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Publisher's Summary

With few exceptions, the world's religions are anchored in their sacred texts-core writings that express the ideals and vision of the faiths, forming a basis for belief and action. Humanity's library of sacred writings is a huge canon that includes many of the most influential books ever written. In addition to the Hebrew and Christian bibles and the Quran of Islam, major sacred writings include the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist Sutras, Daoism's Daodejing, and the Analects of Confucius, as well as the beloved texts of religions such as Zoroastrianism and Jainism, and modern faiths such as Baha'i.
These are texts that people live by and, at times, are willing to die for.
In these 36 lectures, Professor Hardy takes you deeply into the body of sacred writings that have played a fundamental role in human culture and history. Discussing a broad range of texts, the course examines the scriptures of seven major religions, as well as nine lesser known or smaller faiths, including texts from the ancient Egyptian and Mayan societies. In addition to studying the scriptures of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds, you'll discover religious texts from vastly differing cultures around the world.
These richly insightful lectures highlight a global legacy of faith, thought, and spirituality.
©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

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By Jacobus on 03-29-14

An excellent introduction to various religions

This course is one of the best Great Courses lecture series I have come across. Prof. Grant Hardy has compiled and presents in this course a huge amount of information about various world religions through introducing their sacred scriptures. He presents it in such an enthusiastic and engaging manner that it is difficult to stop listening.

During these lectures he deals with all the major religions in the world and a few of the lesser known religions. He conveys a lot of empathy towards the different religious traditions without sacrificing his own faith tradition. (He actually kept me guessing about his background, until I listened to his lecture on the Book of Mormon and the Church of the Latter Day Saints' liturgy used in their temples as a spoken form of sacred text. An internet search confirmed my suspicion. That said, his engaging, objective and open-minded approach to different religions ensured that no clear bias towards any specific faith tradition could be detected.)

He dealt with Hinduism (4 lectures), Sikhism (1 lecture), Judaism (5 lectures), Zoroastrianism (1 lecture), Buddhism (6 lectures), Jainism (1 lecture), Confucianism (2 lectures), Daoism (2 lectures), Shinto and Tenrikyo (1 lectures), Christianity (4 lectures), Mormonism (1 lecture), Islam (3 lectures), Baha'i (1 lecture), Abandoned Scriptures (1 lecture) and Secular Scriptures (1 lecture) with an introductory and closing lecture added.

It is very interesting and insightful. For me his lectures the Hebrew Bible, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism were the most interesting. The idea that the Hebrew Bible is a text in conversation with itself is a brilliant observation. I found his discussion of the influence Zoroastrianism on Judaism and Christianity thought provoking. He helped me also to get a much better grasp on Buddhism. There is however much that I didn't know about other faith traditions like Baha'i and Islam and the relationship between them.

I would have chosen different abandoned scriptures (like the Ugaritic clay tablets or some Mesopotamian works, instead of the Egyptian Book of the Dead etc). However I realise that you cannot include everyone's likes and dislikes.

If you want to get to know something about the most important faiths in the world and what they received as holy texts, this is the course to enlighten you. It is very well researched and presented. A must-have course!

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48 of 48 people found this review helpful


By BBraun on 04-10-14

A must

I very much enjoyed this book and will listen to it over again. The speaker is very easy to listen to and the content is amazing no matter your tradition. Great insights to other religions and the presentation is very good. Many questions are answered for the listener and I liked that he referred to other texts that may be of interest to the listener. I just wish there was a way to download the course content to make it easier to take notes.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Sharl on 12-04-14

Great introduction to a vast subject

A great introduction to a wide range of the sacred texts of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Chinese Classics, and Islam. Some ‘smaller’ religions are also covered such as Zoroastrianism and the Mormon faith. In total there are 36 lectures and I think Dr. Grant Hardy does a good job at providing an overview of the word’s main sacred texts. I learnt more than I expected I would.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful


By Waldensian on 08-24-16

read it!!

it opened my eyes to so much. I have since listening to this audio book purchased 3 of the books mentioned in it and am reading them now with knowledge, curiosity and open mind. I will not convert, but I will learn and respect more.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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