By Michael D. Coogan. Graced with rich illustrations and written by a team of eminent scholars, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions presents a wealth of information on faiths around the world. Each chapter in this volume examines one of seven major world religions--from Judaism to Christianity and from Islam to Buddhism--and contains information about its holidays and festivities, key historical and mythological figures, architectural styles, calendars, language, and important texts. The book deals with such issues as the afterlife, the role of women, the importance of saints, and the quest for higher wisdom. We discover, for instance, that Pure Land Buddhism--found mainly in China, Japan, and Tibet--holds that meditation on a particular deity at the moment of death will help insure rebirth into that deity's celestial domain. In Judaism, on the other hand, the concept of an afterlife has never played a central role. Uniquely organized in a manner that encourages comparative analysis, the book's lavish full-color art, maps, and photographs all focus on faith in practice, in both elaborate ritual and everyday life. Oxford University Press, USA (2003), English, Paperback: 288 pages.
Religion continues to be a monumental force in a rapidly changing world. Whether tracing the origins of your own faith or attempting to satisfy a curiosity about religious practices an ocean away, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions will be a fascinating and indispensable guide to the complexity of the world's living religions.
Also included are extracts from or summaries of historical texts, with author commentaries that explain the significance of each piece and place in its full context. Authoritative and accessible, Eastern Religions provides a gateway for all those in the West who wish to move one step closer to the spirit of the East.
About the Author: Michael D. Coogan, the general editor, is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and Director of Publications, Harvard Semitic Museum. He is the editor of The Oxford History of the Biblical World and The New Oxford Annotated Bible (3d Edition).