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Miracles of Book and Body

Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan (Buddhisms #10)

Charlotte Eubanks


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Miracles of Book and Body is the first book to explore the intersection of two key genres of sacred literature in medieval Japan: sutras, or sacred Buddhist texts, and setsuwa, or “explanatory tales,” used in sermons and collected in written compilations. For most of East Asia, Buddhist sutras were written in classical Chinese and inaccessible to many devotees. How, then, did such devotees access these texts? Charlotte D. Eubanks argues that the medieval genre of “explanatory tales” illuminates the link between human body (devotee) and sacred text (sutra). Her highly original approach to understanding Buddhist textuality focuses on the sensual aspects of religious experience and also looks beyond Japan to explore pre-modern book history, practices of preaching, miracles of reading, and the Mahayana Buddhist “cult of the book.”

Praise For Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan (Buddhisms #10)

“An ambitious and largely successful project. . . . [This book] should fruitfully provoke scholars studying any culture.”

— Kevin Gray Carr, University of Michigan.

"Eubanks is a terrific writer . . . Articulate, well-argued, and theoretically sophisticated."

— William E. Deal

University of California Press, 9780520265615, 288pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2011

About the Author

Charlotte D. Eubanks is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature , Japanese, and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University.