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In Exile and Otherness: The Ethics of Shinran and Maimonides (Lexington Books, 2020), Ilana Maymind argues that Shinran (1173–1263), the founder of True Pure Land Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu), and Maimonides (1138–1204), a Jewish philosopher, Torah scholar, and physician, were both deeply affected by their conditions of exile as shown in the construction of their ethics. By juxtaposing the exilic experiences of two contemporaries who are geographically and culturally separated and yet share some of the same concerns, this book expands the boundaries of Shin Buddhist studies and Jewish studies. It demonstrates that the integration into a new environment for Shinran and the creative mixture of cultures for Maimonides allowed them to view certain issues from the position of empathic outsiders. Maymind demonstrates that the biographical experiences of these two thinkers who exhibit sensitivity to the neglected and suffering others, resonate with conditions of exile and diasporic living in pluralistic societies that define the lives of many individuals, communities, and societies in the twenty-first century.
Luke Thompson's research focuses on medieval Japanese Buddhist intellectual history, though he has interests in Buddhism beyond Japan, and particularly in anthropological approaches to Buddhism.
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