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Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics [Paperback]

Darrell J. Fasching , Dell deChant , David M. Lantigua
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2, 2011 1444331337 978-1444331332 2
This popular textbook has been thoroughly revised and updated to reflect recent global developments, whilst retaining its unique and compelling narrative-style approach. Using ancient stories from diverse religions, it explores a broad range of important and complex moral issues, resulting in a truly reader-friendly and comparative introduction to religious ethics.
  • A thoroughly revised and expanded new edition of this popular textbook, yet retains the unique narrative-style approach which has proved so successful with students
  • Considers the ways in which ancient stories from diverse religions, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the lives of Jesus and Buddha, have provided ethical orientation in the modern world
  • Updated to reflect recent discussions on globalization and its influence on cross-cultural and comparative ethics, economic dimensions to ethics, Gandhian traditions, and global ethics in an age of terrorism
  • Expands coverage of Asian religions, quest narratives, the religious and philosophical approach to ethics in the West, and considers Chinese influences on Thich Nhat Hanh’s Zen Buddhism, and Augustine’s Confessions
  • Accompanied by an instructor’s manual (coming soon, see which shows how to use the book in conjunction with contemporary films

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Editorial Reviews


"A unique text, recommended for upper-division undergraduate level and above." Choice --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"It is indeed a very rare thing to have the opportunity and privilege to work with a book that engages, challenges and provokes the student to wrestle with the fundamental ethical questions of our time. Comparative Religious Ethics is such a book. Intellectually rigorous, profoundly insightful and beautifully written, it is an invaluable resource for the instructor and student alike."
Louise M. Doire, College of Charleston

"Comparative Religious Ethics invites the reader to comprehend the ethical teachings of the world's religions by means of narratives drawn from those traditions and from human historical experience. The stories range from Gilgamesh to Gandhi and from Hiroshima to globalization. Beneath the engaging narratives lies an approach rich in theoretical insights from the study of comparative religion and ethical theory."
Ronald M. Green, Dartmouth College

Product Details

  • Series: Comparative Religious Ethics
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (May 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444331337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444331332
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional classroom textbook and personal reference! January 29, 2002
As a member of the Religious Studies Department at a liberal arts college, I found this book to be invaluable as a textbook for my Comparative Religious Ethics course, and as a personal reference for the history of ethics as expressed through the world's major religious traditions. The narrative approach utilized by the authors provides a wonderfully compelling and unique methodological alternative to what might otherwise have been a dry and prosaic treatment. The ancient "stories" of each tradition, ie., Krisna and Arjuna, Job, Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama, Muhammad, are presented as foundational for the ethical development within each tradition and are subsequently juxtaposed against a "modern" story of a figure, ie., Gandhi, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosemary Reuther, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Malcolm X, who utilized the ethical foundations of that tradition within the contexts of their lives. The underlying thesis of the book, that within the field of comparative religious ethics there is common ethical ground is furthered by the profound insight and scholarship of the authors who posit that common ground as a worldview which sees the universe not in terms of sacred/profane but in terms of a holy whole. Readers walk away with an understanding of the common ethical strains within the world's major religious traditions, as they have all been grounded in an ethic of inclusivity, of "welcoming the stranger", of compassion and universal love. A wonderful book, for the scholar or any interested reader. A timely book for the 21st century as the world confronts pressures and misunderstandings which continue to prevail as a result of humanity's religious diversity. This book offers a vision of unity and common ground relative and relevant to each tradition. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What is the goal of this book? To teach the reader and the student that in the world there exists more than one way to examine an ethical issue. This book does a fabulous job of presenting the reader with a cornucopia of ancient stories that allowed modern day civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Thich Nhat Hanh to come to their conclusions. The authors present the ancient stories of the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus to allow the reader a broad perspective on the major religious movements throughout time. These stories start with the most ancient of stories, the story of Gilgamesh. Through the use of this narrative the authors present their views on ethics and religion and how it affects us today. The ever pervasive shift in modern human identity is one of the major "working issues" that all religions worldwide are facing today. Most importantly this book will help to clarify some of the misconceptions of the Muslim faith. The authors' narrative on the stories of both the Jewish and Islamic faiths can serve to enlighten the ignorant. This is very important as ignorance can turn out to be as dangerous as a loaded gun. This book is invaluable to every student of ethics and history. The stories within are concise and can be used outside of a religious studies class. Not only will this book continue to serve as a religious reference but it will also serve a moral guidepost to everyone that reads this text. I found this book to be highly invaluable both inside and outside the classroom. It is well worth the cost to purchase this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Profound February 26, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A Previous reviewer claimed that Comparative Religious Ethics was no more insightful than a high school comparative religion course he or she had taken. All I can say is that that must of been one fantastic course!! This review is from someone whose high school experience was less enriching.

The authors do two things in this book that are unique and, in my opinion, advance the field of comparative religious studies. First, they consistently distinguish between the sacred and the holy. The sacred is of human origin. It is what the culture - probably with the sanction of religious authorities - says is good, valuable or godly. The holy refers to the experience of the Wholly Other God. It is in the name of the Holy that the sacred is critiqued. In the authors' view, all religions (and cultures) have a few people who critique the sacred in the name of the holy. This is the common ethical task of all religious ethics.

The authors' second innovation recognizes that Auschwitz and Hiroshima have dramatically altered the ethical landscape. Before these events moral considerations did not have to consider the the destruction of all human life. After these events, a moral scheme that does not consider such a possibility is quite defective. The discussions of people like Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Heschel, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Joanna Macy and Rosemary Radford Ruether demonstrate the life and death character of religious ethics after Auschwitz and Hiroshima.
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