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Faculty of Divinity



After a B.Sc. in Physics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Ankur read Theology and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge. His primary research interests are Vedantic Hindu philosophical theology and Indo-Islamic styles of sociality.

He researches the conceptual constellations and the social structures of the Hindu traditions, both in premodern contexts in South Asia and in colonial milieus where multiple ideas of Hindu identity were configured along transnational circuits between India, Britain, France, Germany, and USA. He studies how these ideas continue to shape the subjectivities of British Hindus across multi-ethnic environments and of the wider British public. 

To this end, he tries to introduce, on his personal YouTube channel, Hindu philosophical and theological ideas without employing any technical jargon: 

The following are the Three Big Questions which motivate his lines of academic inquiry. Here, for better or worse, he does write with technical jargon:

  1. How do Vedantic Hindu theological universes enact the dialectic of particularity and universality?
  2. Is there a “scientific” way to establish that you are a reincarnated spiritual self (jīva, ātman)?
  3. What would be the shape of a Hindu worldview which energises modes of social egalitarianism?

An integral dimension of Ankur’s academic research is the comparative philosophy of religion. He studies the theological and the socio-political aspects of Hindu–Christian engagements. In recent years, his research focus has moved to Indo-Islamic theology and, in particular, to an exploration of the dynamic intersections as well as the contested negotiations between the idioms of bhakti, yoga, tawḥīd, and taṣawwuf on the multiply-stratified postcolonial landscapes of South Asia.


1. A conceptual study of the dialectic of divine grace (anugraha) and human volitional response in Vedantic worldviews.

2. An exploration of patterns of Hindu-Muslim dual religious belonging across South Asian landscapes.

3. An intellectual history of the inter-religious friendship between Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, and Charles Freer Andrews.


Key publications: 


1. The Divine Body in History: A Comparative Study of Time and Embodiment in the Theologies of St Augustine and Ramanuja (New York and Bern: Peter Lang, 2009).

2. Debating 'Conversion' in Hinduism and Christianity (London: Routledge, 2015).

3. The Vedāntic Relationality of Rabindranath Tagore: Harmonizing the One and its Many (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2018).

4. The Brahmo Samaj and its Vaiṣṇava Milieus: Intersections of Hindu Knowledge and Love in Nineteenth Century Bengal (Leiden: Brill, 2021).

5. The Hindu Self and Its Muslim Neighbors: Contested Borderlines on Bengali Landscapes (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2022).


Other publications: 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters


  • 'Competing Philosophies and Theologies of the Human Person', in Chad Bauman and Michelle Voss Roberts (eds), Routledge Handbook of Hindu-Christian Relations, pp.381–91.

  • 'The Mystery of God and the Claim of Reason: Comparative Patterns in Hindu-Christian Theodicy', International Journal of Hindu Studies 25: 259–88.



  • (with Hina Khalid) ‘The Feminization of Love and the Indwelling of God: Theological Investigations Across Indic Contexts’, Religions 11, 414.

  • ‘Vedāntic Approaches to Religious Diversity: Grounding the Many Divinities in the Unity of Brahman’, in Ayon Maharaj (ed.) The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Vedānta, pp.255–80.
  • 'The Agonistic Poetics of Dāsya-bhāva: the Soteriological Confrontation Between Deity and Devotee’, Journal of Dharma Studies 3: 155–74.

  • ‘The Hindu Cosmopolitanism of Sister Nivedita (Margaret Elizabeth Noble):  An Irish Self in Imperial Currents’, Harvard Theological Review 113.1: 1–23.



‘Revisiting the Gandhi-Ambedkar Debates Over ‘Caste’: The Multiple Resonances of Varṇa’, Journal of Human Values 25.1: 25–40.



‘The Science of the Self (ātmavidyā): the reconfigurations of Vedāntic gnosis in Hindu modernities’, South Asian History and Culture 9.3: 260–79.



  • ‘The Absolute of Advaita and the Spirit of Hegel: Situating Vedanta on the Horizons of British Idealisms’, Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34.1: 1-17.
  • ‘Investigating the “Science” in “Eastern Religions”’, Zygon 52.1: 124-45.
  • ‘Vedantic Variations in the Presence of Europe: Establishing the Hindu dharma in Late Nineteenth Century Bengal’, International Journal of Dharma Studies 5.10.
  • ‘Encountering Violence in Hindu Universes: Situating the Other on Vedic Horizons’, Journal of Religion and Violence 5.1: 49–78.
  • ‘The Devotional Metaphysics of Śaṅkaradeva (1449–1568): The Advaitic  Brahman as the Beloved Friend’, Journal of Hindu Studies 10.3: 301–27.



  • ‘The Ocean of Being and the Web of Becomings: the pilgrim’s progress on Indic Horizons’, in Anthony Carroll and Richard Norman (eds), Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide, pp. 186-198.
  • ‘The Knowledge of Brahman and the Devotion to Brahman: Positioning Advaita and Vaisnavism in Medieval Vedanta’, Journal of Vaishnava Studies 25.1:41-56.
  • ‘Christian Visions of Vedanta: The Spiritual Exercises of Bede Griffiths and Henri Le Saux’, Journal of Ecumenical Studies 51.4: 524-551.
  • ‘Returning Home to the Advaitic Self: Svāmī Rāma Tīrtha and His American Audiences’, Religions 7, 145.



  • ‘Advaitic Definitions of ‘Substance’ and the Unreality of the World’, Journal of Hindu Studies 8.1: pp.44–64.
  • ‘Do Brute Facts Need To Be Civilised? Universals in classical Indian philosophy and contemporary analytical ontology’, Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 32.1: 1–17.
  • ‘Hick and Radhakrishnan on Religious Pluralism: Back to the Kantian Noumenon’, Sophia 54:181–200.
  • ‘Revisiting the Rationality of Reincarnation Talk’, International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76: 218–31.
  • ‘Ideas of Liberation in Medieval Advaita Vedanta’, Religion Compass 9/8: 262–71.
  • ‘The Silences of Ramana Maharshi: Self-enquiry and Liberation in Sāṁkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedānta’, Religions of South Asia 9.2: 186–207. 



  • ‘The God of the Oppressed and the Politics of Resistance: Black and Dalit theologies of liberation’, Culture and Religion 15: 1–20.

  • ‘Interreligious Dialogue, Comparative Theology, and the Alterity of Hindu Thought, Studies in World Christianity 20.3: 215–37.

  • ‘Hindu Responses to Religious Diversity and the Nature of Post-Mortem Progress’, Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies 27: 77–94.

Teaching and Supervisions


B16: Life and Thought of Religious Hinduism and Buddhism; C10: Hinduism and Buddhism II; D1g: Self and Salvation in Indian and Western Thought. 

University Senior Lecturer in Hindu Studies
Dr Ankur  Barua

Contact Details

Email address: 
01223 763011
Not available for consultancy


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