The introduction outlines the focus and relevance of the book and sketches the contents per chapter. The series of the Sacred Books of the East was seen as ‘the chief religious achievement of the century’ at the time, and, recently, Roberto Calusso called Max Müller ‘a formidable impresario, of the kind and quality that we sorely lack these days’. The book asks which formative ideas were embedded in the series. What did Müller’s ‘re-conquest of the East’ entail? The series did not only define key concepts and approaches in the study of culture at the time, but also an outlook that still persists in the perception of ‘others’ as fellow human beings, who are constructed along the lines of ‘our’ world view.
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