The Bible and Asia: From the Pre-Christian Era to the Postcolonial Age

R. S. Sugirtharajah. Harvard Univ., $29.95 (299p) ISBN 978-0-674-04907-9
The Bible’s influence in the Western world has been endlessly documented. Rather than continuing in this vein, Sugirtharajah, an emeritus professor of biblical studies, instead focuses on how the Bible has been a beacon of colonial and post-colonial exegesis and how it has been utilized for religious and political motives in Asia. He concentrates mainly on South and East Asia, introducing such historical figures as Indian Christian and independence advocate J.C. Kumarappa, and Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist Anagarika Dharmapala. At the core of the text are the intimate and fragile relationships between the colonized and the colonizers, the religious and the secular, and the native and foreign elements of culture. In arguing that Asia has a tradition of multiple textual authorities, Sugirtharajah proposes that “the task... [is] to help Asia move toward a postscriptural society liberated from the monopolistic claim of any particular sacred scripture.” Though the book stutters to a rough start with somewhat unconvincing arguments on how the Bible borrowed stories and spiritual concepts from Asia, the remainder is a fascinating and illuminating survey that deserves further attention. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 313 pages - 978-0-674-72646-8
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