Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Jacob N. Kinnard, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ginette Ishimatsu

Third Advisor

Gregory Robbins


Comparativism, Human experience, Religion


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Mark Toole


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

264 p.


Comparative religion, Regional studies