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Religions 2018, 9(4), 112;

The King Must Protect the Difference: The Juridical Foundations of Tantric Knowledge

Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
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Drawing upon inscriptional, art historical, as well as largely unstudied and unpublished textual evidence, this paper examines the conceptualization of religious diversity in the Medieval Deccan prior to the Islamic invasions. What our archive suggests, somewhat counterintuitively, is that from the perspective of the state and other disciplinary institutions, religious difference was conceived of in primarily juridical as opposed to doxographical terms; it was a matter of law rather than belief. In other words, in practice, the social performance of the religious identities of particular communities proved inseparable from the delineation of the highly specific legal rights and obligations to which those communities were entitled to adhere. Succinctly, medieval India’s religious diversity was inextricable from the widespread acceptance of a rather capaciously imagined emic form of legal pluralism. The early medieval Dharmaśāstric commentarial tradition locates the textual foundation of this approach to legal pluralism in a discrete and consistent canon of textual resources. As the present work demonstrates, by the eighth century—from the perspective of the Brahmanical legalists themselves—it is this internally coherent body of dharma knowledge that emerges as the key conceptual resource that makes a place within the wider social ecologies of the medieval Deccan for the Tantric knowledge systems and those who practice them. View Full-Text
Keywords: legal pluralism; Tantra; Hindu Law; religious tolerance; feudalism; Bhairava legal pluralism; Tantra; Hindu Law; religious tolerance; feudalism; Bhairava
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Schwartz, J. The King Must Protect the Difference: The Juridical Foundations of Tantric Knowledge. Religions 2018, 9, 112.

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