Enduring Ideas of World Religions
In this unique introduction to world religions, author Eric Bronson focuses on the enduring ideas embodied by a variety of faiths, and the ways in which those ideas shape the world we live in.
According to sociologist Max Weber, “The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world.’” Although the pace of scientific discovery and technological innovation has increased exponentially since Weber’s day, other ways of knowing persist and still have much to offer.
As Bronson notes, “Enchantment is a quality in the world that fires our non-rational imagination. Enchantments trigger in us an elevated sense of excitement, fear, or curiosity…. We may be enchanted by sunsets, popular music, or other people, for example. Enchanted experiences are also instructive: they teach us things about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Therefore, ‘enchanted wisdom’ describes many kinds of non-rational knowledge we gain about ourselves and our world.”
In discussing eleven representative faiths—including global religions with hundreds of millions of adherents, like Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well as the less well-known beliefs of the Navajo and the Yoruba—the author draws on a wide range of literary, musical, and other cultural references to enhance interest and understanding. The core tenets of each religion are first examined, followed by discussion of its evolution over time and contemporary manifestations. Questions at the close of each chapter direct students toward further learning, while comprehensive end-of-chapter glossaries provide a convenient summary of key people, places, and ideas.
Full chapters are included on the following faiths: Hinduism • Buddhism • Daoism • Yoruba • Judaism • Christianity • Islam • Confucianism • Sikhism • Navajo • Shintoism. The text also includes an insightful introduction, 52 images, 51 boxes focusing on topics of special interest, comprehensive references, and a full index.
About the Author: Eric Bronson is the author, editor, or co-editor of a number of books dealing with the intersection of philosophy, religion, and popular culture, including Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Batter’s Box, which Booklist lauded as “provocative and entertaining.” He teaches at York University in Toronto, Canada, and holds a doctorate in philosophy from SUNY Buffalo.
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