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Stark (social sciences, Baylor Univ.) offers a fresh look at the history of religions with the characteristic style he developed in such works as The Rise of Christianityand Cities of God. He brings this new perspective to the discussion of religion in primitive societies, ancient civilizations, and modern times, considering Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other religions. Many current treatments of the history of religion focus on its development as a result of human invention (see Todd Tremlin's Minds and Gods: The Cognitive Foundations of Religion). Stark examines the benefits/disadvantages religions engender within society, but his groundbreaking premise is the sincere consideration that revelations could originate with a higher being or power. In this way, he takes seriously the beliefs of religious founders and adherents throughout history. Written in an engaging style yet retaining scholarly integrity through an elaborate system of endnotes, charts, time lines, and a glossary, this work would serve well as an introduction to the history/sociology of religion. Recommended to public, academic, and seminary libraries.