- Paperback: 664 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 17, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442159693
- ISBN-13: 978-1442159693
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,270,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Choosing your Religion: The Book of Denominations Paperback – June 17, 2009
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
That said, there are two main reasons I cannot recommend this book. The first is the lack of citations or references in the text. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but this book contains no footnotes or end notes, just a "References" section at the end with links and some publications the author has presumably read. I would appreciate knowing where specific pieces of information came from as I am reading. While the information on sects I am familiar with was, to the best of my knowledge, accurate, there were a few passages that I thought contained slight inaccuracies -- and I'd have liked to check the reference.
However, the most serious reason I cannot recommend this book is the shear amount of repetition and wordiness. This book badly needs a editor who is willing to cut things out. Mr. Koehn repeats the same information over and over again. Take any chapter, for instance that on Lutheranism: on pg 256 we are told that Luther was a German monk whose work "ultimately led to the Protestant Reformation." Further down the page we read that "Lutheran beliefs are grounded in the tenets of the movement's founder, Martin Luther, the German priest who started the Protestant Reformation." Okay... Two pages later, we are again told that Martin Luther's teachings "inspired the Reformation." Three pages later, we again read about how Martin Luther was a "German priest who started the Reformation that led to the Protestant movement." This is only one example, and in citing these occurrences I have not mentioned intervening repetition of other phrases in just these few pages. Further, the organization is modular so information in the "Beliefs" section repeats that "Principle Doctrines" and "How did it start." Perhaps this is intended to help when only one section is read, but I found it tremendously obnoxious and frustrating.
In all honestly, I have read three sections of this book and cannot read another. I regret purchasing it, and recommend that those who are interested in learning about Christian Denominations purchase a more concise and footnoted text, like the "Handbook of Denominations in the United States 13th Edition."
In this 625 page book, Philip Koehn provides an overview of 18 Christian denominations ranging (alphabetically) from the Assemblies of God to the United Church of Christ. The perspective and focus is on traditional American Christian denominations. Each church is accorded anywhere from 20 to 60 pages of text and each section is divided into an Introduction, description of Beliefs, History, Practices, and church Organization. As the author notes in this preface, "This book is not intended to make a case for any of the denominations it presents. Instead, it simply documents the belief traditions and underpinnings of American religious movements..."
The array of denominations covered is fairly inclusive (the Mormon Church [aka Latter Day Saints] is covered but Pentecostals, probably owing to their lack of a central church organization, are not). The Amazon "Look Inside" preview is restricted to front matter and introductory "Overview of Christianity" but it is sufficient to indicate both the author's style and organizational approach. As a person with a strong interest in history, I find this to be a fine reference in helping me to understand the basic characteristics of various American Christian faiths.