Hindu avatāra and Christian incarnation: A comparison

Philosophy East and West 52 (1):98-125 (2002)
After tracing the development of the doctrines of avatāra and incarnation, the two are compared and contrasted. Some nuanced differences are: (1) Avatāras descend repeatedly, while Christ comes only once. However, we must also reckon with the Second Coming of Christ and the possibility of many incarnations. (2) The avatāra is real but perfect because it is made of "pure matter," while the incarnation is imperfect. (3) Avatāras have different purposes and, unlike the incarnation, not every Avatāra grants salivation. The two concepts are not so incompatible as may appear at first, yet the differences spring from the contrasting worldviews of the respective religions. The two beliefs can also be mutually complementary
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DOI 10.1353/pew.2002.0005
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