For about a year I helped out with a "Buddhist study group" that met in a local public library once a month. The club read through Williams' Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition. It seemed to help some folks but others found the book overly academic.
I was later told of the article: Stephen C. Berkwitz (2016) Textbook Buddhism: introductory books on the Buddhist religion. I found it to be a helpful review of existing Buddhist 101-style textbooks. https://www.academia.edu/24957142/Textb ... t_Religion
Abstract: Text books on Buddhism comprise a large,varied genre and have long been used to introduce the religion to students in academic settings. This review essay examines ten text books on the subject, noting their distinctive features, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as the types of courses that are well suited to each work. Additional information from a survey on Buddhism text books conducted by the author is used to supplement our understanding of which sources are regularly used in Buddhism courses and why. Unresolved tensions over whether to stress the coherence or diversity of Buddhism, and how comprehensive a text book should be, are noted. Arguing that ‘Textbook Buddhism,’ as a product of scholarly imagination, is a distinctive form of the tradition, it behooves specialists to be more reflective about their use of text books and to be more intentional in helping students to read them critically.
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