Aptly titled, this is a scintillating and intellectually satisfying survey of centuries of serious religious study focusing less on the specifics of different traditions than on the question why we worship. Drawing on the varied disciplines of philosophy, theology, anthropology, and history and the expertise of past masters of the history of religion-Ibn Khald n, Max Muller, G. van der Leeuw, Raffaele Pettazzoni, Mircea Eliade, and countless others-Bolle (history, emeritus, UCLA) is eager to provide a hermeneutics for the 21st century, offering an updated explanation and understanding of what religion is and why we should know about it. (He is, in fact, the general editor of the "Hermeneutics: Studies in the History of Religion" series.) Bolle covers both Eastern and Western traditions, and because his first rule is that "you should listen to the people whose religion you try to comprehend," readers cannot help but to have their view of religions deepened and broadened. Extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter will fuel interest and authoritatively guide librarians seeking to build their own collections. Recommended for all academic libraries and large public libraries.-Gary P. Gillum, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.