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While working on a series of lectures about Buddhism, the following sprang up in my head, making my life more difficult: in the various disciplines that are grouped under the rubric of ‘Religious Studies’, why is it widely acceptable to use the term ‘Buddha’ when referring to the figure of Siddhartha Gautama but generally frowned upon to use the term ‘Christ’ when referring to Jesus of Nazareth?

Both are names internal to their respective traditions and both render religious judgements; so why one and not the other?

Admittedly, ‘Christ’ has a stronger religious association attached to it because of the central tenets and doctrines of the Christian tradition, but I have an inkling that this disparity has far more to do with our incessant need to prove that we are not really theologians than with any consistent methodological concerns.

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