Book Review: Tracing the Model Path: A Close Look into The Life of Oyasama

Book Review: Tracing the Model Path: A Close Look into The Life of Oyasama

by Hideo Nakajima, Masao Ishizaki, Masaaki Hayasaka, and Yoshinori Sawai

Tenri, Nara: 2014, Tenrikyo Doyusha Publishing Company

As the name suggests, this book provides an in-depth description of the historical background and theological significance of the life of Miki Nakayama, the foundress of Tenrikyo, as narrated in the official church biography of The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo. Four scholars from Tenri University, each a specialist in different areas, engaged in an ongoing discussion which was published in the Michi no tomo magazine for a period of over two years. This 340-page book is a compilation of their discussion, presented in a form of historical narrative accompanied by riches of maps, graphs, illustrations, and chronologies.

This is a book highly recommended for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the details surrounding the life of Miki Nakayama as the Divine Model. While The Life of Oyasama presents a straightforward narrative about the Divine Model, the many historical and cultural aspects that it leaves unexplained are thoroughly addressed in Tracing the Model Path by Masao Ishizaki, a historian, Masaaki Hayasaka, a ethnologist, Yoshinori Sawai, a specialist of the Yamato region, and Hideo Nakajima, a scholar of religion. With the publication of its English translation, the English-language community of Tenrikyo followers around the world now has access to materials, resources, and insights that were virtually remote until now.

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