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  • Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies Frederick J. Streng Book Award 2013
  • David Gardiner and Jonathan A. Seitz

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Rose Drew’s book Buddhist and Christian? An Exploration of Dual Belonging (Rout-ledge, 2011) is this year’s award winner. The book focuses on the question of how it might be possible for one to be authentically both a Buddhist and a Christian. Interviews with scholars who self-identify as practitioners in both traditions form the basis of the study. While the title and cover might suggest the book is aimed at a more popular audience, it is decidedly not, and it offers a bounteous feast for the scholarly audience as well.

Drew’s book is primarily theological, yet it contains many insightful psychological and sociological dimensions. Her account is fascinating, engaging, and brilliantly [End Page 187] articulate. She takes extensive pains to develop her theoretical framework, and her analyses are exceedingly detailed and subtle. The book is very relevant to thinking about practice on the ground, both for Christians leaning toward Buddhism and for those Buddhists who want to understand why there is Christian interest. I think what is so special about this volume is its deep relevance to both theory and practice. It offers theoretical aid from multiple dual belongers and from scholars who are not such, and it gives powerful foundations for thinking about, and even for feeling one’s way through, this rich realm. It also offers courage to people who are exploring dual Buddhist-Christian belonging, while at the same time providing abundant suggestions for thinking very carefully about how to discuss the general phenomenon itself. Considering the growing numbers of people who are entering this domain of faith/practice, I think this is a unique, stimulating, complex, and powerfully encouraging book on multiple levels. It is a great read for serious religious pluralists, whether merely thinkers or actual practitioners.

Rose Drew holds a PhD from Glasgow University (2008). She has long expressed passion about interfaith dialogue and cooperation, an interest first nurtured when she lived with a Hindu family in Nepal in 1998. Drew later took a BA in theology and philosophy at Bristol University and then an MA in interreligious relations at Birmingham University. Since receiving her PhD from Glasgow, she has held lecturing and research posts at Glasgow and Uppsala (Sweden) universities, focusing on inter-faith dialogue. She has worked actively in various capacities to promote interfaith dialog in Glasgow, and now manages a project for the UK charity Interfaith Glasgow (funded by the Scottish government) that supports and develops positive interfaith relations. [End Page 188]

David Gardiner on behalf of the SBCS Streng Committee