, 9 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Someone asked me today: How can you talk about Hinduism when you're not Hindu?

I love talking about authority to comment on religion, insider / outsider issues, so let's do this. (for my original thread on Hinduism: ) #THREAD #Hinduism #religion
So, should you listen to anything I, a non-Hindu, says about Hinduism?

Well, it kinda depends on what you want to know and what you consider to be relevant markers of authority.
If you're looking for spiritual guidance, and you want that to come from a Hindu, then I'm not your person.
If you want to know about some aspect of Hindu practice of history, then I may well be able to answer your question.

Might that answer have spiritual or religious implications for you? Sure. But you make those connections, not me.
Let's get concrete. Let's say you want to know something about Valmiki's Ramayana. Is it important to you to ask somebody who can read that text in Sanskrit? Is it important to ask somebody who believes in the Ramayana story, as literal fact? Both? Neither?
Let's say you want to know about etymology. This came up in the last thread, the history of the English term "Hinduism" and Perso-Arabic "Hindu."

I would argue that knowing English, Persian, and Sanskrit would be helpful to have an informed opinion on this subject.
When thinking about authority, also think about bias. Is it a problem for you that you read these tweets in a female voice, given my profile picture? Sexism runs deep folks, in men and women. If you don't recognize and confront it, then you perpetuate it.
In case you're wondering, there are no right and wrong answers to most of my questions. But I think it is helpful to understand my claims to authority, as a scholar, and what they are based upon.
I do not claim authority to comment on Hinduism on the basis of my:

religion
gender
race
spirituality

I claim authority to comment on Hinduism on the basis of my:

scholarly training
academic knowledge
language skills
critical arguments

You decide what qualities matter to you.
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