Murōji: Rearranging Art and History at a Japanese Buddhist Temple – Sherry D. Fowler

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  • 210 / Religious Studies Review Volume 32 Number 3 / July 2006

    ritual place), to major citywide events like theSakae festival, offer people culturally signifi-cant ways of constructing meaning and power.Kawano provides a wealth of evidence that thisis, in fact, the case. What is less successful isher theoretical perspective. When she tries toexplain how rituals have the power to produceengaging moments of personal significance,she is far from clear about how they preserve aspiritual way of experiencing the world thatis somehow different from secularism. Per-haps her problem lies in these terms, sofreighted with Western baggage that they get inthe way of understanding her larger pointshow Japanese religiosity is somehow distinc-tive in its practices and how it has persisteddespite the dramatic changes of modernity,albeit in dynamically new guises.

    Mark MacWilliamsSt. Lawrence University

    THE OTHER SIDE OF ZEN: A SOCIALHISTORY OF ST ZEN BUDDHISM INTOKUGAWA JAPAN. By Duncan RykenWilliams. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UniversityPress, 2005. Pp. 296 + illus. $49.50, ISBN 978-0-691-11928-1.

    This concise but detailed social history ofthe St Zen is significant because it refocusesscholarly attention, which has dwelled exces-sively on the writings of the sects founderDgen and his sects important role in thedevelopment of the new Buddhism of theKamakura period. But why did the sect, bythe early eighteenth century, become the largestschool of Buddhism in Japan? Williams sets outto explore some of the reasons for its exponen-tial growth during this period. He argues that tounderstand this, we must abandon the conven-tional view that what made Zen popular was itsintriguing philosophy, its emphasis on medita-tion, and its key role in the arts and aestheticsof Japanese high culture. Rather, what is impor-tant to study is the social role played by Bud-dhist temples in the ordinary laypersons lifein the premodern period. What follows arechapters that are exquisitely drawn miniaturesthat intricately illustrate that role in the parish-ioners household, funerary rituals, medicineand faith healing, and so on. It is a fascinatingstudy of the other side of Zen that detailsthe ambiguous world of multiple meaningsand practices making up popular religiositynot only in the Tokugawa period, but today, asseen, for example, in I. Reader and G. TanabesPractically Religious: Worldly Benefits and theCommon Religion of Japan (1998). Williamssbook is an essential reading both for under-standing how St Zen intersected with popularreligiosity in the Tokugawa period and as apropaedeutic for understanding how divorcedthe contemporary ideological construct of Zenas the essence of Japanese high culture isfrom Zen temple Buddhism.

    Mark MacWilliamsSt. Lawrence University

    THE TAOIST CANON: A HISTORICALCOMPANION TO THE DAOZANG. Editedby Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verellen.Volume 1. Chicago: University of ChicagoPress, 2004. Volume 1. Pp. xxii + 630; illustra-tions. Volume 2. Pp. xiv + 631-1254; illustra-tions. Volume 3. Pp. x + 1255-1644. $175.00,ISBN (the set) 0-226-73817-5.

    This long-anticipated companion to theDaoist canon is an indispensable resource forscholars in Asian Studies. Well-written descrip-tive entries on individual texts are classifiedchronologically and typologically. Volume 1,Antiquity through the Middle Ages, is dividedinto parts 1 and 2 and consists of a generalintroduction. Volume 2, consisting of part 3, istitled The Modern Period. Volume 3 consistsof helpful biographical notices on the compilersof Daoist texts, a bibliography, and indexes.The introduction covers the history of differentversions of the Taoist Canon prior to the MingDynasty, gives an overview of the Ming Canon,and introduces the Tao-tsang Project from itsgenesis in 1976 to the publication of this work.Part 1 covers the period from the Eastern Zhouto the Six Dynasties, part 2 covers the Sui,Tang, and Five Dynasties, and part 3 covers theSong, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties. Each partis divided into two main sections, Texts inGeneral Circulation and Texts in InternalCirculation, and these are further subdividedinto detailed typological subsections. The fiveindexes at the end of volume 3 are: 1) classifiedtitle, 2) work number, 3) Pinyin title, 4) findinglist for other Daozang editions, and 5) general.

    Wendi AdamekBarnard College

    BuddhismTANTRIC REVISIONINGS: NEWUNDERSTANDINGS OF TIBETAN BUD-DHISM AND INDIAN RELIGION. ByGeoffrey Samuel. Delhi: Motilal Banardidass,2005. Pp. 384. Rs. 495.00, ISBN 978-0-7546-5280-9.

    This volume contains fifteen essays by Sam-uel, one of the most respected scholars in thefield of Buddhist Tantra. Five of the essays arenew, and ten have been previously published.Three of the new essays comprise of a sectionat the end of the book on the diaspora of TibetanBuddhism. This is a topic that Samuel toucheson in several of his early essays, but in thesethree articles, he examines the global networksof Tibetan Buddhism, lineage affiliations in thediaspora, and reasons why Tibetan Buddhismis popular. He rejects H. Urbans dismissiveattitude toward the westernization of TibetanBuddhism as just another moment of modernspiritual consumerism, seeing instead a realengagement with the nature of selfhood andvarious technologies of the self, citing Fou-cault. These chapters are recommended for the

    increasing number of courses taught on theWesternization of Asian religions. Samuel haslong been interested in the relationship of Bud-dhism and Tantra with folk religion. Whilemany recent studies (e.g., R. Davidsons IndianEsoteric Buddhism [2002]) have gone beyondSamuels, many of his articles remain valuable,including very good essays on The Indus ValleyCivilization and Early Tibet (2000) and Gesarof gLing: The Origins and Meanings of the EastTibetan Epic (1991). In his introduction, Sam-uel, like many others, backs away from callingTibetan lamas shamans. This is especially note-worthy, given that Samuels best-known workis titled Civilized Shamans (1993). MotilalBanarsidass is to be thanked for putting allthese articles together in one volume.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    HIMALAYAN HERMITESS: THE LIFEOF A TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUN. ByKurtis R. Schaeffer. New York, Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2004. Pp. 232. $22.00, ISBN:0-19-515299-9.

    This is the story of O. Chokyi (1675-1729),the first Tibetan woman to write a spiritualautobiography. Although biography and autobi-ography are important genres in Tibetan Bud-dhism, this is the first one written by a woman.Schaeffer provides statistics that bear this out:from the 8th to the 20th centuries, we know ofperhaps 2,000 Buddhist biographies from theTibetan cultural area. Among these are approx-imately 150 autobiographies, and among theseonly three of four are by women. Chokyi wasfrom Dolpo in the Nepal Himalayas, and shetraveled throughout the region, including theKathmandu valley. The autogiography, Schaef-fer notes, is closer to an autohagiography inwhich the author mixes events of her life withBuddhist teachings. Schaeffer divides the bookinto two parts. The first is a description of thegenre, the place of women within it, and thegender and doctrinal issues at stake in both thegenre and the life of Chokyi. The second partis a translation of the text. How, we wonder, dida village girl who herded goats and horses, andworked in a kitchen, become literate? After achildhood of suffering and hard work, sheseems to have had a near-death experience inwhich she was visited (possessed? Schaefferdoes not comment) by a 5kin7 or an accom-plished female Buddhist spirit. After this visi-tation, she was suddenly able to read and write.At length, she took monastic vows and becamea Buddhist exemplar. Schaeffer is to be thankedfor writing an excellent book that deserves aplace in a variety of classes on Buddhism andAsian religions.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    THE INNER K::::LACAKRATANTRA: ABUDDHIST TANTRIC VIEW OF THEINDIVIDUAL. By Vesna A. Wallace. New

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    York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.Pp. 273. $65.00, ISBN 0-19-512211-9.

    This excellent book takes on one of the mostdifficult, syncretistic, and interesting of theIndian Tantric texts, the K/lacakra (Wheel ofTime) Tantra (KT). This is the latest of thegreat Indian Buddhist Tantras, dating to theearly eleventh century. It is said to be anabridged version by Majurr7 Yaras of a muchlonger but now lost work, the Param/dibuddha-tantra. The study of the KT must be accompa-nied by a study of its principal commentary, theVimalaprabh5, by Kalkin Pu ar7ka, who livedone generation after Majurr7 Yaras. The sec-ond chapter of the KT deals with the nature ofthe individual. Wallace divides the material inthis chapter into four parts: 1) the cosmic body,2) the social body, 3) the gnostic body, and 4)the transformative body. Each one of thesebodies is a universe unto itself, a ma alathat functions in coordination with the others.The cosmic body is conceived as a geographi-cal universe in which the parts of the individualare homologized with the parts of the universe.The social body is a fascinating reinscription ofNorth India in the early eleventh century,including a depiction of Muslimsrare amongIndic texts. The gnostic body (j/nak/ya)describes the four bodies of the Buddha asaspects of enlightenment. The transformativebody is the initiated body, a stepwise processthat is lucidly articulated. This illuminating vol-ume is helped by a large number of charts andshould be accessible to graduate students. Itshould also be on the shelf of every Buddhistscholar.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    THE K::::LACAKRATANTRA: THE CHAP-TER ON THE INDIVIDUAL TOGETHERWITH THE VIMALAPRABH::::. By VesnaA. Wallace. New York: American Institute ofBuddhist Studies, Columbia University, 2004.Pp. 398. $49.00, ISBN 0-9753734-1-2.

    In this excellent follow-up to her earlierstudy, The Inner K/lacakra (OUP, 2001), Wal-lace presents a translation of the second chapterof the K/lacakra (Wheel of Time) Tantra(KT), one of the most difficult and interestingof Indian tantric texts, and the Vimalaprabh/commentary on this chapter. The translation isfrom Sanskrit, though the Tibetan and Mongo-lian versions of both text and commentary werealso used. Wallace has also given us here acritical edition of the Mongolian text (174verses, thus demonstrating a rare virtuosity inlanguages of the Buddhist canon) and a numberof appendices to help guide the reader throughthe text. This chapter of the KT is highly eclec-tic in its views and contains a strong infusionof tantric physiological principles, b+ja man-tras, attentiveness to astrological time units, andsonic descriptions of creation and dissolution.The author also demonstrates a command ofayurvedic pharmacopeia, which he uses to sup-

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    port the tantric medicine discussed in the text.Many translations of philosophical or religioustexts are not to be read straight through. Butthis one should be read, or at least be addressed,sequentially. The translation is always lucidand free of unnecessary jargon and is thereforeaccessible to graduate students. This importantvolume belongs in research libraries, but it isalso affordable for Buddhist scholars.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    THE MAH::::-VAIROCANA-ABHISA BO-DHI TANTRA WITH BUDDHAGUHYASCOMMENTARY. Translated by StephenHodge. London, New York: RoutledgeCurzon,2003. Pp. 572. $112.65, ISBN 0-7007-1183-X.

    Hodge has performed a great service toBuddhist studies with this translation of a majorTantra composed in Northeastern India in San-skrit around the middle of the seventh century(this version is now lost) and translated intoTibetan and Chinese within about seventy-fiveyears. Thus, it is these versions that Hodge hastranslated, along with extracts from Buddhagu-hyas commentary. The text is quite long, andHodge explains in his introduction that it isprobably a patchwork of texts. As a Tantra, theMah/-Vairocana-Abhisa bodhi Tantra (MVT)deals not only with the Mah5y5na doctrine suchas sam/dhi without perceptual forms and thetraining of a bodhisattva, but also with an arrayof tantric material including forms of medita-tive practice, some of which unashamedly arefor the purpose of mundane accomplishments,others for attaining perfect enlightenment;mandalas, m!dras, mantras, and dh/ra +s to beused in creating internal images or construc-tions of Buddhas and other deities; speculationson the power of speech, especially the soundsof the Sanskrit alphabet; a spiritual physiologycommon to other Tantras; a number of otherrituals including fire offerings (homa); anddescriptions of Buddha realms. Though theMVT is a comprehensive presentation of Bud-dhist Tantra, Hodge is careful to point out thatit is not exhaustive. A glossary is included, butno index. This is a work of great linguistic andscholarly acumen that should find its way intoresearch libraries. As a translation, it is unfail-ingly lucid and will be utilized profitably bygraduate students and established Buddhistscholars.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    THE SOCIOLOGY OF EARLY BUD-DHISM. By Greg Bailey and Ian Mabbett.New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.Pp x + 294. $65.00, ISBN 978-0-521-02521-8.

    This study of early Buddhist asceticism inthe context of socioeconomic change in North-ern India explores the role of the Buddhistmonk as a mediator helping to negotiate cul-tural transitions during a period of economicexpansion. Many of the basic themes are mod-

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    eled after P. Browns studies of Christian ascet-ics in late antiquity. The introductory chapterchallenges earlier studies that focused on Bud-dhism as an anodyne for social ills and suggestsinstead that it be seen as a response to socialopportunity. In Part 1, Context, Chapter 2surveys categories of social elites in a Weberianmanner, Chapter 3 examines the social role ofthe Buddhist Sa=gha in a diversifying economy,Chapter 4 takes up urbanization and aspects ofBuddhism that provide legitimation for stateformation, Chapter 5 discusses competitionwith Brahmins, and Chapter 6 concerns specu-lative ideas about folk religion. In Part 2,Mediation, Chapters 7-10 develop the themeof the Buddhist monk as a social mediator,Chapter 11 is a sociological analysis of almsmeals, and the concluding chapter reiterates theview of early Buddhism as a response to posi-tive social change. Many important topics areraised, but the quality of the analysis is uneven,and the book would have benefited from furtherediting to minimize repetition and to betterintegrate theoretical chapters with chaptersfocused on examples from early Buddhistliterature.

    Wendi AdamekBarnard College

    MURAAAAJI: REARRANGING ART ANDHISTORY AT A JAPANESE BUDDHISTTEMPLE. By Sherry D. Fowler. Honolulu:University of Hawaii Press, 2005. Pp. xiv +293; plates. $55.00, ISBN 0-8248-2792-9.

    Mur8ji is a famous temple dating back tothe eighth century that sits in a mountain settingabout fifteen miles southeast of Nara. With thisbook, Fowler contributes to the numerous stud-ies of Mur8ji by illustrating the plurality ofreligious practice, shifting identities [of icons],and sectarian competition at the temple.Fowler shows that before it became an officialShingon temple in 1700, Mur8ji was first a siteassociated with a dragon king deity and hadclose ties to K8fukuji, a Hoss8 temple. Fowlersdetailed analysis shows that Mur8jis architec-ture and art have not been the static entities thatthey are often presented and perceived to be.Fowler points out, for example, how the mainimage in the Golden Hall became identified asShaka after long being regarded as an image ofYakushi. Most provocatively, Fowler arguesthat in the seventeenth century, the GoldenHalls icons were arranged to correspond withKasuga Shrines kami. Fowlers insights basedon many primary sources make her book amust-read for students of Japanese Buddhistart, who will certainly appreciate the booksseventy-nine illustrations and thirteen colorplates. For historians of religion in Japan, thebook indicates how a temples material cultureand its interpretations can be much moredynamic than what the official, present-daydocuments suggest.

    Clark ChilsonUniversity of Pittsburgh

  • 212 / Religious Studies Review Volume 32 Number 3 / July 2006

    DREAMING THE GREAT BRAHMIN:TIBETAN TRADITIONS OF THE BUD-DHIST POET-SAINT SARAHA. By KurtisR. Schaeffer. Oxford, New York: Oxford Uni-versity Press, 2005. Pp. xi + 227. $49.95, ISBN0-19-517373-2.

    Saraha was a poet, a Brahmin it seems,though a Buddhist, who wrote in Apabhra rasometime in the latter centuries of the first mil-lennium CE, probably in Eastern India. His lifeis enshrouded in legend. He wrote doh/s, cou-plets designed to draw his disciples toward astate of enlightenment through their evocativepower rather than through argument. A multi-tude of hagiographies grew around him, as dida number of versions of his Doh/ko a or Trea-sury of Doh/ Verses. Schaeffers task in thisbook is, first, to study the literary traditions(and transmissions) of Saraha, thus sheddinglight on the dynamics of Buddhist sainthood inIndia, Tibet, Nepal, and Mongolia where thesetraditions abide. Second, Schaeffer translates aTibetan version of the Treasury of Doh/ Verses,along with a thirteenth-century commentary bythe Tibetan scholar Chomden Raldri. The trans-lation reads well, and the commentary providesglosses on the words of the doh/s. Though inmost cases, it must be said, the commentarydoes not shed much additional light on theverses, Schaeffers lucid rendering will demon-strate to those who are not acquainted withSanskrit or other related commentaries therhetorical strategies of this genre. This volumewill be very good in classes on religious biog-raphy because it provides great insight into thehagiographic process. It also well demonstratessome of the dynamics in the dissemination ofBuddhism through narrative rather than doctri-nal means. It will therefore work well in upper-level courses on Buddhism.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    SPIRIT-MEDIUMS, SACRED MOUN-TAINS AND RELATED BON TEXTUALTRADITIONS IN UPPER TIBET: CALL-ING DOWN THE GODS. By John VincentBellezza. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Pp. xv + 532.$227.00, ISBN 90-04-14388-2.

    Bellezza is an archaeologist, an ethnogra-pher, and a Tibetologist who has spent severalyears in Northern Tibet, regions unseen andunstudied by most Tibetologists and Buddhistscholars. His book is the result of peregrina-tions among the mostly Bon practitioners inthese regions. Bellezza has discovered a net-work of spirit mediums who are remnants ofa once extensive and wholly oral tradition.Though he is reluctant to call them shamans,their description is largely consistent with thatof shamanistic practitioners in Central andNorthern Asia. Among their primary hereditaryduties are the performance of healing rituals,exorcisms, and granting of boons. Though theyare increasingly marginalized in the Commu-nist period, they retain a sense of the natural

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    world and an ecological balance that is on theverge of extinction. This volume contains abrief comparison of spirit mediumship in vari-ous parts of Central Asia, ethnographies of fif-teen of the twenty surviving mediums thatBellezza was able to locate, lengthy descrip-tions drawn from Bon texts of mountain andlake deities that largely serve as the possessingdeities for the mediums, and extracts fromTibetan Bon texts that describe mediumshipand their paraphernalia. Though he fails toengage modern anthropological and religiousstudies interpretative theory, the unique ethno-graphic and textual material he presents hererenders this a sourcebook that will be of greatvalue to scholars interested in shamanism, deitypossession, and Bon practice in hitherto unac-cessible areas of Tibet, and to Buddhologistswho wish to study the interactions of Buddhismwith Pre-Buddhistic practice in Tibet.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    HAUNTING THE BUDDHA: INDIANPOPULAR RELIGIONS AND THE FOR-MATION OF BUDDHISM. By RobertDeCaroli. New York: Oxford University Press,2004. Pp. 230. $55.00, ISBN 0-19-516838-0.

    This intriguing book proposes that one ofthe reasons that Buddhism gained popularity inIndia, after the royal patronage that propelled itinto prominence in the centuries followingAshoka collapsed, was the connection it forgedto the local populace by building a reputationfor subduing and converting bothersome spirit-deities to Buddhism. DeCarolis source mate-rial consists of texts and, equally prominently,Buddhist sculpture. This volume continues atrend in Buddhist studies, highlighted by thework of G. Schopen (one of DeCarolis teach-ers at University of Califorina, Los Angeles,where this was initially a Ph.D. dissertation), tolook beyond the moral and philosophical sys-tematics that dominated Buddhist studies for acentury and a half toward the material cultureof Buddhism, a project that provides a muchneeded and more accurate depiction of Bud-dhism as a multidimensional religion. Beyondthe immediate confines of DeCarolis project,this volume sheds light on the deep historicalprecedents of the conversion of negative spiritsinto positive ones in both Buddhism and Hin-duism, an activity that is fairly widespreadtoday in the popular religious cultures of India,Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. While it is clearthat DeCarolis skills as an art historian aresuperior to his philological skills, this is never-theless a well-balanced account of a unique for-mation in the history of Buddhism. Thiswelcome and accessible volume should find aplace in an array of courses on Buddhism.

    Frederick M. SmithUniversity of Iowa

    D::::NA: GIVING AND GETTING IN PALIBUDDHISM. By Ellison Banks Findly. Bud-

    dhist Tradition Series. Volume 52. Delhi: Moti-lal Banarsidass, 2003. Pp xvi + 432. Rs. 495.00,ISBN 81-208-1956-X.

    This well-written and well-organized studyof donation (d/na) in early Buddhist literaturewould be appropriate for graduate courses onearly Buddhism or anthropology courses ongift-giving practices. Sensitive to sociologicalissues and providing a sophisticated level ofcultural analysis, this work is also thoroughlygrounded in close readings of Buddhist litera-ture and includes good coverage of relevantsecondary literature. The introduction raiseskey themes: 1) the emerging wealthy house-holder class; 2) the mediating role of the monk;3) the tension between renunciation and depen-dence; and 4) donation as a means of develop-ing social capital for the donor. Chapter 1provides a nuanced view of the relationshipbetween a period of economic expansion andthe formation of Buddhist values. Chapter 2analyzes the social and gender roles of donors,chapter 3 examines donated objects and theirsignificance, Chapters 4 and 5 discuss prescrip-tive views of donation as regards the donor andthe recipient. Chapter 6 turns to the importanttopic of merit making. Chapter 7 is a fascinat-ing discussion of Buddhist attitudes towardproperty. Chapter 8 dissects vinaya and s!traliterature to shed light on monastic strategies,and Chapter 9 focuses on the figure of :nandaas a paradigmatic facilitator in negotiatingthe lay-ordained relationship. Brief finalthoughts give a sketch of the general featuresof the d/na system in early Buddhism.

    Wendi AdamekBarnard College

    ZEN BUDDHISM: A HISTORY (INDIAAND CHINA). By Heinrich Dumoulin. Trans-lated by James Heisig and Paul Knitter. Volume1. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2005.Pp. 440. $26.95, ISBN 0-941532-89-5.ZEN BUDDHISM: A HISTORY (JAPAN).By Heinrich Dumoulin. Translated by JamesHeisig and Paul Knitter. Volume 2. Blooming-ton, IN: World Wisdom, 2005. Pp. 520. $28.95,ISBN 0-941532-90-9.

    The decision to reprint Dumoulins classicstudy of Zen history, according to one of theoriginal translators, J. Heisig, was not an easyone to make. As a friend of mine said, Imnot sure what that tells us about the state of Zenstudies in the West, but good luck with yourreview! The problem lies, as Heisig warns us,in the explosion of Western scholarly work onZen from the moment it appeared in Englishtranslation in 1988 that made Dumoulins studyvulnerable to criticism. The problem was notonly that it soon became dated after its publi-cation but also that the entire methodologicalunderpinnings to Dumoulins approach to hishistory came under a hermeneutics of suspicionby B. Faure, J. McCrae, and others among anew generation of Zen scholars. So why readit, let alone review it? The new edition is valu-

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    able because of the fascinating introductions byMcRae and V. Hori. For his part, McRae seesit as an excellent reference work, althoughgiven the advances in the field, states that itshould not be read as an authoritative history.Horis introduction, by contrast, is more sym-pathetic, arguing that critics who see Dumoulinas a nave historian who let himself bebeguiled by Zen into promoting its deceptiveself image fail to appreciate that Dumoulintold the history of Zen from the insiders pointof view. The remainder of Horis essay is aspirited attack of McRaes critique of Dumou-lins romanticized image of Zen. What bothintroductions do is to place the current contro-versy over the history of the field, methodolog-ical approaches, the insider/outsider problem,etc. before the reader for critical reflection. Theresult is a perfect framework for assessing notonly the strengths and weaknesses of Dumou-lins book, but also the current state of the fieldof Zen studies.

    Mark MacWilliamsSt. Lawrence University

    Australia and the Pacific

    BLOOD, BONES AND SPIRIT. By HeatherMcDonald. Melbourne, Australia: MelbourneUniversity Press, 2002. Pp. xvi + 238; maps,plates. $49.95, ISBN 0-522-84981-4.

    In Blood, Bones and Spirit, McDonald, anurse turned anthropologist who identifiesherself as post-Christian, examines the impactof Christianity on the aboriginal community inHalls Creek, a small town in the East Kimber-ley region of West Australia where about one-

    quarter of the aboriginal population is Chris-tian. Three versions of Christianity (UnitedAborigines Mission, Roman Catholic, andAssemblies of God) are represented in the com-munity. The book is strongest when it describesthe culture and religion of the aboriginal peopleof Halls Creek presenting their engagementwith Christianity as built upon indigenousunderstandings and upon a need for meaning inthe wake of the havoc that colonization wroughtin aboriginal communities. McDonald under-stands Western Christianity as a HellenisticMediterranean religion of displaced persons.She argues that Australian aborigines are, sim-ilarly, displacedfrom land and from commu-nitiesand that Christianity appeals to some ofthem because of its promise of the restorationof relationships. She investigates how aborigi-nal Christians integrate indigenous and Chris-tian concepts to create a new cosmology. Forinstance, she shows how understandings of theLords Supper are combined with indigenousideas concerning mortuary cannibalism. Shetells us that In East Kimberley, when Aborig-inal people still controlled their own funeraryarrangements, the flesh and bones of the potentdead were used to heal and strengthen the bod-ies of the living. Today, consuming the bodyand blood of Jesus is understood as a healingand strengthening ritual. This book, suitable forboth undergraduate and graduate students, willbe of value to those who study the appropria-tion of Christianity across cultures and to thoseinterested in contemporary aboriginal religion.

    Mary N. MacDonaldLe Moyne College

    A HISTORY OF THE CHURCHES INAUSTRALASIA. By Ian Breward. Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2002. Pp. xxii + 474;maps, glossary. Cloth, $145.00, ISBN 978-0-

    19-826356-2; paper, N.p., ISBN 978-0-19-927592-2.

    Part of the Oxford History of the ChristianChurch series, Brewards one-volume survey ofChristianity in Australia, New Zealand, and thePacific Islands is arranged chronologically. Itprovides an overview of the development andinfluence of the churches, showing that theCaucasian Christianity brought to Oceaniahas been modified by indigenous experienceand local challenges. In chapter 1, Brewarddescribes early missionaries and their encoun-ter with indigenous traditions. Chapter 2 nar-rates the expansion of the churches from the1830s to the 1870s. Chapter 3 explores attemptsfrom the 1850s to the 1880s to create societieswhich were Christian in law, ethos, and priori-ties. Chapter 4 focuses on changes in worship,the role of women, and the impact of liberalideas, from the 1880s to the end of WorldWar I. Chapter 5 examines responses of thechurches to the wars and the Great Depressionand discusses urban growth and socialism.Chapter 6 examines major changes between1960 and 1980 including critiques of capital-ism, responses to racism, ecumenical endeav-ors, the impact of Vatican II, and the growth ofevangelicalism and Pentecostalism. Chapter 7surveys the last three decades of the twentiethcentury, discussing the dialogue with science,new styles of worship, theological develop-ments, the liberal decline, and the role of Chris-tianity in politics. A History of the Churchesin Australasia is a valuable contribution tothe Oxford series. Breward demonstrates that,while Australasian Christianity has beenheavily influenced by Europe and North Amer-ica, it has taken on denominational and regionalforms shaped by its own experience.

    Mary N. MacDonaldLe Moyne College