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Brill's Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Volume 1

History, Literature, Society, Beyond Punjab

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Edited by Knut A. Jacobsen, Gurinder Mann, Kristina Myrvold and Eleanor Nesbitt

Sikhism is one of the most important religious traditions of South Asian origin. Sikhs are historically connected to the Punjab region in South Asia, but their religious traditions are transnational and have a worldwide presence. The study of their history and traditions has become a significant field of scholarship and research, but no academic, authoritative, and up-to-date reference work exists. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Sikhism aims to make available in-depth critical scholarship on all the main aspects of the Sikh traditions in a number of original essays written by the world's foremost scholars on Sikhs and Sikh traditions.
The encyclopedia is thematic and seeks to present a balanced and impartial view of the Sikh traditions in all their multiplicity and as both historical and contemporary institutions. The articles, published in two volumes, focus on history, literature, and the rich social landscape of the Sikh community; their practices, places, arts, and performances; specialists and leadership; migration both within South Asia and beyond; and contemporary issues and relations.



The Middle Kingdom and the Dharma Wheel

Aspects of the Relationship between the Buddhist Saṃgha and the State in Chinese History

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Edited by Thomas Jülch

The matter of saṃgha-state relations is of central importance to both the political and the religious history of China. The volume The Middle Kingdom and the Dharma Wheel brings together, for the first time, articles relating to this field covering a time span from the early Tang until the Qing dynasty. In order to portray also the remarkable thematic diversity of the field, each of the articles not only refers to a different time but also discusses a different aspect of the subject.
Contributors include: Chris Atwood, Chen Jinhua, Max Deeg, Barend ter Haar, Thomas Jülch, Albert Welter and Zhang Dewei.

Text, History, and Philosophy

Abhidharma across Buddhist Scholastic Traditions

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Edited by Bart Dessein and Weijen Teng

Text, History, and Philosophy. Abhidharma Across Buddhist Scholastic Traditions discusses Abhidhamma / Abhidharma as a specific exegetical method. In the first part of the volume, the development of the Buddhist argumentative technique is discussed. The second part investigates the importance of the Buddhist rational tradition for the development of Buddhist philosophy. The third part focuses on some peculiar doctrinal issues that resulted from rational Abhidharmic reflections. In this way, an outline of the development of the Abhidharma genre and of Abhidharmic notions and concepts in India, Central Asia, China, and Tibet from the life time of the historical Buddha to the tenth century CE is given.
Contributors are: Johannes Bronkhorst, Lance S. Cousins, Bart Dessein, Tamara Ditrich, Bhikkhu Kuala Lumpur Dhammajoti, Dylan Esler, Eric Greene, Goran Kardaš, Jowita Kramer, Chen-kuo Lin, Andrea Schlosser, Ingo Strauch, Weijen Teng and Yao-ming Tsai.

The Philosophy of Life

A New Reading of the Zhuangzi

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Guying Chen

Chen Guying, one of the leading scholars on Daoism in contemporary China, provides in his book The Philosophy of Life, A New Reading of the Zhuangzi a detailed analysis and a unique interpretation of Zhuangzi’s Inner, Outer and Miscellaneous chapters.
Unlike many other Chinese scholars Chen does not focus on a philological, but on a philosophical reading of the Zhuangzi highlighting the main topics of self-cultivation, aesthetics, and epistemology. Chen’s perspectives on the Zhuangzi range from the historical background of the Warring States Period to his own personal (political) experience. Since Chen is also a specialist on Nietzsche, he elaborates Zhuangzi’s philosophy of life and the idea of regulating one’s heart by drawing a parallel to Nietzsche’s perspectivism.

Lightning from the East

Heterodoxy and Christianity in Contemporary China

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Emily Dunn

The Church of Almighty God, also known as Eastern Lightning, teaches that Jesus Christ has returned to earth as a Chinese woman to judge humankind. The Chinese government has banned it and similar groups, and targeted them in its campaign against “cults” such as Falun Gong.

Based on the Church’s own texts and exogenous reports, Emily Dunn offers the first comprehensive account of what the Church of Almighty God teaches, how Chinese Christians and the government have responded to new religious movements related to Protestantism, and how it all fits with global Christianity and the history of Chinese religion.

The Myōtei Dialogues

A Japanese Christian Critique of Native Traditions

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James Baskind and Richard Bowring

The Myōtei Dialogues is the first complete English translation one of the most important works of early Japanese Christianity. Fukansai Habian’s Myōtei mondō (1605) presents a sharp critique of the three main Japanese traditions, Buddhism, Shintō, and Confucianism, followed by an explanation of the main tenets of Christianity specifically aimed at a Japanese audience. Written by a convert, it is of importance not merely because it shows us how the Christian message was presented by a Japanese to other Japanese, but also for what it reveals about the state of the three native traditions at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

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David Quinter

In From Outcasts to Emperors, David Quinter illuminates the Shingon Ritsu movement founded by the charismatic monk Eison (1201–90) at Saidaiji in Nara, Japan. The book’s focus on Eison and his disciples’ involvement in the cult of Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva reveals their innovative synthesis of Shingon esotericism, Buddhist discipline (Ritsu; Sk. vinaya), icon and temple construction, and social welfare activities as the cult embraced a spectrum of supporters, from outcasts to warrior and imperial rulers. In so doing, the book redresses typical portrayals of “Kamakura Buddhism” that cast Eison and other Nara Buddhist leaders merely as conservative reformers, rather than creative innovators, amid the dynamic religious and social changes of medieval Japan.

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Edited by Matthias Bley, Nikolas Jaspert and Stefan Köck

While comparative studies on purity and impurity presented in the last decades have mostly concentrated on the ancient world or on modern developments, this volume focusses the hitherto comparatively neglected period between ca. 300 and 1600 c. E. The collection is innovative because it not only combines papers on both European and Asian cultures but also considers a wide variety of religions and confessions. The articles are written by leading experts in the field and are presented in six systematic sections. This analytical categorization facilitates understanding the functional spectrum that the binomial purity and impurity could cover in past societies. The volume thus presents an in-depth comparative analysis of a category of paramount importance for interfaith relations and processes of transfer.

Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age in the Netherlands East Indies

A Biography of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822 – 1914)

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Nico J.G. Kaptein

In this biography Nico J.G. Kaptein studies the life and times of Sayyid ʿUthman (1822-1914), the most prominent Muslim scholar of his era in the Netherlands East Indies. During his long career, he provided guidance to the Muslim community and from 1889 onwards simultaneously served the colonial government as advisor for Muslim affairs after the famous C. Snouck Hurgronje had engaged him. Based on an analysis of his writings, Kaptein focuses on the question of how Sayyid ʿUthman viewed the place of Islam in the colonial state and the many reactions this provoked, both nationally and internationally, e.g. from the Cairo-based reformist Rashid Rida.

For an online exhibition on "Sayyid ʿUthman of Batavia (1822-1914): A Life in the Service of Islam and Colonial Rule" see:




When the Tsunami Came to Shore

Culture and Disaster in Japan

Edited by Roy Starrs

Edited by Roy Starrs, this collection of essays by an international group of leading experts on Japanese religion, anthropology, history, literature and music presents new research and thinking on the long and complex relationship between culture and disaster in Japan, one of the most “disaster-prone” countries in the world. Focusing first on responses to the triple disasters of March 2011, the book then puts the topic in a wider historical context by looking at responses to earlier disasters, both natural and man-made, including the great quakes of 1995 and 1923 and the atomic bombings of 1945. This wide-ranging “double structure” enables an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the issues involved that goes well beyond the clichés and the headlines.