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I received a copy from Amazon directly with really not good print quality. Strange issue. The cover was blurry, and the inside text was as well. I also realized once I grabbed another copy locally and looked at lots of copys, the cover's words "The World's Religions" is supposed to be raised / embossed. Mine was totally e book itself (I returned the Amazon copy) is unbelievable though, so not sure if to give 1 or 5 stars.
One of the best, most cohesive books on the world's amazing religions. It is SO well-written! The only beef I have is that the book does not contain Zoroastrianism which has influenced nearly ALL the other religions mentioned in the book. It talks about the supposed (and recently debated) "Aryan Invasion" of India, which was more like a mass migration of Persians during the Persian Empire, but no mention of how close some of Hinduism's beliefs and rituals are to Zoroastrianism. I had to obtain a supplement for my Globe Religions class.
This book was exactly what I was looking for. Mr. Smith doesn't just cover the basics and move on. He goes into amazing depth about each religion discussed. I am leading a study group on globe religions, and this book is so full of info I don't have time to use it all. Well written and very readable.
I love the book, but I struggle why this has not even been turned into an audio book. There is an audiobook that is related in nature, but it does not do the justice that is found in this book. With having a 2 hour drive to work each day, this would be a blessing to have for this book. I have found myself coming back to this book over and over again as it has so much in it. Just [email protected]#$%! would be offered in an audio book format.
Others refer to this as THE book on globe religions, but I found his writing to be quite a slog. Also, his writings didn't seem to have much historical writings about the religions or the a lot of various interpretations withing each religion.
You will be both entertained and enlightened by this book. I was shocked by how quickly I was turning pages and covering the margins with notes and insights. Huston Smith presents the religious info in a digestible and informative manner. He has a method of stating complex ideas in a manner that they are understood by even those fresh to a concept. His tone is respectful of all religious views. I am a religious person, and have studied religion in the past and found this book an perfect review as well as a tome of unbelievable fresh understanding!
This book taught me everything I required to know about the major religions of the world, and more. Huston writes to students, and he does it in a method that makes it simple to follow. My only gripe is that the indigenous, nature, pagan religions was relegated to the back and very small was said. That is just a representation of how they are treated in today's world. Amazing educational read.
The series “Great Globe Religions: Islam,” is an perfect introduction to the Islamic faith for anyone who is fresh to it, and it is also recommended for anyone who, like me, simply enjoys studying religion and learning about other cultures. The professor, John L. Esposito, is a professor of religion at Georgetown University. I have actually read five of his books: “What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam” (2011 edition), “The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?,” “The Oxford Dictionary of Islam,” “The Oxford History of Islam,” and “Who Speaks For Islam?: What A Billion Muslims Really Think.” In this day and age where we have to confront problems like Muslim extremism, the debate over Muslims’ put in Western societies, and so on, understanding Islam and getting rid of prejudices and misconceptions about this amazing religion---which is the second-largest religion in the globe after Christianity---this course is a amazing method to learn about this amazing religion. This CD series provides a primary overview of the history, beliefs and practices of Islam. The first lecture, “Islam Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” is a general introduction to the course. The next lecture focuses on the Five Pillars of Islam---Shahadah (declaration of faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (almsgiving), Sawm (fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims believe the Quran, the holy book of Islam, was revealed to Muhammad in 610 CE), and Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). Lecture 3 talks about the life of the prophet Muhammad (570-632 CE). Lecture 4 discusses the role that the Quran plays in shaping how Muslims look at the globe and how they live their lives. Lecture 5 discusses the role of both religion and politics in the lives of Muslims throughout history. Lecture 6 focuses simultaneously on Islamic law (Shariah) and on Sufism (a mystical branch of Islam). Lecture 7 talks about the different religious and political movements within Islam. Lecture 8 discusses the contemporary resurgence of Islam, while lecture 9 discusses the debates within Muslim communities regarding how Islam should be interpreted in the contemporary world. Lecture 10 is focused on the role of women in Islam and in Muslim societies and the debates over problems similar to women’s rights in Muslim communities around the world. The lecture after that focuses on Islam and Muslim communities in the West, and lecture 12 is essentially summary of the entire course. I would highly recommend this series of lectures. It is very fascinating.
See and hear my commentary on chapter 1 in the video and search my notes on the rest of the course on my YouTube channel and Blog.Lecture 1: Islam Yesterday, Today and TomorrowThis is just an introductory lecture so most if it centers on the question of "what exactly is this course about?" As it turns out, it's about the primary fundamental questions that people tend to have about Islam and aims most keenly to clear up a lot of misconceptions that people have about the religion which is described by a lot of as "THE misunderstood religion."Scope and practice of the religion: Worldwide it is the 2nd most practiced religion and arguably the fastest growing. It is the 3rd most practiced in the U.S. behind Christianity and Judaism. While we tend to associate it with Arab countries, only 20% of Muslims are Arabs. Most Muslims are from Asian : More on this later but the high level is that Islam has its roots in the Old Testament. Those of a Christian bent may recall that Sarah and Abraham could not bear a kid so Abraham bedded his servant Hagar (this was common practice in the day). Hagar bore a son named Ishmael. Unfortunately for Ishmael, not long after, Sarah conceived on her own and sent Hagar and Ishmael away to "Arabia." Those of Muslim faith are said to be descendants of y similarities between Islam and Christian religions: In Islam, God is seen as having given the Earth to man as a trust. Christian thoughts on the subject aren't far off, at least as I understand them. Both have the concepts of angels, Satan, Prophets, judgment, Heaven and Hell. Also, like Christianity, the writings of the prophet are interpreted by Ulamas or religious scholars rather than taken verbatim. Finally, Islam is a vast and complex religion with a dozens of local practices and variations just like y differences between Islam and Christianity: In Islam, religion, government and private lives are much more tied together. Christians seem to take their faith much less seriously as a general rule. Muslims observe Islamic law in every facet of their everyday lives and while they recognize Jesus as one prophet among a lot of they do not give him unique divine status.Western view of Islam: During the professor's youth in the 60s Islam was a bit of an unknown and unstudied backwater, lumped in with Eastern religions despite its clear associations with Christianity. Now, the West views Islam through the lens of the Iranian Revolution and sees every Muslim as an extremist. From the other side, Muslims look at the Christianity and have some rightful historical misgivings dating from the Crusades to the current day in what is referred to as American Neo-Colonialism. Add to this the American tendency to side with Israel and the help of the British colonial occupation of Pakistan (which is almost entirely Muslim) and ... well, you obtain the picture.A few key terms:Islam - In Arabic, "Submission to God's will"Muslim - Also in Arabic, "One who submits"Salaam - peaceUmmah - term for the transnational Muslim nation.Ulama- a Muslim religious scholar
As much as I love most of the Teaching Company courses, this one was a disappointment. The presenter is engaging, but wastes far too much of the course's time reiterating and emphasizing that terrorism is the acts of a few fanatics rather than the product of mainstream Islam. I was hoping for something informative regarding the different sects and schools of jurisprudence within Islam. Not here, other than a few mentions of the schism between Sunni and Shia. No mention of Alawites or Druze. No explanations of the doctrinal differences or backgrounds between twelvers, Ismailis, or Zaidis, for example. The only revelatory portions of these lectures for me were his discussions of varying customs/laws regarding the treatment of women in various Islamic countries. Bottom line - this course is more an apologia for tolerance of Islam rather than an informative academic course.
The lecturer basically said the same things every lecture. Essentially: Islam is varied, has various factions like Christianity and Judaism, is largely nonviolent. It's growing quickly; it's concentrated in southeast Asia and the Himalaya's. Women's rights in Muslim countries are varied from being Prime Ministers to always not voting or always veiled. A veil is sometimes seen as freedom from judgement of a women's beauty. Privileges like driving don't exist in some Islamic countries for women, while driving is not restricted in others. It's an Abrahamic religion. These points were listed over and over...The interesting parts were scattered throughout--like the Kaaba used to house multiple gods of polytheistic religions of the region and Mohamed chased the other gods away, recognizing the one real god. I didn't learn anything profound listening to the course.
The lecturer seems to assume that the listener is going to keep certain stereotypes about Islam, and the vast majority of his comments appear to be aimed at challenging those stereotypes. Thus, the section on Islam and women/gender is full of very general statements with a few quotes from the Quran. What I would have preferred is an overview of Islamic views of men and women (both in terms of innate differences and their social roles), Islamic exegetical traditions' perspectives of gender-relevant content in the Quran, and so forth. Instead I got some very simplistic statements informing me that Islam is all about the equality of the sexes, and that sexist views found in Islamic cultures are due primarily to cultural values of the cultures in question. (Nevermind that religion is a product of culture.) This may very well be true, but the lecturer's comments were so vague that the listener finishes without having much of an idea as to where—in the Quran, in Islamic cultures, in Islamic exegetical traditions—these views come from, and, perhaps more importantly, how an Islamic idea of equality of the sexes might be various from a related idea of equality between the sexes found in other cultures in which such an idea is found.I felt that reading a amazing Wikipedia article on Islam or some aspect of Islam would have given me a far better understanding of what Islam says, what Muslims have believed, thought, and done throughout history, and so latest complaint: the author often conflates what a scriptural source says and the religion itself. One cannot say that Islam as a whole views, e.g., other religions in such-and-such a manner just because it's in the Quran. The Quran is not the whole of Islam. Sometimes the lecturer falls into this trap, though, which he certainly shouldn't since he's apparently trained in Religious Studies. What the Old Testament says about slavery, for example, and what some British Christians of the eighteenth century thought about slavery are quite different. And yet the latter can still be seen as a product of Christian social and intellectual history. The entire tradition has to be addressed, not just the foundational texts. While the author is at pains to remind the listener about the diversity of Islam (which on the one hand I appreciated, but which on the other hand I found annoying since most people listening to this are probably already aware that such is the case and don't treat Islam as some monolithic, homogenous, standardized tradition), he also at times conflates the Quran (and hadiths) with Islam. He doesn't always do this, but there are a lot of instances of this mistake (or at least that's how I view it).I know almost nothing about Islam, and unfortunately after listening to this I don't feel that I know a amazing deal more. I would suggest that prospective listeners first test a few short introductions (e.g., OUP Very Short Introduction series), as they may prove to be more concise, more informative, and unmarred by the defensive tone taken by the lecturer. (I am sympathetic to the defensive tone, as there are certainly a lot of misconceptions about Islam, but I would have thought most people purchasing this lecture series are relatively 1) begin to fresh ideas, and 2) not married to the stereotypes that the lecturer is trying to challenge, and therefore not in need of the simplistic correctives that form the bulk of these lectures.)
A glance at the voluminous publications on Islam by the author would seem to create this an ideal person to learn from. But Googling raises some troubling questions about what he tends to leave in and out of his works. There is a reason he's been written up several times on Jihad Watch. At any rate, I thought his lecture series would be an interesting to compare to several other works on the history of Islam and the Middle East I have finished. That list is at the bottom of this post.Let's obtain the issues out of the method first:It is a poor sign with Esposito states that 9/11 interrupted writing his book The Future of Islam, in which 9/11 did not match up with his narrative, only to return to the book later and finish predicting the future of a stronger reformist Islam...which looks nothing like the future we have now in which (according to surveys on clothing according to Mona Eltahawy) the veil is more prominent on women in the Middle East, Mecca is more gender segregated, Turkey's Islamic-leaning government has become less democratic, Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting two proxy battles versus one another, ISIL has run amok among a Sunni-Shi'ia divide and inter-Sunni tribal conflicts, and the Taliban is poised to dominate Afghanistan once again. I'm writing this review a week after the shooting in Orlando, the same town to which just two months prior a conservative cleric known internationally for preaching that "death is the sentence" and that "we should obtain rid of" all homosexuals was invited to preach at a mosque which may have helped inspire the alleged shooter. Do a find for the source of Esposito's funding at the different conferences he speaks at-- always follow the money.While Esposito is encouraging of reforms, he does not acknowledge the imprisonment and persecution of a lot of who are actively trying to push for them. He wants his audience to be respectful of the theocratic nature of Islam, but does not acknowledge its implications. He does not acknowledge that he has much greater freedoms in American than any academic counterpart in any country with Islamic-based governance. While he highlights increasingly educated women with stronger voices in Islamic countries, he does not state the context from which they've come from, such as cultures of polygamy, female circumcision, kid brides, etc. justified by clerics citing the Quran. You'll hear no mention of Ayan Hirsi Ali or others, these are more of a issue than a solution to Esposito. Reformers that Esposito does single out tend to have been on record advocating violence versus Israel. Where is the example of begin debate between conservatives and reformers that we can tune in to watch?One large contrast with other works on the history of Islam is that when Esposito gets to the 1950s and the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, he does not even mention Sayyid Qutb, and his works calling for violence that are still influential today. Esposito goes so far as to praise the Muslim Brotherhood without even a "by the way," that it's considered a terrorist organizations by a lot of countries. He completely ignores the Qutb-inspired groups who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979 and where the terrorists who "hijack" Islam obtain their ideology. It's not clear what Esposito considers orthodox Islam, but whatever definition he has no paradigm for why his ver is rejected by so a lot of r the most part, this series is well-worded and has a coherent narrative. I did not search it boring. The author begins with explaining the root "slm" in Arabic, meaning both "submit" and "peace"-- the Islamic ideal. Esposito gives an overview of the beliefs, the Five Pillars, and the key rituals such as fasting in Ramadan. He explains things largely as they are accepted without comment-- his goal is to explain the religion and not critique or analyze it in-depth. Next is a brief overview of the life of Muhammad. He explains the tribal polytheistic context but doesn't seem to recognize how a lot of rituals already existed around the kabaa in Mecca that still exist today under Islam. You will not search any hypotheses on the composition of the Koran from the Nestorian Christian and Jewish inhabitants of the Middle East that Tom Holland gives in his work. Esposito does not acknowledge, unlike Reza Aslan, that Zayd ibn Amr preached monotheism in Mecca about the time of Muhammad's youth. He accepts at face value that Muhammad was illiterate, despite being a man of commerce (Aslan claims Muhammad was a profit "for the illiterate" rather than "of the illiterate," for example).Contra Tamim Ansary, who chronicles the early use of the word "jihad" in offensive context, Esposito states that "jihad" was only defensive and had specific limits and specifications in the Koran. Hence, Osama bin Laden's use of "jihad" is in error because he "rejects the rules regarding jihad." (Funny that we don't see a lot of fatwas disagreeing with bin Laden and others' interpretation?) Esposito cites Surra 2: "God loves not the aggressor." He does not bother to examine the claims of bin Laden and al Baghdadi that Islam is under attack, hence they are always on the defensive. Esposito states that Islam is the "oldest of the faiths" because the Quran is eternal. Esposito's lack of reconciling these points for the audience is troubling. During Lecture Four, while he acknowledges the various context between the "Meccan verses" and "Medina verses," he never deals with the logical contradiction of historical context and a document that he tells us is considered to be eternal and un-created according to orthodoxy. In Sura Nine, he examines the "sword verses," showing that if one reads the entire paragraph he can see death was contingent on not paying the needed head morization for the purpose of recitation is important. There is no doctrine of original sin, so no "vicarious atonement" such as is found in Christianity, in Islam each person is held accountable for his own sin. He cites surras that present "no compulsion in religion" and states that one evidence of the empowerment of women in Islam is that they are needed to perform the five pillars as well as men. Muslims believe the Christian trinity is "idolotry" but Esposito does not recognize the contradiction of "idolotry" or "heresy" and the respect in the Quran for the "people of the book." How can we reconcile the need and justification to eliminate the idoloters and yet respect/tolerate them as a "protected class" provided they pay a head tax? Esposito's mind never works that hard in these posito's history of rapid expansion and conquest roughly matches that found in Hoyland's book on the first century after the Prophet. He chronicles the rise of the Ummayads, the appearance of the Harijites (a forerunner of Salafis and Al Qaeda today), and chronicles the greatness of the Abbasids at their peak. In 1258, the Middle East faces being overrun by Mongols, and the Abbasids break down as three sultanates emerge-- In Turkey, Egypt, and Iran.Lecture Six introduces Islamic law and mysticism (Sufism) and explains some of the pressure between reformist movements. There are the four schools of Sunni ejtihad. Muslim family is one of the central and unchanged aspects of Islamic law since the time of Muhammad. I appreciated the explanation of the origins of Sufism. Ahmad Ghazali, considered the founder or at least the first prominent author, tapped into Muslim's emotions while also passing muster with the Umma in regards to his doctrine. Sufism spread widely and had a lot of aspects of Christianity-- monastic orders, poetry, reflection and meditation on the attributes of God, veneration of saints ("pirs"), etc. Rumi is perhaps the most well-remembered Sufi poet (died in 1273) and Sufi ideas carry on today clerics such as Fetullah Gülen, about whom Espisito has edited a book. Islamic reform movements later target Sufi practices. (I've personally witnessed a revival of this attack in the 21st century in Azerbaijan where Wahabbist groups burned down Sufi pirs.)More on "revival and reform" comes in Lecture Seven when we see different revivalists and ejtihad. Esposito moves quickly to the 19th and 20th centuries where we search ibn Wahhab and ibn Saud in an alliance versus the rival Shi'ia in Iran. Esposito touches on the Mahdi movement in Sudan, Muhammad Iqbal in India/Pakistan, and al-Afghani in Persia. (Some of these strains are the same by Ansary in his book.) Unfortunately, Esposito does not provide the context from which to create sense of Muslim reformers. He does not mention the much earlier info about ibn Hanbal and others in the Abbasid period who rejected Greek ideas of logic, reason, and rhetoric and how such ideas became rejected as anti-Islamic. He notes that modernists have criticized both the mystic Sufis and conservatives who take the Quran literally. He praises the "reform vision" of the Muslim Brotherhood without once mentioning Qutb and his contributions to to the violence that Esposito later claims has "hijacked" the faith. He also praises the Jammat al Islam in Pakistan and explains that these two groups' ideas spread and propogated (without mentioning the accompanying violence such as the seizing of the Grand Mosque).In Esposito's narrative, both modernists and conservatives have become disillusioned with western institutions via colonialism. He blaims colonialism on the lack of democracy. While he acknowledges that some revolutions had their violent aspects, most of the reformers he hails are from the 1980s' "new elite"-- educated and skilled Islamists. He notes that Islamic-oriented parties in Algeria and Turkey engaged in democratic elections (how has that worked out when they eventually gained power in Turkey and Egypt?). Esposito apparently believes that "religious reform is catching up to political reform." He cites evidence of fresh Quranic studies and contextual analysis. He does not note, however, that a lot of who have pioneered these efforts have had to hide or flee for their lives, or spend time in jail. Esposito purports that Islam simply hasn't had the time that Christianity had to obtain to the Reformation and the 30 Years War. He conveniently ignores the latest spread of Wahhabism and the most conservative strains of Islam worldwide, how thousands of educated Europeans have left Europe to join ISIL in Syria, how the 9/11 hijackers were well-educated themselves. Esposito claims that women are gaining ground in terms of scholarship and Quranic interpretation-- without naming examples and flatly contradicting those like Hirsi Ali who have been persecuted for their calls for scholastic reforms. He ignores the increasing use of the hijab and the increased segregation of Mecca, which he claims is desegregated (read The Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed).Esposito looks at the under-chronicled (IMO) history of the Nation of Islam in America from its foundation to reforms under Louis Farrakhan. It strikes me as odd that the Sunni globe can be concerned about orthodoxy in the Middle East but accept the Nation of Islam, which claims the American Elijah Muhammad was the latest prophet, as its own. Esposito describes "what assimilation looks like" in Europe and the US while ignoring the thornier problems like whether wearing a burka is a violation of women's rights in France or honor killings and such. Esposito states that since Islam "grew up in a merchant culture" (the Ummayad dynasty) it is therefore compatible with capitalism. The experience of the AKP and parties in Algeria present it is compatible with democracy. Esposito states this without dealing with the fact that Islam was founded as a theocracy, the only legitimate state in the Quran is an overtly religious one based on Islam. There is no obvious chance for a firewall of church and state-- the church is the r more critiques of Esposito:[...]His troubling statements: [...]"Here the Esposito way was laid bare: thanks to his sponsorship, Saudi cash subsidized a U.S. academic product intended to ameliorate the photo of Wahhabism, the most extreme fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in modern times, and the inspirer of so-called "Salafi" radicals, from the Muslim Brotherhood through the South Asian jihadist movement founded by Abul Ala Mawdudi to al-Qaeda. In the mind of DeLong-Bas, Wahhabism could be considered, as noted in a review of the book, "peaceful, traditional, spiritual, and even feminist."For other books I have reviewed on the history of Islam:Tamim Ansary - Destiny Disrupted: A History of the Globe Through Islamic Eyes (4.5 stars)Reza Aslan - No god but God - The Origins and Future of Islam (2.5 stars)Tom Holland - In the The Shadow of the Sword (4 stars)Michael Cook - A Very Short Introduction to the Koran (4.5)Malise Ruthven - A Very Short Introduction to Islam (3 stars)Robert G. Hoyland - In God's Path - The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire (4 stars)Albert Hourani - History of the Arab Peoples (4.5 stars)Peter Mansfield - Brief History of the Middle East (3.5 stars)Salim Yuqub - The United States and the Middle East 1914-2001 (The Amazing Courses)Islam Unveiled - Robert Spencer (1.5 stars)The Cambridge History of Turkey vols. 1 and so useful in critiquing the part of Esposito's course covering the 1970s and onward is The Seige of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov (5 stars). There are several other books (particularly those by women authors) which detail the complexities of life on the ground in Islamic countries that are worth contrasting to the picture that Esposito paints.
My review is basically the same as Brian J's review...these lectures have a lack of cohesion, very small in terms of the history/development of Islam from its inception, and the presenter seems to blame all the modern issues concerning modern Islam on "others".
As a Muslim living in a western oriented society, this book addresses a lot of the misconceptions about Islam and serves as a amazing well researched and succinct introduction to Islam, it's origins, history and current and future challenges. Highly recommended to non Muslims seeking to gain a more educated and insightful view of the others living in their midst.
This is an excellent, comprehensive study of the ways globe religions view death and have made funeral practices that reflect their beliefs. Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, as well as Protestantism and Catholicism, are covered, followed by an intriguing section on contemporary, non-sectarian rites and practices. The fourteen essays are extensively documented, making this a highly valuable reference book for researchers, as well as textbook for religious studies, ethnic studies and sociology courses.
The adage claims that you can only depend on death and taxes. Yet the understanding of death continues to shift in contemporary societies. This is a effect of developments in science, medicine, technology, and sociology. Not surprisingly, our religions have influenced the changes in the experience of death and they have been forced to answer to these changes. This book does an perfect job examining these issues. It is a must read for practitioners and scholars.
As a theologian and lay minister who has performed in memorial services, I believe that this is the most comprehensive and captivating book on religious approaches to death currently available. I appreciate the genuine voice that is presented in each of the special chapters, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in globe religions and the problems sensitive to various cultures' ways of dealing with death.
The Dalai Lama does a unbelievable book distinguishing ethics, morality, hero and spiritualness in a method not tied to religion. How could such a prominent figure in the Buddhist faith not mention any swaying ideology to his faith and practice? Could the Pope right a book on how to be a amazing person outside of the realm of Catholicism? Regardless, he does it. A excellent distinction on living life related to that of water (character/values) and tea (religion). One element you absolutely need to survive as a human, I'll allow you guess which one it is ;) Overall, a amazing back that is also a fast read straight from the mouth of the Dalai Lama, himself. Although, I don wonder how royalties on this book deal or purchases work for him? I'm sure they go to the monastery -anyways that's another topic. Amazing read here!
This is a simplified route to respect and coexisting with attractive diversity. We are one people- HUMAN. Peace & understanding and easy tolerance could be achieved in our lifetime. Listen to this man. Read and head his words. If you don't search him brilliant, I'm thinking you need an attitude adjustment. Unbelievable collection of invaluable thoughts...
This is one of my favorite books of all times. Dalai Lama's approach to ethics as a system of values beyond any religion, for every human being, is something that resonates with me strongly. I had the honor of attending a public lecture by Dalai Lama on a closely similar subject - ethics in education, and the book is a very nice continuation and expansion of that conversation. Highly recommend it to everyone.
The intention of this book is to cultivate human principles that are highly required nowadays, and from my opinion the author created them clear and enjoyable to understand. I think everyone should check for themselves whether it makes sense or ain, we can search that mindfulness and meditation are the basic tools for human beings to remove delusions and misconceptions in our mind.
"So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, corruption, inequity, intolerance, and greed—all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values—will persist."The book quote suggests that we cannot sit by idly and must invest our love and care.
Finally someone has said the obvious: You don't need religion to do amazing deeds and love other other people. BRAVE Dalai Lama. Maybe it takes real enlightenment to state the obvious truth that the time for "religion" may have passed and humans may be ready to do amazing things simply because they support others to be successful and happy! This is a truly enlightened man who can realize even his own faith is no longer needed, but yet he has the wisdom to hold the wonderful, useful and sustaining knowledge behind it intact for the benefit of mankind.
This book cuts through all the us versus them in our globe and talks about how it is possible to agree on a universal set of ethics that is not contradictory to any religion but also not important to have a religion. My favorite quote is when the Dalai Lama compares the relationship of ethics and religion to water and tea. Water is the primary essential component of tea and the various varieties of tea add various flavors. In the same way, ethics, is the basis of all religions and the various traditions are like the flavored tea.I am using this book in a summer curriculum I have written for my teenage son. The curriculum focuses on coming of age but the goal is not for him to tell me 'what' he wants to be when he grows up, but 'WHO' he wants to be. This book is helping him understand the importance of the inner globe rather than the outer.
I want all religious leaders were like the Dali Lama in that they are more concerned about the general state of the world, than with pushing their own religion. This book does not push for Buddhism, but for a more human (or humanistic) approach to live to better the globe for everyone. I guess the fact that he doesn't have a grand office or a gold throne to sit on makes it easier for him to espouse humanity over promoting his own cause. It also seems that he is more well-traveled and had interacted with a larger slice of humanity than a lot of other religious leaders.Worth the read.
I bought this book for an Ethics class I am taking. It arrived in perfect condition and on time. I am only on the second chapter but it is proving to be an enjoyable and simple to read book. The Dalai Lama writes in a language we can all understand. If we all strove to reach his understanding of our fellow man there would be no more war. I plan to order his first book and read it too.
This is the third book I have read by the Dalai Lama. Each time, I'm kinda thinking... will this book really have anything fresh that I haven't read in the previous books? And then I explore that the respond is unequivocally... yes. This Dalai Lama is a thinker and spiritual leader who has added greatly to my understanding and appreciation of life.
This book could be so useful. And instead of feeling excited i feel totally frustrated because when you buy the kindle edition there is no method to access the pages of the book other than by chronological order.......so if i wish something under V, say for vishnu i have to go page by page by page until i obtain to V. this would take hours. it is wonderful to me that someone would sell an encyclopedia when i have to read all the A's before i obtain to the B's., page by page fingering each one in anticipation of, for example the is is a phenomenal error on the part of the publisher because for my needs it is relatively useless and very annoying!!!!! who reads an encyclopedia chronologically through the english alphabet?!i search this unbelievable...and although i rarely write reviews if i can support someone else not have this frustration then it is amazing that i write.Unbelievable.....at least they could order topics chronologically. My i ching books have at least one chapter for each of the 64 categories...so it can be done. what an unfortunate oversight....and sad for the authors because the distribution of such necessary work gets eclipsed for so a lot of people.
I had high expectations of this book, which sadly did not deliver. Comprehensive info on a dozens of subjects but it seemed a bit dated and not in touch with current Hindu culture. There were a lot of entries that were omitted and I feel would have been useful, but since I bought used and at a rock bottom price, I'm not disappointedl
For scholars and writers like myself, or just folks with curious minds, there is nothing quit like an simple to access and reasonably thorough encyclopedia of info on a subject of interest. Constance Jones and James Ryan have given us just that, in detail and with a reliability that we can depend on. If you have a question about Hinduism and wish search a reliable respond quickly, don't go to Wikipedia: search it quickly in this single-volume authoritative lan Combs, essor of Transformative StudiesCalifornia Institute of Integral Studies
This is an immensely necessary book for WesternersAs a Westerner who became interested in Eastern spiritual teachings thirty years ago, I was appalled to explore then, my own ignorance and the ignorance of others in the West about Hinduism and its spinoff, Buddhism, the principal Eastern ere is even today in the West, thirty years later, a vacuum of knowledge about Hinduism. The Encyclopedia of Hinduism by professors Jones and Ryan helps to fill this vacuum in a simple, straightforwsrd e entries are arranged alphabetically, and one can search info on the key concepts in Hinduism along with biographical and other info about the key historical and contemporary figures in this amazing globe religion.Of even more importance for the Westerner, in my view, is the ten page introduction explaining Hinduism's origins, its sacred texts, its contemporary situation, and its esoteric aspects sometimes known as Vedanta or Advaita which carry their own entries and typify the thorough nature of this Encyclopedic will not regret owning this book. Highly recommended.
This is a very necessary book.A concise explanation of Hinduism in an easily understood format that is not an ordeal to is Encyclopedia takes the reader through the historical origins of Hinduism and its evolution to the show has a comprehensive index of all the saints,sages and personalities associated with the topic and a unbelievable bibliography.If people read this book there will be greater understanding between peoples of various religious beliefs and consequently greater is book should be on all shelves along with the others in the series.
This book is a must for anyone who is interested in Hinduism. Finally, there is a put to go for answers about who, what, and when in the Hindu world, as one makes one method through different Hindu writings. Having a reference like this is extremely valuable for the western reader. It covers everything!
Very detailed and descriptive on some demons while others barely obtain a 3 sentence paragraph. A bit inconsistent and a bit of a allow down for the price when other much cheaper books have provided more information on the same demons that this book falls short on...
This book contains a lot of detail. Names a lot of more of these demons these entities then I though. Lot of info. Amazing price for the size. Off the top of my head I say other huge volumes are more costly. Amazing on E book.
I am of two minds about this book. The depths of the author's research is obvious, and the entries are vast. My issues are two-fold, however. First, there are no charts, appendices or lists categorizing the entries by faith or geography, making it a very difficult source for anyone searching for info about demons of a specific country or religion without already being familiar with their names. Also, there is not a single illustration anywhere in the book! This seems a not good missed opportunity. Certainly every one of the entry could not possibly be illustrated, but a few per page would be nice, or even a block of illustrated plates in the center of the book would be helpful. These two shortcomings seriously hinder the usefulness of this book, especially for such a very high price!
One of my basic questions going into this book was, "What exactly is a demon?"Bane's definition of demon appears to be "anything anyone has ever called a demon". Fallen angels, pagan gods, Japanese youkai, goetic demons and different mythological figures all create appearances. The Encyclopedia of Demons in Globe Religions and cultures has thousands of entries that span several various cultures.Entries contain the name (and variations) of the demon and some mention of where it comes from (its culture, religion, grimoire, et cetera). Where possible, physical descriptions of the demon, and info on its behavior are also included. Some demons, especially those from goetic grimoires, also have info on what they might be summoned for or how they interact with people. Unfortunately, there are no pictures or illustrations.Each entry is individually sourced (often including the relevant page numbers), which I really liked. I'm not very familiar with demons and demonology, and so I can't say with any authority how accurate these entries are. I can, however, check the sources given, both in the entries and in the extensive bibliography.I wouldn't suggest this book as the only reference one would need (I'd be hesitant to suggest any single book for that), but I do think it's a amazing put to start. It's very helpful if you need to obtain a brief overview of a demon, and an idea of where to look for further te: I received a free copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. This has no bearing on the content of my review.
A amazing reference for those interested in such things. Just thenother day I was reading a novel and came across a name that I was able to look up and obtain satisfactory info about. There are two things in particular I like about this book -- the straightforward writing and the sources added to each entry. There's also a lengthy bibliography, which I always enjoy. One criticism, however, is that this reads more like a dictionary than an encyclopedia. The author was deliberately brief in order to cover a huge number of entries, so each entry is concise and introductory. Still, this will be a useful addition to my reference materials. Just remember, though, that this book is a first stop in research, not the last.
Finally a book that address all the problems of Islam from Mohammad's own history. Tried to submit an earlier review saying this should be needed reading by all elected officials and government representatives but that review has gone missing I guess. Maybe this one will be posted, I don't know, but if anyone actually wants to know the truth of what we are facing, they need to read this book. For those wondering if I have read the Qu'ran, I have and that is why this book was so meaningful. It explained much of what I read and the circumstances under which it was written. And all of the info is based upon the writings and edicts of those who are practicing Islamist's.
His family was affected by being exiled by the Ottoman Turks in his Grandfather's day. I like the fact that, though he is critical of Islam, he is honest about it and uses only Islamic sources and biographies and hadiths which are approved by Islamic leaders. They are critical of him because they do not like or accept the conclusions he has logically come to relating to the ideology and political system (Sharia) and its potential result on Western culture and clash with US laws.
It's funny how people criticize this book as being hateful. I've read Martin Ling's biography on Muhammad, that one won the best biography on Muhammad's life in English in Islamabad. It has the same violent and controversial content. Why? Because both books are based on the same exact sources. Aisha is 6 when Muhammad marries her, he's way, method older, and the War of the Trench and the beheading of hundreds of Jews at Muhammad's command, all there, in both books. But because Robert Spencer is not Muslim and is trying to present how there is violence rooted in Muhammad's life the facts now become Islamophobic? And Martin Lings gets an award? If you test to attack the content of this book, you are attacking the holy books of Islam, because that's where Robert Spencer gets it all. Yes, he's not a Muslim. Yes, it's probably uncomfortable having to admit all the things Muhammad did and said in his life. In a time when it's risky to speak out about problems like these, I'd say Robert Spencer deserves a medal. Read this book. It might just begin your mind, unless of course, you're close-minded and intolerant of free speech and the truth.
Exposing the truth about mohammed and the koran hopefully will save us from the evil of islam and the islamists if enough people begin their eyes. Unfortunately too a lot of folks still suffer from the impression that islam is just a major globe religion rather than a feeble attempt to make one by copying the sacred stories from the Talmud and Gospels and trying to make a book that justifies Mohammed's evil actions. This book exposes all the vile nastiness that is islam's founder.
I've always believe that if you are going to communicate with another culture or religious group you need to understand their point of ter living in a couple of Muslim countries, and trying to read the Quran, this book puts a lot of things into perspective. Everything in this book rings true, and explains a lot from my experiences with Muslims. This book is well worth reading. If you only know about Islam from listening to the news this book will be an eye opener...
This is a fascinating book that is not politically correct but very likely. It includes a frank discussion with respect to the life and times of Muhammad and how what is being done in his name around the globe by his followers is a amazing reflection of what he did and how he lived. Jihad versus all who do not convert to Islam. Take no prisoners. Complete disrespect for women who have no rights whatsoever in Muslim theology and so on. A religion based on following the example of Muhammad is not a peace loving one. The desire that Israel and the Jews be wiped off the map is based on the words and deeds of Muhammad as recorded by his followers as documented in this book. Those who have any desire to preserve western culture as we know it should become familiar with the contents of Mr. Spencer's book and be guided accordingly
Mr. Spencer did a unbelievable job using entirely Islamic (and confirmed) sources to relate to us Muhammad's murderous rise to can only hope that Muslims will repent and renounce such a violent, lustful man - not take him as an for non-muslims, the truth is laid bare before you in this book. Islam is not a victim, but the aggressor. And like Muhammad permitted his follower to lie in order to obtain close to one of his a lot of enemies and slay him, so will you be lied to about Islam being a religion of peace.
I follow Mr. Robert Spencer on a everyday basis. Mr. Spencer's book regarding Mohammed does not take a psychological approach however, reading between the lines it is clear the man was merely a battle monger and desperate to gain power by any means important including inventing Angels. This book also confirms from classic Koranic verses Muhammed was indeed vertically challenged!
Thanks Robert ....all your books are enlightening, accurate, truthful, and verifiable. I've check and double checked the different translations of the Qur'an including the classics holy books. I've read and re-read the translation's by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickethall, and Mohammad Habib Shakir. Without getting deeply involved with explaining what you have explained in your book... it is true....Islam is violent, vindictive, and not tolerant of Jews, Christians,or any other belief system....Sadly, it is leading 1.5 Billion humans on a prevaricated journey to nowhere. If you doubt this then take the arduous Journey yourself and read the Qur'an.... it will startle and scare you with its Hate and Violence....
Though largely negative in tone, Spencer has a very amazing grasp of his sources. He interacts with other biographers, such as Karen Armstrong, and discusses, though briefly, modern skeptical scholarship regarding the reliability of early Islamic sources (addressed in detail in a subsequent book). For a more balanced assessment of Muhammad, see the newly released documentary, “Through the Lens of Muhammad’s Life: How the Example and Teachings of Muhammad Shape Islam Today” (YouTube).
I was a Christian for nearly 20 years, and I've been fascinated with early Christian history ever since. Most books on the topic are beautiful dry, but Bart Ehrman really knows how to tell a story. I couldn't place it down.Ehrman approaches this book from a critical historical perspective, not a religious/theological perspective, but it is a respectful and honest look at the early Christian centuries. Regardless of where you stand, there's a lot to learn here (such as a brilliant reconstruction of Paul's modus operandi for converting gentiles). It's an engaging and thought-provoking read.
In the year 200 CE Christianity was a minority religion in the multi-cultural Roman Empire, growing steadily but generally unnoticed by the imperial government and upper levels of society. By the year 400 Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire, with a majority of the population following it (at least in name) and the imperial government supporting its further expansion. How did this happen? Bart Ehrman, whose twenty books examining early Christianity are all well worth reading, here provides his best work yet: an historical explanation for a religious success which altered the world.Unlike other histories which focus on Constantine's seemingly miraculous conversion, Ehrman's starts at the true beginning in the first century, when what had first been dismissed as a minor variation on Judaism began to gain acceptance among gentiles, thanks primarily to the missionary work of the man later known as St. Paul. Over the next several centuries Christianity grew steadily but quietly, generally tolerated though occasionally topic to persecution, until by the early 300s it had a huge enough presence in the Empire that the Emperor Constantine thought it politically worthwhile to convert. Constantine and his immediate successors (except his nephew Julian the Apostate, who ruled for less than two years) encouraged Christianity's spread and in return received the loyalty and help of its growing numbers of adherents. Eventually Emperor Theodosius I created Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, leading Christians to dominant is is a typically well-researched and well-documented work by Ehrman. He writes for a general audience but never abandons scholarship to do so. The Triumph of Christianity should become a standard reference on the subject.
I had to stop reading this book because I was so frustrated (actually I’m listening to it via Audible). I like to listen to a couple various Church History books each year because I glean some fresh insight each time. In fairness, his early chapter on the non-Christian gods and their eclectic worship and how the general term ‘paganism’ is inaccurate was ever, I found it difficult when he seemed to hold interjecting interpretation of facts based on assumptions rather than evidence either pro or con. Often a statement is created that seems to ignore other material (N.T. Documents) or betrays an unfamiliarity of e final straw was when he refers to Acts 1:13-14 Where, after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the remaining 11 of the 12 Disciples are listed as praying in the upper room along with Mary and the (half)-brothers of Jesus. The next verse (15) tells us that Peter stood up “in the midst of the disciples” and contains this extra information: “(altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty)”. The author then asks “How were so a lot of converted in the zone of one verse?” !?! I was astounded at such a heavy misreading of such a easy passage. For me, it capped my prior concerns and eventual es the fact that vs. 13-14 are not giving an exhaustive listing, and that vs. 15 is not speaking of ‘instant conversions’ really need to be explained? Even if you consider the acc unreliable, that doesn’t excuse misreading it.I very rarely ever write a review, much less one like this. Perhaps I should have waited until the emotions of my frustration diminished. However, I do not mind reading Church Histories written by those with a bias I do not share (can glean much), but I do expect a scholar to bring primary common sense and objective understanding to the texts to which he refers. When I continue to encounter statements such as the one mentioned above, I eventually have to recognize that the book is just not worth my time.
This is my fifth Ehrman book. As usual, very informative and simple to read. I have no supernatural beliefs but Christianity has influenced our cultural history in so a lot of ways, for better or worse, so it's worth reading about. The haters will likely whine about the book being biased like they have with his other books, but from what I've read so far from Ehrman, it's just matter of fact history. Christianity stripped down, exposing imperfections as well as positives. Unbiased critical history for anyone who wants to know, and believers who aren't afraid of having their beliefs challenged. Highly recommended.
First off, a few confessions:1. I have had a bit of a passion about this subject (i.e. why western civilization became dominated by Christianity – and associated effects) for a decade or so.2. Bart Ehrman was one of my early favorites in this pursuit – with his a lot of books (including frequently used college textbooks), the numerous lectures he has recorded for the Amazing Courses enterprises, and his prolific at said, this book seems to succinctly and successfully distill the essence of historic (i.e. non theological) scholarship on the topic. Importantly, it facilitates understanding by us non scholars with even just a primary understanding of relevant historic happenings (e.g. Paul’s missionary endeavors, reigns of necessary Roman emperors, conversion of Constantine).Clear writing style is definitely an Ehrman forte as is his ability to express sincere (and unaggressive) historian neutrality. He consistently gives due zone to more theological views and takes pains to cogently explain what is known, not known or cannot be known from the current state of ing on earlier work by Rodney Stark in the late 1990’s, Ehrman also deftly delves into some primary (and understandable) math about conversion rates (from “pagan” to Christianity) in the Roman Empire over the first 4 centuries of the Current Era (CE or AD). In doing so, he explores some variations of assumptions and tries to establish a range of most plausible conclusions, based on what is known from accepted historic evidence. Again, with admitted prejudice, he seems to land on solid scholarly e only regret I had was that the historic extent of the book ended in the early 5th Century CE. With Ehrman still relatively young and seemingly disposed to share his well-earned expertise we can likely be optimistic for more.
As a longtime Presbyterian pastor and bible teacher I have read the works of Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. Ehrman teaches religion at the University of North Carolina. He was at one time a devoted Christian but has since become an agnostic. His books have taught me much and I have fun reading his a lot of prolific works. In this recent book he tells the story of how a group of twenty lower class peasants in 30 A.D. developed into a major religion of over 30 million believers by 400 A.D. The professor believes that there were a lot of cogent reasons for the growth of Christianity. Among them:a. The faith was a missionary effort first begun by the apostle Paul the first and greatest of the converts to Jesus Christ.b. Christianity was an exclusive religion calling on its members to forsake their adherence to a dozens of pagan deities.c. Rather than exclusively focusing on ritual and ceremony the Christians taught the need for high ethical standards.d. Christianity spread through social networks which planted the seed of Christ in the soil of paganism.e. The conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity created the faith a legitimate religion in the Roman Empire.f. Belief in miracles added to the numbers of those who professed belief in Jesus Christ the risen Savior. Ehrman is always thought provoking and he will exercise the small white cells in your brain whether you agree with his argument or not. Perfect research and an understandable writing style add to the lustre of this book.
At times this book is perfect and very times it is rather droll, going on for several pages trying to estimate the size of churches, or the number of churches or the number Christians at any one point of time.Ehrman is on some level a revisionist. Although, almost anyone who writes a book on a subject that has been rather exhaustively covered is inherently prodded to come up some fresh fact, position or conclusion he makes is, I feel, quite a stretch.Ehrman argues that Christianity and its penchant for taking care of the widows, orphans, downtrodden of the globe and particularly the sick (especially during different plagues) really had no impact on its overtaking is is a conclusion that almost every other historian would disagree with. The flaws in his argument are, to me beautiful obvious:1) There IS a marketplace of ideas and people do indeed gravitate to movements that better address their needs;2) Ehrman is rather dismissive to Justinian's popular rant that essentially "Those dadgum Christians are overtaking everything because they take care of the sick, and not good and downtrodden." Ehrman questions if Justinian believed this. But why on earth would Justinian, the only Pagan Caesar after Constantine, speaking positively of Christians, he being a powerful proponent of Pagan beliefs, if it wasn't a sincere lament.Ehrman's conclusion just doesn't ring true.3) On the same topic, he is dismissive of Diocletian's woeful description of how Christians seem to be stuck in a trap of taking very amazing care of the sick, then getting sick and dying themselves. Point being that Christians are hurting themselves by being more solicitous to people than the Pagans ain, Ehrman dismisses this as not being indicative of Christian's being more caring because we don't know for sure the actions of ven the rich historical record of Rome and the complete lack of evidence of a pagan program of caring for people in any method that is akin to the charitable efforts of Christians, it seems awfully thin soup.But alas, revisionists must often stretch to claim uniqueness.
If only all scholars and academics wrote as clearly as Bart Ehrman! His prose is as readable as that of a well-constructed novel, but he does not take liberties with historical facts. At every stage, readers can feel confident that Ehrman is fair, honest, and unbiased. He wisely presents his topic matter so that a reader can draw conclusions, but the author himself never forces conclusions upon that reader. I highly recommend any book Ehrman has written. Having read about half his published works, I have never been bored. I have never been disappointed. I have always enriched my knowledge through reading his books.
In this book, the author delivers on the promise in the sub-title: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. It reads easily and quickly for anyone who has been interested enough in Christianity to wonder how it became the overriding religious force it has been for the latest two millennia and still is today. Ehrman did his homework but does not flaunt his erudition. Even the statistics--and there are some--are clearly presented and kept flexible enough to accommodate the variations inherent in a period that covers several hundred years. He does not resort to theology or mysticism when it comes to counting. His logic is sufficient to acc for the obvious history: in 200 years Christianity went from minor cult to imperial hman presents some startling facts contrary to cherished beliefs: for example, polytheistic Pagans were not blood-thirsty persecutors: "anyone who decided, as a pagan, to worship a fresh or various god was never needed to relinquish any former gods or their previous patterns of worship. Pagan religions were additive, not restrictive." I know, I know, I can hear the shouts of "objection"--that's why you have to read the book. Ehrman makes a lot of other cogent observations throughout the book that had me sit up and think a reputable scholar who is unafraid to write to the beat of a somewhat various drum, I recommend this and his other titles to both the professional and lay student of historical Christianity. You can't but come away with some valuable gems.
Ever since I was a classics major in the mid-70s, I have been fascinated with the transition to the Medieval Age. I've read tons of books in find to understand what need Christianity fulfilled and why it displaced paganism in just a few generations. This book would seem to be precisely on that topic - it is a combination of sociological analysis and an explanation of the fresh religious ideology - but I continue to feel that something is missing, that need, that itch that Christianity uniquely scratched.I know Erhman's work well, particularly his examination of the nature of Christ, his early followers, and the method that the religious evolved in the beginning. He has the hard critical edge of the lapsed Christian who has come to question his beliefs through his research, about which he is quite open, explicit, and entirely secular. So, I was very interested to read his take on this. Unfortunately, there isn't much beyond a conventional view.Ehrman starts with a history, including an overview of the different Christian camps that emerged and particularly, the Roman context. There is nothing there to explain whether anything was changing in the citizenry of Rome, some emerging necessity that offered fertile ground for a Christian conversion. As such, he apparently does not think much of the impact that ongoing crisis of political legitimacy had on Romans, whereby emperors would engage in civil battle as they tried to consolidate their power, i.e. this is a common explanation for the need of a centralized authority to arbitrate and transmit legitimacy via authoritarian Christianity; Ehrman does not refute this commonplace argument, but seems to sidestep stead, he concentrates on other factors. First, there is the philosophical certainty that Christianity offered, the clear respond to fear and uncertainty endemic to daily life; it categorically denied the legitimacy of all others' faiths. Second, it addressed the concerns not exclusively of the elite - the educated notables and holders of the keys that ran pagan shrines, festivals, and the like - but the working classes, the common people. There is a very interesting discussion of Paul's evangelical methods: while he preached in synagogues on occasion, his principal activity was talking to his fellow workers and craftsmen about Christ as he created animal-hide tents and wandered. Third, once established, little groups of Christians worked in their localities to convert others, offering charity in fresh ways but also fellowship. In this way, congregations expanded slowly, but the accumulation eventually resulted in exponential growth. Fourth, the Christians were organized and well financed. Fifth, though they survived occasional efforts to stamp them out or repress them, for the most part they were left alone. Sixth, the conversion of Constantine was crucial, allowing Christians to practice openly and without threat, in result as co-equals of the different pagan groups. This occurred at a moment of critical mass, sparking genuinely explosive growth during the 4th Century CE, becoming unstoppable in the e analysis is not just these bare bones, but that is the nub of his argument. Ehrman also discusses what the pagan religions and flourishing mystery cults did and how they operated: in direct contrast to Christian dogmatic certainty and exclusivity, they were eclectic, more or less tolerant, unwritten, and flexible, more simple going. There are also in depth discussions of the principal players, from Paul to Diocletion, Constantine, Julian the Apostate, and Theodosius; their characters really mattered, as Ehrman stresses, and if they had no operated in the manner they did, the outcome could have been very different.While I was disappointed that I still have no satisfactory (viz. secular) explanation of the need that Christianity filled, the book served as a nice review of the academic views of what was occurring at the end of antiquity. It is at the early undergraduate level, so can be taken as a splendid introduction to the field. Ehrman, as always, is a unbelievable writer. I just want he had dug deeper.
I'm satisfied with this useful app, didn't regret that 4 Euro investment in my education! Makes all those nationalist quarrels about state borders so pointless. My suggestions: 1. Create any bookmarked or at least the recent country borders visible as a background for orientation (e.g. like the geographical shadow option). 2. Create slider and buttons insensitive to dragging of the map and pop-ups. Amazing work!
The interface is very rudimentary, beautiful hard on the eyes. The maps are amazing though, with extensive data. Could be a small clearer for zooming (considering its needed to read some little text) but over gets the job done. EDIT: please please please increase the resolution of the country borders. Slightly longer loading is fine but this blurriness is out of hand (zoom until you can read the text in Spain at 1040, you can barely create out the borders)
I don't claim to be a book reviewer. In fact, I usually don't write reviews of books - love 'em or hate 'em - due to time constraints. But when I DO review a book, I usually don't thoroughly read every word, every chapter. I read the opening chapter or two, skip around, obtain a sense of where the author and story are going, confirm my intuition with a random stab or two at deeper sections of the tome, then write my thoughts. I wanted to do this approach with CONFRONTING CHRISTIANITY, but got drawn in very early into Rebecca McLaughlin's writing style and the method she treated her e premise of C.C. is that Christianity has become a whipping post for secular humanists and that their criticisms require answers. McLaughlin provides answers to some very challenging questions. Doesn't Christianity degrade women? Isn't this faith outdated by science? How can we literally take the Bible at its word? How could a loving God send people to hell?If a Christian is unprepared to respond these and other questions, what will happen to our faith in another generation or two into the future? Ms. McLaughlin not only provides answers; she documents - like a PhD would be expected to - the supporting evidence.I mentioned that I failed at skipping around this book to obtain a summary of where the author is going. This is because the book reads like a crime novel to me. Despite my own Christian beliefs, I half-believed a lot of of the charges versus Christianity posed in the author's 12 questions. Or - more likely - never confronted them with my own research and response. Ms. McLaughlin fairly presents the questions / arguments that suppose Christianity is on the wane, quoting sources that help the claim. But then, she pauses, catches a breath and presents the facts that help the Christian religion and documents her answers. Despite my desire to finish the book quickly in my hit-and-run assault on the contents, I place aside all my other books for a couple of days and concentrated my energy on this can't-put-down book. (OK, who among us only reads one book at a time? Yeah - I didn't think so!)I'm not quite done with C.C., but will finish today. It is a solid read, a fun book for a Christian to absorb and in a fun way, makes us confront today's secular world's skepticism about a faith that has been answering related questions for 2000 years.
I’ve read quite a few Christian books over the past 25 years from some of the best authors and pastors known (Piper, Keller, Chandler, Carson, and the list goes on). They have all been amazing and have encouraged growth in me and have deepened my affection for ever, there is something unique about how Rebecca McLaughlin writes. She has an uncanny ability to disarm you with her writing. This book will challenge the greatest critic of Christianity and encourage the most faithful follower. She addresses the most difficult subjects head on with humility, grace, intellectual fervor (she’s method smarter than me), honesty and a deep commitment to the gospel as the only method to be reconciled with God.I found myself time and time again wiping away tears (I’m not a very emotional person) as I saw fresh glimpses of God’s glory through her writing. Additionally, I kept thinking of mates who would search this book encouraging and thought I required to order a case of them to give away!McLaughlin doesn’t respond all of our questions (who can), but faithfully attempts to and points us to the One who is better than every answer. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy and read it. You won’t be sorry!
A attractive book. This is the book I've wanted to give my unbelieving friends. Its honesty will shock you, but its faith will beguile you. I couldn't place it down. In my own experience, the questions McLaughlin addresses are the very excuses my mates offer for their continued unbelief. She answers them without compromising the historical doctrines of Christianity. The chapter on the biblical view of homosexuality is worth the price of the book. The chapter on suffering is as close to excellent as we'll see this side of eternity. God is love. God is just. He proved it on the cross.
I picked up this book because I was tired of hoping someone else would respond questions such as, “How can you take the Bible literally?” or “Doesn’t the Bible condone slavery” or “Isn’t Christianity homophobic?” I’d done my homework, to a certain extent, yet I’d never been able to truly wrap my mind around all I’d read. I longed for someone to respond those questions for me, to teach me, so I could finally answer. I imagined they would walk me through those and other common questions step by step, without diverting from logic. They would be concise. They would use metaphors I could relate to, perhaps even Dr. Who! After our time together, I would possess a solid foundation that I could then access when questions arose. Small did I know Rebecca McLaughlin was writing a book that would do just ter savoring this book cover to cover, I’m now imagining uncountable others reading this book … and what will follow.
I can't say enough about this unbelievable book! I found it highly readable, well researched, well written, compassionate and thought-provoking. I look forward to passing this book on to mates and family. I highly recommend it for Christian and skeptics alike. Do yourself a favor and read this perfect book!
If you’ve ever wondered about some of the tough questions surrounding Christianity - and who hasn’t either asked or been asked some of these? - this book is a amazing put to search answers. Rebecca goes deep into research, facts, and the text of the Bible while also utilizing Harry Potter, Dr Who, and current events. Her writing feels scholarly without ever being boring or difficult to read. I highly recommend reading this whether you’re the one with the questions or someone hoping to have better answers.
When I first saw this book being advertised by the publisher for pre-order I thought it was a book to take Christians to task. That it was some sort of social justice effort. That wouldn't have been my cup o' tea, so glad I read is isn't the best defense of Christianity I've ever read, but it's beautiful close and I like the author's approach. One of my favorite chapters (among many/most) is Chapter 4 (one of the chapters that addresses moral angles).Please take advantage of Amazon's "Look Inside" feature so you can obtain a feel/sense of what the author is addressing and her writing style (which I like very much). I also like the footnotes (both use and accessibility; meaning the author does a amazing job documenting her points and that the notes are foot-, rather than end-notes).Nicely bound, beautiful format. Very nice; worth your interest. As I noted in the title, I liked the book well enough that I bought a second copy to share with my friends....4 stars.
I enjoyed this book. McLaughlin writes from a put of vulnerability and intellectual strength, and I appreciated the humility of her approach. Her tone and ethos should appeal to young people who are interested in Christianity and support those who are Christians to more confidently articulate their faith. She is at her best when she combines her private experience with thoroughly researched, rational arguments.I especially like that she chose footnotes (and not endnotes) for her citations and included an index as they create it simple to search resources for further research, a necessity for anyone who is truly questioning. Most of the questions were well covered, with the exception of the question on Hell, which seemed to lack the fierce focus of most of the others--understandably, but unfortunately, since it ended the book on what felt like a weak note argumentatively. My four-star rating reflects my opinion of this weakness.I plan to give this book to at least one college student mate and hope there will be an audio version, since that would create it more accessible for some of my other young friends. I do recommend it.
I finished this book with mixed feelings and had a hard time putting my finger on it. I've read a lot of apologetics books and I think the problem was that McLaughlin just presented the info in a various method than I was used to and caused me to approach the questions in a fresh way. Which is a amazing thing. She has a new perspective. It's related to Tim Keller's book- The Reason for God, but I would say his book is more accessible to the general population and this book was a small more academic. It felt like she was writing this book for her academic colleagues- those who work at universities- yet I found it to still be becca McLaughlin is a British female with a PhD from Cambridge who has place aside her same-sex attractions and is in a satisfied marriage to a man, together having 3 children. Her journey to faith was heavily influenced by these factors and speaks into how she answers these 12 hard is book was well-researched. She provides plenty of resources for further reading as each subject could be an entire book in itself. I will say that some of her statistics, analogies, or examples didn't always connect for me. And a lot of her sentences I had to read multiple times to understand what she was saying. I have a fairly huge vocabulary and there were several times I had to consult a dictionary. It's not necessarily a light read, but it is very helpful. Probably best read an entire chapter at a time and then verbally processed with someone else to obtain the most out of the material.I especially liked her chapter on a loving God allowing suffering. Everyone has experienced grief and pain, and she brilliantly uses the story of Jesus and Lazarus to present us the reality of suffering and our relationship to God. She also:- reminds us of the diversity of Christianity and its global reach. We tend to see it as an American institution and miss out on a lot when our perspective originates from there.- won't allow us take the simple method out of truth finding by letting us think all faith paths are true, but calls us to respect others as thinking human beings who have thought about their beliefs.- is honest and doesn't gloss over the stains on Christianity's history, but provides plenty of evidence to the contrary.- wrote her chapters on science, women, homosexuality, and slavery sensitively, yet blunt. Informatively, logically, and persuasively.I would say, read this book, but don't ONLY read this book. I could recommend a specific book for each chapter that would expound more than her zone allowed and that draws on more Scripture. She did a amazing job and I believe accomplished what she set out to do. This book is a amazing resource that touches on all the most common questions for Christianity, but if a chapter leaves you unsatisfied, I urge you to look for another book to inform your thinking. These questions are too necessary not to.
I read Tag Noll's first foray into this subject, his 1992 History of Christianity in the US and Canada. I thought it was good, but a small too academic and scholarly for most is book is a tight condensation of what appeared in that previous volume, plus a amazing deal more about African-American Christian history, as well as Mexican Christian e thesis of the book seems to be how the separation of church and state in the USA created it possible for a lot of various kinds of Christianity (and of other sects) to flourish.We read about the influential preaching ministry of George Whitefield and thr writings of Jonathan Edwards in the 1740s and how their ministries impacted thousands of people for Christ.We learn about the indefatigable ministry work of Francis Asbury, who started Methodist study groups and congregations all through the states.We learn about Harriet Livermore, the first woman to preach the word in the US Congress.We also see how the black community drew strength and inspiration from the biblical narratives, both during and after the slavery years.We see how Catholicism has had a tremendous influence in Mexico and in Canada.We also see the formidable influence of Pentecostalism, both in the USA and in Mexico.I appreciated the afterword's mentioning of the some of the influences that impacted American Christianity: The slavery issue, the first amendment which guaranteed that the government would not pass legislation with respect to the establishment of a religion, the ministries of Edwards, Whitefield, and other revivalists, and the westward method this perfect book could be strengthened would be the addition of material about the impact of postmodernism on biblical Christianity. Perhaps there could also be added sections on the influence of Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and other evangelical megachurch is book is great, and it will support you to obtain a sense of the lay of the land as you seek to learn more about what God has done and what others have done in His name, both amazing and bad.
Tag A, Noll, a Reformed evangelical Christian and a Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, has written a textbook introduction and summary in his book The Old Religion in the Fresh World: A History of the North American Christianity to the history of Christianity in North America. He has "provided a broad outline of major events, developments, and occurrences in the history of the Christian churches that have filled North America with such remarkable vitality and diversity." (ix) The basic purpose of the book is to offer an introduction to the history of Christianity in North America while also offering reasons why Christianity in North America is various from Christianity in the "Old World" Europe. While it does give a cursory history of Canadian and Mexican Christianity (giving specific examples when required and providing a chapter to the subject), the book primarily deals with American Christianity. The bulk of the book is taken up with a succinct history of Christianity in the United States from AD 1482 to 2000. His narrative is not just about Protestant European-rooted Christianity. It has room for Catholics and Orthodox believers, blacks and whites (as well as other ethnicities), conservatives and liberals, clergy and laypeople, and gains and losses. Noll's history does well at describing how Christianity has affected the history of America and how America has affected Christianity as it moves to the North American Continent. For a cursory understanding of the history of Christianity in America, one would probably be better served, however, in reading Noll's 1992 History of Christianity in the US and Canada (Eerdmans), Noll's America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (Oxford), Nathan O. Hatch's The Democratization of American Christianity (Yale), Sydney Ahlstrom's A Religious History of the American People (Yale), or the later chapters of Justo L. Gonzalez's The Story of Christianity Volume 2: the Reformation to the Show Day (HarperCollins) for this history. The chapters dedicated to American History in The Old Religion in the Fresh Globe are at times too concise and selective. While they are worth reading due to Noll's required nuanced insight, they also leave out necessary facts. Dr. Noll saves some of his lengthy explanations for his other chapters. For example, he saves the bulk of his discussion on Jonathan Edwards in his theology chapter (chapter nine: Theology) rather than giving a fuller explanation in his history chapters. Dr. Noll's five chapters that do not give a cursory historical acc are worth their weight in gold in understanding the uniqueness of American Christianity. They give an in-depth analysis of the American context's affect on certain topics in Christian history. He has five chapters on certain particulars:1. chapter 1: "From Europe to America" - an overview of the impact of America's situation on Christianity that springs from Europe,2. chapter 9: "Theology" - how American practices shaped theology, especially populace ideas,3. chapter 10: "In the Shadow of the United States - Canada and Mexico" - the contrast to American Christianity provided by Canada and Mexico,4. chapter 11: "The Fate of European Traditions - Lutheran and Roman Catholics" - the impact of individualism and the separation of Church and State on certain Traditions, and5. chapter 12: "Day-to-Day Christian Spirituality and the Bible" - the populace practice of the Christian life. Chapter 1 basically sets up the entire book by explaining why Christianity in America is so various from its European counterpart. Noll's thesis in this chapter is that the American religious environment has allowed Christianity to be so diverse without people going to war, monarchs or despots rising, nor people feeling confined to the old ways. Noll considers pluralism, divisions, and fragmentation significant-and not altogether negative-aspects of American Christianity. He gives a compelling argument that the following reasons have allowed for such diverse expressions of faith: the sheer spaciousness of the land of America, the wide range of ethnicities and cultures (especially the African American culture), freedom of religion that has led to pluralism, and the lack of a confessional conservatism due to liberalism. Noll defines 19th century liberalism as "an affinity for populism, individualism, democratization, and market-making." (p. 23) This chapter does well in reflecting the distinctives arising from the American context and goes far to explain how Christianity is various in this context. The chapter on American Theology does well in explaining that most of the theology of the U.S. stems from or has been in tournament with European theology. Noll explains that it is in the American context, however, that science and the scientific way were allowed to outshine Christian doctrines more so than in the European context. Populace doctrines were also allowed to grow, especially dispensational premillennialism and charismatic teaching (which Noll erroneously calls Pentecostalism). Noll gives a plethora of protestant and Catholic examples of American theologians who contributed to Christianity. Most of his writing, however, is given to Jonathan Edwards's American approach to theology and his writings. In chapters 10 & 11, Dr. Noll writes about the contrast between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico and the contrast between European Traditions and American denominations. Noll gives a amazing cursory history of Mexico effectively showing the impact of its Roman Catholic roots compared to the British Protestant roots in America. Canada does not obtain an as in-depth history. Dr. Noll does show, however, how Canada and America are different, especially in their political secularizations. He also explains that every European tradition has had to deal with "America's liberal, democratic, commercial, mobile and individualistic values." (p. 235) Noll demonstrates that Lutherans and theologians like Schmucker, Krauth, and Walther have various answers on how to deal with the American context. Lutheran denominations like the ELCA and the Missouri Synod are formed in response. It was Catholic schools and higher education, and especially their emphasis on Neo-Thomism (a return to scholasticism and the classics) that have created Roman Catholicism a success in the U.S. These contrasts to the American denominations and Canada and Mexico's history to America are probably not found in other textbooks. Dr. Tag Noll's chapter called "Day to Day Christian Spirituality and the Bible," was eye-opening, especially his treatment of the American use of magic, even in conservative Christianity. Noll suggests that certain patterns of American life and behavior can be distinguished in history. He lays out five areas: the use of magic in the midst of formal religion; serious ethics that stresses the Golden Rule and discipline; the rejection and the embrace of material objects used in worship; devotional spiritual readings; and the consistent use of a "canon" of Protestant hymnody. Noll makes a amazing point in stating that "of all ancient religious authorities carried to the Fresh World, only the Bible was exempted from America's profound suspicion of the past." (p. 267) He gives a cursory history of the Scripture's prominence in American history and politics. This chapter is a fine preliminary survey of famous Christian practices. Dr. Tag A. Noll's book, The Old Religion in the Fresh World: A History of the North American Christianity, traces the developments of American Christianity while emphasizing the aspects of that faith that set it apart from its European counterpart Noll provides a amazing succinct textbook for students, but because its purpose is to be brief, it disappointedly leaves out some subjects. The rise of the influence of megachurches in America, the creation of Bible Colleges, and the impact of authors such as Francis Schaeffer & C.S. Lewis are absent. Dr. Noll, being an intellectual, also locations too much emphasis on intellectualism, especially when he lists theological influences. Overall, however, this book gives perfect insight into the history of Christianity in America. There are more detailed surveys of American Christianity available, but Dr. Noll's insights on the American context are worth the read.
The book just didn't seem to read smoothly, almost like the author was trying to force the content together from a larger source of content. If the author knows a significant amount but cannot place it together coherently, then don't publish the book.
In the minus column, the method the content was covered seemed a bit scattershot, going back and forth from a linear approach to a thematic one. Certain subjects felt like they should have received more coverage than they did, such as televangelism and connections between religion and partisan politics.On the plus side, Noll covered his central idea--old religion in the Fresh World--quite well, covering both continuity and discontinuity to establish what created Christianity in North America distinct from European Christianity. He also discusses happenings and figures that were less familiar but worthy of our t the best book I've read similar to church history, not even the best I've read from Noll, but still a worthwhile read to be sure.
I read Tag Noll's work while in seminary. I found it an excellant exposition of the development of Christianity within America. Since reading it myself, I have recommended it as a primary reading in adult education for understanding today's political melieu. The subject is helpful in understanding the development of religious thought that has invaded our understanding of democracy.
Michael Baigent, with or without his co-authors, is a master overthe topics about which he writes, normally something on contemporary religions and their misrepresentations, which have consequences out of proportion to their desserts. Racing Toward Armageddon, written in 2007, is more relevant today, 2017, than it was 10 years ago. If Baigent is correct, and one or all three of the world's Abrahamic religions are betting on winning the lottery for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, we are indeed in huge problem given the happenings of the past decade and the method the globe was turned sideways--and not by accident--with the American election of 2016.He is likely not correct in all counts in his predictions--and I would have liked to see more facts behind some of his conclusions, thus only the four stars--but he only has to be 1/3 correct to have the situation in the Middle East boil over into a cataclysm for the entire planet. His solution--stop the religious infighting and embrace the core spirituality at the heart of all three traditions--is as self-evident as it is unlikely to be attempted. Still it is admirable that he puts it out there. Perhaps after most else has failed, we will give the route that benefits all rather than just some (or in this case, none) a try.Highly recommended for those concerned with the negative vector of religious fundamentalism in the globe today, and, according to Baigent, everyone ought to be.
If the name Michael Baigent sounds familiar, it's because he wrote HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL in collaboration with Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh. Dan Brown's blockbuster novel, THE DAVINCI CODE was based on that work. Baigent and Leigh unsuccessfully TOWARD ARMAGEDDON maintains that some of the more radical members of the three Abrahamic religions are doing their best to create Armageddon happen sooner rather than igent starts with an anecdote about the Red Heifer. In Old Testament times, anyone who touched a dead person (just about everybody) was considered unclean. He had to be cleansed with the ashes of a excellent red heifer (no white or black hairs) in order to be allowed into the temple. Christian fundamentalists predict that when the third temple is built, Jesus will return. Some Jewish rabbis wish to blow up the Islamic mosques presently occupying the temple mount. But they can't walk across the mount unless they are cleansed. Problem: there are no excellent red heifers. Not that Christian fundamentalists aren't trying. An Alabama breeder is currently trying to breed the excellent red ter the red heifer story, Baigent turns to an analysis of Revelation. He maintains that author John of Patmos was talking about Rome, that it was symbolic, that even John says it was symbolic, that John expected Christ's return in his lifetime, and that a lot of church fathers were reluctant to contain Revelation in the Fresh Testament and didn't until well into the fifth ere's also a chapter on Jerry Falwell, which gives Baigent a possibility to introduce other worthies such as Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association; Rousas Rushdoony of the Chalcedon Foundation, a group dedicated to the promotion of Christian Reconstruction and a US theocracy; and "Scary Gary" North, who endorses stoning for such offenses as adultery. Throw in Tim LaHaye, Holland Coors, Oliver North, and Major-General John K. Singlaub and you've got yourself a grand conspiracy working toward a Christian theocratic government in the United igent asks the reasonable question: "How is such a program of a theocratic empire under biblical law various from the Islamic fundamentalist's demand for a worldwide caliphate and the introduction of sharia law?"Radical moslems also believe in a final war between the Christians and the Jews on one side and Islam on the other, only they foresee a nuclear confrontation and a win for their side. They also believe in a messiah whom they call the Mahdi, a caliph who disappeared in the ninth igent solution for all of this is to turn to spirituality: the Sufi Moslems disdain political involvement; the Jewish Kabala and Hermetic Philosophy also meet Baigent's specifications.