THE STORY OF RELIGIONS by Katharine Savage
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The scope of this book turns the title about and expands it: it's a Religious History of the World rather than a simple Story of Religions. In Sumeria and Egypt religion was the crux of civilization; the Hebrews codified it into a system of belief and clung to those beliefs tenaciously; Hinduism, a mixture of many faiths, was ""more a way of life than a manner of worship,"" and its creation of caste and class has contemporary implications; the moral teachings of Buddha, emphasizing individual goodness, spread from India outward; in China, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism interacted; in Japan, Shinto and Buddhism have co-existed, and Zen is a visionary outgrowth of the latter...and so on. In each section, the historical framework encloses details of credo, development and expression--in ritual, literature and art--regarding the individual religion; but the book is better read as a continuous narrative of the inward and outward development of the various religions in the context of world events. The second half is devoted largely to the growth of the Christian Church, and includes far more on the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches than is generally available; it includes also a chapter on the dispersed Jews, clinging to their separateness and encountering anti-Semitism. This complements World Faiths (1966, p.188 J-166) and other studies which single out the separate religions. The organization is admirable, the execution is effortless, the knowledge is enormous.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1966
Publisher: Walck