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Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China
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Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China

C. Pierce Salguero

256 pages | 6 x 9 | 1 illus.
Cloth 2014 | ISBN 9780812246117 | $59.95s | Outside the Americas £48.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Encounters with Asia
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"C. Pierce Salguero skillfully uses religious studies, translation studies, and anthropology in his investigations. He provides a clear and nuanced account of the complex processes that brought Buddhist doctrines to China and enriched them with new ideas and practices. In the process he demonstrates that here, as elsewhere, 'knowledge about disease, healing, and the body is always inextricably interwoven with the social, economic, political, and personal histories of the people involved in its production and consumption."—Nathan Sivin, University of Pennsylvania

"A welcome reframing of the transmission of Buddhist medicine to China. Salguero reimagines this process not as the clash of monoliths but as numerous specific acts of translation. He invites us to see how people made meaning within and between traditions, rather than contenting ourselves with enumerating the contents of traditions as if they were inert containers of ideas."—Robert Ford Campany, Vanderbilt University

"An excellent contribution which sets the stage for very important future work. Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China provides a detailed analytical perspective on a question of profound importance in the intellectual history of Asia."—Joseph S. Alter, University of Pittsburgh

The transmission of Buddhism from India to China was one of the most significant cross-cultural exchanges in the premodern world. This cultural encounter involved more than the spread of religious and philosophical knowledge. It influenced many spheres of Chinese life, including the often overlooked field of medicine. Analyzing a wide variety of Chinese Buddhist texts, C. Pierce Salguero examines the reception of Indian medical ideas in medieval China. These texts include translations from Indian languages as well as Chinese compositions completed in the first millennium C.E.

Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China illuminates and analyzes the ways Chinese Buddhist writers understood and adapted Indian medical knowledge and healing practices and explained them to local audiences. The book moves beyond considerations of accuracy in translation by exploring the resonances and social logics of intercultural communication in their historical context. Presenting the Chinese reception of Indian medicine as a process of negotiation and adaptation, this innovative and interdisciplinary work provides a dynamic exploration of the medical world of medieval Chinese society. At the center of Salguero's work is an appreciation of the creativity of individual writers as they made sense of disease, health, and the body in the context of regional and transnational traditions. By integrating religious studies, translation studies, and literature with the history of medicine, Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China reconstructs the crucial role of translated Buddhist knowledge in the vibrant medical world of medieval China.

C. Pierce Salguero teaches Asian history at Penn State Abington and has written many books on Asian health and medical practices for general audiences.

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