Tip | Book on the ancient religion of the Santals: Ancestral creation narratives – Assam, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura & Arunachal Pradesh

The Santal and the Biblical Creation Traditions:
Anthropological & Theological Reflections by Timotheas Hembrom | adivaani.org >>

The religion of the Santals, which we see today, represents one of the most ancient religions.  […]

The Santals are one of the largest homogenous indigenous peoples group in India, numbering more than six million scattered over in the states of Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and outside India in Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The Santals have no primordial books on their religion written by themselves. Their religion is based on oral traditions, which of course, has now been documented by sociologists and anthropologists. The Santals are non-idol worshipping theist people. They have no temples, nor images to worship and no fixed place to worship in; no holy mountains and no sacred drivers for pilgrimages and yet they hold an unassailable religious faith which can be traced through the tradition of the creation narrative, through their festivals, their cleansing ceremonies performed during their birth, wedding, and death, and through their belief in the continuation of life after death.

In this title, the Santals’ creation narrative is to be examined and compared with the Biblical creation stories of the Book of Genesis. […]

The Santals have ancestral creation narratives. A Santal or Adivasi student studying the Biblical creation is compelled to study them in comparison with creation narratives of the Sumerians and the Babylonians who have long been extinct. […]

This work may not have widespread universal appeal, but it will certainly help a group of people, whose faith declaration of creator-creation relationship, as expressed through their ancestral creation narrative, is compared and discussed with that of the Biblical one. It will be a move towards ‘localization’, and ‘contextualization’ of theology. […]

Max Müller [the 19th century, Oxford-based Indologist and editor of The Sacred Books of the East, see Wikipedia] felt the need of doing this in his time and he advised that:

“In order to understand fully the position of Christianity in the history of the world and its true place among the religions of mankind, we must compare it not with Judaism only, but with the religious aspirations of the whole world. […]”

Max Müller

Friedrich Max Müller (December 6, 1823 – October 28, 1900) – Wikipedia

Source: Introduction (pp. 1-4), The Santal and the Biblical Creation Traditions: Anthropological & Theological Reflections by Timotheas Hembrom
1st ed. Punthi Pustak, Kolkata 1996
2nd ed. Adivaani, Kolkata 2013, ISBN 9788192554150
Price in India: Rs. 200

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