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1. World Religions: The Great Faiths
2. The Illustrated Guide to World
3. The Gospels in the Second Century:
4. Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion
5. Religions of the Silk Road: Premodern
6. History of the World's Religions
7. The Soul's Religion: Cultivating
8. The Religion of the Ancient Celts
9. Comparative Religion For Dummies
10. Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions
11. Exploring Religion
12. Many Religions, One Covenant:
13. History of Religion a Sketch of
14. Grounding Religion: A Field Guide
15. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate
16. Interpretations of Poetry and
17. Asian Religions: An Illustrated
18. African-American Religion (Religion
19. Religion in the Public Square:
20. The Cambridge Illustrated History

1. World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored & Explained
by John Bowker
Paperback: 216 Pages (2006-02-20)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756617723
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Taking a refreshing new approach to understanding different faiths, World Religions looks at the beliefs and practices of many different religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Overview of World Religions
Aside from the slightly annoying introduction and conclusion of the book, in which the author voices his opinions as if they are fact, the book provides a good general overview of world religions and is a good starting point in the study of religion. The religions are explained with extensive usage of pictures, which makes the reading somewhat more interesting and distinct from most non-fiction books.

3-0 out of 5 stars Objective???
The author writes from religious bias...It would be nice to see a book on religions that is objective...

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, Flawed by Moments of Religious Bigotry
First, this book is the most accessible, well-written and even-handed single-volume overview of current world religion I've ever found in English.I'd recommend this to anyone seeking to get at least a baseline grasp of what our neighbors believe.I will likely buy a copy for each of my nieces and nephews (with a few words of warning about the objectionable parts).At first the image-saturated, magazine-style format made me a little worried the book would be too lightweight, but the appealing and accessible format is well-used to convey a genuinely well-chosen selection of information.Author John Bowker has perfect credentials, as the author of The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions and editor of the The Cambridge Illustrated History of Religions (Cambridge Illustrated Histories).The last section, which draws attention to the hopeful & empathetic common message seemingly at the heart of all major faiths, is particularly welcome.

Author John Bowker makes a few odd choices I wouldn't agree with -- like translating the title of the Tao te Ching (Book of the Virtuous Path) as 'The Way of Power,' but generally these are only quibbles.The only element of this book that makes me slightly uneasy is when the author allows some religious bigotry against non-Christians to sneak into an otherwise excellent book.For example:

* The section on Islam includes a photograph of the Twin Towers burning and a picture of an angry-looking Islamic man in military gear holding up an assault rifle in one hand and the Qur'an in the other.Wow!Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that his attempted genocide of the Jews was in the name of his Christian god, so why does Bowker not include photographs of the mass graves at Auschwitz in the Christian section?It's clear that Bowker's idea here is to make it clear to Western readers that not all Muslims agree with the 9/11 attacks -- many see them as having violated the very exacting conditions of Jihad (holy war) set down by the Qur'an and the Hadith.I can see what Bowker was going for, but this comes across as the demonization of a single faith.

* The non-religious (including atheists and agnostics) make up more than 12% of the world population, but they receive almost no mention here (compare to Jews, who make up 5% of the world population, yet receive their own chapter).Bowker's only acknowledgement of this huge segment of world belief seems to be this dismissive sentence: "Even though many people would deny that they are religious, it is clear that we are prepared for religion the same way as we are physically prepared for breathing, speaking a language, being musical, eating, and so on."This seems a very slippery way to say, "I, the author, disagree with atheists and agnostics."I do not have a problem with Bowker personally considering these moral systems inferior to his own (Christianity), but feel that his personal prejudices are out of place in an otherwise scholarly overview that pretends even-handedness.

* Bowker implies that native religions are mere silly, childish superstitions, in contrast to his own Christianity, which is an authentic understanding of capital-G God.Shaman travel to places that are "taken to be the other worlds" (while Christian otherworlds like Heaven are *real* places, not "taken to be" real places).Native peoples "translate" natural events such as famine into made-up Gods, while the famines described in the Old Testament *really were* due to Bowker's *real* Christian God.This comes across as transparent religious bigotry, which is a shame in what is generally an excellent and even-handed overview.

* On the last page, Bowker mentions that many people believe that religions are all just different paths to the same goal -- communion with the divine.He definitively states that this is untrue, claiming that "The accounts they [the various religions] give of the universe, of human nature, of the goals of life, of God or of a higher power, of the ways that lead to salvation or to enlightenment are deeply and irreconcilably different."Given that this book is presented as fact rather than opinion, I wish Bowker had been a little less slippery and more up-front here that he is expressing his opinion, not a fact, and more importantly that he is expressing the *minority opinion* in his field.Comparative Religion: A History has largely been a battle between serious scholars, who observe more and more that reigions serve the same social function and offer the same solace cross-culturally, and entrenched Christian scholars like Bowker, who bridle at the idea that theirs might not be the one true religion, and so need to always undercut the increasingly clear picture painted by their own field of study.Joseph Campbell spoke for the *majority* opinion in Bowker's field when he said that the quest for the divine is the same worldwide, and the major religions are "no more than local inflections."

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm sure it's really good.
Haven't seriously read it. But it has beautiful pictures and seems very comprehensive. I'll get to it one day.

5-0 out of 5 stars World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored & Explained
I was very impressed with the arrival of my book, this service provider was very quick and efficient, and the book was in good condition. ... Read more

2. The Illustrated Guide to World Religions
Paperback: 288 Pages (2003-12-11)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$18.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 019521997X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Graced with rich illustrations and written by a team of eminent scholars, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions presents a wealth of information on faiths around the world. Each chapter in this volume examines one of seven major world religions--from Judaism to Christianity and from Islam to Buddhism--and contains information about its holidays and festivities, key historical and mythological figures, architectural styles, calendars, language, and important texts.Generously peppered throughout the book are small, succinct sidebars on such issues as the afterlife, the role of women, the importance of saints, and the quest for higher wisdom. We discover, for instance, that Pure Land Buddhism--found mainly in China, Japan, and Tibet--holds that meditation on a particular deity at the moment of death will help insure rebirth into that deity's celestial domain. In Judaism, on the other hand, the concept of an afterlife has never played a central role. Uniquely organized in a manner that encourages comparative analysis, the book's lavish full-color art, maps, and photographs all focus on faith in practice, in both elaborate ritual and everyday life. Religion continues to be a monumental force in a rapidly changing world. Whether tracing the origins of your own faith or attempting to satisfy a curiosity about religious practices an ocean away, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions will be a fascinating and indispensable guide to the complexity of the world's living religions.Amazon.com Review
Few topics are as complex as religion, and few educationalreferences do as impressive a job of summing up in clear, precise, andeasy-to-understand prose the precepts, history, and practices of theworld's major faiths. Michael D. Coogan has all the background totackle such a formidable task. Currently the director of publicationsfor the Harvard Semitic Museum, he has taught at Harvard andWellesley, excavated in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and edited both theOxford Companion to theBible and the Oxford History of theBiblical World. Beautifully illustrated with artwork,photography, maps, and graphs, this guide provides a lucidintroduction to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism,as well as the religious traditions of China and Japan. Cooganexplains each religion's origins and divine beliefs, sacred texts andindividuals, the concepts of death and the afterlife, and how thereligion is expressed in society, rites of passage, education, andgender roles. The reference shelves have been lacking a good,comprehensive yet accessible religion guide. It's a pleasure to seesuch a concise, readable, and attractive piece of erudition addressthat need. --Stephanie Gold ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A terse introduction into the seven major world religions
The belief in a being conceived as the perfect ruler and creator of the universe hasdefined culture, politics and the ethos of humanity since prehistoric times.The effect of religious beliefs are found in the headlines of today's news.

Yet as powerful as religion is most of humankind live in ignorance about other's religious beliefs.This guide can help readers to be better informed about the seven major religions of the world.

I used the book prior to my visit to Buddhistic Thailand.I was in need of a fast refresher course on Buddhism as my college course, "Comparative Religions", taken in the early seventies, had seriously faded.

The information in this book is rudimentary, and though the information stimulated dormant brain cells there was no new insights added.The photos and maps (showing the world influence of each religion) are superb.The writing is clear and easy to understand (most teenagers would easily grasp the concepts).Each chapter lays out information about the basic dogma of each religion, and deals with such issues as the role of women, afterlife (exception being Judaism), holidays and important sacred text.Yet, this guide would have had been more informative if it included charts and gave the readers contemporary illustrations of each faith (ie sidebars that give biographic sketches of today's `leaders and shakers' in each faith).In short it could have been better.

For those that have a comprehension of the major world religions Michael Coogan's book will not add much to your knowledge.For those little to no comprehesion and are in search of a quick, terse introduction into the seven major world religions (Jr. High/High School especially) this guide is recommended. 3.5 starsA side note I found Karen Armstrong's short book "Buddha" to be an excellent read.
... Read more

3. The Gospels in the Second Century: An Examination of the Critical Part of a Work Entitled "Supernatural Religion."
by William Sanday, Walter Richard Cassels
Paperback: 446 Pages (2010-03-09)
list price: US$36.75 -- used & new: US$20.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1147087660
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Product Description
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

4. Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion (Teach Yourself: General Reference)
by Mel Thompson
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-10-18)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$8.18
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071496998
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Learn the thoughts behind the world's religions

How does religion relate to morality? Should religions be judged according to the behavior of their adherents? Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion answers these questions and many more. Providing you with knowledge on current religious debates, it explores the key principles upon which all religions are based and considers how religion relates to our understanding of everyday life.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars This bookBalances scholarship with a jargon- free approach
This book is ideal for anyone from A Level students upwards who want to know more about the philosophy of religion and certain themes in the study of Theology and is an excellent preparation and companion for anyone about to begin studying either philosophy or Theology.

As a Theology and religious study student, at degree level, there are so many books that are found in student reading lists that are hard going and which are full of complicated theories and arguments. But this book uses clear language and perfect analogies.

Mel Thompson explains everything from the topic of Religious language to arguments for the existence of God, the problems of evil and suffering, to problems which science place on religion, and does so in a manageable easy to understand way. Balancing scholarship with a jargon- free approach Thompson makes even the most profound arguments accessible to readers of all levels.

This book can be used as a textbook or as a revision book. Using clear paragraphs, bullet points and summary pages Thompson certainly succeeds in getting complicated theories across.

If you are a student on or about to take a Philosophy/Theology and religious studies course from A level upwards or anyone wanting to learn more about these topics this book is a must!!

5-0 out of 5 stars What is Philosophy of Religion?
If you have asked that question then this is the book for you.It's accessible, easily understood and a good read!Explanations are just that explanations.I have lost my copy to a friend who just 'wanted a look'. So beware

4-0 out of 5 stars A simple and straight-forward book
The content of this book is perfectly organized and you can surely understand what Philosophy of Religion is after reading it once! ... Read more

5. Religions of the Silk Road: Premodern Patterns of Globalization
by Dr. Richard Foltz
Paperback: 208 Pages (2010-05-15)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0230621252
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Drawing on the latest research and scholarship, this newly revised and updated edition of Religions of the Silk Road explores the majestically fabled cities and exotic peoples that make up the romantic notions of the colonial era while examining how cultural traditions also travelled to the people encounted on the Silk Road.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
Used this book as one of many required reads for a World History class.This book is excellent in illustrating a vast variety of religions including Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam, etc, along with their relationships with each other and their various influences.The author does a great job explaining every angle of each religion, what affected them, where their roots were, where they spread, and what caused the declines of those that have less significance today.This is easily the most enjoyable read of all of the books my class had to cover. ... Read more

6. History of the World's Religions (12th Edition)
by David S. Noss, Blake R. Grangaard
Hardcover: 672 Pages (2007-04-28)
list price: US$111.00 -- used & new: US$66.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0136149847
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

For courses in History of World Religions or Introduction to World Religions.


A History of the World's Religions gives students an accurate look at the religions of the world by including descriptive and interpretive details from the original source materials, and to bridge the interval between the founding of religions and their present state.


Refined by over forty years of dialogue and correspondence with religious experts and practitioners around the world, Noss's A History of the World's Religions is widely regarded as the hallmark of scholarship, fairness, and accuracy in its field. It is also the most thorough yet manageable history of world religion available in a single volume, treating many subjects largely neglected in other texts. The book's depth, breadth, and organization free instructors from having to cover everything in lectures, enabling them to select specific assignments and use class time for questions, discussion, and their own favorite materials.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product
Extremely fast shipping, and product was packaged perfectly.Would definitely do business with again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great!

The conditon of the book was awesome! There was a little bit of highlighting but I really don't mind. Otherwise, perfect!

3-0 out of 5 stars A fairly good in depth study through secular eyes
Astute observations at times, complex, and a fairly good in depth study, but limited.Let me clarify: This is a study of the history of "religions" in the sense of believing in the supernatural.Though subtle, these authors are telling us from the very first page it (the supernatural) is conjured by man.They give the impression of religion by evolution and that man developed all knowledge over time.The use of the politically correct B.C.E. should also set alarms off.Nonetheless it is very helpful as a supplement.

The textbook begins with the so called "early prehistoric" religions and their practices, and the spreading from the epicenter to the formation into other nations as it evolved into its eventual acceptance.Many influences are gathered, but are used broadly.Much of this time is speculative, which the authors admit, until later B.C. when accounts were recorded.The next chapters then focus on Greek mythology and the views of creationist's Plato and Aristotle.The only reason I can see to put some of these chapters in the book is to show how early man's myths instilled in us many of the beliefs we have today.The authors do a very good job of showing us how each society gave rise to the many different rituals and practices which lead to the religion it is today.The first half follows by regions, where the later emphasizes on the major religions.

And let us give pause, to not make the mistake of merging God's thoughts with mans.
Wish you well

5-0 out of 5 stars Logical consistency requires applying reason and logic to relgion too
Professor John Allen Paulos' application of reason and logic to analyze and evaluate the arguments made to "prove" the existence of God, is the very methodology used by most rational people in areas involvingtopics outside of religion, including believers, adamant in their insistence that God exists.

Why then do most - including "true" believers - refuse to apply reason and logic, which they will unhesitatingly use to make rational decisions and come to valid conclusions in every day life, but not in regards to religion?The powerful emotion, fear, often makes the normally rational, irrational.Perhaps Anton Chekhov says it best:
"Man is what he believes."

4-0 out of 5 stars Satisfied with my purchase
I was generally satisfied with my purchase.The book came well within the promised time-frame so I did not have to wait longer than I expected.I had expected the book to be in slightly better condition than it was, but was otherwise happy with my purchase. ... Read more

7. The Soul's Religion: Cultivating A Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life
by Thomas Moore
Paperback: 320 Pages (2003-04-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930195
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this, companion volume to his worldwide bestseller, Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore offers a way of living in this new and confusing century. Drawing on faiths front all over tile world, as well as from his own vast well of knowledge and personal experience, Moore shows its ]low religion can be used to embrace others, rather than exclude them. He helps its become comfortable with our doubts, and reveals a, liberating truth -- it is in the dark corners of the soul Chat trite faith is born. Intimate and provocative, Moore writes with the compassion of a parent and the wisdom of a trite teacher.

Amazon.com Review
Spirituality should never be used as an escape route, according to Thomas Moore's Soul's Religion. Rather, it should be the catalyst that helps us face our everyday failures, angst, and emotional entanglements. This has always been Moore's anthem: that spirituality rests in the depths of experience, in the ordeals and challenges that initiate us into a stronger sense of life's meaning. "This book may look simple, but it is not naive," promises Moore, who seesSoul's Religion as a companion volume to the bestselling Care of theSoul.
It doesn't coddle the ego. It offers challenge to the person fully in the flesh while developing at the same time an intelligent and deep-seated spiritual identity.... In this spirituality justice is more important than enlightenment and humor holier than ambition.
This is Moore at his best--taking spiritual teachings out of the texts, temples, and churches and applying them to everyday life. The former monk draws upon Christianity, Zen, and Taoism as he shows readers how religion should not be used as a shield. Rather, it should be a tool that cracks open our defenses so we can live without fear and judgments. Time and time again Moore takes readers to the daily place of "emptiness and not knowing," the place where we can best meet God. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bird
I find peace and rest when I read Thomas Moore. I find myself picking up THE SOUL'S RELIGION over and over again. I look to Amazon frequently for Thomas Moore's books because Amazon always has them.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Guide for the Propagation of Faith
I just finished re-reading this wise and encouraging account of Moore's personal evolution and found it to be very appealing.It has the feel of an apologia (in the sense of Coleridge's brief poem), without the anxious defensiveness often associated with that term.Moore sets out here to "link soul and spirit," his apt image for the religious calling.

"To believe," he writes (page 26), "is to be attentive to that seed that is part of our makeup.It will grow us into what we are called to be."

Moore imagines belief as a kind of"profound cultivation" which, when practiced by individuals, within or beyond the religions, can help those seeds drive roots deep into the soul.

Read this book... and grow well!

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I have not received this item and need you to research the reason.


5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
I am an ordained minister and a chaplain. This is my new favorite book. As Thomas Moore writes, each of us can only be the self we already truly are. I especially appreciate the personal experiences the author includes. His openness models the deep self-acceptance he advocates for all of us. There is an honest acceptance of the realities and sometimes pain that Life holds, and healthier approach to those dark periods from which we can learn and deepen. Thomas Moore's writing style is gentle and deeply genuine. I have enjoyed other books he has written, but this is, I believe, his Great Work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I have read several of Thomas Moore's book and this is probably one of my favorites. ... Read more

8. The Religion of the Ancient Celts
by J. A. Macculloch
Paperback: 230 Pages (2010-03-07)
list price: US$26.89 -- used & new: US$24.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1443220256
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: History / Europe / Western; History / Europe / Ireland; Body, Mind ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Religion of the Ancient Celts
Originally published in 1911 MacCulloch uses various texts as a source to piece this tome on the religion of the pre-Christian Celts together. Overall a good work, especially when you consider this was written before most, if not all, of the major archaeological finds that gave great insight into the ancient Celts. I love reading historical books that were published in the 1800's and early 1900's because the authors are not chained by political correctness and were often willing to think outside the box instead of toeing the line of mainstream academia.

3-0 out of 5 stars Makes me wonder
Some of his translations are... Odd. This book makes me wonder about early scholarship, and how much we should rely on it as we delve deeper into archeology and our understanding becomes clearer.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Treasure Trove
Originally published in 1911, and now available in Dover paperback, "Religion of the Ancient Celts," is a well written and engaging scholarly work.

Well worth its price, the work is suitable to the general public, while still valuable to those interested in the Celts from an historic, linguistic, mythological or ethnological standpoint.MacCulloch covers his subject matter clearly and thoroughly (referencing such things as parallels with Greek mythology and Sumerian religion) and writes in a style that will satisfy the expert without mystifying or losing the attention of the amateur.

The main text is 390 pp, is fully referenced in footnotes, and is fully indexed.Chapter titles include:Gods of Gaul - The Irish Cycle - Tuatha De Danaan - Gods of the Brythons - Cuchulainn Cycle - Fionn Saga - Gods and Men - Cult of the Dead - Nature Worship - River and Well Worship - Tree and Plant Worship - Animal Worship - Cosmogony - Sacrifice, Prayer & Divination - Taboo - Festivals - The Druids - Magic - Etc...

Although the book may be "dated", it is not "outdated".Given the scholarly standards of its time, this may be more of a virtue than a drawback.More recent results in the area are naturally not addressed.But the work is consistent with comparative methods, and considers the consensus without neglecting competing accounts.There is neither neo-Druidic nonsense nor needless pedantry.While the study is generally limited to the culture of the British Isles, as opposed to that of the Continent, this is due to the lack of Continental oral tradition rather than to lack of attention on the author's part.

MacCulloch is judicious. Yet he addresses issues such as the pre-Indo-European origins of the Mother-Goddess cult of Brigid, as the legends of the faerie-folk known as the "Side,"* (as in banshee) and as the stories of "Isles to the West" now sunk below the sea.

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will find this work enthralling and familiar, as it shows some of the sources for his magnificent "Middle-Earth."Avid youngsters, Celtophiles, students of Irish poet W.B. Yeats, followers of Marija Gimbutas (Civilization of the Goddess) and admirers of Robert Graves (The White Goddess) will likewise be pleased.

(Consider a search for MacCulloch's 1918 "Celtic Mythology" at Google Books which will return the entire public domain text.It can be browsed or downloaded in lieu of a preview here of his style.)

I can recommend this work unreservedly for readers of all persuasions.

* ["Side" shows curious parallels to the word "seidhr" - magic learned by the patriarchal Norse Aesir god Odin from the pre-Aryan matriarchal Vanir goddesses, and to "Sedna" - the Eskimo/Aleut "Mistress of Animals" who lives at the bottom of the ocean] ... Read more

9. Comparative Religion For Dummies
by William P. Lazarus, Mark Sullivan
Paperback: 366 Pages (2008-04-28)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$10.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470230657
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Understand the beliefs, customs, and rituals of each faith

The fun and easy way to know the common elements of these widespread religions

Want to know more about the faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? This plain-English guide traces their evolution from their commonorigin - Abraham - and explains their different, yet linked, beliefs.You'll see how each religion developed, endured setbacks, and became a fixture in modern society - and you'll learn how members havedeveloped similar approaches to worship.


  • How the belief in one God originated
  • The roots of Abraham's family tree
  • The sacred texts of each faith
  • Major similarities and differences
  • How these religions influenced the world
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars not good for my purposes.........
I bought this book to compare my own faith with that of other religion, so that I can understand the differences. When I received the book, with enthusiasm I spot-checked the book with regards to major points in my faith (Roman Catholic) as compared to others. Unfortunately, I found that the book illustrated a significant ignorance of what MY faith teaches, and a distinct bias against some of the Church's teaching. For instance, re heaven and hell, the book states "Today, Roman Catholics are the only major Christian sect to believe that everyone goes to purgatory before being raised to heaven or dropped to hell." - which is pure hogwash! In addition, one of the MOST IMPORTANT tenets of the Catholic faith is the believe in the TRUE PRESENCE of Christ in the Eucharist, let the book deals with it as "At one time the Christian world was hotly divided over the question..........While the debate has faded, some Christian faiths (***MY WORDS - Roman Catholics, the largest group of the Christian faith in the world***) still believe in transubstantiation". This is not a balanced statement and suggest bias.
Finally, I checked out Medjugorje (major shrines), and found that brief summary full of error. There are other errors which I won't touch on due to space limitations.
SO, re this book in it's first half hour - how can it show me differences between my religion and others when it is ignorant or biased at least in some areas of my own religion. Re the other religions, are there major errors or bias in treating their beliefs???
This book is of no value to me, since I can't trust it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great, easy-to-read introduction
This is a great introduction to the history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.It covers the origins of each religion, as well as the basic tenets and sacred texts of each.As in the other "Dummies" books, the text is easy to follow and very readable (though I would disagree with the reviewer who stated it was "for little kids").

This book is written from a historical perspective by religious scholars, and is fairly even-handed (it doesn't support one of these religions over the others), which I appreciated.I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a simple place to start in learning about the Abrahamic religions and increasing their level of religious literacy.

1-0 out of 5 stars Written from an atheist's perspective, and for little kids
I've read perhaps a dozen books on these three religions, and this is the worst. This is perhaps the most dumbed-down book I've ever read. It's actually insulting how little information is conveyed in the chapter and a half I read of it. But the book is not for you if you believe in God; the authors' first point is that God is a make-believe concept, cooked up by ignorant ancients. The authors also downplay the importance of salvation and grace in Christianity--and if I'm not mistaken, those are two rather important points in that religion.

4-0 out of 5 stars comparative religon for dummies
Interesting butnot entirely accurate. Said Paul started the Christian Church and that Paul never met Jesus.What about the road to Damascus? What about Jesus saying "On this rock I build the church"?

4-0 out of 5 stars Good summary of various religions.
This book is exactly what it the cover says.It is a good summary of the various major religions of the world. ... Read more

10. Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions
by James Bonwick
Paperback: 178 Pages (2010-10-14)
list price: US$9.32 -- used & new: US$8.36
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Asin: 021722623X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This is an OCR edition without illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from GeneralBooksClub.com. You can also preview excerpts from the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Original Published by: Griffith, Farran in 1894 in 345 pages; Subjects: History / Europe / Ireland; Religion / Ethnic & Tribal; ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Okay
After having read this book, I have to say that I wasn't terribly impressed--nor was I seriously let down. There are plenty of great pieces of hard to find information about Irish Druids--I mean, lets face it. These days you have to really look hard to find your way out of all the wishy-washy fairy-tales concerning Druids and Celtic religion--especially on the internet, where almost everyone seems to be in costume. I also appriciated the mention of other Celtic tribes throughout Europe.

What I didn't care for was the repeated and tiresome disdain towards the "so-called Druids" of Britain. When I'm reading for information/enlightenment, it's difficult to feel that I'm getting it from a credible source when the author's writing seems so biased and disdainful towards the non-Irish Druids. Yes, I know that the book is written with Ireland in mind, but the author just seemed to keep making digs at the other country while elevating Irish Druids over the rest. Kind of annoying, but not terrible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Classic without "Thought Police" Censoring
Contrary to the other "reviewer", this is a classic reprinted annually with the originals worth as much as a nice flat screen for a reason. The book has always stirred controversy because it doesn't kow tow to the "correct view" of those who want to believe that everything before Christianity was barbarism. At the time it was originally published in 1894, this book was literally revolutionary.Keep in mind, the belief of the time was that the Irish were less than human and this book showed that they had been civilized with laws, music, history, and science long before the forced conversion which included the murdering of almost all of the Druid priests.Check out Wikipedia and other sources for more information on James Bonwick (who was very much a religous Christian btw) and the Druids.And, read it for yourself - it is an easy read if you relax about things like the Scottish being called the Scotch and just go with the flow of the book.

1-0 out of 5 stars I think not
Blarney, utter Blarney.This is historical fiction.I teach Irish history and ancient religion, and this is nonsense. ... Read more

11. Exploring Religion
by Roger Schmidt
Paperback: 523 Pages (1988-02)
list price: US$138.95 -- used & new: US$101.30
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Asin: 0534088740
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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This topical introduction to the study of religion for undergraduates implements a phenomenological approach. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exploring Religion
This is a great book to invest in when wanting to explore religion into great depth.I had to buy this book for an online college course and really found myself enjoying the history and ways of explanation as to what religion really is.Religion is very complicated to oversee due to the many different religions that are and have been in practice.I found that this book really hit all of the key points and important factors to what religion is and where it came from.Although religion can be viewed differently even from those practicing the same religion, Roger Schmidt, the author, included the many different perspectives and elaborated a tremendous amount on each.It is interesting to know the history of religion while also exploring all the different viewpoints.This book seems to put everything into perspective in order to form or reform your very own viewpoint as well.In reading this book, I found myself very intrigued to learn all of the information that I could in order to take a different look behind what I knew so little about.I recommend this book to anyone that is eager to learn more on religion or about religion at all.It is very interesting to look at so many different views in so much depth, and it really changed the way I think about religion as a whole.

1-0 out of 5 stars Never received book!
I ordered the book and paid over $100 and NEVER EVER received the book. I tried contacting the sender through e-mail and still have heard nothing. ... Read more

12. Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Paperback: 113 Pages (1999-09-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.52
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Asin: 0898707536
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Forward by Scott Hahn

In Many Religions, One Covenant, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spans the deep divides in modern Catholic scholarship to present a compelling biblical theology, modern in its concerns yet classical in its breadth. It is his classical mastery, his ressourcement, that enables the Cardinal to build a bridge.

Cardinal Ratzinger seeks to deepen our understanding of the Bible's most fundamental principle. The covenant defines religion for Christians and Jews. We cannot discern God's design or his will if we do not meditate upon his covenant.

The covenant, then, is the principle that unites the New Testament with the Old, the Scriptures with Tradition, and each of the various branches of theology with all the others. The covenant does more than bridge the gaps between these elements; it fills in the gaps, so that biblical scholarship, dogmatic theology, and magesterial authority all stand on common ground - solid ground. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Continuity
It seems that Christian theologians have attempted to find the continuity of the faith with it's ancient Jewish roots since the beginning. This has overflowed into the extremes such as Marcion and others who found little or no continuity and another extreme that attempts to liberalize and distill Christianity and Judaism to their lowest common denominators to the point of them losing their significance altogether. As with his work, Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI once again draws us back to the essentials of our faith in order to provide an honest comparison. He finds the essential link of Old/New Testament and Judaism/Christianity lies in God's revealing himself to man by way of covenant. Therein is the key to understanding the continuity of the two faiths and the common ground for dialog and understanding.

The identification of covenant makes the Foreword by Dr. Scott Hahn, who lectures and writes extensively on covenant theology, all the more appropriate.

A well reasoned, concise, and helpful discussion leading to a deeper understanding of the continuity of faith in Christianity from Judaism. A must have for any Christian or Jewish theologian's library.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bright Thinking Presented Too Briefly
Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI.At the time of this writing he was Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith.

This small book is his exploration of ressourcement involvingbut not limited to a very broad sketching of biblical theology, involving "not just a recovery of the Fathers, but a return to the place where the Fathers returned, again and again: the living oracles, the Word of God" (15).

In Part One, "Israel, the Church and the World," Ratzinger considers whether a rapprochement between the Church and Israel is possible after Auschwitz, and if so toward what end.He begins by examining how the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)highlights the role of Jesus in uniting Jew and Gentile in the worship of the true and Living God.Through His coming, Jesus "brings together the histories of the nations in the community of the the history of Abraham the history of Israel.His mission is unification, reconciliation, as the Letter to the Ephesians (2:18-22) will then present it. The history of Israel should become the history of all" (27).Focusing on how the history and status of the Jews as the chosen people is foundational to the identity and reality of the Church, he establishes the continuing importance of Israel for the Church.The key theme of Jesus' coming is reconciliation, not only of Jew and Gentile to God, but of Jew and Gentile to one another.

Besides reconciliation, Ratzinger explores continuity in the realm of Torah, highlighting the catechism's avowal that Jesus came not to abolish but to fulfill (and thus, validate) the Law.There must also be a continuity between Jesus and Israel, or he is an agent of division rather than reconciliation.Ratzinger tends to collapse the Law into the moral law, and sees Jesus as elevating that moral Law to its highest plane and deepest focus, thus validating rather than replacing it.He sees the Older Testmant as fundamentally Law and Promise, and Christ as the interpreter of the former and the fulfillment of the latter.

In Part Two, "The New Covenant," he explores whether the older andNew Covenants are each a vassal covenant or a grant covenant, andcollapses the covenants plural and lower case into the one Covenant singular and upper case, failing to adequately explain the rationale for and the nature of this shift.I find his theologizing too abstract and self-consciously christocentric, as if all of God's doings collapse into the work of Christ.Part Three is a Homily, "The New Manna," exploring the paradoxical nature of our relationship with God and of His work in the world, forswearing force, accepting weakness and vulnerability, yet inexorably transforming everything.

Part Four, "The Dialogue of The Religions and the Relationship Between Judaism and Christianity," is the most crucial chapter for my work.It involves a bare and careful sketch of a kind of logos theology,in which the truths we know of God are always partial, and the revelation we receive is often a journey in the dark, yet toward the light.

The chapter includes a sletch of the birth and nature of ecumenism, and how Christendom discovered and began to honor the religious imprinting of peoples whom it simply viewed as a target audience.He views discussions of unity and diversity to be crucial, since the geopolitical realities we all live with require of us progress in peace, justice, and preservation of the earth.

He broadly divides world religions into two categories:tribal and universal, and then divides universal religions into theistic ones (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and mystical ones.He opens the question as to whether unity is to be attained either by mystical religions absorbing the theistic ones, or vice versa.To these two options he adds a third, the pragmatic solution, orthoprzxy, by which any religion would be evaluated and disciplined through its practice of the Golden Rule.

He identifies four problems, or four losses, if mystical religion were to absorb theistic religion:loss of a distinction between theistic and mystical religions, loss of the cosmos through all embracing interiority, loss of the relevance and meaning of history, and loss of binding ethics.As for the pragmatic model (orthopraxy) he indicates that religion must inform and structure ethics and morality which are not free-floating self evident categories, and that the goal is not religion as moralism but rather growth in the knowledge and service of God.

As for theistic religion absorbing the mystical, he first considers the unique relationship between Judaism and Christianity, and the question for their peaceful reconciliation (he would probably view coexistence as inadequate).He identifies two key ideas to reduce the tension and increase agreement between the Church and Israel:that through Jesus Israel's God becomes the God of the nations, and that Jesus is the servant of Israel's God for the nations' sake.These two facts can be freely acknowledged by both Jews and Christians.He suggests that two poles anchor the faith of Israel:Torah and the Messianic hope. He sees Christianity as similarly anchored, with Jesus as the Church's Sinai, and the second coming as her messianic hope. These two poles--Torah and hope link past, present and future for Israel as obedience to a received deposit, present living out of God's will, and hope in the Messiah to come.The same is true for the Church, living in the obedience of faith (past/faith), anticipation of the parousia (future/hope), and love in the present.Ratzinger avers that Christ therefore both separates and unites the Church and Israel.

Finally, in configuring the relationship between the Christian faith and mystical religions, Ratzinger says Christianity has room for a God who s always greater than our formulations, and that God's self-revelation simultaneously conceals, as in the kenosis (the self-emptying of Christ in the Incarnation).In structuring and conceiving the dialogue or religions, he says (1) the encounter of thr religions is not possible by renouncing or downplaying truth but only by encountering truth more deeply; (2)We must be prepared to acknowledge and find the truth others have found even when it comes to us in strange and foreign garb; (3) Mission and dialogue go hand in hand, since dialogue aims at finding truth and missionaries must always be learners as well as teachers.Returning to his logos imagery, he closes by indicating that all of us have encountered truth to some degree and we must learn from each other, listening to the Logos.

Clearly, Ratzinger is a first-class thinker. That the book is so brief is both a strength and weakness, as matters are repeatedly sketched instead of drawn.One wants to know more, and yet, appreciates the momentum of the overview.I appreciate the book as a summation of now Pope Benedict XVI's perspective, and have three problems with the treatment.First, I find myself alienated and unconvinced by overly abstract theological arguments:it seems a linguistic game to me (cf. Wittgenstein).Second,to the degree he seeks to speak for Israel, as in the case of what Jews believe, he offends.He would not welcome a Jews defining and characterizing the Holy See. The editors should have had a rabbi on hand to Jewishly validate or invalidate the portrait of the Jewish people Ratzinger constructs. Finally, I find myself far less sanguine about the prospects of absorbing or reaching rapprochement with the world religions.My evangelical conditioning suggests that the voices heard in some religions come from a different kingdom.

Despite these caveats, this is an important book for those seeking an orientation to the current pope's mindset and views on the Jews.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful
This is a surprising book! I was amazed to read of such views taken by the Holy Pontiff. I have a more positive view after reading this short but important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beginning to Fruitful Reflection
Much of what Cardinal Ratzinger has said here has been said in other works (by him or by others).However, the given text functions as a thoughtful synthesis of these movements of thought.It is not an attempt to completely answer the question of pluralism or of the Christian-Jewish relationship.Instead, this text lays a basic framework for considering Christ's role in fulfilling the Jewish faith, the nature of Covenant as God's self-communication, the nature of the New Covenant, and religious dialogue.

I suggest this text to all but not lightly.While it is not very esoteric, it is weighty enough to require quiet reflection.The fruits of reading it are great and also give one a starting point for further thought on the subject material.I suggest it to all open minds.

4-0 out of 5 stars Many Religions,One Covenant:Isreal,the Church,and the World
The style is typical Ratzinger. Thoughtful and insightful. Slow reading at times yet this is to be expected when dealing with a devisive issue which as firmented for nearly 1500 years. Definately worth the time to read and digest if for no other reason than to provide the reader with a farmilarization to the author. More professionally known these days as Pope Benedict XVI. ... Read more

13. History of Religion a Sketch of Primitive Religious Beliefs and Practices, and of the Origin and Character of the Great Systems
by Allan Menzies
Paperback: 232 Pages (2010-09-05)
list price: US$31.45 -- used & new: US$31.45
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Asin: 1153822482
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Religion / General; Religion / Comparative Religion; ... Read more

14. Grounding Religion: A Field Guide to the Study of Religion and Ecology
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-11-23)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$35.95
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Asin: 0415780179
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How do religion and the natural world interact with one another? Grounding Religion introduces students to the growing field of religion and ecology, exploring a series of questions about how the religious world influences and is influenced by ecological systems.

Grounding Religion examines the central concepts of ‘religion’ and ‘ecology’ using analysis, dialogical exchanges by established scholars in the field, and case studies. The first textbook to encourage critical thinking about the relationships between the environment and religious beliefs and practices, it also provides an expansive overview of the academic field of religion and ecology as it has emerged in the past forty years. 

The contributors introduce students to new ways of thinking about environmental degradation and the responses of religious people. Each chapter brings a new perspective on key concepts such as sustainability, animals, gender, economics, environmental justice, globalization and place. Discussion questions and contemporary case studies focusing on topics such as Muslim farmers in the US and Appalachian environmental struggles help students apply the perspective to current events, other media, and their own interests. 

... Read more

15. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America: A Hard Look at Spirituality, Religion, and Values in the Workplace (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
by Ian Mitroff, Elizabeth A. Denton
Hardcover: 259 Pages (1999-10-15)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$21.75
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Asin: 0787946664
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This first-ever survey of spiritual beliefs and practices among managers and executives finds that, while most people have strong spiritual beliefs, few feel that they can act on those beliefs at work. And yet, overall company performance is actually higher in companies where company values and spiritual values coalesce. Filling a gap in today's literature on spirituality and business, this book examines five proven models for introducing spirituality to the workplace and spells out the strengths and weaknesses of each model. More than a personal guide to spiritual well-being, it shows how you can harness the immense spiritual energy at everyone's core, and outlines solutions for bringing that energy into the organization.

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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Foundation for All Works on Workplace Spirituality
"A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America" is a book that should be read by all members of the corporate world (not only in the US), who want to learn more about the various models in existence about workplace spirituality.

I have used this book as a foundation for my doctoral dissertation on workplace spirituality. "A Spiritual Audit" has also been an important foundation for the book that resulted from this dissertation process and the additional research I executed on the topic. The book I am referring to is titled, "Spirituality in the Workplace: What it is; Why it Matters; How to Make it Work for You" (co-authored with Dr. Satinder Dhiman and Dr. Richard King).

I can admit without reservation that Ian Mitroff's work has been very important in our perspectives toward workplace spirituality, and that it has served as an encouragement in the fact that spirituality and religion are two entirely different phenomena.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Solid Contribution to Spirituality Research
This book is the result of research conducted by the authors across various profit and non-profit organizations in the U.S. The book does contribute to the body of research considering spirituality in the workplace. The field is still young from an academic perspective and apparently hung-up on the operational definition of spirituality.

This research helps the prospective researcher narrow down the constructs of spirituality. It also demonstrates empirically that there is a difference between religion and spirituality and how well the two are received in the workplace. The authors also describe a range of organizations, in the form of models, that describe the various ways spirituality is indoctrinated into organizations, moving from one extreme to the other.

This book is also good for the layman in that it is not bogged down in academic wording.It also provides insights on how an organization can implement the idea of the "whole person" in the workplace.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Ian I. Mitroff and Elizabeth Denton proffer that many of the problems faced by business and society are the result of a spiritual impoverishment that they discovered in their research on organizations. The authors bring an authoritative, scholarly tone to their material, yet they write conversationally and make no effort to hide their opinions. While indicting corporate America for its neglect of the spiritual, Mitroff and Denton also cite examples of businesses with soul that encourage the expression of spirit. We [...] recommend this book to all readers interested in the creation of a more spiritually fulfilling workplace.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book substantially over-promises
This book over-promises based on its title.It offers three things:its company research is based on mailed-back questionnaires from 131 people from companies described only as coming from a "special database" and as being located on the east coast and the west coast; in addition, the authors conducted a number of interviews and "partial" interviews.Many of the "companies" are not-for-profits and consulting firms.The significant problem here is that this cannot be, in any realistic manner, considered to be an audit of corporate America.This is preliminary and exploratory work.There is some interesting writing on spirituality and the differences between spirituality and religion, although the writing suggests (to me) biases on the authors' part.In addition, the book describes companies and organizations that have been much written about elsewhere, such asAA, Tom's of Maine, Ben and Jerry's, the YMCA. The book can be stimulating of your thinking and offer some useful insights, and for that I appreciate it, but it is not a broad based, valid, objective study of spirituality in corporate America.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the first empirical study
I applaud Mitroff, the organizational models are right on the mark.Interested readers should also examine my research study entitled "Spiritual Well-Being of Workers: Exploring the Influences of Spirituality in Everyday Work Activities" completed in 1996 at theUniversity of Texas under Dr. Oscar Mink as well as Krista Kurth's doctoralresearch at George Washington University in 1994 entitled "AnExploration of the Expression and Perceived Impact of Selfless Service inFor-Profit Organizations" (I believe under Dr. Peter Vaill or Dr.Jerry Harvey).Krista and I predate Mitroff by a few years and markedgroundbreaking research trailheads for students around the country who arecontinuing to explore this neglected topic.It looks as though the faddishphase of this topical area is waning and serious academic scrutiny ismoving to the fore.Great! ... Read more

16. Interpretations of Poetry and Religion
by George Santayana
Paperback: 122 Pages (2010-10-14)
list price: US$15.37 -- used & new: US$15.22
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Asin: 0217492053
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This is an OCR edition without illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from GeneralBooksClub.com. You can also preview excerpts from the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Original Published by: C. Scribner's Sons in 1921 in 320 pages; Subjects: History / General; History / General; ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Read for all Educated People
Note: I made some Mormon reader angry over my reviews of books written by Mormons out to prove the Book of Mormon, and that person has been slamming my reviews. He or she doesn't want you to read Hoffer's book.

Your "helpful" votes are appreciated. Thanks.

On The True Believer: This collection of essays is a classic, and it can be read in independent sections. "The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare" was fascinating.

The essays are full of the epigrams that make Santayana famous--"Oaths are the fossils of piety."

"But for Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and nothing. He choose nothing."Yet: "Life did not pass before his eyes as a mere phantasmagoria. He seized upon its principles; he became wise."

"In Shakespeare's time and country, to be religious already began to mean to be Puritanical; and in the divorce between the fulness of life on the one hand and the depth and unity of faith on the other,there could be no doubt to which side a man of imaginative instincts would attach himself."

Other great essays in this book include, "The Poetry of Barbarism" and "The Poetry of Christian Dogma."

From an essay in other book comes Santayana's famous line: "A fanatic is a person who redoubles his effort after he has forgotten his aim." "A fanatic closes his eyes daily to the sun, so that he might see better by starlight."

Hear, hear! You cannot call yourself educated without having read Santayana. Also, read Eric Hoffer's little book, "The True Believer." Click here:

The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics)

Another great book is "A Celebration of Humanism and Freethought," by David Allen Williams. This book has quotes from Hoffer and dozens upon dozens of other writers. Opposite each quotation is a rare 19th century engraving. Highly recommended--positive and inspirational. Check it out here:

A Celebration of Humanism and Freethought

Your comments--positive or negative--are appreciated. Thanks. ... Read more

17. Asian Religions: An Illustrated Introduction
by Bradley K. Hawkins
Paperback: 192 Pages (2003-08-11)
list price: US$54.30 -- used & new: US$27.01
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Asin: 0321172884
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Packed with illustrations, photographs, and maps Asian Religions brings the rich religions of Asia to life.

  • Examines religions of South/Southeast Asia, China, and Northeast Asia.
  • Contains numerous photographs of rituals/practices and historical and geographical maps.
  • Covers Buddhism, Jainism, Kikhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto, Islam, and newer religious movements.
  • Historical approach shows how traditions have changed over time.
Asian Religions is a passport to the fascinating world of Asian thought. Exploring all the major religions of South and Southeast Asia, China, and Northeast Asia, Bradley K. Hawkins looks at Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto, and the new religious movements. Two chapters devoted to Islam shows its significants in Southeast Asia. Numerous full-color photos and art - both historical and contemporary - provide insight into the artistic expressions, sacred architecture, and people of the various traditions. Photographs of contemporary riturals/practices give a "feel" of each tradition as a living religion; Maps provide valuable geographical and historical context. The author shows how the traditions interrelate and places them within a wider global context. Modern expressions of each tradition are examined. Hawkins takes an historical approach that helps the reader better understand each tradition and show how each has developed and changed over time. The book is divided into three geographical areas: South and Southeast Asia (including Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia); China; and Northeast Asia (including Japan and Korea).

Bradley K. Hawkins studied under Ninian Smart at the Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara and has an MA in South Asian Studies and a PhD in Asian Cultural History. He is currently Professor of Religious Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he teaches courses on Southeastern Asian Religions and History, Comparative World religions, and Islam. He is the author of Buddhism in the Religions of the World series published by Prentice Hall. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars All Asian philosophies in one pass
Hawkins gives a surprisingly detailed overview of almost every Asian religion, from earliest Hinduism, to Islam in Southeast Asia, or new religions like Vietnam's Cao Dai. Of course the vast subject matter forces a choice of priorities at every turn. Most traditions are treated more as evolving schools of philosophy than as changing cultural communities. The discussion of Neo-Confucianism is more about theories of form, matter, and energy than about social morality. Still, the brief descriptions of numerous sects, schools, leaders, or scriptures give a sound context, and open many doors for the curious. ... Read more

18. African-American Religion (Religion in American Life)
by Albert J. Raboteau
Hardcover: 144 Pages (1999-06-03)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$21.00
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Asin: 0195106806
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Throughout African-American history, religion has been indelibly intertwined with the fight against intolerance and racial prejudice. Martin Luther King, Jr.-America's best-known champion of civil liberties-was a Baptist minister. Father Divine, a fiery preacher who established a large following in the 1920s and 1930s, convinced his disciples that he could cure not only disease and infirmity, but also poverty and racism.

An in-depth examination of African-American history and religion, this comprehensive and lively book provides panoramic coverage of the black religious and social experience in America. Renowned historian Albert J. Raboteau traces the subtle blending of African tribal customs with the powerful Christian establishment, the migration to cities, the growth of Islam, and the 200-year fight for freedom and identity which was so often centered around African-American churches. From the African Methodist Episcopal Church to the Nation of Islam and from the first African slaves to Louis Farrakhan, this far-reaching book chronicles the evolution of an important and influential component of our religious and historical heritage. African American Religion combines meticulously researched historical facts with a fast-paced, engaging narrative that will appeal to readers of any age.

Religion in American Life explores the evolution, character, and dynamics of organized religion in America from 1500 to the present day. Written by distinguished religious historians, these books weave together the varying stories that compose the religious fabric of the United States, from Puritanism to alternative religious practices. Primary source material coupled with handsome illustrations and lucid text make these books essential in any exploration of America's diverse nature. Each book includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading, and index. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful Panorama
Albert J. Raboteau is American's foremost expert on the history of African American religion. In this text, "African-American Religion," which is part of the larger "Religion in American Life" series, Raboteau offers an engaging panorama of how religion (of all types, not just Christianity) impacted African Americans and how their religion impacted America.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Soul Physicians, and Spiritual Friends. ... Read more

19. Religion in the Public Square: The Place of Religious Convictions in Political Debate (Point/Counterpoint)
by Nicholas Wolterstorff, Robert Audi
Paperback: 190 Pages (1996-12-26)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.50
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Asin: 0847683427
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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This vigorous debate between two distinguished philosophers presents two views on a topic of worldwide importance: the role of religion in politics. Audi argues that citizens in a free democracy should distinguish religious and secular considerations and give them separate though related roles. Wolterstorff argues that religious elements are both appropriate in politics and indispensable to the vitality of a pluralistic democracy. Each philosopher first states his position in detail, then responds to and criticizes the opposing viewpoint. Written with engaging clarity, "Religion in the Public Square" will spur discussion among scholars, students, and citizens. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Poor excuse for a debate
This book is supposed to be part of a series of texts that provide a point counterpoint format, parallelling something of a debate on some interesting subject. "Religion in the Public Square" is not a debate, however, but two parallel essays with reflective commentaries on each by the opposing author. Ironically, each of the essays describes largely the SAME position (that of the ideal of liberal democracy, which protects religious liberties and the neutrality of the state with respect to religion) but they have only subtle philosophical differences. For example, Wolterstorff thinks that any reasons whatever should be allowed in public discourse so long as they are persuasive to the people hearing them, and Audi thinks that the reasons given should have constituted a significant part of the basis for why the person employing those reasons accepts them himself. Hardly the basis for an interesting discussion, one might say.

Unfortunately, neither author writes their essays in an argumentative format nor do they even have the other author in mind when they write their essays. Thus, they often repeat the same concepts using different language and different terminology, which only adds to the confusion of the book.

The first author, Robert Audi, presents his arguments with little or no structure in an almost stream of conscience format. Although he ultimately has important arguments lurking about, they get lost amongst his many useless, technical distinctions that he forgets about as soon as he raises them (as if they were important distinctions for their own sake). If the book was a debate, he would be making points and repeating them without telling us why they are important in the larger context of the debate. In his commentary on Wolterstorff, he writes sentences like, "I propose that conscientious citizens have a prima facie obligation to have and be willing to offer at least one secular reason that is evidentially adequate and motivationally sufficient" (123), as if it was obvious why it was important to note that the obligation was "prima facie" or that it was clear for whom these so-called "secular reasons" should be motivational. Moreover, when Audi writes this sentence, his opponent (Wolterstorff) has already criticized the coherence of a "secular reason" as ultimately meaningless, and yet Audi insists on using it in an unqualified and ambiguous way. Such lazy language is simply unacceptable, but unavoidable in the a book of this scope. For unfamiliar readers, Audi's complete text on this subject "Religious Commitment and Secular Reason" will be indispensable for understanding his ideas.

Wolterstorff by contrast provides a more clear although less convincing argument for allowing religious language in the public square. Although his arguments are subtle, profoundly post modern, and surprisingly anti-foundationalist, much of his analysis is unfortunately over-theoretical and uninteresting from a practical standpoint. His criticisms of the "independent source" of Rawls and Locke may interest professors of jurisprudence, but not an undergraduate with a merely passing interest on the subject.

In the end, neither author more than glosses on any of the interesting subjects that should have been the focus of this debate such as abortion or school prayer (this book was written before stem cell research was an issue). The whole discussion stays at the level of vague abstractions and hypothetical political theories, never so much as touching on the real problems with religious reasoning in the public square (such as the Catholic Church's perpetuation of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa through its condemnation of condom use in that region, or religious arguments against homosexual marriage).

Finally, it is sadly not obvious that either author is aware of any religion besides Christianity or (in passing) Judaism. Ironically, Audi, who was apparently blind to the fact that no religion besides Christianity or Judaism has been mentioned, writes of Wolterstorff's essay that it is "sensitive to a variety of religious perspectives" (121). The book gets one star for being unintentionally humorous.

4-0 out of 5 stars Religious convictions as a basis for political action
This book is appropriate for an upper level philosophy seminar in the major, and will also be of interest to graduate students in political science and law.The debate between Audi and Wolterstorff is not reallyabout the entire multifaceted topic of the "separation of church andstate" in the United States (a lot of which concerns the scope offreedom of religious practice and strict limitations on public funding ofreligious causes).The debate is actually about a much more focused topiccentral to democratic theory: in a nation governed by a legitimatedemocratic process of law and policy formation through open debate andvoting, what sort of considerations is it morally legitimate for citizensinvoke in deciding what laws and policies to support, and appealing toothers to share their views?(Thus the question is about moral norms ofcitizenship, not legal norms governing actual democratic processes).InRawlsian lingo, this is a question about the content of "publicreason."Audi believes citizens in a democracy ought not invokereligious beliefs, whereas Wolterstorff thinks such beliefs are on the sameepistemic footing as all other considerations on which citizens must drawin making rational judgments about the common good of their society.Otherauthors who have contributed to this debate include Michael Perry, JohnRawls, Phillip Quinn, and the authors featured in Paul Weithman'scollection.The biggest drawback of all this literature, including thisbook, is that the interlocutors on both sides are unfamiliar with thegrowing body of work on the deliberative theory of democracy coming out ofthe republican tradition in jurisprudence and out of discourse ethics incontinental philosophy.So they to not address the implications ofdeliberative models of democracy for the issue of appeal to religiousconvictions in political action.

1-0 out of 5 stars AOID THIS BOOK IF YOU CAN!
I was forced to read this for a college course.It is harder to read than it needs to be, and the book could actually be half as long as it is.There have GOT to be better books than this one on the same subject. ... Read more

20. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Religions (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2002-01-28)
list price: US$51.00 -- used & new: US$14.53
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Asin: 052181037X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Cambridge Illustrated History of Religionsis a comprehensive survey of world religions from pre-history to the present day. Each religion is treated in depth, with text written by a recognized academic expert, and supported by extensive illustrations. The religions covered include Jainism, Chinese and Japanese religions, Hindu religions, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, along with smaller sections on Zoroaster and Parsis, Greek and Rome, Egypt and Mesopotamia, aboriginal religions, Shamanism, and modern religions such as Bahai. The book includes a substantial bibliography, a full chronology for each section, a general chronology giving the most significant dates from all religions, and information on religious phenomena such as festivals and calendars. This is an authoritative reference book which will appeal equally to students of religion, teachers, and general interested readers.John Bowker is the author of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford, 2000), The Complete Bible Handbook: An Illustrated Companion (DK Publishing, 1998) and and The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford, 1997). He is Greshan Professor, Greshan College, London and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and North Carolina State University. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great transaction!
The Cambridge Illustrated History of Religions (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)

Hassle-free transaction at a great price. The book was neatly wrapped for protection, thank you for that.I hope to do business with you again!

5-0 out of 5 stars Picture this!
I use the Cambridge Illustrated History of Religions in a course I teach on World Religions for my university -- it has a good breadth of coverage, good detail, wonderful photography, and a very nice colour layout that makes for easier reading. Editor John Bowker provides an introduction and conclusion as well as one of the topical sections.

In the introduction, Bowker writes, 'There is no known society in which religion has not played a part, and frequently a controlling and creative part. This seems to have been true of the earliest societies, but in their case the history of religions is not easy to write.' Bowker traces the reconstruction and speculation of prehistoric societies, with illustrations of cave paintings, totem poles, Mayan pyramid structures, Native American costumes, and maps of South America and Oceania to help illustrate the diversity of ways beyond the printed word that different peoples have kept alive the religious traditions handed down to them.

'The attempt to write history according to laws governing human behaviour had an immensely important influence during much of the twentieth century, because it created those disciplines which called themselves "the social science".' This is not, however, the only possible way to explore religion, and Bowker and his fellow authors do stretch their reporting and analysis beyond this framework. Some tap into the common core of ideas that seems to permeate the different religions, and some do anthropological studies that look for echoes of the present in the past.

This book is useful both as a reference and as a narrative history, designed for reading. The religions are described both in terms of beliefs and in terms of practices, with side-bar commentary that helps to elucidate key points throughout the text. There are also occasional essays, spread across one or two pages, that might highlight in more detail some of the scriptures, cultural issues, historical events, or other key pieces that lend understanding to the religion. For example, in the section on Buddhism, there are special essays on the Buddha's First Sermon, Women in Japanese Buddhism, and Chinese Suppression; in the section on Islam, there are special essays on The Quran, Islam in Pakistan, and Mosques.

The main sections and principle subsections are as follows:
Indian Religions and the Hindu Tradition
Þ India and Southeast Asia
Þ Tibet
Þ China
Þ Japan
Þ Korea
Chinese Religion
Korean Religion
Japanese Religions
Zarathustra and the Parsis
Mediterranean Religions
Þ Classical Greek and Roman Religion
Þ Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia
Þ Christianity
Þ Norse Religion
New Religions

The concluding section, on new religions, discusses various practices and communities that still hearken back to older traditions. Pagans, for example, tend to dismiss use of the term neo-Pagan, as they maintain that their religion taps into ancient ideas rather than exists as a new creation. Similarly, followers of Wicca see themselves as descendents of older European practices -- some followers of both see their origins in the Druid communities. In Japan, the shinko shukyo, or newer religions, exist in addition to several ancient traditions that continue to be practiced. Post-colonial Africa has seen a resurgence beginning in the recovery of non-Western religious practices alongside continuing growth in both Christian and Islamic communities. The Bahai faith is an example of a new religion growing out of Islamic (and thus the Judeo-Christian-Islamic) tradition; twentieth century groups such as Scientologists and the Unification Church continue to generate controversy, both in terms of belief and practice.

'With so many risks, why do new religions continue to flourish, especially among the young? Many answers have been offered, but fundamental to them all is the fact that the capacity for religious belief and behaviour is deeply embedded in the human brain and body. It is inevitable, therefore, that people will be religious in some sense. ... The human genius for religion leads to the constant development of new religions that seem to their adherents to meet their needs and fulfill their hopes. It leads also to a continuing history of existing religions for exactly the same reason.'

The book includes a chronology presented both in column text and in two-page graphic format as a timeline. There is also a great index, and a useful bibliography. The text is written assuming no particular background in religion, theology or history, but rather a basic beginning college reading level. Advanced students from secondary schools may also find this useful, and the illustrated format makes it an interesting book for almost any reader.
... Read more

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