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Social Sciences - Religious Studies | On the Death of the Pilgrim: The Postcolonial Hermeneutics of Jarava Lal Mehta

On the Death of the Pilgrim: The Postcolonial Hermeneutics of Jarava Lal Mehta

Ellis, Thomas B

2013, XII, 212 p.

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  • The only full-length study of this important Hindu philosopher
  • Identifies the ethical pitfalls of deconstructivism’s employment of the messianic and its implicit ties to ontotheology’s metaphysics of presence
  • Extrapolates for the first time Mehta’s alternative to the philosophical hermeneutic emphasis on return and edification ​
This searching examination of the life and philosophy of the twentieth-century Indian intellectual Jarava Lal Mehta details, among other things, his engagement with the oeuvres of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Jacques Derrida. It shows how Mehta’s sense of cross-cultural philosophy and religious thought were affected by these engagements, and maps the two key contributions Mehta made to the sum of human ideas. First, Mehta outlined what the author dubs a ‘postcolonial hermeneutics’ that uses the ‘ethnotrope’ of the pilgrim to challenge the philosophical hermeneutic emphasis on supplementation and augmentation. For Mehta, the hermeneutic encounter ruptures, rather than supplements, the self. Secondly, Mehta extended this concept of hermeneutics to interrogate the Hindu tradition, arriving at the concept of the ‘negative messianic’. In contrast to Derrida's emphasis on the 'one to come', Mehta shows how the Hindu bhakti model represents the very opposite, that is, the 'withdrawn other,' identifying thereby the ethical pitfalls of deconstructivism's emphasis on the messianic tradition.  This is the only full-length study in English of this high-profile Hindu philosopher.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Hindu pilgrims - cross-cultural pilgrimage - metaphysics of presence - philosophical hermeneutics - pilgrims and pilgrimages - post-colonial hermeneutics - question of being

Related subjects » Population Studies - Religious Studies

Table of contents 

Introduction.- From Banaras to the West and and Back.- From Subcontinent to Continental.- Pilgrims and Pilgrimages.- Digging at the Roots: The Logic of the Hindu Tradition.- Heroes, Jewish Nomads, and Hindu Pilgrims: Ulysses, Abraham and Uddhava at the Cross- (cultural) – roads.- Bibliography.

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