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The Language of Disenchantment - Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India | Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Language of Disenchantment: Protestant Literalism and Colonial Discourse in British India

Robert A. Yelle


This book explores how Protestant ideas concerning language influenced British colonial attitudes toward Hinduism and proposals for the reform of that tradition. Protestant literalism, mediated by a new textual economy of the printed book, inspired colonial critiques of Indian mythological, ritual, linguistic, and legal traditions. Central to these developments was the transposition into the domain of language of the Christian opposition between monotheism and polytheism or idolatry. Various polemics against verbal idolatry—including the elevation of a scriptural canon over heathenish custom, ... More

Keywords: disenchantment, secularization, colonialism, Hinduism, Protestantism, Christianity, Literalism, modernity, iconoclasm, India

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199924998
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199924998.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert A. Yelle, author
University of Memphis