The Yogin and the Madman Receives AAR Book Award

November 23, 2014 | American Academy of Religion, San Diego |

The Yogin and the Madman receives the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion.

Remarks from the awards committee:

“It is eminently readable, engagingly written, while displaying impeccable scholarship. I am by no means familiar with Tibetan biographical literature and know next to nothing about Milarepa. But in this book, Mila does indeed come alive! through the author’s cogent analysis of the multiple readings of his biography in differing historical circumstances and of how these readings shaped and reshaped the Buddhist consciousness. This book can be read with interest by all those similarly interested in the place of  biographical literature in other religious traditions (as I am) but also by nonspecialists.

The Yogin and the Madman got me excited to read primary text material about Milarepa, someone I’d never thought about twice previously. I found the author’s argument layered and nuanced in its thought. I thought it was written nicely, with a level of sophistication and maturity not found in a lot of textual studies. The author drew richly from the primary texts, and the primary texts (both in terms of their content, reception, and deployment) are at the heart of his argument. The book also includes original translation work by the author.  Finally, it made me appreciate what texts contribute to the study of religion broadly.”