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Frithjof Schuon

Life and Teachings

The first book in English devoted to the religious philosopher Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) to appear since his death, this biography also provides an analysis of his work and spiritual teachings. Relying on Schuon’s published works as well as unpublished correspondence and other documents, the authors highlight the originality of Schuon’s life and teachings in terms of his consistent focus on esoterism, defined as the inner penetration of sacred forms and spiritual practices vis-à-vis the religio perennis, the eternal wisdom that lies at the core of all sacred paths. Schuon’s life, they argue, is a quest for the inner meaning of religious experience, as is indicated by his connections to Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Native American Shamanism. Spiritual seekers from all backgrounds will appreciate this comprehensive study of this towering figure of comparative religion.

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Fundamentalism

Perspectives on a Contested History

Simon A. Wood

Through a collection of essays, Fundamentalism: Perspectives on a Contested History explores the ways in which the concept of global fundamentalism does and does not illuminate developments in modern Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. At issue is whether, beyond the specific milieu of American Protestantism in the early decades of the twentieth century, the word ‘fundamentalism’ captures something important on a global scale that is not captured—or not as well—by other words. Readers will quickly discover that in exploring this issue the book is “at war with itself.” In Fundamentalism Simon A. Wood and David Harrington Watt have deliberately assembled a range of voices that is reflective of the broad spectrum of views scholars have offered on the topic, from those who find the concept not merely helpful but also important, those who have concerns about it but do not reject it, those who find that it has been misapplied in critical instances, and those who simply find it unhelpful and lacking in any meaningful specificity or content. While there are more than two perspectives presented, Wood and Watt identify two very broad groups of scholars from each end of the spectrum: those who find the concept illuminating and those who do not. The book does not privilege or advocate either of these positions, nor does it attempt to resolve the numerous problems that scholars on both sides of the debate have identified with the concept of global fundamentalism. Rather, it presents some of the key arguments on both sides of the contemporary debate. If it thereby provides readers with a sense of the current state of the discourse on fundamentalism it will have achieved its aim.

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God and the Green Divide

Religious Environmentalism in Black and White

Amanda J. Baugh

American environmentalism historically has been associated with the interests of white elites. Yet religious leaders in the twenty-first century have helped instill concern about the earth among groups diverse in religion, race, ethnicity, and class. How did that happen and what are the implications? Building on scholarship that provides theological and ethical resources to support the “greening” of religion, God and the Green Divide examines religious environmentalism as it actually happens in the daily lives of urban Americans. Baugh demonstrates how complex dynamics related to race, ethnicity, and class factor into decisions to “go green.” By carefully examining negotiations of racial and ethnic identities as central to the history of religious environmentalism, this work complicates assumptions that religious environmentalism is a direct expression of theology, ethics, or religious beliefs.

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God's Creativity and Human Action

Christian and Muslim Perspectives

Lucinda Mosher and David Marshall, Editors.

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Hindu-Catholic Encounters in Goa

Religion, Colonialism, and Modernity

Alexander Henn

The state of Goa on India's southwest coast was once the capital of the Portuguese-Catholic empire in Asia. When Vasco Da Gama arrived in India in 1498, he mistook Hindus for Christians, but Jesuit missionaries soon declared war on the alleged idolatry of the Hindus. Today, Hindus and Catholics assert their own religious identities, but Hindu village gods and Catholic patron saints attract worship from members of both religious communities. Through fresh readings of early Portuguese sources and long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this study traces the history of Hindu-Catholic syncretism in Goa and reveals the complex role of religion at the intersection of colonialism and modernity.

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The Hope of Liberation in World Religions

Miguel A. De La Torre, editor

Liberation theology emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed. As a part of Christian theology, liberation theology has been most frequently associated with the Catholic Church in Latin America. This groundbreaking work seeks to identify how the theological concepts of liberation theology might be manifested within other world faith traditions.





This is thus the first book that attempts to find a “common ground” for liberation theology across religions. All of the contributors are scholars who share the religion or belief system they describe. Throughout, they endeavor to articulate liberationist concepts from the perspective of those who have been marginalized.

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How to Do Comparative Theology

Francis X. Clooney, S.J.

For a generation and more, the contribution of Christian theology to interreligious understanding has been a subject of debate. Some think of theological perspectives are of themselves inherently too narrow to support interreligious learning, and argue for an approach that is neutral or, on a more popular level, grounded simply open-minded direct experience. In response, comparative theology argues that theology, as faith seeking understanding, offers a vital perspective and a way of advancing interreligious dialogue, aided rather than hindered by commitments; theological perspectives can both complement and step beyond the study of religions by methods detached and merely neutral. Thus comparative theology has been successful in persuading many that interreligious learning from one faith perspective to another is both possible and worthwhile, and so the work of comparative theology has become more recognized and established globally. With this success there has come to the fore new challenges regarding method: How does one do comparative theological work in a way that is theologically grounded, genuinely open to learning from the other, sophisticated in pursuing comparisons, and fruitful on both the academic and practical levels?

How To Do Comparative Theology therefore contributes to the maturation of method in the field of comparative theological studies, learning across religious borders, by bringing together essays drawing on different Christian traditions of learning, Judaism and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, the wisdom of senior scholars, and also insights from a younger generation of scholars who have studied theology and religion in new ways, and are more attuned to the language of the “spiritual but not religious.” The essays in this volume show great diversity in method, and also—over and again and from many angles—coherence in intent, a commitment to one learning from the other, and a confidence that one’s home tradition benefits from fair and unhampered learning from other and very different spiritual and religious traditions. It therefore shows the diversity and coherence of comparative theology as an emerging discipline today.

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In the Course of a Lifetime

Tracing Religious Belief, Practice, and Change

Michele Dillon

In the Course of a Lifetime provides an unprecedented portrait of the dynamic role religion plays in the everyday experiences of Americans over the course of their lives. The book draws from a unique sixty-year-long study of close to two hundred mostly Protestant and Catholic men and women who were born in the 1920s and interviewed in adolescence, and again in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and late 1990s. Woven throughout with rich, intimate life stories, the book presents and analyzes a wide range of data from this study on the participants' religious and spiritual journeys. A testament to the vibrancy of religion in the United States, In the Course of a Lifetime provides an illuminating and sometimes surprising perspective on how individual lives have intersected with cultural change throughout the decades of the twentieth century.

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In This Body

Kaqchikel Maya and the Grounding of Spirit

Servando Z. Hinojosa

The Kaqchikel Maya, who live in the highlands of central Guatemala, experience soul as part of a continuum of bodily states. This account of life in one highland Maya community shows how, among Kaqchikels, spirit expresses itself fundamentally through the body, and not as something entirely separate from the body. By examining the lived-meanings of midwifery, soul therapy, and community dance in the town of San Juan Comalapa, the book identifies the body as the primary vehicle for spiritual grounding in daily life. Hinojosa invites readers to understand how specialists in these activities articulate their knowledge of the spirit through their understanding of blood, and he encourages readers to glimpse the hidden life of the body and how bodily processes guide local understandings of spirit at the personal and group level. This work further illuminates the agentive role of the body in Maya spiritual experience and enriches the current discussions of Maya spiritual revitalization.

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India in the Chinese Imagination

Myth, Religion, and Thought

Edited by John Kieschnick and Meir Shahar

India and China dominate the Asian continent, but the two lands are separated by formidable geographic barriers and language differences. For many centuries, most of the information that passed between the two countries came through Silk Route intermediaries in lieu of first-person encounters—leaving considerable room for invention. From their introduction to Indian culture in the first centuries C.E., Chinese thinkers, writers, artists, and architects imitated India within their own borders, giving Indian images and ideas new forms and adapting them to their own culture. Yet India's impact on China has not been greatly researched or well understood.

India in the Chinese Imagination takes a new look at how the Chinese embedded India in diverse artifacts of Chinese religious, cultural, artistic, and material life in the premodern era. Leading Asian studies scholars explore the place of Indian myths and storytelling in Chinese literature, the ways Chinese authors integrated Indian history into their conception of the political and religious past, and the philosophical relationships between Indian Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, and Daoism. This multifaceted volume, illustrated with over a dozen works of art, reveals the depth and subtlety of the encounter between India and China, shedding light on what it means to imagine another culture—and why it matters.

Contributors: Stephen R. Bokenkamp, Bernard Faure, John Kieschnick, Victor H. Mair, John R. McRae, Christine Mollier, Meir Shahar, Robert H. Sharf, Nobuyoshi Yamabe, Ye Derong, Shi Zhiru.

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