Sacred Origins of Profound Things: The Stories Behind the Rites and Rituals of the World's Religions

Sacred Origins of Profound Things: The Stories Behind the Rites and Rituals of the World's Religions

by Charles Panati

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In this enlightening and entertaining work, Charles Panati explores the origins of hundreds of religious rituals, customs, and practices in many faiths, the reasons for religious holidays and sacred symbols, and the meanings of vestments, sacraments, devotions, and prayers. Its many revelations include:

* Why the Star of David became the Jewish counterpart of the Christian cross

* What mortal remains of the Buddha are venerated today

* How the diamond engagement ring became a standard

* That the first pope was a happily married man

* How Hindu thinkers arrived at their concept of reincarnation

* Why Jews don't eat pork, why some Muslims don't eat certain vegetables, and how some Christians came to observe meatless Fridays

Sacred Origins of Profound Things is an indispensable resource for all those interested in the history of religion and the history of ideas--and an inspiring guide to those seeking to understand their faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101656075
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/01/1996
Series: Compass
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 608
File size: 9 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Charles Panati, a former physicist and for six years a science editor for Newsweek, has made a career out of exploring the origins of things. He is the author of thirteen fiction and nonfiction books, including the bestselling Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things. He lives in Long Island, New York.

Table of Contents

Sacred Origins of Profound ThingsWhy We Believe

What We Believe: Introduction

Part 1. Popular Piety

1. Prayer Postures: Hands Joined to Heads Covered

2. Best-Loved Prayers: Apostles' Creed to Agnus Dei

3. Acts of Devotion: Rosary to Hajj

Part II. Heavenly Hosts

4. Angels: Messengers to Guardians

5. Archangels and Demons: Michael to Metatron

Part III. Wise Words

6. Moral Codes: Ten Commandments to Golden Rule

7. Biblical Phrases: "Writing on the Wall" to "Eye to Eye"

Part IV. Rites and Rituals

8. Sacred Symbols: Halo to Star of David

9. Dressed to Kill: Vestments to Vessels

10. Sacraments: Godparents to Seven Deadly Sins

11. Vows That Bind: Celibate Priests to Ordained Women

Part V. Feasts And Festivals

12. Christian Feasts: Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday

13. Jewish Feasts: Passover to Hanukkah

Part VI. Saints And Their Bones

14. Saints: Abused Virgins to Celibate Clerics

15. Relics: Buddha's Tooth to Christ's Cross

16. Patron Saints: AIDS to Cyberspace

Part VII. Celestial Personae

17. God: Appearance to Existence

18. Christ: Son to Trinity

19. Allah: Abraham to Koran

Part VIII. I Do

20. Marriage: Mazal Tov to Diamond Ring

21. Divorce: Get to Jackie Kennedy Onassis

22. Annulment: Impotency to Senator Edward Kennedy

Part IX. Extraordinary Evil

23. Satan: Lucifer to Genies

24. Exorcism: Satan to Dybbuk

25. Antichrist: "666" to Apocalypse Now

Part X. Divine Dos And Dont's

26. Forbidden Foods: Pork Chops to Meatless Fridays

27. Forbidden Sex: Gay to Lesbian

28. Contraception: Condoms to Crushed Testicles

Part XI. Religious Realms

29. Heaven: Soul to Immortality

30. Hell: Hot to Hotter

31. Purgatory: Divine Comedy to Sale of Indulgences

32. Limbo: Original Sin to the Harrowing

Part XII. Acts Of Faith

33. Miracles: Raising the Dead to Stigmata

34. Virginity of the Virgin: Immaculate Conception to Virgin Birth

35. Visions of the Virgin: Guadalupe to Medjugorje

36. Papal Infallibility: Tradition to Dogma

References and Reading


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Sacred Origins of Profound Things 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
RRHowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a mildly interesting book, but it deals primarily with things in the Abrahamic tradition, and is not particularly deep even there. Written at a very popular level, this explores a little bit topics that an American audience not very skilled in comparative religions or religious history might have wondered about.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I keep coming back to this book in my public library (mainly because it's not in print anymore so I can't just buy the thing). It adds to stores of trivia on religion, including why people stand certain ways when they pray, why the Hail Mary is set up the way it is, the differences between kosher and halal foods, and explinations of many symbols and ritual meanings. Rather than wasting time on books like the Da Vinci Code, check this one out to get your fill of religious history and symbology.