The first two parts of this book present four detailed historical studies, filled with Geertzian "thick description," of the encounters of Christianity and Buddhism (universal religions with a high quotient of "transcendence") with various primal religious traditions ("biocosmic" or "immanentist") of the Asian-Pacific region, namely, Aboriginal Australia and Melanesia (Christianity) and Sri Lanka and Japan (Buddhism). In each case, the encounters represented a failure of the "great" traditions. In the third, constructive and theological part of the book, the author shows how an acknowledgment of these failures may provide a back door to dialogue.
John D'Arcy May, who was born in Australia, is Associate Professor of Interfaith Dialogue, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College, Dublin. He is the author of Christus Initiator: Theologie im Pazifik, Christian Fundamentalism and Christian Identity, and After Pluralism: Towards an Interreligious Ethic.