D. Max Moerman



D. Max Moerman is Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures. He is Co-Chair of the Columbia University Seminar in Buddhist Studies and an Associate Director of the Columbia Center for Buddhism and Asian Religions. He holds an A.B. from Columbia College and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research interests are in the visual and material culture of Japanese religions.

“The Buddha and the Bathwater: Defilement and Enlightenment in the Arima Engi.”
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 42/1 (2015): 71-87.

“The Death of the Dharma: Sutra Burials in Early Medieval Japan.” In Kristina Myrvold, ed. The Death of Sacred Texts: Ritual Disposal and Renovation of Texts in the World Religions.  Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2010. 

“Demonology and Eroticism: Islands of Women in the Japanese Buddhist Imagination.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 36/2 (2009).

“Dying Like the Buddha: Intervisuality and the Cultic Image.” Impressions: The Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America 28 (2007-2008).

“The Archeology of Anxiety: An Underground History of Heian Religion.” In Centers and Peripheries in Heian Japan, ed. Mikael Adolphson and Edward Kamens. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007.

“Passage to Fudaraku: Suicide and Salvation in Premodern Japanese Buddhism.” In The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations, ed. Jacqueline I. Stone. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007.

Localizing Paradise: Kumano Pilgrimage and the Religious Landscape of Premodern Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2005.

"The Ideology of Landscape and the Theater of State: Imperial Pilgrimage to Kumano." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 24 3-4 (Fall 1997).

Work in Progress

Geographies of the Imagination: Buddhism and the Japanese World Map. Under contract with Harvard University Asia Center.


303 Milbank
(212) 854-5540


A.B. 1986 Columbia College, Religion

Ph.D. 1999 Stanford University, Religious Studies