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World Religions in Practice - a Comparative Introduction


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Table of Contents

List of Boxes and Tables x List of Figures xii Note on Scriptural References xiv Acknowledgements xv Introduction 1 Part 1 Beyond Time and Space 25 1 IMAGE 27 The Second Commandment (Judaism) 28 Shirk (Islam) 32 Incarnate Son (Christianity) 37 Murti (Hinduism) 42 The Three Bodies (Buddhism) 46 Summary 50 2 BOOK 56 Shruti and Smriti (Hinduism) 57 The Three Baskets (Buddhism) 61 New Testament (Christianity) 65 Tanach (Judaism) 70 Qur?an (Islam) 74 Summary 79 Part II Within Time and Space 85 3 ETHICS 87 Dharma (Hinduism 88 Pancasila (Buddhism) 92 The Ten Words (Judaism) 96 A New Commandment (Christianity) 100 The Greater Jihad (Islam) 104 Summary 109 4 BIRTH 114 Baptism (Christianity) 115 B?rit Milah (Judaism) 119 Aqiqah (Islam) 124 Birth Samskaras (Hinduism) 127 The Buddhist Exception (Buddhism) 131 Summary 134 5 DEATH 140 The Wheel of Rebirth (Buddhism) 141 The Last Sacrifice (Hinduism) 145 Resurrection of the Body (Judaism) 149 Salat al-Jenazah (Islam) 154 First Fruits (Christianity) 159 Summary 164 6 MARRIAGE 172 Nikah (Islam) 173 Under the Huppah (Judaism) 177 Householder and Forest-Dweller (Hinduism) 182 Bride of Christ (Christianity) 187 The Renunciation (Buddhism) 193 Summary 196 7 FOOD 204 Ahimsa and Samadhi (Buddhism) 205 Blessed Leftovers (Hinduism) 209 Bread and Wine (Christianity) 214 Kosher (Judaism) 218 Halal (Islam) 222 Summary 226 8 CLOTHING 233 The Veil of Modesty (Islam) 234 Kippah, Tefillin, and Tallit (Judaism) 238 The Thread and the Mark (Hinduism) 244 Vestments and Habits (Christianity) 248 The Three Robes (Buddhism) 253 Summary 256 Part III time and Space 261 9 DAY 263 Uposatha (Buddhism) 264 Tithi (Hinduism) 266 Sabbath (Judaism) 270 The Lord?s Day (Christianity) 275 Salat (Islam) 279 Summary 282 10 YEAR 288 Four Seasons (Christianity) 289 Full Moons and Monsoons (Buddhism) 295 Day of Brahma (Hinduism) 299 Harvests, History, and High Holy Days (Judaism) 305 Lunar Year (Islam) 311 Summary 316 11 BUILDING 321 Mosque (Islam) 322 Synagogue (Judaism) 327 Church (Christianity) 330 Mandir (Hinduism) 334 Temple Complex (Buddhism) 338 Summary 342 12 JOURNEY 349 The Sacred Ford (Hinduism) 350 Traces of Tathagata (Buddhism) 355 The Quest of the Magi (Christianity) 360 Aliyah (Judaism) 365 Hajj (Islam) 369 Summary 374 Conclusion 380 Glossary 385 Select Bibliography 402 Index 410

About the Author

Paul Gwynne lectures in comparative religion in the General Education Program of the University of New South Wales. He completed his doctoral studies in Rome and has taught theology and religious studies in Indonesia and at the Melbourne College of Divinity.


"An exciting and intriguing approach, taking central categories in religion and indicating how they show up in different religions pragmatically ... the table of contents inspired me to dive right in and read." Dr Darren J. N. Middleton, Texas Christian University "This is an impressive accomplishment that presents a moving and engaging encounter with the religious traditions of the world." Kim Paffenroth, Iona College, USA "A very efficient, dynamic and useful tool in an approach to the five major religions of the world." Alexandria Egler, St Francis College, USA ?In an age when religion is increasingly in the news, but often for all the wrong reasons, the need for a balanced, sympathetic and objective educational tool has never been greater. Paul Gwynne has provided an accessible introduction to religion. His approach is refreshingly obvious: it is through the understanding of what people are doing that we discover what they are thinking. Practices reveal belief; religions are as religions do.? Douglas Pratt, University of Waikato, New Zealand "A thoughtful and accessible approach to the religions from a phenomenological point of view. The book promotes the desirable end of understanding and sympathy between religious practitioners, and is an attractive choice as an introductory textbook." George Sumner, University of Toronto ?A carefully crafted and comparative approach to major religions, often serving to separate human populations, as templates of how humankind in so many varied places has had such similar needs, desires and hope. Gwynne's book represents a very creative turn in this field.? Dr Majorie M Snipes, University of West Georgia ?This book treats the great traditions with a vividness and immediacy which have seldom if ever been equalled. Instead of placing the main emphasis on doctrines, beliefs and their claims to truth, Paul Gwynne selects those aspects of life where religions become practical and guides us an appreciation of each which is aesthetically pleasing as well as providing useful information. Surely one of the best ways to come to know a faith tradition different from one?s own is to live among its adherents. Reading this book is the next best thing. It should prove invaluable for educators and students as well as interested laypeople in a variety of professions.? John D?Arcy May, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin

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