Theorizing Brahmanical Ritual from an Indian Buddhist Perspective

Imagining Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion - Barbara Krawcowicz

Nicholas Witkowski [+-]
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Nicholas Witkowski received his PhD in 2015 in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. Having completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Tokyo, he recently assumed a post as assistant professor in comparative religion at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He specializes in Indian Buddhism with a focus on the cultures of everyday life in the Buddhist monastery. His current work is a multi-stage project that draws primarily on the Buddhist law codes (Vinaya) to demonstrate the centrality of ascetic precepts to the Buddhist monastery of middle period Indian Buddhism. His most recent publications discuss the practice of cemetery asceticism within early Buddhist monastic communities.


In his bio-bibliographical essay, J.Z. Smith wrote that he was fond of the expression “when the chips are down” in the sense of all being said and done. With his passing in December 2017, the phrase has gained an additional layer of sad finality - the chips are really down. Scholarship is not poker, however, which means that these chips not only can but in fact should be picked up and circulated. Imagining Smith brings together the contributions of scholars who do exactly that by considering theoretical and methodological issues central to J. Z. Smith’s oeuvre in the context of their own research. Through analyses of Smith’s own work as well as applications of his concerns to new situations, historic periods, and regions, the contributors test the adequacy and applicability of Smith’s ideas and thus provide an indirect assessment of his influence and legacy in the field of Religious Studies.

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Witkowski, Nicholas. Theorizing Brahmanical Ritual from an Indian Buddhist Perspective. Imagining Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781799840. Date accessed: 15 Apr 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39936. Oct 2022

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