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Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (review)

Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (review) BOOK REVIEWS 299 ASIAN RELIGIONS IN AMERICA: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY. Edited by Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 416 pp. Although this book is not about interreligious dialogue per se, it makes several impor- tant contributions to it. Two of the necessities for successful interreligious dialogue are a knowledge of the religions of other cultures and an awareness of one’s own cul- ture’s past misinterpretations of these religions in order to guard against repeating them. This book helps accomplish both of these aims very well. First it helps to understand Asian religions as they are practiced in the United States. This book dis- cusses Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Chinese religions in America, and it includes selections on Jainism and Sikhism; (it excludes Islam as a monotheistic reli- gion with Middle Eastern roots). Second, the book adroitly catalogues the ways that Americans have misinterpreted Asian religions in the past. Its selections demonstrate that two of the worst errors that Americans commit in dealing with Asian religions is either romanticizing them as being all “spiritual,” and thus categorically different from the “worldly” West, or of ignoring their diversity. Anyone reading these selec- tions will be http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (review)

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 20 – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9472

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS 299 ASIAN RELIGIONS IN AMERICA: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY. Edited by Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 416 pp. Although this book is not about interreligious dialogue per se, it makes several impor- tant contributions to it. Two of the necessities for successful interreligious dialogue are a knowledge of the religions of other cultures and an awareness of one’s own cul- ture’s past misinterpretations of these religions in order to guard against repeating them. This book helps accomplish both of these aims very well. First it helps to understand Asian religions as they are practiced in the United States. This book dis- cusses Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Chinese religions in America, and it includes selections on Jainism and Sikhism; (it excludes Islam as a monotheistic reli- gion with Middle Eastern roots). Second, the book adroitly catalogues the ways that Americans have misinterpreted Asian religions in the past. Its selections demonstrate that two of the worst errors that Americans commit in dealing with Asian religions is either romanticizing them as being all “spiritual,” and thus categorically different from the “worldly” West, or of ignoring their diversity. Anyone reading these selec- tions will be

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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