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Sources for "called the oldest religion in the world"[edit]

Note that I'm only challenging the sources. 1st is a "Religion for Dummies" by two authors well known in the media as the "God Squad", who also wrote Bad Stuff in the News: A Guide to Handling the Headlines. Nice guys I'm sure but not religion historians.

2nd is a book by Anthony Stevens (Jungian analyst), even less qualified for this.

3rd - D.S. Sarma - who has written quite a bit about Hinduism but history of religion isn't his field either.[1]

4th - Merriam Webster, seems to be the dictionary in the sources, not an RS.

5th Klaus Klostermaier - excellent source.

6th. Gary Laderman - religious historian but of American religion.[2]

and finally Turner's book 'Encyclopedia of relationships across the lifespan[3], not a reliable source for this subject either, he's not a religious historian and the book isn't about religious history.

I'd suggest dumping all but Klostermaier and finding sources by religious historians.

I only came here because at Timeline of religion an editor is using these sources and apparently dating Himduism to 9831 BC. Doug Weller talk 12:15, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

Wow, yeah, everything but Klostermaier needs to go, and a claim like "oldest religion" needs sources. Probably wouldn't hurt to add the qualifier living, since whatever was going on at Göbekli Tepe might've been older. Ian.thomson (talk) 12:45, 8 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, posted this to Talk:History of Hinduism as well, which has an interesting statement about it perhaps being one of the youngest religions. And I agree about the qualifier. Doug Weller talk 13:54, 8 May 2016 (UTC)
Klostermaier is far trom excellent... Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:14, 8 May 2016 (UTC)
Back to the paltop, which worls much better than a mobile phone. The whole statement "Hinduism has been called the oldest religion" is undue, of course; originally it said "Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world." I think that the Australian Aboriginals have better credits for such a claim. Apart from that, at best one can say that Hinduism contains elements, or roots, which presumably go back several thousands of years. But is that a meaningfull statement? The Jewish religion also contains elements that go back several thousands of years; so what? It's a "mine is bigger than yours" statement. Nevertheless, I don't object to keeping it in the lead, because it evocates an appealing sense of ancientness, especially together with the comment on "Sanatana Dharma." Though, of course, we might also reagrd this "sense of ancoentness" as a token of Orientalism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:03, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Source amnesia, but I've seen arguments that determining the age of modern Hinduism (particularly the Advaita Vedanta, Smartist, and Shaivite branches) from the religion of the authors of Vedas is akin to determining the age of modern Judaism (particularly the Haredi, Conservative, and Reform movements) from the Jahwist or Deuteronomist sources (depending on whether one goes with the Documentary hypothesis or Supplementary hypothesis). Potentially undue for the lede, but I'm a touch curious (not enough to do the work myself) if it'd unseat the due weight of the oldest religion claim. Well, as far as the lede is concerned. The counter would make it all the more appropriate in the article: the fact that people argue against it proves it is noteworthy (just not necessarily lede material). Ian.thomson (talk) 09:20, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Ian.thomson: doesn't the wording 'has been called' suffice by implying it to be the view of some? Perhaps, a further qualifier as "one of the oldest" would improve it? I concur with @Doug Weller. Klostermaier is the best WP:RS in that list. I will update the sources. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 10:20, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

That wording is enough to satisfy me, especially since I'm too apathetic to actually look for the counter sources. Was just suggesting in case anyone feeling more active was of a similar mind. Ian.thomson (talk) 10:34, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Mr Doug Weller don't worry about the sources that called Hinduism as the oldest religion.There are many good sources in google books like this -> [] and another good source is History of India by the Government of India says that Hinduism is the oldest religion in the World. Hinduism origins date back to Mesolithic, Indus Valley Civilisation and Vedic Period. Not only India but many countries like America accepted this theory to some extend.So kindly don't argue for sources infact there are many good sources.Please add this source to article as page was protected. (talk) 17:29, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Anybody can self-publish a book like that one, self-published through iUniverse. Even a "retired Telecom Engineer & a Marketing consultant" like the author. We don't use retired telecom engineers and marketing consultants as sources for history. Doug Weller talk 18:18, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Mesolithic? Why not the neolithic, or even the paleolithic, like the Aboriginals in Australia - who's religion arguably is much older... Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:18, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 May 2016[edit]

Hi I would like to add to the beliefs section of the Hinduism article where it mentions the lack of consumption of beef: in some states, like Maharashtra it is illegal to have any beef products, and even where it is not illegal, there are many instances of people being beaten or killed for having beef. A cow's milk however is a popular beverage. I feel that I am "authorized" to say this because I live in Maharashtra, in Mumbai and am living under these laws (talk) 05:19, 13 May 2016 (UTC)Emma. (talk) 05:19, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: as you have not requested a specific change in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Nobody is "authorized" to say anything on Wikipedia, what you "know", what you "have heard" or what you have "read somewhere" are all unacceptable as such information cannot be verified.
You must cite reliable sources to back up every part of your request, without which no information should be added to, or changed in, any article. - Arjayay (talk) 06:54, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 June 2016[edit]

Aausmaa (talk) 13:07, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done. No edit request made. -- Kautilya3 (talk) 13:17, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Late-Classical Hinduism - Puranic Hinduism[edit]

This section, in the current version, has too much Buddhism in it.

I suggest we mention Buddhism and Jainism dynamic in one sentence, trim out "copying error" and the rest, replace in one or two sentences each on Puranic Hinduism with temple building, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Advaita-nondualism, Alvars/Vishishtadvaita-bhakti. @VictoriaGrayson:, @Kautilya3: Any comments/concerns? The article's prose part is 30 pages long, and notes/references/sources are another 30 pages, fwiw. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 14:10, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Comments welcome. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 02:01, 23 June 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ Rocher 1986, p. 138-151.
  2. ^ Rocher 1986, p. 185.
  3. ^ Rocher 1986, p. 158-160.
  4. ^ Ariel Glucklich (2008). The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective. Oxford University Press. pp. 145–162. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2.  Quote (p. 146): The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called mahatmyas.
  5. ^ a b Urs App (2010), The Birth of Orientalism, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 978-0812242614, pages 331, 323-334
  6. ^ Rocher 1986, p. 104-106 with footnotes, Quote: "I want to stress the fact that it would be irresponsible and highly misleading to speak of or pretend to describe the religion of the Puranas.".
  7. ^ Ronald Inden (2000), Querying the Medieval : Texts and the History of Practices in South Asia, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124309, pages 95-96
  8. ^ Olson, Carl (2007). The many colors of Hinduism: a thematic-historical introduction. Rutgers University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-8135-4068-9. 
  9. ^ Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903, pages 17-18
  10. ^ Isaeva, Natalia (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press (SUNY). pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7. 
  11. ^ Natalia Isayeva. From Early Vedanta to Kashmir Shaivism: Gaudapada, Bhartrhari, and Abhinavagupta. State University of New York Press. pp. 137, 163, 171–178. ISBN 978-1-4384-0761-6. 
  12. ^ C. J. Bartley (2013). The Theology of Ramanuja: Realism and Religion. Routledge. pp. 1–4, 52–53, 79. ISBN 978-1-136-85306-7. 

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Questioning of authority[edit]

I've corrected again a statement on the "questioning of authority" in Hinduism. The emphasis in this source is on the central role of authority and revealed truth in Hinduism; the questioning of authority is mentioned as the exceptions on this authority:

"Sources of authority play an important part in Hindu culture [elders and priests; sruti; Vedas; Tantric texts; revelation] This grounding of religious life in the experience of a person believed to have unique access to truth - a sage, guru, saint, medium or avatara - is a pervasive feature of Hinduism.
Yet powerful instances of questioning and debate are also present in the Hindu tradition as a persistent challenge to the most authoritative texts and persons; they could even be said to be typical of Indian theological discourse."

"Indian theological discourse", of course, is only a subset of Hinduism; to present this as an essence of Hinduism, while the text emphasises the role of authority, is a misrepresentation of this source. And we don't do internal links to other parts of an article. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:35, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

  • Your own quoted sentence says "questioning and debate are also present in the Hindu tradition as a persistent challenge to the most authoritative texts and persons."
  • You are attempting to cherrypick a couple of words in 2 pages of material, where the book's section is literally titled "Authority and Questioning".
  • The whole point of the section is questioning authority:

Yet powerful instances of questioning and debate are also present in the Hindu tradition as a persistent challenge to the most authoritative texts and

persons; they could even be said to be typical of Indian theological discourse. A proleptic discourse in the speculative tenth book of the Ṛg Veda asks about the origins of the universe: ‘What covered in, and where? And what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water? Who really knows and who here can declare it, whence it was born and whence fl ows this creation?’ (Ṛg Veda 10.130). This process of questioning foreshadows a constructive method of dialectical refl ection that is seen again and again throughout Indian history (Brereton, 1999). The Upaniṣads challenged their Vedic heritage through narratives that involved questioning between generations, as in the father–son discussion of Uddālaka and Śvetaketu; between husband and wife, as in the conversation between Yajñāvalkya and Maitreyī; between teachers and pupils as in the questioning of Pippalada; and between different castes or members of the court, as in the dialogue of Yājñvalkya the sage and King Janaka, or the kṣatriya Agatasatru and the brahmin Gargya – who begins as the teacher and ends up as the pupil. This ethos of questioning even extends into the world of the gods, as when the abstract divinity of Brahman establishes its superiority over Agni, Indra and the other Vedic gods by questioning them. In the later Śiva Purāṇa, Śiva establishes his superiority over Viṣṇu and Brahmā by questioning.them, and Viṣṇu subsequently admits Śiva as his guru. Such interrogation gives a name to the Kena Upaniṣad which repeatedly asks kena, ‘by what’ power or reason is something the case, while in the conversations between Nachiketas and Yama in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, and Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gītā, questioning appears as a way for the guru to test the pupil, encour aging repeated criticism of the supposed authority’s inferior answers, in such a way that the pupil eventually arrives at a ‘true answer’. Doubts of many kinds play a persistent role in the Mahābhārata, and in later Kṛṣṇa literatures such as the Gītagovinda of Jayadeva, one sees challenge transformed into outright criticism from Kṛṣṇa’s lover Rādhā – yet this criticism is welcomed and encompassed within the dynamics of devotion. This affi rmation of debate refl ects the vigorous intellectual culture that was patronized by many royal courts. Stories of kings questioning holy men are found even beyond Hindu texts, as in the Buddhist ‘Questions of King Milinda’, and the multi-religious discussions in which theologians were asked questions by the Muslim Emperor Akbar. This give and take of debate was refl ected in the thesis-objection-response structure of classical philosophical and theological treatises, which were themselves subject to the tacit inquisition of commentators. Authority was not destabilized by questioning; rather it was mediated through it in an intellectual culture that tended to develop ideas collaboratively, and according to the shared logic of natural reason. In each of these cases questioning is not used as a way to end a relationship and reject authority outright. Rather it is a way to deepen understanding, sustain relationships and expand the Hindu tradition in new directions

VictoriaGraysonTalk 04:58, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Pinging neutral editors @AAP ka Lawyer, Adiagr, AKS.9955, AmritasyaPutra, BengaliHindu, Bharatiya29, Calypsomusic, Crawford88, Dharmadhyaksha, HemaChandra88, Karthikndr, Sdmarathe, Shrikanthv, Strike Eagle, Unbiasedpov, VarunFEB2003, and Yogesh Khandke:VictoriaGraysonTalk 05:26, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Joshua Jonathan, when you talk about important aspects of Hinduism, it's the reverence to authority which should be mentioned. Although, rejection and questioning of authority is not discouraged, it's merely an aberration. You are trying to make it a salient point. The key words in the sourced content is, 'Sources of authority play an important part' and 'Yet powerful instances of questioning and debate are also present'. Crawford88 (talk) 07:14, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
I Think this is a matter of interpretation in English, And I agree with (talk) ,even one of the ancient veda had different versions of it! when we think about questioning authorities, and also there is extreme acceptance of authority is present too (and is usually asked for until one reaches certain degree of knowing ) and continues doubting and questioning without ever making any effort of knowing is also discouraged, so i do not think it can be either this or that , would leave it to some one who could balance out the sentence as both are accepted and present but in there own notions equally Shrikanthv (talk) 08:22, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
@VictoriaGrayson and Joshua Jonathan: Actually what Joshua did is practically correct because in Hinduism what all sages and priests expect is to blindly follow what they say (not question them) but whether actual references exist or not (I don't know) is a matter of concern. (I being a follower of Hinduism know this) So my suggestion would be rather neutral, lets keep parts of the both the revisions in the article in extremely clever English so that it doesn't trigger further disputes. I have another suggestion: why not remove the whole disputed part from the article (that should satisfy both sides and settle the dispute too!) Well, this is all my personal opinion but the decision lies on community consensus. Please ping me Thanks! VarunFEB2003 10:25, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think this is a rather complex issue. My impression, from reading The Argumentative Indian as well as my direct experience, is that submission to authority is the norm in the Hindu culture but questioning was accepted. Typically, the questioner had to earn the "right" to question through learning and social/spiritual influence. Otherwise they would get ostracised. The very fact that The Argumentative Indian needed to be written shows how much authority exists in Hinduism. So the Hindu questioning is not full "freedom of thought," and it would be wrong to paint it that way. -- Kautilya3 (talk) 11:32, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

@JJ: From the quote you provided from page 14 of Frazier, I have struck out the OR in square brackets above. We must stick with what the source says, not the stereotypes or personal opinions, as that will lead to endless edit wars. @Victoria Grayson is more right on this one, if we read Frazier's pages 14-15 and 321-325. We do need a bit of wordsmith-ing to better summarize Frazier and for NPOV. @Others: please provide additional WP:RS with page number(s) for consideration, or we need to work with the Frazier source @VG and @JJ are referring to. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 14:20, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
@VG: note the term also; you skipped the preceding part, which started with the central role of authority and revealed truth. If you want to include the questioning of authority, you'll have to start with the central role of authority, where-after you can mention the also. This applies to both the article itself, and the lead. Crawford88 seems to agree with me here, though he doesn't seem to realize this. Note also that the paragraph ends with "In each of these cases questioning is not used as a way to end a relationship and reject authority outright. Rather it is a way to deepen understanding, sustain relationships and expand the Hindu tradition in new directions." This is relevant info, which provides a context for this questioning.
And, as noted before, we don't do internal links to sections within the article. I get the impression that you want to over-emphasize this questioning. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:42, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
PS1: Note also how my edit changed the paragraph on authority, from VG's version
"A central theme of Hinduism is the questioning of authority."
"Authority and eternal truths play an important role in Hinduism. Religious truth is revealed by sacred texts, which are revealed by sages, gurus, saints and avatars. But there is also a tradition of the questioning of authority."
This is more faithfull to Frazier's text, including both authority and the questioning of it. I've also added the first part to the lead, and added additional info the section on authority. This is also more in line with what VarunFEB2003 and Kautilya3 noted above, that authority does play a central role in Hinduism, and that questioning this authority appears within an established context. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:54, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
PS2: the list of "neutral" editors which were pinged above is disappointing one-sided. I'd rather call it WP:CANVASSING. I'd appreciate it if proper Wiki-policies were followed here, that is, discussing the issue, instead of calling in the subsidiary forces.
PS3: Ms Sarah Welch, the "the OR in square brackets" above are abbreviations of terms and instances which were mentioned in this text by Frazier. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 12:12, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Pinging editors is not even remotely canvassing.VictoriaGraysonTalk 13:40, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
WP:CANVASSING (emphasis mine): "This page in a nutshell: When notifying other editors of discussions, keep the number of notifications small, keep the message text neutral, and don't preselect recipients according to their established opinions. Be open!". The list you pinged is not small; people like Ms Sarah Welch, Kautilya3, Abecedare, Sitush and Titodutta, to name a few, are suspiciously missing from this list, while some of the editors you pinged never contributed to this article, but are obviously not "neutral editors." Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:01, 14 September 2016 (UTC)


  • Sitush's behavior reached even mainstream news articles regarding Wikipedia. That you think such an editor should be involved, indicates a lack of judgement on your part.
  • WP:Canvassing is about leaving neutral messages on people's talk pages. I merely pinged people on this talk page.
  • Let's ask @Montanabw: if my pinging above counts as canvassing. VictoriaGraysonTalk 14:45, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Why don't you ask and admin? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:49, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
@JJ: Your latest edits were a major improvement, and indeed addressed much of the NPOV concern I had noted above. I have reworded a bit, because "obedience to..." is not same as "sources of...". Frazier supports the latter, and other changes I made. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 10:30, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Popping by due to the ping. My take is that pinging 17 people was a bit over the top, but also I think the canvassing rules are rather useless and inconsistently enforced -- IMHO the cure for pinging people on one side is to just ping more people on the other side. Plus- when someone is mentioned in a conversation you are supposed to ping them as a courtesy, so they know they are being talked about. So Joshua Jonathan could have pinged the people he mentioned. Or post a message at a project page informing participants of the discussion. Or if you really want random observers, file an RfC. My take is that yeah, it's close to canvassing, but it's also not worth the ANI drama. You two are both good editors, so just be nice, and focus on the content and the sources. Montanabw(talk) 20:43, 16 September 2016 (UTC)