William E. Deal is Severance Associate Professor of the History of Religion in the Department of Religion at Case Western Reserve University. He is past Chair of the Department of Religion and served for several years as Director of Case's Asian Studies Program. His scholarship includes numerous articles, chapters, and book reviews on Japanese Buddhism, methodology in the academic study of religion, and religion and ethics. He is co-author of the book Theory for Religious Studies (Routledge, 2005) and author of Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan (Facts on File, 2006).Brian O. Ruppert is Associate Professor of Japanese Religions at the University of Illinois, where he is the Associate Head in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and a faculty member in the Program for the Study of Religion. His publications include Jewel in the Ashes: Buddha Relics and Power in Early Medieval Japan (Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard UP, 2000) as well as a series of articles in both Japanese and English, including "Buddhism in Japan" (The Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., Gale/Macmillan Reference, 2005).