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Dr Ankur Barua

Dr Ankur Barua

Lecturer in Hindu Studies

Ankur Barua is accepting applications for PhD students.

Office Phone: 01223 763011



After a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Delhi, Ankur Barua read Theology and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge, completing a Ph.D. on a study of the symbolism of time and embodiment in St Augustine and Ramanuja. His primary research interests are Hindu Studies and the comparative philosophy of religion. Under the former, he teaches and researches various historical, philosophical and conceptual aspects of the Hindu traditions as they have developed in the Indian subcontinent. In particular, he works on the classical traditions of Vedanta. In recent years, he has also been investigating how somewhat divergent ideas of 'Hinduism' as a 'world-religion' were formulated, interrogated and articulated during the colonial centuries in British India, and how some of these ideas were received, repackaged and reconstituted in Britain and Europe. He has also been researching certain aspects of Diaspora Hinduisms, especially in Britain - how notions of 'Hinduism' emerging from the Indian subcontinent have shaped popular as well as academic British understandings, and structured the consciousness of British Hindus as they live in an environment which is simultaneously multi-ethnic, multi-religious and secular. 

Further, an integral part of his academic research is the comparative study of religions: in particular, the question of whether Christian terms such as 'grace', 'creation' and 'God' have any Hindu analogues, and Hindu terms such as dharmakarma  and samsara have any Christian equivalents. The narrative of modern Hinduism reveals how some influential Hindu figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and S. Radhakrishnan have grappled with Graeco-Christian terms such as 'monotheism', 'monism' and 'pantheism' and appropriated them in various distinctive ways. 

Subject area and speciality

Religious Studies specialists:
  • Classical and modern Vedanta
  • Political Hinduism 
  • Indian Christian Theology
Hindu studies specialists:
  • Classical and modern Vedanta
  • Political Hinduism 
  • Indian Christian Theology
Buddhist studies specialists:
World Christianities specialists:
  • Inter-culturation and the Indian Churches
  • Dalit Christian theology
  • Indian Christianity and Hindu religious nationalism
Scriptural language specialists:


Sanskrit specialists:

Research Interests


Dr Barua's current themes of research include the following.

1. A longitudinal study of the polarity of divine grace (anugraha) and volitional effort in the theologies of Ramanuja, Madhva, Jiva Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Sankaradeva, Vallabha, and Nimbarka.

2.  The  re-configurations of medieval Bengal Vaisnavism,  against the backdrop of colonial modernity, in the religious poetry of Rabindranath Tagore.

3. An interrogation of the claim that Vedantic thought can supply the metaphysical basis of quantum physics.

4. An intellectual history of the friendship between Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, and Charles Freer Andrews.

5. An examination of the re-presentations of 'Hindu femininity' in Bollywood cinema between 1950 and 1980.


B16 : Life and Thought of Religious Hinduism and Buddhism

C10: Hinduism and Buddhism II

D1g: Self and Salvation in Indian and Western Thought 

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).


Other Publications


1. ‘The Solidarities of Caste: The Metaphysical Basis of the ‘Organic Community’’, Oxford Journal of Hindu Studies 2 (2009), pp. 97–112.

2. ‘Is there ‘History’ in India? A Cross-Cultural Enquiry’, Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 26 (2010), pp. 85–112.

3. ‘God’s Body at Work: Ramanuja and Panentheism’, International Journal of Hindu Studies 14:1 (2010), pp. 1–30.

4. ‘A World Filled With Grace: Conceptualizing the Divine in Hindu Devotionalism and Karl Rahner’, Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies 23 (2010), pp. 40–8.

5. ‘The dialectic of divine ‘grace’ and ‘justice’ in St Augustine and Sri–Vaisnavism’, Religions of South Asia 4.1 (2010), pp. 45–65.

6. ‘Literature and Philosophy: the sense of an opposition’, Journal of the Indian  Council of Philosophical Research 27 (2010), pp. 75–90.

7. ‘Revisiting the ‘Myth and History’ dialectic: The Christian ‘straight line’ and the Grecian/Hindu ‘tortuous circle’’, Harvard Theological Review 104:2 (2011), pp. 147–169.  

8. ‘Religion versus the religions: the dialectic of divine reality and human response in Karl Barth and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’, Journal of Ecumenical Studies 46.2 (2011), pp. 163–182. 

9. ‘Legitimacy of Religious Beliefs: Has science disproved the existence of God?’, Indian Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4.2 (2011), pp. 1–24.

10. ‘Myth as Metaphysics: The Christian Saviour and the Hindu Gods’, Sophia 51 (2012), pp.379–93.

11. ‘Indian Philosophy and the Question of the Self’, Irina Kuznetsova, Jonardon Ganeri and Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (eds) Hindu and Buddhist Ideas in Dialogue: Self and No-Self (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 217–30. 

12. ‘The Problem of Criteria and the Necessity of Natural Theology’, Heythrop Journal 54 (2013), pp.166–80.

13. ‘Ideas of Tolerance: Religious Exclusivism and Violence in Hindu–Christian Encounters’, International Journal of Public Theology 7 (2013), pp. 65–90.

14. ‘The God of the Oppressed and the Politics of Resistance: Black and Dalit theologies of liberation’, Culture and Religion 15 (2014), pp. 1-20.

15. 'Hindu Responses to Religious Diversity and the Nature of Post-Mortem Progress', Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies 27 (2014), pp.77-94. 

16. 'Interreligious Dialogue, Comparative Theology and the Alterity of Hindu Thought', Studies in World Christianity 20 (2014), pp. 215-37. 

17. 'Classical Advaitic Definitions of 'Substance' and the Unreality of the World', Journal of Hindu Studies 8 (2015), pp.44-64.

18.  'Do Brute Facts Need To Be Civilised? Universals in classical Indian philosophy and contemporary analytic ontology', Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 32 (2015), pp. 1-17.

19. 'Hick and Radhakrishnan on Religious Pluralism: Back to the Kantian Noumenon', Sophia 54 (2015), pp. 181-200.

20. 'Revisiting the Rationality of Reincarnation Talk', International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (2015), pp.218-31.

21. 'Ideas of Liberation in Medieval Advaita Vedanta', Religion Compass 9/8 (2015), pp. 262-71.

22. 'The Silences of Ramana Maharshi: Self-Enquiry and Liberation in Samkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedanta', Religions of South Asia 9.2 (2015), pp.186-207.

23. '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 (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 186-198.

24. 'The Knowledge of Brahman and the Devotion to Brahman: Positioning Advaita and Vaisnavism in Medieval Vedanta', Journal of Vaishnava Studies 25.1 (2016), pp.41-56.

25. 'Christian Visions of Vedanta: The Spiritual Exercises of Bede Griffiths and Henri Le Saux', Journal of Ecumenical Studies 51.4 (2016), pp.524-551.

26. '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 (2017), pp.1-17.

27. 'Investigating the "Science" in "Eastern Religions"', Zygon 52.1 (2017), pp.124-145.

28. 'Vedantic Variations in the Presence of Europe: Establishing the Hindu dharma in Late Nineteenth Century Bengal', International Journal of Dharma Studies 5.10 (2017).









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