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    Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road
     
    [ 作者: Edward H. Kaplan   来自:期刊原文   已阅:8082   时间:2007-1-16   录入:douyuebo


    ·期刊原文
    Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road
    Review by Edward H. Kaplan
    The Historian
    Vol.60 No.3
    Pp.658-659
    Spring 1998
    COPYRIGHT 1998 Phi Alpha Theta

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road. By Sally Hovey
                Wriggins. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996. Pp. xxiv, 263. $32.50.)
                Ancient and medieval China produced at least three great explorers
                who are comparable to Ibn Batuta and Marco Polo: Zhang Qian (second
                century B.C.), and the Buddhist monks Fa Man (fifth century A.D.)
                and Xuanzang (seventh century A.D.). Of the five, perhaps the
                greatest, and certainly the one with the deepest influence on his
                own and related civilizations, was Xuanzang.
                Xuanzang (Hsuan Tsang in the Wade-Giles transliteration) traveled
                through Central and South Asia (ca. 629-645 A.D.) collecting copies
                of the most important Buddhist theological works and studying with
                the most important authorities on the major Buddhist schools of
                thought. He became a recognized authority on Mahayana Buddhist
                idealist philosophy both In India and in China after his return.
                Once back in China he also wrote a book for the Chinese emperor
                describing the secular aspects--cultural and political--of the
                places that he had visited. This aided the Tang Dynasty in
                maintaining the dominant position in Central Asia that it had
                recently carved out.
                The book that was written for the emperor and a biography of
                Xuanzang, written by a colleague during his lifetime, are still
                extant, as are many of the holy texts translated by Xuanzang. They
                still provide information on the history and culture of India,
                Afghanistan, and Central Asia to historians, anthropologists, and
                even archaeologists (who carry Xuanzang to their digs much as
                Schliemann carried Homer, and to even greater effect).
                Throughout the millennium and a third since Xuanzang and his
                colleague laid down their writing brushes, writers, both religious
                and secular, have repeatedly translated or retold their complex tale
                of salvation and earthly history. So intrinsically vivid is the
                material that Xuanzang has provided, that the best of such works
                inevitably combine high popularization with synthesis of the most
                important works of technical scholarship.
                Sally Hovey Wriggins's Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road
                will fulfill the role of the standard high popularization, which has
                been played for readers of English since the translation in 1971 of
                Rene Grousset's In the Footsteps of the Buddha, which first appeared
                in French in 1929. Like Grousset, Wriggins approaches both Buddhism
                and its several Asian homelands as a sympathetic, but non-Buddhist,
                outsider. Her account is in some ways superior to that of Grousset,
                because it synthesizes the scholarly works on both the historical
                and anthropological-archaeological sides that have appeared since
                that time. Wriggins also provides detailed, but unobtrusive,
                endnotes, a bibliography, glossary, index, and a rich supply of
                illustrations. Like Grousset, Wriggins places her illustrations
                (except, because of technical reasons, the color plates, which are
                grouped together) within a page of the narratives that each
                illustrates.
                All college and university libraries, and many public libraries,
                will want to obtain this work, which is destined largely to replace
                Grousset's earlier study.
        

       
               
               
         
       

     

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