For Jews, the phrase “people of the book” refers to the Jewish people, the people who study Torah and Talmud. A little Wikipedia research informed me that Muslims use the phrase to “designate non-Muslim adherents to faiths which have a revealed scripture,” including, but not limited to Jews and Christians. It is a respectful term that honors those who find the sacred in scripture.
I use the term, with a little edge of Jewish humor, to refer to the fourteen spiritual teachers, all raised as Jews, who I interviewed for the people of the book, Crossing the Boundary. Interestingly, I can’t think of one of them who derives their primary spiritual awareness or experience through any text or book, though some may honor certain texts as sacred. They are really people beyond the books, living lives of creative experience and expression of the divine, challenging rigid dogmas of all kinds. I am very happy to be able to share their stories and some of their teachings.
Victoria Austin – Soto Zen Buddhist Priest
Ken Cohen – Taoist and Qigong Master
Krishna Das – Kirtan Wallah (Chant Master)
Allyson Grey – Artist
Padrinho Jonathan Goldman – Santo Daime
Pir Shabda Kahn – Sufi Leader
Martin Lowenthal – Buddhist Teacher
Father Paul Mayer
Tom (Tomás) Pinkson – Coyote Medicine Man
Sharon Salzburg – Buddhist Teacher (Insight Meditation Society)
Isaac Shapiro – Advaita teacher
Sat Santokh Singh Khalsa, Sikh Leader
Nettie Spiwack – Interfaith Minister
Starhawk – Witch