An Unholy Brew

Alcohol in Indian History and Religions

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ISBN:

9780197641958

Publication date:

12/01/2022

Hardback

416 pages

We sell our titles through other companies
Disclaimer :You will be redirected to a third party website.The sole responsibility of supplies, condition of the product, availability of stock, date of delivery, mode of payment will be as promised by the said third party only. Prices and specifications may vary from the OUP India site.

ISBN:

9780197641958

Publication date:

12/01/2022

Hardback

416 pages

James McHugh

The first comprehensive book on alcohol in pre-modern India, An Unholy Brew: Alcohol in Indian History and Religions uses a wide range of sources from the Vedas to the Kamasutra to explore drinks and styles of drinking, as well as rationales for abstinence from the earliest Sanskrit written records through the second millennium CE.

Rights:  World Rights

James McHugh

Description

The first comprehensive book on alcohol in pre-modern India, An Unholy Brew: Alcohol in Indian History and Religions uses a wide range of sources from the Vedas to the Kamasutra to explore drinks and styles of drinking, as well as rationales for abstinence from the earliest Sanskrit written records through the second millennium CE.

Books about the global history of alcohol almost never give attention to India. But a wide range of texts provide plenty of evidence that there was a thriving culture of drinking in ancient and medieval India, from public carousing at the brewery and drinking house to imbibing at festivals and weddings. There was also an elite drinking culture depicted in poetic texts (often in an erotic mode), and medical texts explain how to balance drink and health. By no means everyone drank, however, and there were many sophisticated religious arguments for abstinence.

McHugh begins by surveying the intoxicating drinks that were available, including grain beers, palm toddy, and imported wine, detailing the ways people used grains, sugars, fruits, and herbs over the centuries to produce an impressive array of liquors. He presents myths that explain how drink came into being and how it was assigned the ritual and legal status it has in our time. The book also explores Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain moral and legal texts on drink and abstinence, as well as how drink is used in some Tantric rituals, and translates in full a detailed description of the goddess Liquor, Suradevi. Cannabis, betel, soma, and opium are also considered. Finally, McHugh investigates what has happened to these drinks, stories, and theories in the last few centuries.

An Unholy Brew brings to life the overlooked, complex world of brewing, drinking, and abstaining in pre-modern India, and offers illuminating case studies on topics such as law and medicine, even providing recipes for some drinks.

About the author:

James McHugh studies the history and religions of early India, working with texts in Sanskrit and related languages. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2008, and is now Associate Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His book Sandalwood and Carrion: Smell in Indian Religion and Culture explored the significance of odors, perfumes, and aromatics in India.

 

James McHugh

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Aperitif - Sura, the Prototypical Liquor of India

ROUND ONE: DRINKS AND DRINKING

Cup One: Sura Made From Grains
Cup Two: Sugarcane, Wine, Toddy, and Other Drinks
Cup Three: Sura Brewing and Public Drinking
Cup Four: Luxurious, Erotic Drinking in Literary Texts
Cup Five: Drink, Health, and Disease in Ayurvedic Texts

ROUND TWO: DRINK AND RELIGION

Cup Six: Drink in Ritual, Myths, and Epic
Cup Seven: The Filth of Grain and the Pain of Drink: Morality, Vice, and Law
Cup Eight: Sura Regained: Drink in Tantra
Cup Nine: Firewater and Corpse-Reviver: Alcohol in Later Sanskrit Sources
Digestif: What Do We Do About This Stuff That Makes Everything Go Awry?

Appendix: Soma, Ancient Drugs, and Modern Scholars
Bibliography

James McHugh

James McHugh

James McHugh

Description

The first comprehensive book on alcohol in pre-modern India, An Unholy Brew: Alcohol in Indian History and Religions uses a wide range of sources from the Vedas to the Kamasutra to explore drinks and styles of drinking, as well as rationales for abstinence from the earliest Sanskrit written records through the second millennium CE.

Books about the global history of alcohol almost never give attention to India. But a wide range of texts provide plenty of evidence that there was a thriving culture of drinking in ancient and medieval India, from public carousing at the brewery and drinking house to imbibing at festivals and weddings. There was also an elite drinking culture depicted in poetic texts (often in an erotic mode), and medical texts explain how to balance drink and health. By no means everyone drank, however, and there were many sophisticated religious arguments for abstinence.

McHugh begins by surveying the intoxicating drinks that were available, including grain beers, palm toddy, and imported wine, detailing the ways people used grains, sugars, fruits, and herbs over the centuries to produce an impressive array of liquors. He presents myths that explain how drink came into being and how it was assigned the ritual and legal status it has in our time. The book also explores Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain moral and legal texts on drink and abstinence, as well as how drink is used in some Tantric rituals, and translates in full a detailed description of the goddess Liquor, Suradevi. Cannabis, betel, soma, and opium are also considered. Finally, McHugh investigates what has happened to these drinks, stories, and theories in the last few centuries.

An Unholy Brew brings to life the overlooked, complex world of brewing, drinking, and abstaining in pre-modern India, and offers illuminating case studies on topics such as law and medicine, even providing recipes for some drinks.

About the author:

James McHugh studies the history and religions of early India, working with texts in Sanskrit and related languages. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2008, and is now Associate Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His book Sandalwood and Carrion: Smell in Indian Religion and Culture explored the significance of odors, perfumes, and aromatics in India.

 

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Aperitif - Sura, the Prototypical Liquor of India

ROUND ONE: DRINKS AND DRINKING

Cup One: Sura Made From Grains
Cup Two: Sugarcane, Wine, Toddy, and Other Drinks
Cup Three: Sura Brewing and Public Drinking
Cup Four: Luxurious, Erotic Drinking in Literary Texts
Cup Five: Drink, Health, and Disease in Ayurvedic Texts

ROUND TWO: DRINK AND RELIGION

Cup Six: Drink in Ritual, Myths, and Epic
Cup Seven: The Filth of Grain and the Pain of Drink: Morality, Vice, and Law
Cup Eight: Sura Regained: Drink in Tantra
Cup Nine: Firewater and Corpse-Reviver: Alcohol in Later Sanskrit Sources
Digestif: What Do We Do About This Stuff That Makes Everything Go Awry?

Appendix: Soma, Ancient Drugs, and Modern Scholars
Bibliography

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