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Our Religions: The Seven World Religions Introduced by Preeminent Scholars from Each Tradition Paperback – August 5, 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A coherent and literate compendium and a valuable addition to any library." -- Brain/Mind Bulletin

"I never thought that I would live to see an introductory text on [the world's religions] that I would (almost) be content to see retire my own. . . . It seems splendid in every respect." -- Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

"It is a distinctive feature of the book that each of the great world religions is described by someone who is committed to that religion and lives within it, but who is at the same time fully at home in the modern Western academic study of religion . . . insiders who can speak to outsiders on the common wavelength of our contemporary academic culture." -- John Hick, author of An Interpretation of Religion: Human Responses to the Transcendent

"Sharma has not only created a book of a new kind but . . . has, with his collaborators, brought it off brilliantly. . . . Thought-provoking and soul-stretching." -- The Gazette, Montreal

"Viewpoints enough to keep the reader alert and engrossed." -- Christian Century

From the Publisher

Leading experts in the great living religions present their own faith traditions.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 7.6.1994 edition (August 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060677007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060677008
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been trying to get a better understanding of Taoism. I was reading articles by Russell Kirkland at the University of Georgia and I came across a transcript of a speech he gave. In the speech he basically says that almost all western perceptions of Taoism are incorrect and spent a good deal of the speech tearing down different translations of ancient texts (such as Stephen Mitchell's translation of the "Tao Te Ching") and westernized interpretations that little resemble real Taoism (such as Benjamin Hoff's "Tao of Pooh"). He did, however, mention the chapter in this book by Liu Xiaogan as being a pretty good treatment of Taoism. He was right. It was most excellent.

As well, I have recently been studying the concept of Zen. This led me to read the chapter in this book on Buddhism and once again I was not disappointed. So I decided just to read the whole book.

This is an excellent book written by knowledgeable experts. It manages to avoid the pitfall of cultural bias that afflicts so many other works on religion. If you want to begin understanding the "whys" and "hows" of the world's major religions, I strongly recommend this book.
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The book itself is great. I like the formate, with scholars from each tradition explaining their own religious heritage, and I have found it remarkably informative for someone like me who had only a passing familiarity with most of the world's faiths other than my own. I've learned a lot from this book, and I like that I am getting an insider's view and not the perspective of someone mounting a polemic against someone else's faith, or even that of a detached outside.

But the main thing that prompted me to write this review is to let other Kindle users know that the Kindle edition is frustratingly strewn with errors. Scanning mistakes abound, "modem" instead of "modern," for example, and, surprisingly often "Cod" instead of "God." Reading about "Almighty Cod" is amusing a time or two, but it gets old quickly. In the section on Hinduism there seem to be some Hindi-specific characters that don't convert into the Kindle fonts, leaving uninterpretable squiggles in the middle of names. I hope at some point Amazon does a corrected edition and updates my digital file, but right now it's clear that no one at HarperCollins even bothered to proof-read the Kindle edition.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book an interesting resource it gave a very good general idea of the concepts with in the Religions described in the text. A good starting point if one is interested in trying to understand the views of different Religions.
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Format: Paperback
A major university asked me to create a new interdisciplinary course in religion and poetry. I perused many dozens of books and read several dozens in their entirety. I settled on Our Religions by Arvind Sharma as the core religion text for several reasons. The bias in single author books was almost ubiquitous, even if only manifested by a merely dutiful, tepid treatment of some religions; Arvind Sharma's book, however, features one chapter for each of seven major world religions written by a scholar who is an adherent to that specific religion. The chapters, consequently, each radiate a special conviction and internal understanding that helps the readers really see the world through the eyes of that particular perspective. Further, the chapters do not only explain and illustrate the practices, tenets and philosophy of each religion, but also the histories, including phases, transitions, and evolutions. I would fully recommend this book to anyone looking for a serious and full treatment of Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all in in book.
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Fantastic study, long on ideology but very short on actual ritual and day to day "how is this realized". I enjoyed reading each chapter then going on line and looking into further detail
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There is a great benefit to hearing about a religious tradition from a scholar who has chosen that tradition as his own. This is the novel approach taken in "Our Religions". All too often, a person writes a comparative book only to shake fingers at other people's faiths. I now have a new respect for Hinduism's tolerance of other religions. I have a new respect for Islam and Judaism. Each section devotes a good amount of history to the religion being covered.

Personally, I have chosen Deism for my own religious view, so I wasn't swayed by any of the writers. Although, I am most curious about Confucianism now. I am grateful to Sharma for bringing together these different traditions in a scholarly and respectful way.
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Regardless of your religious propensity or affiliation, you need to read books like this to gain a perspective of what other people believe in. Unfortunately, most members of an organized religion don't even know the tenets of their own religion, never mind the others. Just because you were born into a religion shouldn't make you afraid to question some of its ideologies and educate yourself as to what's out there beside yours. A good book for agnostics.
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This is a collection of fully academic essays by some of the most recognized scholars of religion. I was most interested in the chapter on Judaism, which is utterly brilliant.
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