THE MODERN READER'S GUIDE TO RELIGIONS by Harold H. Watts

THE MODERN READER'S GUIDE TO RELIGIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The keynote of this comprehensive and ambitious volume on the religions of the world is sympathetic detachment. The author notes that ""we should try to get over a sense of oddity; we should seek the recognizable human motives"" behind extreme actions. ""Every religion creates its own norms, the standards by which it must be described if not judged."" It is from this viewpoint that Dr. Watts examines the religion of modern primitive man, prehistoric man, Egypt, Babylon, Greece; Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese religion. He seeks for the origin and history of each religion, and looks to the fundamental of religion itself -- let us ""celebrate the work of incautious men"", he says as he turns to Tylor, Frazer, Marett, Durkheim. The place of myth and rite, of poetry and speculation is considered, while that of particular dogma is not confronted. This is thoughtful, interesting work, but the stance of absolute relativism, while empowering the author to reveal each religion in its own light, cannot be completely maintained throughout. It does lead to a lack of conclusions.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1964
Publisher: Barnes & Noble