In December, the Columbia University Press will release “Spreading Buddha’s Word in East Asia: The Formation and Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon,” edited by Jiang Wu (University of Arizona) and Lucille Chia (University of California at Riverside). The publisher’s description follows:
A monumental work in the history of religion, the history of the book, the study of politics, and bibliographical research, this volume follows the making of the Chinese Buddhist canon from the fourth century to the digital era. Approaching the subject from a historical perspective, the book ties the religious, social, and textual practices of canon formation to the development of East Asian Buddhist culture and opens up the study of Chinese Buddhist texts to readers interested in the evolution of Chinese writing in general and the Confucian and Daoist traditions in particular.
The collection undertakes extensive readings of major scriptural catalogs from the early manuscript era as well as major printed editions, including the Kaibao Canon, Qisha Canon, Goryeo Canon, and Taisho Canon. Contributors add fascinating depth to such understudied issues as the historical process of compilation, textual manipulation, physical production and management, sponsorship, the dissemination of various editions, cultic activities surrounding the canon, and the canon’s reception in different East Asian societies. The Chinese Buddhist canon is one of the most enduring textual traditions in East Asian religion and culture, and through this exhaustive, multifaceted effort, an essential body of work becomes part of a new, versatile narrative of East Asian Buddhism that has far-reaching implications for world history.