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Hinduism: Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

This is a guide to researching Hinduism using the online catalog, reference works, periodical indexes, bibliographies, concordances, sacred texts, and free web sites. Last updated 06-08-2023

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Encyclopedias and dictionaries provide quick facts on topics, people, places, events, and concepts.  Use them to read a little about your topic and, perhaps, obtain some further reading references to look up in Books and Media. The works are listed roughly in date order, with the most recently published ones first.

Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism 

Presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its essays are original work written by the world's foremost scholars on Hinduism. Offers a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that is both an ancient historical tradition and a flourishing tradition today. Embraces the greatest possible diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity, thus emphasizing that Hinduism encompasses a variety of regional traditions as well as a global world religion. Will include all content from the 6 vol. print set.

Encyclopedia of Hinduism 

Blackwell Companion to Hinduism  Main BL 1202 .B72 2003

Historical Dictionary of Hinduism Area Studies 2 East  BL 1105 .L66 2020

Relates the history of Hinduism through a chronology, introductory essay, photos, extensive bibliography, and 1,000 plus entries on terminology, names of major historical figures and movements, gods and goddesses, temples, terms used in Hindu practice, major texts, philosophical concepts.

Dictionary of Hinduism.  Main BL 1105 .J65 2009

Key Words in Hinduism Main BL 1105 .G43 2006

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism Main BL 1105 .L63 2002 v. 1-2

“The very word Hinduism is misleading. The word was coined by the British as an umbrella term, referring to any and all forms of religion in India, many of which share few if any common features…. it is a vast religious tradition.” Indian subcontinent has great variations, in landforms, languages, regional identities, and sectarian affiliations. Hinduism is first and foremost a way of life, stressing correct behavior rather than correct beliefs. Pp. xiv-xxix is “contents by subject.” Subjects include art/architecture/iconography, astrology/cosmology, biographical entries, calendar/time, ceremonies/practices/rituals, communities/groups/organizations, dance, dynasties, geography, literature/language/drama, medicine/alchemy/physiology, music/hymns/prayers, mythology/beliefs, philosophy/logic, and yoga/tantra. Under each broad subject appear lists of the entries in this encyclopedia. Entries range from a paragraph to more than a page. Black and white illustrations. Articles not signed. No further reading references. Unannotated bibliography at the end of volume two. Author is an associate professor of religion at Carthage College in Wisconsin.

Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography Remote Storage N 8195 .A4 S78 1985

Hinduism a Very Short Introduction  Main BL 1202 .K564 2000

Krishna in History, Thought, and Culture, an Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names  Main BL 1220 .V45 2016

Krishna is a major force in the history of Hinduism.  Covers textual sources, historical practice, philosophical traditions, devotional practices, classical theological scholarship, and artistic and creative expression of Krishna from 1300 BC to present.  Covers India and other major Krishna religious centers and temples in the world.  195 entries, each 300-3,000 words long.  Further reading references.  Author of all entries is Lavanya Vemsani, a social science professor at Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio.

Religions of the World: a Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices  Main BL 80.3 .R45 2000 v. 1-4

Online version is 2010 ed. Annotation is from 2000: Provides comprehensive, global coverage of religion, emphasizing larger religious communities without neglecting the world's smaller religious outposts.  In the encyclopedia click on Table of Contents.  Notice the box near top left where is says choose a volume. Click  on the down arrow and choose volume 3.  Scroll down and click on the gray arrow beside Guam to Honen.  Hinduism lies between these letters of the alphabet.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices

Provides information on current religious practices around the world with an emphasis on how religions impact the daily lives of their followers.  Enter the encyclopedia from the link to it in our online catalog.  Once in, click on Table of Contents.  Scroll down to Hinduism.  Click on the gray triangle next to the word Hinduism to enter that entry.