Michael Pye

Professor fόr Religionswissenschaft (i.R.)

Philipps-Universitδt Marburg

Professor of the Study of Religions (em.)

University of Marburg, Germany

 ( personal homepage - Mitarbeiterseite - at the University of Marburg, last revised on November 4th 2008) 

.................................................................………………………………………………

 

 

(taking questions at a seminar in Sγo Paulo, Brasil, September 2008)

 

Short Biography

Michael Pye was born in 1939 in England, and studied Modern Languages and Theology at Cambridge, England (1958-61) as an Open Scholar of Clare College. He then spent five years in Japan before holding lecturing posts in Religious Studies at Lancaster and Leeds (where he was also awarded a Ph.D). Since 1982 he has been Professor of Religious Studies at Marburg University, Germany, interleaved with a three year period as Professor of Religious Studies at Lancaster University, England. Shortly after retirement in Marburg( 2004) he took up a three year visiting professorship at Ōtani University, Kyōto, followed by one extra year for research only. From 1995 to 2000 he was President of the International Association for the History of Religions. He received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Theology of Helsinki University and is a foreign member of the Societas Scientiarum Fennica. Apart from a specialised interest in East Asian Buddhism and contemporary Japanese religions he has travelled widely and has interests in broad issues of religion and society in the modern world.

Selected publications: The Study of Kanji (Tokyo 1971, 1984), Ernst Troeltsch: Writings on Theology and Religion (with Robert Morgan, Duckworth, London 1977), Skilful Means, A Concept in Mahayana Buddhism (Duckworth, London 1978, 2nd edition Routledge 2003), Emerging from Meditation (being translations of the writings of Tominaga Nakamoto 1715-1746) (Duckworth, London 1990); Comparative Religion (Newton Abbott 1972), Religion and Modernisation in China (Proceedings of the Regional Conference of the International Association for the History of Religions, Beijing, China April 1992; ed. with Dai Kangsheng und Zhang Xinying, Cambridge 1995), Streben nach Glόck. Schicksalsdeutung und Lebensgestaltung in japanischen Religionen (with Katja Triplett), (Berlin, LIT-Verlag) 2007; numerous articles on various aspects of the study of religion, in particular on methodological questions and on Japanese religions.

 

Kurze Information zur Person

Michael Pye ist seit 1982 Professor fόr Religionswissenschaft an der Philipps-Universitδt Marburg und war zwischen 1995 und 2000 Prδsident der Internationalen Gesellschaft fόr Religionsgeschichte (IAHR). Nach der Pensionierung in Marburg wurde er fόr drei Jahre Gastprofessor an der Otani-Universitδt, Kyoto (2005-2008). Seine Hauptforschungsgebiete sind Buddhismus, Religionen Ostasiens (insb. Japans) und Probleme der vergleichenden Religionswissenschaft. Zu seinen Verφffentlichungen gehφren Bόcher und Aufsδtze όber Probleme der vergleichenden Religionswissenschaft, Aspekte des ostasiatischen Buddhismus, Feldforschungsergebnisse aus Japan (wo er insgesamt acht Jahre gelebt hat) und άbersetzungen aus dem Japanischen. Zur Zeit arbeitet er u. a. an einer Darstellung der japanischen Religion der Gegenwart.

Ausgewδhlte Verφffentlichungen. Bόcher: The Study of Kanji (Tokyo 1971, 1984), Comparative Religion (Newton Abbott 1972), Skilful Means, A Concept in Mahayana Buddhism (London 1978, London 2003), Emerging from Meditation(άbersetzungen aus dem Werk von Tominaga Nakamoto 1715-1746) (London/Honolulu 1990), Religion and Modernisation in China (Proceedings of the Regional Conference of the International Association for the History of Religions, Beijing, China April 1992; hrsg. mit Dai Kangsheng und Zhang Xinying, Cambridge 1995), Streben nach Glόck. Schicksalsdeutung und Lebensgestaltung in japanischen Religionen (mit Katja Triplett), Berlin (LIT-Verlag) 2007. Zahlreiche Aufsδtze insb. zur Methodologie der Religionswissenschaft und Aspekte japanischer Religionen.

 

Identity

Search engines, booksellers etc. will give references to at least one other person with the same name. The current page gives information about the Michael Pye who has been active for many years as a specialist in the study of religions. Publications about religions, especially Asian religions, and a few publications about Japanese language and culture, are likely to be by myself. Some other frequently displayed items, particularly novels, are not. If in doubt, please check the date of birth of the author (1939 in my case) and the complete publications list which I hope to make available again in the foreseeable future. The biographical information given above may be used for appropriate purposes. Note that the English and German versions are slightly different from each other.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Location of "Religionswissenschaft" in Marburg University

The subject area Religionswissenschaft (study of religions) is a section of the Institut fόr Vergleichende Kulturforschung: Religionswissenschaft und Vφlkerkunde in the Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften und Philosophie (Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy) of the University of Marburg. (There is a similar, but formally distinct subject area in the Faculty of Theology.) A detailed explanation of these institutional arrangements is still available in English, see: http://web.uni-marburg.de/fb03/ivk/religionswissenschaft/index_html , but this site is now hard to find due to the complete reorganisation of the university's web presence some while ago. I hope to recreate this information in future for English readers.  

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Some Institutional Connections

 

International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR)

I have been privileged to serve as General Secretary (1985-1995) and as President (1995-2000) of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).  At the 18th World Congress of the IAHR (Durban 2000), my term of office as president came to end and I was elected to an honorary life membership of the association. Further information about the IAHR may be found at: http://www.iahr.dk/

 

European Association for the History of Religions (EASR)

The EASR is a regional association affiliated to the IAHR (see above). Having played a certain role in its founding, I served on the committee as Internet Officer between 2000 and 2007. In 2008 I was privileged to be made an honorary life member. During my time as Internet Officer I devised and moderated six European based information and discussion lists, namely: Candide, Dolmen, Most, Synkron, Tonantzin, Yggdrasill. These e-lists are now moderated by the new Internet Officer, Dr. Katja Triplett, to whom any technical enquiries should now be addressed. The EASR holds an annual conference, except in those years when the IAHR holds its quinquennial conference at a non-European location. Full information about the e-lists and about the EASR in general may be found at: http://www.easr.eu  

 

Marburg Journal of Religion

Marburg Journal of Religion is thought to be the oldest internet journal devoted to the study of religions, having been founded in 1996. It is international and multi-lingual. For more information see the site of the journal itself:

http://web.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/

 

What happens next?

Up until late 2004 I was very busy (in fact overworked) carrying out my duties in teaching and research - and administration - at the University of Marburg, in the state of Hessen in Germany. For some historical reason Hessen is often called "Hesse" in English; this might get a few hits on to my page by people looking for that (or him)! In Germany professors are civil servants in the state in which their university is located. Whereas many civil servants have rather clearcut hours, professors are at the job practically all the time, and unfortunately not only dreaming about their research. However, I really enjoyed this work at Marburg, almost all of the time. When I didn't enjoy it, I treated it as sport. At the same time I was trying to finish several writing projects, but really the endless minor duties and professional requests made this difficult. Now that I am retired from active service in Marburg I have just a few residual privileges and functions there, and so I am still trying to finish these writing projects. Currently I have the privilege of a visiting professorship at Ōtani University in Kyōto, which provides a great environment for research. My regular teaching duties are now finished in Kyōto as well, and my formal relationship with Ōtani University will come to an end in spring 2009. Somehow things continue. In autumn 2009 I am due to give ten lectures relating to Buddhist Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University) under the Numata visiting professor programme. I hope this will enable me to gather up my favourite topics in this field. People sometimes ask where we (my wife Christine and I) are going to live in future. Well, all I can say at the moment is that that is a FAQ (frequently asked question). I am very grateful for our wonderful private life but that is not the topic of this homepage.      

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

FREE !

anti-weapons campaign

Some years ago I launched a simple anti-weapons campaign. It doesn't cost anything. It's FREE.  All you have to do is to be against weapons, as set out below, and pass the pledge on to a friend. Eventually everybody will be friends and there will be no more wars. Sounds too good to be true? Too naive? Just read on, and give yourself a free humanity test! Can you agree to the following?

  I am against:

      1) the production of weapons

      2) the sale of weapons

      3) the distribution of weapons

      4) the use of weapons

              I will pass this idea on to a friend, as a challenge.

Remember (but perhaps you are too young!) that two hundred years ago people had to argue against slavery (though there are still many slaves). Now it's time to argue against weapons! You may be surprised that many people produce all kinds of arguments for producing, selling, distributing and using weapons. But such arguments are inhumane, destructive, and ultimately silly. The production, sale, distribution and use of weapons always end in tears and suffering - very often great suffering. This is a serious campaign. All you have to do is: pass it on! Don't be afraid. I'm sorry that you may find that some of your friends come up with objections, usually beginning with "But…".  If so, turn the questions round and ask whether that means they are in favour of the production, sale, distribution and use of weapons. Are they really in favour of that? Or are they against that? Perhaps they are in favour of slavery too!  

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Other Interests

Some time in the future - deo volente - I am thinking of publishing a more extended site containing profound political analyses, poetry,  pictures etc.. But perhaps it won't happen. After all, somebody driving at 220 kmh  might crash right into the back of my car when I start driving again. In Germany people don't usually carry guns, but most people believe in "freie Fahrt fόr freie Bόrger" (beware of inaccurate translations!). Or I might just fall off a bicycle in Kyōto, become ill, change course, etc..

Gardening is good - getting the soil between one's fingers.

 Also good, but very very rare indeed, is getting salty sand between one's toes.

Do you have any personal religion, Michael Pye? Yes but that is not the subject of this homepage. In the meantime my standard advice on spiritual matters is "Believe as little as possible (but do not misunderstand this advice)".

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

WATCH THIS SPACE !

………………………………………………………………………………………..

All rights reserved. © Michael Pye 2008