These companion volumes are addressed to readers with ""no background"" and seem from the start to be justified more by the...

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JUDAISM

These companion volumes are addressed to readers with ""no background"" and seem from the start to be justified more by the scarcity of any competing material than by their own merits. Of the two authors, Rossel does somewhat better by limiting himself to an a historical restatement of ethical concepts, holy days and customs, and his inclusion of contemporary Zionism is, in itself, an advance over such old standards as Fitch's One God. Kleeberg tries harder, attempting to be strictly objective (unlike Rossel who writes from a frankly Jewish point of view) and to squeeze a whole social history of Christianity into her allotted 96 pages. This leads to a confusing mishmash: we learn that medieval belief in an afterlife led to ""certain social customs"" and are left to guess what they might have been; Calvinism and Puritanism are lumped together with current Protestant denominations in a dry and undifferentiated checklist; the lives of the saints are reduced to cliches (Catherine of Siena ""fought hard to solve this problem [rival popes] while living a life of humility""). Rossel is acceptable, but Kleeberg should be a last resort.

Pub Date: March 1, 1976

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Watts

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1976