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Oliver Freiberger: "Lines in Water? On Drawing Buddhism's Boundaries in Ancient India"
This talk explores the ways in which religious agents – and modern scholars – distinguish religions. Illustrated by examples from ancient India, it will problematize the popular notion of blurred boundaries and suggest a multilayered approach for analyzing religious boundary-making. The paper argues that scholars should be prepared to find, even within one religious community, numerous and possibly conflicting ways of drawing a boundary between “us” and “them.”
Dr. Oliver Freiberger is associate professor of Asian Studies and Religious Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Trained in Indology and Religious Studies, he received his Ph.D. from Göttingen University, Germany. His first book explored the meaning of the sangha (monastic community) in the doctrinal sections of the Pali canon. His second book was a micro-comparative study of ascetic discourses in ancient Indian and early Christian texts. He also co-authored an introductory handbook of Buddhism, (co-)edited several volumes and is the author of numerous articles and chapters on Indian Buddhism, asceticism, and method and theory in the study of religion. Currently he works on a book about the comparative method.