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That Impostor Known as the Buddha

Eliot Weinberger: Incarnations of the Buddha

10 September 2014
From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha 
by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
Chicago, 289 pp., £18, April 2013, 978 0 226 49320 6
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In Search of the Christian Buddha: How an Asian Sage Became a Medieval Saint 
by Donald S. Lopez Jr and Peggy McCracken.
Norton, 262 pp., £17.99, May 2014, 978 0 393 08915 8
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... god, but an actual, historical man. It was a long path to enlightenment, through many incarnations of falsehoods, half-truths and bizarre speculations. Although he was first mentioned in the West by St Clement of Alexandria in the third century, it was not until 1801, according to the OED, that the word ‘Buddha’ entered the English language, and some decades after that until the portrait we now ...

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