The Shaolin Monastery charts for the first time in any language the history of the Shaolin Temple and the evolution of its world-renowned martial arts. In this meticulously researched and eminently readable study Meir Shahar considers the economic political and religious factors that led Shaolin monks to disregard the Buddhist prohibition against violence and instead create fighting techniques that by the 21st century have spread throughout the world. Meir Shahar is associate professor in the Dept of East Asian Studies Tel Aviv University.
"[Shahar] brilliantly demonstrates the complex ebb and flow of the Shaolin monastery's political and economic fortune in relation to its monks' voluntary and compulsory battles. . . . This highly readable book is a welcomed edition for scholars and students of Chinese Buddhism, religion, history, and martial arts." (
Journal of Religion)
"This expert and readable distillation of several aspects of Chinese martial arts history sums up, definitively in English for the present, the verifiable facts and intriguing legends about the Shaolin Temple in North China. . . . . The book's scholarship is impeccable. . . . Both the graduate student and the kung fu aficionado can learn from this work" (
"A real gift to martial arts enthusiasts and historians alike . . . This refreshingly original study is indispensable for understanding both the history and the hype." (