Canonical Authority and Social Classification: Veda and "Varṇa" in Ancient Indian Texts

  title={Canonical Authority and Social Classification: Veda and "Varṇa" in Ancient Indian Texts},
  author={Brian Keith Smith},
  journal={History of Religions},
  pages={103 - 125}
  • B. Smith
  • Published 1 November 1992
  • Art
  • History of Religions
"Hinduism" is, according to most recent definitions of it, notoriously difficult to define. Outsiders have waxed metaphoric in the presence of this exotically protean religion: Hinduism is like an all-consuming sponge, an excessively fecund and chaotic jungle, or "a female presence who is able, through her very amorphousness and absorptive powers, to baffle and perhaps even threaten Western rationality, clearly a male in this encounter."1 Insiders (i.e., "Hindus") have for their own reasons… 
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