frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,

  • Music:

Academic Deliciousness

Sometimes, you just can't make this stuff up. I've been reading How Sweet The Sound: Music In The Spiritual Lives of Americans by David Stowe, and in his chapter on American Buddhist hymnody (yes, it exists), there is this delightful passage:

"Compared to the decades following the World Parliament of Religions, the interwar and World War II years were a period of relative dormancy for the development of American Buddhism. As a result of the incarceration of Japanese Americans, the leadership of American Shin Buddhism was assumed by Julius Goldwater, born in 1908 in Los Angeles to German-American Jewish parents. Goldwater was a protégé of the Hunts who was converted in Hawaii in 1928 before being ordained in Kyoto. During wartime internment Goldwater traveled widely to all camps, distributing literature including his adapation of the Hunts' Vade Mecum. The flavor of the liturgies distributed by Goldwater was strikingly Protestant, with gathas intermingled with responsive readings, collective affirmations, and a sermon to create an order of service that one might expect in a Presbyterian church." (Stowe 2004: 164 - 165)

To sum up: Nice Jewish boy (probably Reform, given his ethnicity and DOB) converts to Buddhism, spends WWII ministering to inmates of American Japanese concentration camps using a Latin-named hymnal containing Presbyterian-sounding Buddhist hymns.

Ain't America grand?

(Where by "grand" I mean "totally bizarre.")
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