World Religions

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World Religions is a refreshing new approach to understanding different faiths. Detailed annotations of stunning illustrations provide intriguing insights into the world's most important religions - offering a deeper appreciation of the beliefs central to each. World Religions looks at the beliefs and practices of many different religions, from the ancient Egyptians through to Zoroastrianism - the oldest "living" religion - and the great faiths practiced today. Each of the major faiths - Christianity, Judaism, ...
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Overview

World Religions is a refreshing new approach to understanding different faiths. Detailed annotations of stunning illustrations provide intriguing insights into the world's most important religions - offering a deeper appreciation of the beliefs central to each. World Religions looks at the beliefs and practices of many different religions, from the ancient Egyptians through to Zoroastrianism - the oldest "living" religion - and the great faiths practiced today. Each of the major faiths - Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Islam - is examined in detail through its sacred texts, epic imagery, key beliefs, and religious artifacts.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Bill Mollineaux
Religions Explained will be useful for middle school students requiring an introduction to the world's religions. After a brief introduction that defines religion and stresses the similarities of the many religions, Ganeri divides the book into six sections: "Ancient Religions," which deals with Egypt and Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, Aztec and Inca gods, and Norse myths; "People of the Book," which includes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; "Religions of India," which consists of Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Sikhism; "Chinese and Japanese Religions," which covers Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Zen Buddhism; "Spirit Religions" of South America, North America, Africa, and Australasia; and "New Religions," such as Rastafarianism, Bahai'ism, Hare Krishna, Mennonites and Amish, Mormons, New Age, and the Unification Church. The explanation of each religion begins with an overview and is followed by a discussion of its founder, basic beliefs, major deity or deities, festivals and celebrations, places of worship, sacred texts, and rituals. Colorful pictures and illustrations enhance a readable text. As with any such ambitious attempt, some religions are better explained than others. The sections on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism work very well, probably because twenty-four pages are devoted to them. Unfortunately, several other sections do not work so well. For example, although Confucianism dominated Chinese life for approximately two thousand years, only two pages are devoted to it, so Ganeri lists facts instead of explains them. World Religions carries the reader further into the richness of the major religions, providing more depth and adding flesh to the bones. After an introduction that discusses what religion is, including its dangers, this volume begins with a discussion of ancient religions, which include Zoroastrianism, and Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Norse, and Celtic religions. The remaining eleven chapters focus on Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Chinese religions, Japanese religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and nature religions, which are "found only in some of the most inaccessible regions of the globe." The last chapter, "The Golden Rule," calls for the major religions to recognize the irreconcilable differences among them and asks each to practice its version of the Golden Rule toward the others. An introduction to each religion precedes a discussion of the religion's founder, major deity or deities, chief aspects, beliefs, festivals and celebrations, etc. Magnificent color illustrations on every page either explain the text or serve as teaching tools. For example, rather than just show a statuette of Shiva, its components are explained, providing the reader with a greater understanding of his power. A religious timeline provides a rough comparison of the events and developments in the major religions, and seven maps show the homeland or extent of each religion and many of the holy sites. Each book complements the other. While both are introductions, World Religions, because of the larger size and fewer religions listed, is able to provide more depth for the more knowledgeable and able reader. But both have readable texts and contain illustrations that will ensnare and fascinate readers. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Further Reading. Chronology. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored & Explained, and Religions Explained: A Beginner's Guide to World Faiths. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
Bowker (divinity, Gresham Coll., London) has produced two very different books, though both are focused on world religion. The Oxford Dictionary, whose entries often lack information on etymology and pronunciation, is actually a one-volume desktop encyclopedia for ready reference. Combining brevity of exposition with a massive number of entries in an attempt to be dictionary-like, the work suffers from trying to be comprehensive in breadth of coverage instead of depth. The psychology of religion is discussed in a half-page, for instance, and the Church Fathers get only two sentences. In addition, the entries are uneven in quality; one has the feeling that the 80 contributors are each writing according to his or her own personal interests and styles. Despite these idiosyncracies, the work is a solid reference source for people who want to know only the barest of facts about any religious topic. In World Religions, on the other hand, one has the feeling that Bowker, now the author, is finally freed to range over what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. This book is a bold attempt to meld religious information with expressive art and to use the art as a tool for pedagogy. Each religion is represented by a few brilliantly illustrated icons, paintings, or sculptures, which the author painstakingly annotates to illuminate their theologies and deepen one's insight. Whether he is using Michelangelo's Final Judgment to explain Christian eschatology or a handscroll of Chou Ch'en to explain Taoist concepts of immortality, the emphasis upon the visual makes these religions vibrant and intriguing. There are surprising discrepancies between the two works. World Religions has generous discussions of the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Norse, and Celtic religions, topics not even included in the Oxford Dictionary. There are also variations of names. Ultimately, World Religions is the more commendable publication, though both books are recommended for most libraries.Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
School Library Journal
YA--An easy-to-follow, pictorial resource that is overflowing with information. Colorful pictures enhance each page with virtually every detail identified via arrows and described in a detailed caption. Each chapter begins with a succinct introduction and is followed by one-or-two page sections that explain the basic tenets of the faith, symbols, events, people, buildings, works of art, and the differences and similarities to other religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are included as are Jainism, Sikhism, Chinese and Japanese religions, and Native religions. The time line places key figures and events of one faith in relation to important people of another belief. Maps identify locations of sacred sites and the spread of the religion. Pages that include tall pictures are printed sideways across the double-page spread. This means the illustrations can be larger and clearer, but it is awkward for readers, who must constantly turn this oversized volume around. However, this is a visual feast that will be useful in most collections.--Anita Short, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Booknews
An abundantly and beautifully illustrated oversize reference (10.5x14<">) which examines each of the major faiths<-->Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Islam<-->through its sacred texts, epic imagery, key beliefs, and religious artifacts. Each religion's main principles and thoughts are discussed along with the symbolism and meaning in religious imagery and iconography. Bowker's credentials include, among other things, professorships of religious studies at North Carolina State U. and Gresham College, London. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789414397
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 14.08 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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