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Early Hinduism (RT1338)

Module Tutor: Dr Will Johnson

Summary of course content

This double module introduces students to the main practices, beliefs and social forms of early (Brahminical) Hinduism through reading a representative selection of its major texts in English translation.


The module is designed to:

a) Introduce students to some of the major texts of Brahminical Hinduism.
b) Acquaint students with the main practices, beliefs and social forms found and reflected in such literature.
c) Foster an awareness of the contextual nature of translation.

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of the double module a student should be able, typically:

a) to identify accurately passages from most or all of the texts studied;
b) to provide a coherent and relevant analysis of the content of such texts;
c) to demonstrate a sound knowledge of their historical, religious and social contexts;
d) to recognise the strengths and limitations of particular translations and of various ways of translating.

Teaching methods

Reading Classes and Seminars


3 hour exam

Suggested book purchases

Olivelle, P. (trans.) Upaniṣads (Oxford, 1996)

Suggested preparatory reading

Flood, G An Introduction to Hinduism (Cambridge, 1996)