The ""encounter"" of which Mr. Martin writes is double: first, that among the dominant religions of the West (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity); second, that of these religions, individually and collectively, with the world. The book itself examines these relationships in three stages: the origins and symbiotic interrelationships among the three religions; the insistence of each religion, historically, upon its own dominant position as mistress of all truth and all good; the irrelevance and ineptitude which characterizes all three today. The book is as concerned with political, social and intellectual manifestations, at each stage, as it is with doctrinal matters. And, relying upon the symptomatology thus revealed, the author concludes--or rather, demonstrates his thesis--that ""all three made fateful and fatal choices at the one priceless moment that history afforded them"" and that, therefore, ""these three religions are finished as major influences."" Perhaps the most interesting part of this fascinating work is the fourth section, ""Historical Prognoses,"" in which the author, by means of a series of scenarios, assays the x-factors of history--the combinations of future events which could, or would, alter that negative prognosis. A highly original, stimulating and intriguing work of speculative interpretation that will raise a furor in theological and historical circles.