Steven Heine

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Steven Heine
Steven Heine
EducationB.A. at the University of Pennsylvania
M.A. and Ph.D. at Temple University
OccupationProfessor of Religious Studies and History
Director of Asian Studies
EmployerFlorida International University
OrganizationAsian Studies Program
Known forStudies in Zen Buddhist history and thought

Steven Heine (born 1950), is a scholar in the field of Zen Buddhist history and thought,[1] particularly the life and teachings of Zen Master Dōgen (1200–1253). He has also taught and published extensively on Japanese religion and society in worldwide perspectives. He was the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for his contribution to Japanese Studies.[2][non-primary source needed]


Heine has published more than 30 books,[3][non-primary source needed] both monographs and edited volumes (including a series co-edited by Dale Wright and another series on the works of Japanese philosopher Masao Abe) highlighting the life and thought of Dōgen, the history of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan, and the relation of East Asian religiosity to modern society. Heine has also published dozens of articles[4] in collections and refereed journals such as The Eastern Buddhist, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, History of Religions, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Monumenta Nipponica, Pacific World, and Philosophy East and West.

Choice has reviewed several of his books[5] such as, Sacred High City, Sacred Low City, Did Dōgen Go to China?, Zen Skin Zen Marrow, and Zen Masters.

In October 2017, Steven Heine and Pamela D. Winfield, co-editors of Zen and Material Culture were interviewed by Sacred Matters Magazine for their Seven Questions Series about "what inspires them and how their latest work enhances our understanding of the sacred in cultural life."[6]

Notable Books[edit]

Dogen Studies

  • A Blade of Grass: Japanese Poetry and Aesthetics in Dogen Zen (Peter Lang Publishing, 1989, ISBN 978-0-8204-0627-5)
  • Did Dogen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It? (Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-19-530592-0)
  • Dogen and Soto Zen (Oxford University Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-1993-2486-6)
  • Dogen and the Koan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shobogenzo Texts (SUNY, 1993, ISBN 978-0-7914-1773-7)
  • A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion (SUNY, 1991, ISBN 978-0-7914-0838-4)

History and Thought of Zen Buddhism

  • Chan Rhetoric of Uncertainty in the Blue Cliff Record: Sharpening the Sword at the Dragon's Gate (Oxford University Press)
  • From Chinese Chan to Japanese Zen: A Remarkable Century of Transmission and Transformation (Oxford University Press, 2017, ISBN 978-01-9063749-1)
  • Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Koan in Zen Buddhism (Oxford University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-19-983730-4)
  • Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters (Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-19-517434-2)

Asian Religion in Contemporary Culture: East & West

  • Bargainin' For Salvation: Bob Dylan, A Zen Master? (Continuum, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8264-2950-6)
  • Sacred High City, Sacred Low City: A Tale of Religious Sites in Two Tokyo Neighborhoods (Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-986144-6)

Co-Edited Series with Dale S. Wright

Teaching and research career[edit]

Dr. Steven Heine at the Blue Cliff Springs during a research trip to China in summer 2015

Heine lectured at Villanova University in Religious Studies from 1982 to 1987. In 1987, he became an Assistant Professor of Religion at La Salle University and taught there until 1991 when he moved to Penn State University and became an Associate Professor of Religious Studies. He left Penn State University in 1997 to work as director of Florida International University's Asian Studies Program.[7] Since his arrival at FIU, Heine has expanded Asian Studies and helped facilitate its growth at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The program also has an extensive outreach component. He is editor of the Japan Studies Review and a review editor for Philosophy East and West.[8]

Since joining Florida International University (FIU) in 1997, Heine has created and developed the Asian Studies Program. From 2009 to 2012, Heine served as the founding associate director of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Florida International University, where he created and implemented the Master of Arts in Global Governance (MAGG) program, oversaw various programs and centers in SIPA, and created the SIPA InteRegional Initiative.

As of November 2018, the Asian Studies Program at FIU offers a Bachelor's in Arts in Asian Studies and Master of Arts in Asian Studies as well as an Asian Studies minor. The Asian Studies Program also offers three graduate certificates in Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, and Asian Globalization as well as several undergraduate certificates programs in Asian Studies, Asian Globalization and Latin American Studies, Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and South and Southeast Asian Area Studies.[9] Interdisciplinary majors in Japanese Area Studies and in Chinese Area Studies are offered as branches of the Asian Studies B.A. degree. The program also offers a fully online Asian Studies B.A. and fully online Asian Studies Minor. [10] [11]

Public Lectures[edit]

Heine has lectured at a variety of universities, schools, associations, and conferences across the globe. Heine often lectures at SOAS University of London, some of which can be found on youtube. Some notable lectures are highlighted below:

In April 2017, Heine and Elliot R. Wolfson of UC-Santa Barbara, gave a lecture highlighting the achievements of two Jewish singer-songwriters, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The event featured an introduction by Tudor Parfitt and musical accompaniment by Aaron Fishbein.[12]

In May 2017, Heine taught a three-day seminar at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the monastery of San Francisco Zen Center, on the life and teachings of Eihei Dogen. He also gave a lecture titled "How to research premodern and modern Japanese culture" at Waseda University in Tokyo in May 2017.

In October 2017 he gave a lecture in New York at the Japan Society on his book Zen and Material Culture which he co-edited with Pamela D. Winfield.[13]


Heine has received numerous grants[14] to develop Asian Studies at FIU and has overseen close to $3 million in external funding, including projects awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Japan Foundation, the Freeman Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Heine has also received grant funding that helped to create five full-time faculty positions, including three in Asian languages, resulting in a vigorous program at FIU. He has directed the "JapaNet" teacher training project funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and directs a branch of the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA). In 2015, Dr. Heine received a grant from the National Endowment for Humanities for a Summer Institute for College and University Professors, titled "Tokyo: High City & Low City." The Summer Institute was held in Summer 2016.[15]


External links[edit]