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A Message from the Editor

his10th-anniversary retrospective of Religion East & West presents an anthology of articles that appeared during the journal’s first nine years. Our particular intent in presenting this retrospective is to introduce Religion East & West to new readers by bringing together articles that most clearly exemplify the journal’s mission. At the same time, we invite those already familiar with the journal to be reinspired by the writings of authors who, in our judgment, represent the strength and breadth of the field of interfaith studies An important aspect of Religion East & West’s mission is to approach all the world’s spiritual traditions with equal attention and equal respect. One result of this open welcome is the great variety among our authors’ topics of inquiry. We exemplify this range in the pages that follow. For example, the reader will find reflections on the 18th-century English reformer John Wesley, on the 11th-century Persian philosopher AlGhazali, on the 12th-century Iroquois lawgiver Skennerahowi, on the 17thcentury French contemplative Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, on the 20th-century American visionary Wilson van Dusen, and more. Variety invites comparison. In these pages Al-Ghazali’s hermeneutics are compared to the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. John Wesley’s teaching about grace is compared to the similar views of the 12thcentury Hindu reformer Rāmānuja, and the Christian The Prayer of the Heart to the Buddhist practice of reciting the name of the Buddha Amitabha. What emerges is this: that the more one encounters the infinite variousness of human religiosity, the more one is struck by similarities. Many of the points of difference, which once seemed so salient and so conclusive, are gradually revealed to be spiritual parallels disguised by dissimilarities of culture. Such insights would not be possible without the work of Huston Smith, who in his 1958 book The Religions of Man (revised as The World’s Religions) rejected the practice of measuring other religions with a Christian yardstick. In our 2005 issue he proposed a “Universal Grammar of Religion,” which we reprint here, together with a response by noted scholar Henry Rosemont Jr. For our forthcoming issues, we are committed to a number of initiatives: a more formalized process of peer review, an enlarged editorial board, an expansion of the journal’s professional staff, and the publication of significantly longer essays and reflections. This will allow for broader syntheses and for the exploration of greater depths in the experience of religion. —David Rounds Issue 10, October 2010