January 13, 2011
A book written by an SMU Religious Studies professor and praised as one of the most accurate and clarifying accounts of history's interaction between Buddhism and Islam is the recipient of a CHOICE Award, presented annually by the Association of College & Research Libraries.
Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road by Professor Johan Elverskog was singled out for recognition as an "Outstanding Academic Title for 2010" in the religious books catagory, according to a recent announcement on the Choice website.
While the meeting of Buddhism and Islam is often perceived as a long-standing, self-repeating violent clash, Elverskog's examination finds the history of the two religions is much richer and varied. By exploring the meetings between Buddhists and Muslims along the Silk Road from Iran to China over more than a millennium — from the eighth century to the late nineteenth century — he finds a history of cross-cultural exchange in which the two religious traditions were not only enriched but transformed in many ways.
"This is the most thorough treatment I have seen of the historical relationship between Buddhism and Islam. Elverskog skillfully and often entertainingly corrects many longstanding stereotypes about both religions, and richly demonstrates the complexity of their historical interaction with each other," said Richard Foltz, a cultural historian specializing in the Iranian world, a professor in the Department of Religion at Concordia University and author of Religions of the Silk Road.
Elverskog is an SMU Altshuler University Distinguished Teaching Professor and professor of Religious Studies. He is also the director of Asian Studies and the SMU-in-Suzhou Program. He teaches courses on the history of Asian religions, and his research focuses on the history of Inner Asia. He is the author and editor of six other books.
SMU's Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College is committed to fostering greater understanding of the roles of religion in the contemporary world and throughout history. Its approach is interdisciplinary, employing methods drawn from across the humanities and social sciences to examine the world’s religious traditions as social, cultural, and historical phenomena.
Every year, CHOICE subject editors recognize the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in CHOICE during the previous calendar year. In presenting the Outstanding Academic Title awards, the editors consider overall excellence in presentation and scholarship, importance relative to other literature in the field, distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form, originality or uniqueness of treatment, value to undergraduate students and importance in building undergraduate library collections.
Appearing annually in CHOICE's January issue, the prestigious list of publications reflects the best in scholarly titles. CHOICE is a publishing unit of the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.
Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Hear or download an interview with Elverskog by the Penn Press.
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