Textbook Buddhism: introductory books on the Buddhist religion
Textbooks on Buddhism comprise a large, varied genre and have long been used to introduce the religion to students in academic settings. This review essay examines ten textbooks on the subject, noting their distinctive features, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as the types of courses that are well suited to each work. Additional information from a survey on Buddhism textbooks conducted by the author is used to supplement our understanding of which sources are regularly used in Buddhism courses and why. Unresolved tensions over whether to stress the coherence or diversity of Buddhism, and how comprehensive a textbook should be, are noted. Arguing that ‘Textbook Buddhism,' as a product of scholarly imagination, is a distinctive form of the tradition, it behooves specialists to be more reflective about their use of textbooks and to be more intentional in helping students to read them critically.
Buddhism, textbooks, Buddhist studies, India
Berkwitz, Stephen C. "Textbook Buddhism: introductory books on the Buddhist religion." Religion 46, no. 2 (2016): 221-246.