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Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian Paperback – July 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; 1st edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851686738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851686735
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Radiates wisdom and warmth. Is it possible to become more fully Christian by taking most seriously the Buddhist path -- becoming Buddhist in order to live more fully the Christian life? Agree or not with Paul's answer, we can be most grateful to him for pressing the question and making so very clear the possibilities and risks along the way." --Francis X. Clooney, Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University

"Knitter's rich book should be a source of fascination and guidance for seekers of all sorts. One of the finest contemporary books on the encounter between religions in the heart and soul of a single thoughtful person." --Library Journal, October 1, 2009

"A compelling example of religious inquiry." --New York Times, October 10, 2009

"This is a fascinating book... accessible to anyone in the pew, not without a touch of quiet humour... a book to be read and reflected upon." --Journal of Theological Reflection

"This book is an excellent survey of the possibilities for Buddhist-Christian contact." --Anglican Theological Review

"This is a fascinating book ... accessible to anyone in the pew, not without a touch of quiet humour ... a book to be read and reflected upon." -- Journal of Theological Reflection

"This book is an excellent survey of the possibilities for Buddhist-Christian contact." -- Anglican Theological Review

Review

"A moving story of one man's quest for truth, this is also a ground-breaking work of inter-religious dialogue, comparative theology and social ethics... the rarest combination of theological acumen, humility and humor. A must read for anyone who wants to renew their faith and rediscover their humanity in intimate dialogue with the faiths of others."

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be most enlightening.
Poppidock
Knitter looks to the day when we can read a book entitled "Without Jesus I could not be a Buddhist."
Joseph G. Murray
My perspectives of Christianity/Buddhism have found new peace.
Harrison R. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Feist on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul Knitter remains a Churchman but he is unflinchingly honest about the problems created for those who want to be followers of Jesus today, by what the Western Church has done over the centuries, with the life, example and teaching of Jesus.
In each chapter, Knitter spells out his own problems with one area of Christian orthodoxy, moves into who Buddhism offers in the corresponding area, and then brings back into his Christian self, whats he has gained from immersion in Buddhism.
He brings to this book his own rich maturity in Christian faith and the fruits of his Buddhist insights, all of it honed by discussions with his students. The result - presented with freshness and humour - is a book as much devotional and spiritual biography as academic theology. It has helped me to see Jesus as a living spiritual trail-blazer who cannot be understood in Western thought forms alone.
For anyone who is having difficulty with the dualist, paternalist, imperialist and exclusivist nature of Western Christian orthodoxy, but who still thinks trying to be a follower of Jesus in today's world is worth an effort, I warmly recommend this book.
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141 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Daiho VINE VOICE on December 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finished Marcus Borg's book wondering what was so special about Jesus. The American scholar paints a portrait of someone I would have like to have met, a man interested in the mystery of being, in personal transformation, in social and economic justice, a man who practiced peace through nonviolence, right up to the moment of his death. But with more than a few modern incarnations of the Jesus model - Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Martin Luther King - I was left wondering, "Why bother with Jesus?"

Paul F Knitter in his new book , Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian, helped me find at least a partial answer.

Knitter is a former Catholic priest and retired scholar of comparative religions who since the 1980's has been exploring Buddhism as a way of enlightening, enlivening and refreshing Christian theology. His problems are nothing new: the distance between creator and created, between humans and and a divine Jesus; the presence of evil in a world controlled by an active god; Jesus' radical nonviolence and war in the name of God; the selfish nature of petitionary prayer and the exclusivity of Christian "truth." This book is Knitter's personal exploration of Buddhism as a means of addressing these issues and with an infusion of Eastern mysticism of rescuing Christianity from the literalists.

I'll leave it to the Christians to judge how well he has succeeded. What the book made clear to me is that Buddhism presents a more unified, less contradictory vehicle for approaching the great unknowable.
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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Joseph G. Murray on December 9, 2009
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Once in a rare while a book comes along which is filled with such profound theological insight, spiritual wisdom, and especially courage and humility, that one wants to rush out to buy a dozen copies to send to one's friends.
Knitter, Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture at Union Theological Seminary, studied theology at the Gregorian University and then under the renowned Jesuit Karl Rahner as a graduate student. For most of his adult life he has struggled with virtually all of the doctrines of Christianity. More accurately, he has struggled with their exposition and interpretation in our wordy, dualistic, Western terminology. He shares his struggles and questions with the reader, never imposing solutions but simply offering another perspective that he finds in the teachings of the Buddha.
Is there any thoughtful Christian who has not winced at the anthropomorphisms, inconsistencies, intelligibility, and outright contradictions that often permeate our God talk, liturgical services, and prayer life, not to mention credal declarations?
Knitter's questions are directed at the conceptual language we use about God's transcendence and immanence, the Trinity, the Incarnation, creation, evil, the afterlife, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, salvation, the afterlife, eternal damnation, God's will. There is scarcely a piece of our belief system, our spiritual and liturgical life, or our Christian praxis that does not come under scrutiny. This includes the contemporary aversion to silence in liturgy and spirituality (he would increment the Sacraments to include a Sacrament of Silence), the prayer of petition (God the Super-magician who is asked to upset the order of nature for my benefit), eternal damnation (impossible!), just war theory (an oxymoron).
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Kusala Dhammaratana on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author makes a good case for addressing the difficult comparisons between Christianity and Buddhism. His theological background drives the story of his personal journey of faith, and sometimes gets in the way of his effort to persuade the christian reader to adapt the principles of buddhism to their own spiritual practice. nevertheless, Mr. Knitter's back and forth positioning of the interfaith dialogue is perhaps a good building block, especially for the reader who may be a bit reliant on doctrines when it comes to living out their faith.
I wish the the book was written a little more "on street level" so that persons who may be at a crossroads in
spiritual life could get a clearer view. Yet a worthwhile read for anyone who sincerely wishes for a more
meaningful interreligious dialogue.
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