- The Annual Meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies:San Francisco, California, USA, 19-22 November 2011
The SBCS is one of thirty-two scholarly societies formally recognized by the American Academy of Religion as "Related Scholarly Organizations." The pattern for many years has been for the SBCS to hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the annual meeting of the AAR. On the Friday before the AAR's annual meeting begins, the board meets in the morning and early afternoon, followed by an AAR-advertised session late that afternoon and then a field trip that evening. On Saturday, another paper session or panel is followed by the Society's annual members' meeting.
Friday afternoon's 4:00-6:30 session, titled "Constructing Buddhist Identities in the West," was standing room only. The four papers presented at that panel are included in this volume.
On Saturday morning, then SBCS president Miriam Levering presided at a well-attended session from 9:00 to 11:30. The topic was "Christian Readings of Buddhist Texts." Catherine Cornille (Boston College), editor of the Christian Commentaries on Non-Christian Sacred Texts series, gave the first presentation, titled "Reading the Religious Other." She discussed the origin and nature of the series and gave examples of the methodologies used in various volumes they had published. Francis X. Clooney (Harvard University) presented "Reading Inter-religiously as a Theologically Necessary Act." Insisting that "reading well has a lot of common factors whether or not a text is from one's own or another tradition," he noted that "saying you read both the same doesn't mean you put them on same doctrinal level. . . . We defer the apologetics not just to be polite, but because there are many other things to do first." Leo Lefebure (Georgetown University) spoke about "Reading the Dhammapada" in light of his work with Peter Feldmeier in writing The Path of Wisdom: A Christian Commentary on the Dhammapada, published within the Christian Commentaries on Non-Christian Sacred Texts series. The volume was the winner of this year's Frederick J. Streng Book Award, which was presented by Amos Yong (Regent University). Lefebure pointed out that biblical wisdom literature and the Dhammapada both insist [End Page 129] that how we view the world largely shapes our happiness or unhappiness, and that both describe "decidedly unskillful and skillful ways to live."
Between the Saturday morning session and the members' meeting that followed, Karen Enriquez presented the graduate student award to Kyeongil Jung, a student of Paul Knitter's at Columbia University-Union Theological Seminary. He gave a brief synopsis of his award-winning paper, "A Buddhist-Christian Story of Peace and Justice," also included in this volume. [End Page 130]