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The Snake and the Mongoose – The Emergence of Identity in Early Indian Religion - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Snake and the Mongoose: The Emergence of Identity in Early Indian Religion

Nathan McGovern


This book turns the commonly accepted model of the origins of the early Indian religions on its head. Since the beginning of modern Indology in the 19th century, the relationship between the major early Indian religions of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism has been based on an assumed dichotomy between two metahistorical identities: “the Brahmans” and the newer “non-Brahmanical” śramaṇa movements. Textbook and scholarly accounts typically purport an “opposition” between these two groups by citing the 2nd century BCE Sanskrit grammarian Patañjali, often stating erroneously that he compared their ... More

Keywords: Brahmanism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Brahman, śramaṇa, India, religion, identity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190640798
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190640798.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nathan McGovern, author
Franklin and Marshall College