In this paper, I argue that Johannes Bronkhorst’s greatest contribution to the scholarship of ancient India is the concept of the “new Brahmanism,” which he introduces in Buddhism under the Shadow of Brahmanism. I begin by describing in detail the new Brahmanism that Bronkhorst sees as having arisen in reaction to the threat of the Nandas and Mauryas, characterized by the fundamental ideology of varṇa, the expanded use of Sanskrit, the “colonization of the past,” and adoption of new features. I then make a comparison between the new Brahmanism and Rabbinic Judaism as it has been theorized by Daniel Boyarin. This leads me to my thesis, which is that the Greater Magadha hypothesis is not only wrong but completely unnecessary to explain the context out of which the new Brahmanism arose. I argue that the Greater Magadha hypothesis understates the spread of Vedic culture in North India, ignores the roots of the saṃsāric worldview in Vedic thought, and imposes an implausible and Orientalizing dichotomy between the Kuru/Vedic West and Greater Magadha in the East. A clear understanding of the emergence of identities out of contestation over those identities themselves allows us to develop a better model for understanding the rise of the new Brahmanism. I understand the Brahmanical culture of North India circa the fifth century BCE as characterized by a variety of teacher-student groups that can roughly be divided into three categories. The avant-garde where extreme śramaṇas who took the most radical ideas about karma, rebirth, and renunciation and ran with them, with little regard for their intellectual forebears. The reactionaries were the proponents of the new Brahmanism who were equally innovative in defending the perceived threat to their tradition. Finally, jaṭilas or vānaprasthas were conservatives who were current with new ideas and practices, neither rejecting them in reaction nor abandoning traditional practices.