Dr. Steven Heine, professor of Religious Studies and History, and associate director of SIPA and director of the Asian Studies Program, was recently featured in the September 2011 issue of Religious Studies Review, a review of publications in the field of religion and related disciplines published quarterly by Rice University. Heine is a well-known scholar of Zen Buddhism whose work has contributed to the understanding of this extremely influential religious tradition. He has published over 20 books, including his most recent work Sacred High City, Sacred Low City: A Tale of Sacred Sites in Two Tokyo Neighborhoods (forthcoming from Oxford University Press). The new issue of the journal is dedicated to an appraisal of Heine’s contributions to the field.
In Religious Studies Review, Volume 37, Number 3, review essays address recent debates in the history and interpretation of the Chan and Zen traditions of East Asian Buddhism by focusing on Heine’s work. The issue features a review essay by Heine, “Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front: On Deconstructing and Reconstructing Traditional Zen Narratives,” which critically surveys recent works that address the history of the Chan/Zen traditions. It also includes a review essay by Florida State University professor of religion Jimmy Yu of several of Heine’s own recent monographs, “Contextualizing the Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Chan/Zen Narratives: Steven Heine’s Academic Contributions to the Field.” Yu’s essay shows that “Heine occupies a unique position as an original thinker and synthesizer….As a preeminent scholar of Dôgen and Japanese Zen, he has given us new theoretical lenses to examine areas in both Chan and Zen that are rich in cultural dimensions. He shows us that future Chan and Zen studies must be multivalent and must go beyond the confines of philosophical analyses, historicism, and canonical studies.”
Lastly, Heine provides an overview of scholarship in the field in the short essay, “Historical Hermeneutics of Zen Buddhist Discourse: On Contesting the Mu Kôan.” It is a reflection on the issues raised by the works under review in the publication and includes a case study of the famous yet often misunderstood Mu Kôan, which is the subject of Heine’s current research.
To view the current issue of Religious Studies Review, please click here.