Spiritual Masters of the World's Religions

Edited by Victoria Kennick & Arvind Sharma

Subjects: Religion, Asian Religion And Philosophy, Asian Studies, Buddhism, Taoism
Paperback : 9781438444987, 290 pages, July 2013
Hardcover : 9781438444970, 290 pages, December 2012

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Table of contents

Arvind Sharma
Introduction: Defining Spiritual Master
Victoria Kennick
1. Jewish Spiritual Masters
Harold Kasimow
2. Christian Spiritual Masters
James A. Wiseman
3. Muslim Spiritual Masters
Osman Bakar
4. Hindu Spiritual Masters
Arvind Sharma
5. Sikh Spiritual Masters
Mary Pat Fisher
6. Buddhist Spiritual Masters
Victoria Kennick
7. Confucian Spiritual Masters
Simon Man Ho Wong
8. Daoist Spiritual Masters
Eva Wong
Concluding Remarks
Arvind Sharma
List of Contributors

Discusses the notion of a spiritual master and looks at examples in a variety of world religions.


What is a spiritual master? Spiritual Masters of the World's Religions offers an important contribution to religious studies by addressing that question in the context of such themes as charismatic authority, role models, symbolism, and categories of religious perception. The book contains essays by scholar-practitioners on the topic of spiritual masters in Judaic, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Confucian, and Daoist traditions. It provides a full spectrum of exemplars, including founders, spiritual masters who highlight cultural themes, and problematic figures of modern times. To define spiritual master, the work of Max Weber, Mircea Eliade, Daniel Gold, and Bruce Lincoln is referenced to provide a balanced notion that includes both religionist and reductionist perspectives. This book takes readers from the past spiritual masters to the future of masters of any sort, posing food for thought about the future of master-disciple relationships in an emerging age of egalitarian sentiments.

Victoria Kennick is Professor of Humanities at the University of Maryland University College and the author of Introducing World Religions. Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. His many books include Hinduism as a Missionary Religion; One Religion Too Many: The Religiously Comparative Reflections of a Comparatively Religious Hindu; and Religious Studies and Comparative Methodology: The Case for Reciprocal Illumination, all published by SUNY Press.


"…an excellent work addressing an important topic in a novel way … Highly recommended." — CHOICE