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Christian Devotional Poetry and Sanskrit Hermeneutics

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This paper focuses on exploring dhvani as a hermeneutical tool for reading Christian devotional literature. Dhvani is a theory of poetic suggestion proposed by Ānandavardhana in the eighth century and elaborated upon by Abhinavagupta in the eleventh century that posits layers of semantics in poetic language. By focusing on the devotional poetry of the seventeenth-century religious poets of England, this paper argues for Ānandavardhana’s proposed poetics of suggestion as an enabling way of reading and cognizing devotion as a psycho emotive process. In the context of Indian Christianity, dhvani has been suggested by certain scholars as also enriching the possibilities of interfaith dialogue. This paper argues for incorporating poetic frameworks like dhvani as modes of interfaith dialogue, especially when reading Christian texts in India.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor Department of English, Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, New Delhi


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