Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Religious and Theological Studies

First Advisor

Jacob N. Kinnard


Mark A. Toole -- "Divergent Responses to the Human Predicament: A Case Study in New Comparativism" -- Jacob N. Kinnard, Advisor; August 2011.

The enterprise of comparison has been regarded by some as one of the most vital characteristics of a healthy academic study of religion. However, the failed legacy of Eliadian Comparativism has caused others to suggest that the art of comparison has not yet lived up to its promise. This study brings together the best tools of what the author calls "Smithian New Comparativism." In order to demonstrate concretely a rigorous and responsible critical comparative analysis, and to chart a course for future academically beneficial cross-cultural comparisons, this project presents a case study that compares two religious traditions' doctrinal responses to a conceptually analogous ontological presupposition. Specifically, it analyzes comparatively the Reformed Christian doctrine of limited atonement and the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist doctrine of akunin shoki. The comparative examination of these teachings illuminates the respective traditions' doctrinally divergent responses to a common understanding of the human predicament, reveals previously unseen structural and conceptual parallels between the traditions by examining deeply-rooted Western ideas through the lens of Buddhist theories, and suggests finally that despite the appearance of surface resemblances between Shin Buddhist and Reformed Christian thought the two religious paths lead ultimately to differing religious ends.


Copyright is held by the author.


Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Mark Toole

File size

264 p.

File format





Comparative religion, Regional studies