IN a series of articles from 1957 until his death in 1979, the influential Indologist Paul Hacker advanced the claim that those Indian traditions generally classified as open and tolerant should in fact be labeled “inclusivist.”1 Rather than engaging religious or philosophical opponents in their integrity, he suggested, such traditions subordinated such others and assumed them into their own doctrinal systems. This term was deployed polemically by Hacker against a number of Hindu traditions, above all the modern forms of Advaita Vedānta advanced by the likes of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975). This broad thesis has been widely criticized, not least by Hacker’s translator and editor Wilhelm Halbfass.2 Particularly suspect is Hacker’s sweeping contrast between inclusivism and tolerance, and the correlations from these positions to Indian and European thought, respectively. As Halbfass has demonstrated, both styles of argument, among others, can be adduced in Hindu, Christian and Muslim traditions; the harder and more important task is, in his telling, to attend to the distinctive strategies of engagement with religious others in any particular text or tradition.
Locklin, Reid B.
Conversion, Sanskritization and the Dissolution of the Multiple in Advaita Missionary Movements,"
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies:
Vol. 28, Article 9.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7825/2164-6279.1608