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Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bibleby Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet
Synopses & Reviews
For the majority of Americans a background in some sort of religion is a given, whether they have chosen to embrace, redefine, or completely reject the teachings of childhood. In this highly evocative work, Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet manage to do all three.
Having both been given traditional religious upbringings, the authors began to question every corner of their faiths as they came of age. Their mutual curiosity eventually led to the launch of a literary magazine (awarded Utne Reader's prestigious Independent Press Award for 2002), and ultimately inspired them to go on a search for the spiritual across America. As they made their way across the country, they became increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional Bible's relevance in the modern world. They instead have turned to some of our most provocative writers to recast many of the good books: Rick Moody recasts Jonah as a modern day gay Jewish man living with his parents in Queens, to A.L. Kennedy meditating on the absurdity of Genesis while never shaking her own faith, and Randall Kenan's breathtaking new Gospels, to name a few. What emerges from this work of calling is not an attack on religion, but a look at it from the inside — a timely attempt to push the limits of faith in order to see what lies beyond.
"As disjointed and freakish as this biblical sequel sounds, the editors manage to pull off a most impressive work. This is some of the most original and insightful spiritual writing to come out of America since Jack Kerouac first hit the road." Publishers Weekly
"[M]arvelous, profoundly personal observations." Booklist
"Range[s] from the densely poetic to the whimsically academic and the truly hilarious." Montreal Gazette
"[Q]uirky, far-ranging... With a format as complex as many people's relationship with God, it shouldn't work, but it does — a literary leap of faith." Elle
"The tone is both grave and exhilarating. So is the effect.... Killing the Buddha is a genuine stab at a saucy kind of spirituality that?s as bold as it is refreshing." New York Observer
"Killing the Buddha proves that fear and trembling are only human but a sense of humor is divine." O, The Oprah Magazine
"A profoud, peculiar, and fascinating collection." Emma Donoghue, author of Slammerkin
Now in paperback — the book that caused a religious and critically acclaimed stir. Publishers Weekly called it "the most original and insightful spiritual writing to come out of America since Jack Kerouac first hit the road." The Buffalo News hailed it as "one of the most eccentric and fascinating books of the year." O, The Oprah Magazine said "This collection proves that fear and trembling are human, but a sense of humor is divine."
Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet have created a work of calling that is as odd, moving, and inspiring as the people and the scriptures they encountered. Whether it is Manseau and Sharlet telling their "psalms" from outposts as unexpected as a strip club or a cattle-auction barn, Peter Trachtenberg unraveling the Gordian logic of Job via the Borscht Belt, Rick Moody finding a modern-day Jonah in Queens, or Haven Kimmel shocking and thrilling us with her Revelation, what emerges is not an attack on religion, but a quizzical, fascinating look at it from the inside. Killing the Buddha is a positively riveting look at the facets of true belief.
About the Author
Peter Manseau is the author of Vows and coauthor of Killing the Buddha. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. A founding editor of the award-winning webzine KillingTheBuddha.com, he is now the editor of Search, The Magazine of Science, Religion, and Culture. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Washington, D.C., where he studies religion and teaches writing at Georgetown University.
Table of Contents
Mortal, eat this scroll!
by Peter Manseau & Jeff Sharlet
The Books of Scripture
By A. L. Kennedy, Francine Prose, Michael Lesy, lê thi diem thúy, April Reynolds, Peter Trachtenberg, Darcey Steinke, Charles Bowden, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Eileen Myles, Rick Moody, Randall Kenan, and Haven Kimmel
Song of Songs
The Book of Psalms
by Peter Manseau & Jeff Sharlet
New York, New York
Henderson, North Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Broward County, Florida
An Orange Grove, Somewhere in Florida
Mount Vernon, Texas
East L.A., California
Unincorporated Territory, Oklahoma
A conversation with the authors
A guide to Scripture in Killing the Buddha
What Our Readers Are Saying
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