A Little History Of Religion

Hardcover | September 27, 2016

byRichard Holloway

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For curious readers young and old, a rich and colorful history of religion from humanity’s earliest days to our own contentious times

In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion—from the dawn of religious belief to the twenty-first century—with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy. Writing for those with faith and those without, and especially for young readers, he encourages curiosity and tolerance, accentuates nuance and mystery, and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith.
 
Ranging far beyond the major world religions of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Holloway also examines where religious belief comes from, the search for meaning throughout history, today’s fascinations with Scientology and creationism, religiously motivated violence, hostilities between religious people and secularists, and more. Holloway proves an empathic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance of faith and its power from ancient times to our own.

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From the Publisher

For curious readers young and old, a rich and colorful history of religion from humanity’s earliest days to our own contentious times In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion—from the dawn of religious belie...

Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is an internationally popular writer and broadcaster. His more than twenty books include the best-selling Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt. He lives in Edinburgh, UK.

other books by Richard Holloway

Doubts And Loves
Doubts And Loves

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Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt
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see all books by Richard Holloway
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:September 27, 2016Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300208839

ISBN - 13:9780300208832

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From the Author

What made you want to write this book?   I have been wrestling with the meaning of religion for most of my life. Writing the book was an opportunity to survey the whole field, not just the little corner I was familiar with.   How do you think your own background informed the book?   For most of my life I was what you might call a religious professional, but it was never an easy relationship. It was like being in a turbulent marriage: deep affection combined with endless argument and disagreement.   The difficulty is that religion, which is best understood as the human search for meaning, changes character when it becomes organized into a system that makes claims for itself, usually claims to superiority over other systems. Much the way political parties do. So religion ceases to be an exploration and becomes something more defensive. It’s like the difference between a wanderer and a settler. In religion, it’s important to recognize that some things will never be settled and to live with that uncertainty.   What role should religion play in our lives?   Whatever role we choose for ourselves—including none at all—as long as there is no compulsion about it and as long as it makes us kinder not more cruel. The fascinating thing about religion is that it can prompt us to extremes of either love or hatred. Choose love.

Editorial Reviews

“[Holloway] deftly makes his knowledge accessible to the public . . . A great service for students of religion. This is no dry textbook: With its conversational prose and density of information, it is a pleasure to read.”—The Weekly Standard