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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Chinese Buddhism

The Unlikely Buddhologist: Tiantai Buddhism in Mou Zongsan's New Confucianism by Jason Clower (Modern Chinese Philosophy: Brill Academic) Mou Zongsan (1909-1995) was such a seminal, polymathic figure that scholars of Asian philosophy and religion will be absorbing his influence for at least a generation. Drawing on expertise in Confucian, Buddhist, Daoist, and modern Western thought, Mou built a system of "New Confucian" philosophy aimed at answering one of the great questions: "What is the relationship between value and being?" However, though Mou acknowledged that he derived his key concepts from Tiantai Buddhist philosophy, it remains unclear exactly how and why he did so. In response, this book investigates Mou's buddhological writings in the context of his larger corpus and explains how and why he incorporated Buddhist ideas selectively into his system. Written extremely accessibly, it provides a comprehensive unpacking of Mou's ideas about Buddhism, Confucianism, and metaphysics with the precision needed to make them available for critical appraisal. More

A Reader-Response Study and the Transformation of the Mou-tzu Li-huo Lun, translator, John P. Keenan (SUNY: State University of New York Press) Chinese Buddhist History, interpretations of sacred texts

This first translation of the earliest Chinese Buddhist text, does more than translate. It also shows in exemplary fashion how Mou-tzu's Treatise on Alleviating Doubt is an astute Buddhist hermeneutic on the Chinese classics. This translation explains the reader-response methodology as a style of dialogue that open up an inquiry rather than polarize and entrench it with a false assumption of objective meaning. As an historical method Keenan applies it to his translation and commentary, having us enter into the cultural assumptions of the Buddhist missionary and the classical Chinese response. This work is not only an important contribution to Buddhalogical studies of Chinese Buddhism but also a sublime demonstration of a major approach to the scientific reading of historic texts. Highly recommended.

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