Ever since Europe’s engagement with India began, Hinduism has come

to be constructed in manifold ways both by Europeans and Hindus.

Western perceptions of Hinduism have been diverse, complex, and

ambivalent-ranging from romantic appreciation to denigration. There are

both continuities and discontinuities between precolonial, colonial, and

postcolonial portrayals of Hinduism. The study of religion, especially the

European encounter with Hinduism, is closely linked with and informed by

colonialism; by European Enlightenment notions, such as modernity, linear

progress, the search for the origins, and privileging the written word; and

by such theories as common origins and evolution and various Protestant

theological presuppositions.