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Buddhist Violence and Religious Authority

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This volume is a tribute to the work of Michael Jerryson, one of the initiators of the academic discourse on Buddhism and violence whose intellectual pursuits have resulted in a trailblazing shift in the academic study of Buddhism. Preconceived in the modern west as a pacific, chiefly meditative practice aiming for personal salvation and world peace, Buddhism has been exposed in the last few decades for its manifold legacy of violence. This is apparent not only in Buddhist groups' history of support for actual military aims, but in Buddhism's association with religious nationalism and in its more subtle expressions of discursive and structural violence. This exposure is due in significant part to Michael Jerryson who, in addition to exploring this perhaps surprising Buddhist history, has investigated the dynamism of Buddhist authority. Most recently in his critique of U Wirathu, the Burmese Buddhist monk whose advocacy of Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar has stirred a boiling pot of anti-Muslim resentments, Michael Jerryson has shown that reverence for Burmese religious authorities transcends respect for traditional Buddhist doctrine and monastic accomplishments. It emanates instead from the phenomenon of religious authority itself and from the cultural institutions which support it. His examinations have resulted in heightened sensitivity to the sociology of religious authority and violence.

The scholarly contributions in this volume include discussions of Buddhism and violence, religious authority and nationalism, whether Buddhist, Christian, white, or other.

Published: Jul 15, 2022

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
The Legacy of Michael Jerryson Margo Kitts, Mark Juergensmeyer
Part I: Buddhism and Violence
1. Introduction Stephen Jenkins
2. Dharma and its Discontents John M. Thompson
3. Buddhists and International Law Ben Schonthal
4. Exorcizing the Body Politic: The Question of Conversion at the Tibet-Mongol Interface Matthew King
5. De-Centering the Normative in the Introduction to Buddhism Class Nathan McGovern
6. But is it Buddhist? Blaze Marpet
7. Humanizing the Rohingya Beyond Victimization Grisel d'Elena
Part II: Religious Authority
8. Introduction: Religious Authority Matthew Walton
9. Contested Authority: Evangelicalism as a Cultural System Julie Ingersoll
10. Jerryson’s “Exposure of Buddhism” and the Legacy of Violence in U.S. War-Culture Kelly Denton-Borhaug
11. Making Authority from Apocalypse: Three Cases from Classical Islam Jamel Velji
12. Affect in the Archives: Violence and Authority in Late Ancient Apocalyptic Texts Abby Kulitsz
13. Religion, Authority Grammar: The Scholarly Legacy of Secular Concepts Andrew Atwell