The Illustrated Guide to World Religions

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-12-11
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Graced with rich illustrations and written by a team of eminent scholars, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions presents a wealth of information on faiths around the world. Each chapter in this volume examines one of seven major world religions--from Judaism to Christianity and from Islam to Buddhism--and contains information about its holidays and festivities, key historical and mythological figures, architectural styles, calendars, language, and important texts. The book deals with such issues as the afterlife, the role of women, the importance of saints, and the quest for higher wisdom. We discover, for instance, that Pure Land Buddhism--found mainly in China, Japan, and Tibet--holds that meditation on a particular deity at the moment of death will help insure rebirth into that deity's celestial domain. In Judaism, on the other hand, the concept of an afterlife has never played a central role. Uniquely organized in a manner that encourages comparative analysis, the book's lavish full-color art, maps, and photographs all focus on faith in practice, in both elaborate ritual and everyday life. Religion continues to be a monumental force in a rapidly changing world. Whether tracing the origins of your own faith or attempting to satisfy a curiosity about religious practices an ocean away, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions will be a fascinating and indispensable guide to the complexity of the world's living religions.

Author Biography

Michael D. Coogan, the co-editor of The Oxford Companion to the Bible, is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and director of publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 6
Judaismp. 14
Introductionp. 16
Origins: A Faith in the Makingp. 20
Historical Development: From Herod to Herzlp. 22
God the Ultimatep. 26
Messianism and Redemptionp. 28
Sacred Texts: The Living Lawp. 30
Sacred Persons: Lawgivers, Scholars, and Foundersp. 36
Ethical Principles: The Way of Israelp. 38
Sacred Space: Sanctuaries for a Nationp. 40
Sacred Time: The Rhythm of Lifep. 44
Society and Religion: Judaism in the Modern Worldp. 48
Christianityp. 52
Introductionp. 54
Origins: "In the Beginning"p. 58
Historical Development: Two Millennia of Faithp. 60
Revelation and Truthp. 64
A Mystic Unionp. 66
Sacred Texts: The Christian Canonp. 68
Sacred Persons: Martyrs, Saints, and Angelsp. 70
Ethical Principles: The Way of Christp. 74
Sacred Space: The Lord's Housep. 76
Sacred Time: Liturgy, Sacraments, and Festivalsp. 80
Death and the Afterlife: The Dearly Departedp. 84
Society and Religion: Church, State, and Communityp. 86
Islamp. 88
Introductionp. 90
Origins: The Arabian Cruciblep. 94
Historical Development: An Age of Empiresp. 96
Aspects of the Divine: Approaches to Godp. 100
Sacred Texts: The Word of Godp. 104
The Prophet and Messengerp. 106
Imams and "Saints"p. 108
Ethical Principles: Sharia and the Law of Islamp. 110
Sacred Space: Mosques and Shrinesp. 112
Sacred Time: Duties of Worshipp. 114
Death and the Afterlife: The Return to Godp. 118
Society and Religion: Issues and Disputesp. 120
Hinduismp. 124
Introductionp. 126
Origins and Historical Development: Five Millennia of Traditionp. 130
Aspects of the Divine: Gods and Goddessesp. 134
Sacred Texts: Words of Devotionp. 138
Sacred Persons: Teachers and Leadersp. 142
Ethical Principles: Paths to Liberationp. 144
Sacred Space: A Land of Holinessp. 146
Sacred Time: Rejoicing in the Divinep. 152
Death and the Afterlife: Karma, Death, and Rebirthp. 156
Society and Religion: Division and Identityp. 158
Buddhismp. 162
Introductionp. 164
Origins: The Life of the Buddhap. 168
Historical Development: Schools and Vehiclesp. 172
Aspects of the Divine: Celestial Beingsp. 176
Sacred Texts: Words of the Dharmap. 178
Sacred Persons: In the Master's Footstepsp. 182
Ethical Principles: The Path to Nirvanap. 184
Sacred Space: Places of Devotionp. 186
Sacred Time: Honoring the Wayp. 190
Death and the Afterlife: The Cycle of Rebirthp. 192
Society and Religion: Roles and Relationshipsp. 194
Chinese Traditionsp. 198
Introductionp. 200
Origins and Historical Development: A Wealth of Traditionsp. 204
Aspects of the Divine: The Celestial Empirep. 208
Sacred Texts: Words of the Sagesp. 212
Sacred Persons: Saints and Heroesp. 214
Ethical Principles: In Quest of Concordp. 216
Sacred Space: A Hallowed Cosmosp. 220
Sacred Time: Seasons of Worshipp. 224
Death and the Afterlife: The Immortal Body and Soulp. 230
Society and Religion: The State, the Family, and the Individualp. 234
Japanese Traditionsp. 236
Introductionp. 238
Origins and Historical Development: Faith and Coexistencep. 242
Aspects of the Divine: A World of Spiritsp. 246
Sacred Texts: Chronicles and Holy Writingsp. 250
Sacred Persons: Lights of Wisdomp. 252
Ethical Principles: Harmony and Enlightenmentp. 256
Sacred Space: A Landscape of Sanctuariesp. 258
Sacred Time: Sharing in the Spiritp. 262
Death and the Afterlife: Heavens and Hellp. 266
Old Faiths in the Modern Worldp. 268
The "New Religions"p. 270
Glossaryp. 272
Bibliographyp. 273
Indexp. 277
Picture Creditsp. 288
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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