Buddhists Talk about Jesus, Christians Talk about the Buddha

Rita M. Gross, Editor, Terry C. Muck, Editor Continuum $24.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8264-1196-9
Reminiscent of Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan's The Raft Is Not the Shore, this book brings together six Buddhists and six Christians for an interfaith conversation. Unlike that book, however, this one is eminently predictable, given the participants in the discussion: Buddhists chafe at declarations of Christian particularity, and the Christian interlocutors respond with eager disavowals of the traditional Christian claims about Jesus' uniqueness. They assert that ""exclusivist"" claims put forth by some Christians are not ""intrinsic or necessary to Christianity""--which will come as no surprise once the reader notices that the first two Christian contributors are Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. Had, say, Tom Bethel, Jan Karon, Frederica Mathewes-Green, or even Anne Lamott been invited to participate, the discussion might have gone a different route. As it stands, the book teaches us very little: we already knew Buddhists would be uncomfortable with assertions about Jesus being the only way, and we already knew that left-leaning Christians would rush to erase such assertions. This is fine as far as it goes, but many orthodox Christians will not find the tenor of the volume congenial. One is left wondering if there are no other Christian responses to the challenges of religious pluralism. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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