skip to content

Faculty of Divinity



After a B.Sc. in Physics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, Ankur read Theology and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge. His primary research interests are Vedāntic 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, Europe, and USA. Some of these narratives are re-imagined in his work of historical fiction:

On his personal YouTube channel, he introduces Hindu visions without employing any technical jargon: 

The following are the three Big Questions which motivate his academic life where, for better or worse, he indeed writes with technical jargon:

  1. How do Hindu theological universes express the relation 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 that energises social egalitarianism?

An integral dimension of Ankur’s 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 an exploration of the intersections 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).

6. Exploring Hindu Philosophy (Bristol: Equinox, 2023).


Other publications: 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters



  • 'The Concept of duḥkha in Hinduism', in Johannes Grössl and Matthias Grebe (eds), The T&T Clark Handbook of Suffering and the Problem of Evil, pp.559–68.



  • 'Spectres of Violence and Landscapes of Peace: Imagining the Religious Other in Patterns of Hindu Modernity', in Maria Power and Helen Paynter (eds), Violence and Peace in Sacred Texts, pp.2951.



  • 'Living in the World by Dying to Self: Swami Vivekananda's Modernist Reconfigurations of a Premodern Vedāntic Dialectic', International Journal of Hindu Studies 27: 125–48.  




  • 'The Possibility of Hindu-Christian Dual Belonging: Anthropological Reflections on a Theological Debate', in Daniel Soars and Nadya Pohran (eds), Hindu-Christian Dual Belonging, pp.51–68.


  • (with Akshay Gupta) 'The Alchemy of Suffering in the Laboratory of the World: Vedāntic Hindu Engagements with the Affliction of Animals’, Religious Studies.




  • '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