PDNRLO No. VII Dermot Killingley: Polemic and Dialogue in Rammohun Roy. Vienna 2013, 48p. EUR 10.-


  • Abstract

    Rammohun Roy (1772?-1833) was the first Indian intellectual to have regular correspondence with his counterparts in Europe and the United States. At the same time, from 1815 to his death, he was engaged in public controversy on religious matters, with both Christian and Hindu opponents.
    While all his published writing on religion was polemical, it can be read as a dialogue between the hermeneutic traditions in which he worked: Vedānta and Bible-based Christianity. The recurrent themes of this dialogue include the unity and transcendence of God as opposed to polytheism and idolatry, morality as opposed to belief and ritual, equality as opposed to privilege, and reason as opposed to received authority.


    This Occasional Paper is based on the third Annual Lecture of the Association “Sammlung De Nobili”, delivered by the author in 2010.

  • Contents

    Preface (1)

    Polemic and Dialogue (3)

    Rammohun Roy (5)

    Kolkata (8)

    Rammohun’s Life (11)

    The Precepts of Jesus (13)

    Anonymity (16)

    Rammohun’s Forms of Discourse (18)

    Rammohun’s First Publication: Tuḥfat al-Muwaḥḥidīn (22)

    The Tuḥfat and Rammohun’s Later Works (23)

    Rammohun’s Use of Different Idioms (31)

    Traditions as Sources of Error and Guides to Truth (33)

    Rammohun’s Personae (34)

    Reaching into Traditions (37)

    “Religion Destructive of Differences and Dislike” (42)

    Bibliography (45)

  • Author

    Dermot Killingley was Reader in Hindu Studies at the University of Newcastle, and Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna in 2008. He is interested in the Sanskrit tradition, especially the Hindu religious traditions, and its interaction with modern India and the modern world.

    His publications include the monographs The Only True God: Works on Religion by Rammohun Roy, Selected and Translated from Bengali and Sanskrit with an Introduction and Notes. Newcastle upon Tyne, Grevatt & Grevatt, 1982, and Rammohun Roy in Hindu and Christian Tradition (The Teape Lectures, 1990). Newcastle upon Tyne, Grevatt & Grevatt, 1993. He has also published a number of research articles on Rammohun Roy, such as “Rammohun Roy on the Vedānta Sūtras” (Religion, vol. 11, 1981, pp. 151-69), “Rammohun Roy’s Controversies with Hindu Opponents” (in Perspectives on Indian Religion: Papers in Honour of Karel Werner, ed. P. Connolly, Delhi, Sri Satguru Publications, 1986, pp. 145-59) and “Rammohun Roy and Bishop Heber’s View of the Trinity” (in Words Remembered, Texts Renewed: Essays in Honour of J. F. A. Sawyer, ed. Jon Davies, Graham Harvey and Wilfred Watson, Sheffield, Sheffield Academic Press, 1995, pp. 480-96).