Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know : The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Mark Berkson
  • Series: The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion
  • 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

According to polls conducted by Gallup and the Pew Research Forum on Religion & Public Life, the majority of Americans fail basic tests about religion, including tests on their own faith. This is troublesome because religious literacy is about so much more than naming deities or knowing the stories of ancient history. For many of us, religion is a way to examine and understand ourselves.
Moreover, religious literacy – the knowledge of basic teachings, symbols, practices, founders, institutions, and values of the world's religious traditions - can shed new light on the world around us and knock down the boundaries between us, making us better neighbors and better citizens. These 24 enlightening lectures offer you the chance to experience the breadth and depth of the world's religions from all angles – historical, theological, and cultural. They take you on a tour of the world and its religious cultures. From India to East Asia to the Middle East to the United States, your journey with Professor Berkson introduces you to the beliefs and practices of other traditions and provides you with new insights into your own.
The course approaches each religion from an "imaginative insider's perspective." What does the world look like from the perspective of someone within each tradition? What does this person value and care about? What are the everyday scriptures, rituals, traditions, and holidays like?
Along the way, you'll discover certain features that are common to many religions – concepts of divinity, scripture, rituals, and explanations of good and evil - and you'll find new ways to attain greater self-understanding.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

All the Basics, East and West

12 lectures on Eastern beliefs, 12 lectures on Western beliefs, and not a moment of them wasted. In addition to the Big 5 (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), we also get the essentials on Chinese folk religions, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Mormonism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the Baha'i tradition. From there, religion and law in America and modern religious trends are discussed as the grand finale.

The information is given in a straightforward manner such that the entire presentation comes across as non-judgmental. The listener is invited by Prof. Berkson to take the basics presented here and build upon that foundation in the quest for knowledge and tolerance. All in all, a remarkable overview course for anyone wanting to look past media, pop culture, and political portrayals.
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- Troy

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this course

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. I found the content interesting and the delivery very engaging.

What other book might you compare Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know to and why?


Have you listened to any of Professor Mark Berkson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The explanation of the difference between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox: I had never heard this explained nor the history behind the two religions.

Any additional comments?

For a basic course, it is fairly thorough and covers the main religions and also explains many of the more obscure religions as well. Professor Berkson is very entertaining to listen to. He explains the history and background of each religion, as well as how it is practiced in daily life, also explaining holidays and traditions. He is very equal in his treatment and assessment of each religion, not infusing his opinion into the content. It imparts useful and practical knowledge.

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- Moonchild

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses