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Richard B. Pilgrim

Richard B. Pilgrim

Richard B. Pilgrim

Associate Professor Emeritus, Religion




Research and Teaching Interests

Professor Pilgrim joined the Syracuse faculty in 1970. His primary areas of interest are religion and art in Japan, Japanese religion more generally, and Mahayana Buddhist thought and practice. His teaching reflects these research interests, as well as with the broader comparative study of religion in a phenomenological context. While on the faculty at SU, Dr. Pilgrim served in many capacities at the Departmental, College and University levels, and as President of Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology. Dr. Pilgrim retired in 2006 after serving as Department Chair for 6 years.


Ph.D. University of Chicago (1970)


Buddhism and the Arts of Japan
Anima Publications, 1981; 2nd edition, 1993.

Japanese Religion: A Cultural Perspective
(with Robert Ellwood). Prentice-Hall, 1985.

Religion: An Introduction
(with Hall and Cavanagh). Harper & Row, 1985.

Book Chapters
  • "Buddhism and the Arts of Japan," in Religion, Art, and Visual Culture, ed. B. Plate. Palgrave 2002.
  • "Intervals (Ma) in Space and Time," in Japan in Traditional and Post-Modern Perspectives, ed. C.W. Fu and S. Heine. SUNY Press, 1995.
  • "Mahayana Buddhism," in Concepts of Transmigration, ed. Steven Kaplan. Edwin Mellen Press, 1995.
  • "The Tale of Genji in a Religio-Aesthetic Perspective," in Approaches to Teaching Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, ed. E. Kamens. MLA Publications, 1993.
  • "The Arts of Ma: Religio-Aesthetic Values and Cultural Identity in Japan," in Identity Issues and World Religions: Proceedings of the Fifteenth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, ed. Victor Hayes. AASR Publications.
  • "Ma and Ku: Shinto and Buddhist Contributions to a Religio-Aesthetic Tradition in Japan," in Proceedings of the 31st International Congress of Human Sciences, Vol. II. Toyo Gakkai, 1984.
  • "Foundations for a Religio-Aesthetic Tradition in Japan," in Art, Creativity and the Sacred, ed. Apostolos-Cappadona. Crossroads Press, 1983.
Selected Film Reviews

Focus on Buddhism. Anima Publications, 1981.

Selected Bibliographical Contributions
  • Guide to Buddhist Religion, ed. F.E. Reynolds. G.K. Hall & Co., 1981.
  • "Ritual," in Introduction to the Study of Religion, ed. T.W. Hall. Harper and Row, 1978.
  • "Some Considerations of Sabi and Yugen as Religio-Aesthetic Categories" in Special Studies Series A-4, East-West Dialogues in Aesthetics. Council on International Education, 1978.
Journal Articles
  • "Historical Update: Theta Alpha Kappa 1996-2001," in Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa (25:2, 2001).
  • "Theta Alpha Kappa: The National Honor Society for Religious Studies/Theology," in the "Bulletin" of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion (28:2, 1999).
  • "The Architecture of Ma: Toward an Architectural Theology in Japan," Faith & Forum, the Journal of the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (Vol. 26, 1993).
  • "The Middle East in Religious Perspective." Independent Study Course in the Front Line Series, Syracuse University Center for Instructional Development (Fall 1990).
  • "Karma and Rebirth in Far Eastern Buddhism," Explorations (9:2, 1990).
  • "God is in the Gaps," Buddhist-Christian Studies (Vol. 9, 1989).
  • "The Buddhist Mandala" in Literature and Medicine (Vol. 8, 1989).
  • "Japanese Noh Drama in Ritual Perspective," Eastern Buddhist (22:1, 1989).
  • "Ma: A Cultural Paradigm," Chanoyu Quarterly (Vol. 46, 1986).
  • "Intervals (Ma) in Space and Time: Foundations for a Religio-Aesthetic Paradigm in Japan," History of Religions, (25:3, 1986).
  • "Six Circles, One Dewdrop: The Religio-Aesthetic of Komparu Zenchiku," Chanoyu Quarterly (Vol. 33, 1983).
  • "The Artistic Way and the Religio-Aesthetic Tradition in Japan," Philosophy East and West (27:3, 1977).
  • "The Religio-Aesthetic of Matsuo Basho," The Eastern Buddhist. (10:1, 1977).
  • "Zeami and the Way of No," History of Religions (12:2, 1972).
  • "Some Aspects of Kokoro in Zeami," Monumenta Nipponica (24:4, 1969).
  • Review of Buddhist Theology by R. Jackson & J. Makransky (eds.), in Buddhist-Christian Studies (Spring 2002).
  • Review of Choose Love by J. Gorin, and Zen Buddhism and Hasidism by J.Y. Teshima, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (34:2, 1997).
  • Review of Zenkji and its Icon by David McCallum, in The American Historical Review (Oct. 1996).
  • Review of Dogen and the Koan Tradition by S. Heine, in Japanese Religions (July 1996).
  • Review of The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhism and Western Culture by Stephen Batchelor, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (32:2, 1995).
  • Review of Wabi-Sabi by L. Koren, in Tricycle (Summer 1995).
  • Review of Six Circles, One Dewdrop: The Religio-Aesthetic World of Komparu Zenchiku by Arthur Thornhill, in Chanoyu Quarterly (No. 76, 1994).
  • Review of Zen Awakening and Society by Christopher Ives, in Chanoyu Quarterly (No. 74, 1993).
  • Review of The Cult of Kasuga Seen Through Its Art by Susan C. Tyler, in Monumenta Nipponica (47:3, 1992).
  • Review of Reaching for the Moon on Asian Paths by K. Morgan, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (Spring 1991).
  • Review of Chaos and Cosmos by H.E. Plutschow, in Journal of Japanese Studies (18:1, 1992).
  • Review of The Meaning of Christ: A Mahayana Theology by John Keenan, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (27:3, 1990).
  • Review of Spirituality in Interfaith Dialogue, eds. T. Arai and W. Ariarajah, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (27:2, 1990).
  • Review of Matsuri: Festival and Rite in Japanese Life (Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 1988) in Journal of Asian Studies (48:4, 1989).
  • Review of Hosaku Matsuo's The Logic of Unity, in Philosophy East and West (39:3, 1989).
  • Reviews of Meetings with Remarkable Women and Passionate Journey, in Philosophy East and West (39:1, 1989).
  • Review of The Modern Buddhist-Christian Dialogue by Paul Ingram, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (25:4, 1988).
  • Review of The Unfettered Mind by Takuan Soho (trans. W.S. Wilson), in Chanoyu Quarterly (No. 54, Summer 1988).
  • Review of The Cross and the Lotus by G.W. Houston, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (24:1, 1987).
  • Review of Karma of Words by William LaFleur, in Journal of American Academy of Religion (Sept. 1984).
  • Review of The Supreme Koan by Frederick Frank, in Journal of Ecumenical Studies (1984).
  • Review of The Monkey's Straw Raincoat by Miner and Odagiri, in Journal of Asian Studies (16:2, 1982).
  • "The Wayward Mysticism of Alan Watts" (with Louis Nordstrom), Philosophy East and West (30:3, 1980). Invited review article.
  • "The Long Search Series," Religious Studies Review (6:1, 1980). Invited review article.
  • Book reviews in Parabola (II:2, 1977), Religious Studies Review (3:2, 1977), Ecumenical Studies (Fall 1980).