Reform in Tradition: Bhaktivinoda’s Apologetic for the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

How to Cite

Kenneth R. Valpey. (2022). Reform in Tradition: Bhaktivinoda’s Apologetic for the Bhāgavata Purāṇa: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 23(1), 59–76. Retrieved from


Amid the manifold transformations constituting the ‘Bengal Renaissance’ of the nineteenth century, an important issue was how to deal with sacred texts. Throughout the nineteenth century, intellectuals in Bengal were particularly put to task to determine how indigenous sacred literature was to be valued, and how it was to be understood and applied in the context of social and religious reform—bywords of the emerging British-schooled indigenous intelligentsia. The official opening of India to Christian missionaries
in 1813 by the British East India Company accelerated the proliferation of the Bible, (soon translated into several Indian vernacular languages1 and distributed widely throughout India) along with strong claims of its superiority to the scriptures of the ‘Hindoos.’ At the same time, there was an awakening concern amongst educated Indians about the need to examine their own traditional scriptures, which were in turn receiving considerable attention by Western (initially German) scholars.

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