Regnum et sacerdotium, by Japanese analogy, and retour. Online lecture by Philippe Buc in the lecture series "Method and Region," IKGA, Vienna

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April 20, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, European History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology



The Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA) at the  Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, is hosting a series of lectures titled


Method and Region


The aim of this initiative is to reflect on the relationship between method and region. Here, method comprises the entire apparatus that enables us to conduct scholarly studies, including non-European theories and concepts. Region stands for what is contextually specific, such as language, history or thought.

The full program is available at

The second lecture in the series will be on Tuesday, 20 April 2021, 17:00–18:30 CEST:


Philippe Buc

(University of Vienna) 

Regnum et sacerdotium, by Japanese analogy, and retour



What does one see, when without collapsing the one into the other, one juxtaposes medieval Western European and medieval Japanese discourses on kingship (including kingship's relation to its counterparts)? The exploration of analogies as a form of reflexive comparison will (1) begin with the parallel binaries ōbō – buppō (worldly law – Buddha law) and regnum – sacerdotium (plus their declensions), including their relation to armed violence. It will then (2) tentatively suggest that while the Western Catholic imagination privileged holy men’s conversion of kings, its Buddhist pendant focused rather on the conversion of insular “metapersons” (Sahlins), which also relates to violence. It will finally (3) test bridging metaphors, adapted fully neither to Japan or to Western Europe to bring out other differences. The talk is thus an experiment, which may either yield only banal commonplaces, or puzzlements, or further inquiries.

This lecture is organized by the IKGA in cooperation with the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.


The lecture will be held online and is open to the public. To register, please write to office.ikga(at)



Contact Info: 

Cristina Pecchia

Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA)    

Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW)