The considerable interest currently being expressed in women and religion has thrown down an important challenge: the need to see women not merely as the passive victims of an oppressive ideology but also, perhaps primarily, as the active agents of their own positive constructs. This book therefore aims to fill a notable gap in the literature. Twelve contributors study the role of women in Hindu religion by examining textual studies of the part played by women in a variety of religious rituals, both past and present, by exploring the socio-religious context of their various communities; and by using specialist material to draw on cross cultural conclusions.
Julia Leslie (23 January 1948 – 24 September 2004) was a brilliant scholar and teacher whose academic work focused on the implication of gender in Hindu religious ideology.
After completing in 1980 an Oxford M.Phil in Classical Indian Religions, she wrote, the celebrated monograph, The Perfect Wife: The Orthodox Hindu Woman according to the Stridharmapaddhati of Tryambakayajvan (1989) as her D. Phil thesis.
The importance of this book cannot be overstated. It was the trunk from which not only the other branches of her own work stemmed but which also led to branching and flowerings across a whole broad field in Hindu Studies, gender studies and the study of Hindu Law.
Her other works include Creating a Dialogue: text, belief and personal identity, 2004; Authority and Meaning in Indian Religions: Hinduism and the case of Valmiki, 2003; Invented Identities: the interplay of gender, religion and politics in India, 2000; Myth and Mythmaking: continuous evolution in Indian tradition 1996; Rules and Remedies in Classical Indian Law (Panels of the VIIth World Sanskrit Conference), 1991.
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