The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts, by Meir Shahar, charts, for the first time in any language, the history of the Shaolin Temple and the evolution of its world-renowned martial arts. In this meticulously researched and eminently readable study, Shahar considers the economic, political, and religious factors that led Shaolin monks to disregard the Buddhist prohibition against violence and instead create fighting techniques that by the twenty-first century have spread throughout the world. He examines the monks’ relations with successive Chinese regimes, beginning with the assistance they lent to the seventh-century Emperor Li Shimin and culminating more than a millennium later with their complex relations with Qing rulers, who suspected them of rebellion. He reveals the intimate connection between monastic violence and the veneration of the violent divinities of Buddhism and analyzes the Shaolin association of martial discipline and the search for spiritual enlightenment.
“Written in clear and lucid style and ambitious both in scope and methodology, this book offers a fascinating window into Chinese culture, religion, and history. Ranging from historical and ethnographic documents to a wide variety of literary sources, it weaves them all into a compelling narrative. In this fashion, Shahar is uniquely able to bring together social, historical, and mythological elements, providing a demythologized account of martial Chinese traditions such as Shaolin Boxing. This is sinology at its best.”—Bernard Faure, Columbia University
January 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3110-3 / $54.00 (CLOTH)
In Buddhism and Taoism Face to Face: Scripture, Ritual, and Iconographic Exchange in Medieval China, Christine Mollier reveals previously unexplored dimensions of the interaction between Buddhism and Taoism in medieval China. While scholars of Chinese religions have long recognized the mutual influences linking the two traditions, Mollier here brings to light their intense contest for hegemony in the domains of scripture and ritual. Drawing on a far-reaching investigation of canonical texts, together with manuscript sources from Dunhuang and the monastic libraries of Japan—many of them studied here for the first time—she demonstrates the competition and complementarity of the two great Chinese religions in their quest to address personal and collective fears of diverse ills, including sorcery, famine, and untimely death.
“This book exemplifies the best sort of work being done on Chinese religions today. Christine Mollier expertly draws not only on published canonical sources but also on manuscript and visual material, as well as worldwide modern scholarship, to give us the most sophisticated book-length study yet produced on the textual relations between the Buddhist and Taoist traditions. She pushes past the tired, vague, and rather innocent-sounding trope of ‘influence’ to pinpoint much more complex—and fascinating—processes of textual repackaging, hybridization, adaptation, appropriation, reframing, pirating, remodeling, and transposing. Throughout, the urgent concerns of medieval Chinese people—life, health, protection, salvation—are sensitively and elegantly evoked. Anyone interested in Chinese religions, in the ways in which religious texts are formed, and in cross-religious interactions should want to read this book.”—Robert Ford Campany, University of Southern California
January 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3169-1 / $55.00 (CLOTH)
Remarkably little has been written on the subject of modernism in Japanese fiction. Until now there has been neither a comprehensive survey of Japanese modernist fiction nor an anthology of translations to provide a systematic introduction. Only recently have the terms “modernism” and “modernist” become part of the standard discourse in English on modern Japanese literature and doubts concerning their authenticity vis-a-vis Western European modernism remain. This anomaly is especially ironic in view of the decidedly modan prose crafted by such well-known Japanese writers as Kawabata Yasunari, Nagai Kafu, and Tanizaki Jun’ichiro. By contrast, scholars in the visual and fine arts, architecture, and poetry readily embraced modanizumu as a key concept for describing and analyzing Japanese culture in the 1920s and 1930s.
Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from Japan, 1913–1938, compiled and edited by William J. Tyler, addresses this discrepancy by presenting in translation for the first time a collection of twenty-five stories and novellas representative of Japanese authors who worked in the modernist idiom from 1913 to 1938.
“Be prepared to rethink the nature of modern Japanese literature; or better still, simply read these often wondrous tales, some tall, some short, one after the other, and enjoy a remarkable, liberating moment in Japanese literary history.” —J. Thomas Rimer, professor emeritus of Japanese literature, University of Pittsburgh
January 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3242-1 / $47.00 (CLOTH)
Fundamentals of Japanese Grammar: Comprehensive Acquisition, by Yuki Johnson, is an extensive and thorough explanation of crucial Japanese grammar in English and the culmination of years of teaching and research. Informed by the work of eminent linguist Susumu Kuno, it is designed for students who have studied basic Japanese grammar and wish to better organize their knowledge and expand it in greater depth and at a higher level. Its organization presents a holistic picture of Japanese grammar for the benefit of learners and is distinctive in that grammar items are reorganized in terms of specific grammatical categories, such as particles, te-form compounds, dictionary-form compounds, stem-form compounds, passive constructions, conditional sentences, and so forth. The author offers a thorough discussion of various pragmatic constraints illustrated with sample sentences, dialogues, and essays that aid in understanding the structure and use of the language from a cultural perspective.
January 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3176-9 / $32.00 (PAPER)
The Growth and Collapse of Pacific Island Societies: Archaeological and Demographic Perspectives, edited by Patrick V. Kirch and Jean-Louis Rallu, is now available in paperback.
“This collection is a seminal contribution to the longstanding concern with demographic levels and change before and following European contacts with Pacific Island societies. . . . The essays represent exemplary interdisciplinary meshings and, in developing a new level of technique for this research, remind readers of the excellence of the earlier work as well. . . . Undoubtably, this will be a basic reference in Pacific Islands scholarship. Highly recommended.” —Choice
January 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3148-6 / $35.00 (PAPER)
What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics?, by Tat-siong Benny Liew, is the first single-authored book on Asian American biblical interpretation. It covers all of the major genres within the New Testament and broadens biblical hermeneutics to cover not only the biblical texts, but also Asian American literature and current films and events like genome research and September 11.
“Liew is one of the most articulate, creative and sophisticated biblical scholars in North America. What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics? has not caused me to question that judgment. A set of provocative questions, arguments, issues, and problems, the book opens a window onto what it means for human beings to try to negotiate a rather complex contemporary world, with evidence of increasingly blurred but also thick ideological and social-cultural boundaries and overlapping but also recognizable and isolable identity formations. That Liew does this by using and bringing together the category “Asian American” and the phenomenon of the reading of “the Bible” as sharp analytical wedge is all the more fascinating. This impressive book represents the collapse of the center and a major shift in orientation to the peripheries. It is a major achievement and a major challenge.” —Vincent L. Wimbush, Claremont Graduate University
What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics? is the latest volume in the series Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Cultural Studies published by University of Hawai‘i Press.
January 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3162-2 / $35.00 (PAPER)