Hinduism and Other Eastern Religions (World Faiths Series)

Overview

World Faiths: Hinduism and Other Eastern Religions explores the major religions of the Eastern world, including Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. From Hindu gods and goddesses to life in a Buddhist monastery, it reveals the origins of each religion, the key elements of its belief systems, and the appeal of Eastern religions to the West.

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Overview

World Faiths: Hinduism and Other Eastern Religions explores the major religions of the Eastern world, including Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. From Hindu gods and goddesses to life in a Buddhist monastery, it reveals the origins of each religion, the key elements of its belief systems, and the appeal of Eastern religions to the West.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First collected in 1999's The Kingfisher Book of Religions, these explorations of various faith traditions are now the subjects of individual titles in the appealing World Faiths nonfiction paperback series by Trevor Barnes, BBC-TV's religious affairs presenter. Christianity; Islam; Judaism; and Hinduism and Other Eastern Religions each have the look of an A&E documentary, making liberal use of clear, illustrative photos and cleanly designed blocks of text. Readers will glean much information about the history, current practice and occasional controversy surrounding the religions. Extensive glossaries and indexes offer help for quick-reference. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This slim volume is part of the publisher's "World Faiths" series, and was written by a BBC-TV religious affairs presenter. It provides an introduction to Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism, as well as to basic information on Shinto and Tao practices. In brief chapters, each only a spread, the author uses worship, festivals and ceremonies from representative communities around the world to explore the origins of each religion and explain the key elements of their belief systems. In addition, he relates this information to contemporary practice. Each religion comes across as a living faith that has become—through diasporic movements and the sharing of information and interests—a part of our global society. Children feature prominently in the bright and appealing photos that illustrate the text. Most photos are aptly chosen, although one—of a 5,000-year-old grave in Ireland—seems oddly out of place. One can see the effort in the accompanying text to force a connection, but it does not quite work. A minor transliteration error spells the Sikh ceremonial comb as "khanga," with an aspirated 'k" instead of "kangha," with an aspirated hard "g" sound. A glossary, an index, and acknowledgments constitute the back matter in this otherwise useful and moderately-priced paperback edition. 2005, Kingfisher, Ages 8 to 12.
—Uma Krishnaswami
KLIATT
Briefly, and with beautifully produced full-color illustrations, these books summarize the essential facts about the world's major religions. The illustrations include photographs of people worshiping, art depicting the major components of each faith, and photographs of places of worship. Hinduism and Other Eastern Religions crams in a lot of information, since it covers Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The vocabulary is the equivalent of text written for adults, but many words specific to each faith are explained in context and glossaries appear at the end of each book. The book on Christianity has brief chapters titled The Development of Christianity, The Life of Jesus, The Ministry of Jesus, The Crucifixion, The Trinity, Christian Worship, The Sacraments, Christmas, Celebrating Easter, The Religious Life, Cathedrals and Churches, Missionaries, Divisions in Christianity, The Church in the Twenty-first Century. In our multicultural society, these essential guides to the major faiths will be most helpful. Even high school students will find them useful introductions. (World Faiths Series). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Kingfisher, 40p. illus. index., each. Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
VOYA
Here is a colorful, non-intimidating series that manages to pluck out some of the more interesting aspects of four of the world's great religions. These inexpensive paperback books have the lavish pictorial interest of coffee-table books. The author is a religion reporter for the BBC, which seems to have given him a sense of the questions people might ask about each religion. Each book has a similar format of two-page spreads devoted to a topic, liberally embellished with pictures, very often of children, very often multicultural. Each book covers the basic details of history, worship services, and holidays. But Barnes allows theology and practice to brush against history and politics, creating four unique stories. The life of Jesus dominates the first third of Christianity, for example, whereas the life of Muhammad gets just a much briefer treatment in Islam. The beauty and sanctity of the Islamic Koran and the Judaic Torah are emphasized in a way that the Christian Bible is not. Unique themes run throughout each text, such as Jews as the persecuted "Chosen People" and Muslims fighting to maintain a pure religious culture. Perhaps the most unique of all stories is sketched out in Hinduism and Other Eastern Religions, as Barnes tries to quickly summarize complex religious traditions that are decidedly non-Western. He makes the welcome observation, "Hindus believe in one god as the ultimate source of reality and existence," even as he explores the mystery of elephant-headed gods. Sikhism and Buddhism get equal attention in this volume, with glances into Jainism, Shintoism, and Taoism. Barnes's narrative is always generous and tolerant. When writing of the "modern dilemma" facing Islam, henotes the "tension between those who want to see religion in political life and those who do not." In describing the different divisions of Christianity, he kindly says, "[A]ll Christians are trying to wrestle with the challenges contained in the Gospel." And he delicately steps through the minefield of Zionism with, "In 1948, the State of Israel came into being, but while its legitimacy is constantly being questioned by its Arab neighbors, it has offered Jews around the world a haven from persecution." This series is particularly well suited for middle school collections where there is a call for comparing religious traditions, but it could be used in high school and public libraries as well. (World Faiths). VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, 40p.; Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 15.
—Diane Emge
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-These books were originally published in one volume-The Kingfisher Book of Religions (1999)-with material added on ancient religions and traditional beliefs. Hinduism crams six Eastern religions into 29 pages of text and is totally unacceptable, with glaring omissions. The three other titles actually expand on their original entries, with varying results; in Judaism it leads to unnecessary repetition, while Christianity and Islam make better use of the additional space. The books are visually attractive, with eye-catching covers, but that is one of their few strengths. Maps are absent or inadequate. Not all unusual or new terms used in the text are found in the glossaries, and many definitions are inadequate and confusing. Corresponding titles in Geoff Teece's "Religion in Focus" series (Smart Apple, 2004) are practical and appealing but have a British bias and sometimes awkward writing; Sue Penney's "World Beliefs and Cultures" series (Heinemann Library, 2000) are comprehensive but stodgily written.-Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780753458815
  • Publisher: Kingfisher
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Series: World Faiths Series
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.51 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Trevor Barnes is an award winning presenter of many BBC Television documentaries on the subject of religion, as well as BBC World Service news broadcasts, radio shows, and live chat shows. He is also the author of several books including Archaeology in the Kingfisher Knowledge series, The Wounded City, a book about the people of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a biography of Terry Waite, Man With A Mission.

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