The Hindu Temple
Dr. Tim Lubin
23 Newcomb / 463-8146, -8055 / LubinT@wlu.edu
Spring 2001, TuTh 1-4
Washington and Lee University
Temple sites: Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sarada Peetham Mahishamardini Temple, Kadiyali, Udupi Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Maryland
An exploration of temples in Hinduism, their forms and place in the lives of Hindus. The course will have three broad points of focus: (1) the form and symbolism of the temple as sacred space, and meaning of its iconography; (2) modes and occasions of worship, including the functions of priests, possession and faith-healing, religious theater, votive ordeals (firewalking, hook-swinging), and the controversial devadasis (temple dancers "married" to the deity); and (3) the temple's place in its city and region, including legends of its foundation, patterns of patronage, association with local kings and castes, and its role in religious education and in politics. Examples will include major temple complexes (Puri, Chidambaram, Madurai) as well as several smaller temples from diverse regions.
Course Format and Requirements:
Class time will be divided between lecture and
structured discussion, and will include slides and films. 1. In order to
make discussion productive, each student is required to deliver to the teacher
(by electronic mail or on paper), at least a half hour before class, a brief set
of (a) key ideas discussed in the assigned readings for the day, along with (b)
two or three questions or problems the readings raise in the student's
mind. These ideas and questions need not be presented in a very formal
manner, but they should show some prior reflection, and should go beyond a mere
enumeration of details (cumulatively 10% of grade; participation in class
discussion can raise the final grade substantially; absence may lower it).
Any student may be asked to lead off discussion by offering these thoughts to
the class. 2. All students will also make two 10-minute
presentations to the class that offer not merely an organized synopsis of,
but a concrete argument about, a topic drawn from the assigned readings (15% of
grade each). 3. Finally, students will write one paper (ca. 2000
words, 1st draft: 20% of grade, final draft: 40% of grade). 4. The class will
make a Sunday- evening visit to the Shantiniketan
Temple in Roanoke; attendance there is required.
The following books are
available for purchase:
Schedule of Classes:
Week I: How Hindu Worship Works: Greeting God’s Bodies
introduction and chs. 1, 3-5 (Background reading on Hindu
Th: C. G.
Fuller, The Camphor Flame, chs. 2-3.
Blurton, chs. 2.
* John M. Stanley, “The Capitulation of Mani,” ch. 10 in Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees
(Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), pp. 271-298.
Film: “Loving Krishna”
Blurton, ch. 6.
* George Michell, The Hindu Temple, pp. 49-85.
Optional reading: Richard Eaton, "Temple
Desecration in Pre-Modern India" and
"Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States"
in Frontline, 17(25) and 17(26), 2000.
Special Visitor: Dr. William Klingelhofer, Director of International Education, W&L: "Form and Function of the Temple"
Week III: Receiving Divine Favors: Possession, Healing, and Vow Making at the Temple
Fuller, ch. 10.
* David M. Knipe, “Night of the Growing Dead: A Cult of Virabhadra in Coastal Andhra,”
ch. 5 in Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), pp. 123-156.
* Kathleen M. Erndl, “Seranvali: The Mother Who Possesses,” in Devi: Goddesses of India,
ed. J. S. Hawley and D. M. Wulff (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1996), pp. 173-194.
Film: “An Indian Pilgrimage: Ramdevra”
Th: * Alf Hiltebeitel, “Timiti, the
Firewalk,” ch. 14 in The Cult of Draupadi, vol. 2: On Hindu Ritual
the Goddess (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 439-475.
* Geoffrey A. Oddie, Popular Religion, Elites and Reform: Hook-Swinging and Its Prohibition in Colonial
India, 1880–1894 (Delhi: Manohar, 1995), pp. 1-41.
Film: “Lady of Gingee: South Indian Draupadi Festivals”
Week IV: Pilgrimage and the Temple-History (Sthala-Purana, Mahatmya)
Fuller, ch. 9.
* Karve, Irawati, “On the Road: A Maharashtrian Pilgrimage,” in Eleanor Zelliott and Maxine Berntsen,
eds., The Experience of Hinduism: Essays on Religion in Maharashtra (Albany: SUNY Press, 1988
[essay orig. pub. 1955]), pp. 142-173.
* Cynthia Ann Humes, “Vindhyavasini: Local Goddess Yet Great Goddess,” in Devi: Goddesses of
India, ed. J. S. Hawley and D. M. Wulff (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1996), pp. 49-76.
Th: * Paul Younger, The Home of
Dancing Sivan, Introduction and Chs. 5-6.
Special Visitor: Alexis Bernstein ‘01: "God-King and Human King in the Royal Temple"
Week V: Case Study I — The Marriage of Minakshi and Sundareshvara at Madurai
Harman, Chs. 2-4 and Appendix A
Film: “Wedding of the Goddess”
Special Visitor: Shani Lee ‘01: "Sacred Marriages at Chidambaram and Madurai"
Harman, Chs. 5-6.
Film: “Given to Dance” (to introduce next week's case study)
Week VI: Case Study II — Jagannath, God of Puri, and His Dancing Girls
Frédérique Apffel Marglin, Wives of the God-King: The Rituals of the
Devadasis of Puri
(Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985), Introduction and chs. 1-3 (pp. 1-113).
Special Visitor: Dr. Cynthia Atherton, Professor of Asian Art History, Middlebury College: "The Aesthetics of Devotion to Krishna at Brindavan"
Marglin, chs. 4-6, and Conclusion (pp. 117-184, 282-303).
[ Dr. Lubin's Homepage ] [ Dr. Lubin's Course List ] [ Religion Course List ]