Steve Heine is an eminent scholar of East Asian and comparative religions. He specializes in medieval Japanese religions and the transition of Buddhism from China to Japan, and is currently a professor of religious studies and history as well as Director of the Institute for Asian Studies at Florida International University.
After receiving his B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971, Heine went on to complete both his Maters and his Ph.D. in Religion at Temple University. Following these achievements, Heine was the recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship for the study of Dogen’s collected poetry at Tokyo University and Komazawa University. Heine’s research and translations later appeared as The Zen Poetry of Dōgen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace.
Heine has had a prolific career as an author. Much of his scholarship has been devoted to Dogen; his book, Did Dogen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It (2006), provides a textual biography and study of the entirety of Dogen’s work. Heine has also engaged in the Western scholarly debate over the nature of Zen. Zen Skin, Zen Marrow: Will the Real Buddhism Please Stand Up? (2007), argues that there can be a compromise between the traditional Western perception of Zen as a holistic and utopian practice and the new school of Zen scholarship that is sharply critical of this standpoint.
Recently, Heine’s scholarship has taken on a particularly original flavour. His most recent publication focuses not on Dogen but on the famous American poet and songwriter Bob Dylan. In 2009, he published Bargainin’ For Salvation: Bob Dylan, a Zen Master?, a book which presents a thoughtful examination of Dylan’s oeuvre through the lens of Zen Buddhism. Heine’s devotion to the study of Japanese culture has earned him numerous awards, including the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays and Rosette, presented to him by the government of Japan in 2007.