journal in which they respond to a prompt I give in class once a week since it is a writing seminar. What are your ideas?

    • I don’t think so. I believe most scholars date the current Gītā to no later than the first few centuries CE/AD, which would be several centuries before Śaṅkara. Śaṅkara did write a commentary on the Gītā, but the text itself is the same between his commentaries and others’.

  2. Going to be honest, I think the Bhagwad Geeta is probably the most overrated book on the market. It’s very linear and one-dimensional. It lacks the depth that Plato’s Republic has and is almost certainly the product of a man, not God, which takes away any real appeal to it in my opinion. I never understood why Westerners think this is the greatest thing ever written.

  3. I feel the same. It’s over hyped and no fruitful lessons out of it, infact there is no clarity. Even children’s stories have much more wisdom.

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