The Puranas play a vitally important role in the construction of contemporary Hinduism for it is in these works that many of the stories and concepts central to Hindu dharma are to be found. This course is structured around selected readings from three of the major Puranas, the Bhagavata Purana, the Shiva Purana and the Markandeya Purana, and is based on a close reading of specific passages that relate to Vishnu and his avatars, to Shiva, and then finally to Durga, the great Goddess.