Dimensions of the Sacred: Anatomy of the World's Beliefs

 
9780002551403: Dimensions of the Sacred: Anatomy of the World's Beliefs

This work explores the underlying features of the world's major religions and comparable secular systems of thought. It considers Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Marxist-Leninism, Maoism, nationalism, as well as a number of minor, more local systems of belief. Smart demonstrates that these diverse systems of belief are united by a number of recurring themes: the tendency to worship, the use of visual icons, story-telling, the holding of a rigid, somewhat inflexible view of history, ethical instruction, guidelines on bodily practices and dependence on ritual. The book breaks down each of these themes, and examines them in relation to specific belief systems. For example, it shows the varying beliefs which are held about survival after death (immortality, hell, purgatories, rebirth, final death) and different rituals (greeting, blaspheming, cursing, blessing, praying, bathing, meditiating and initiating).

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About the Author:

Ninian Smart is J.F. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religions at the University of California and was formerly professor at Lancaster University, where he inaugurated Britain’s first major Religious Studies department. Among his many books are ‘The World’s Religions’, ‘Buddhism and Christianity: Rivals and Allies’, ‘The Religious Experience’ and ‘Choosing a Faith’.

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Smart, Ninian
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Ninian Smart
Published by HarperCollins (1996)
ISBN 10: 0002551403 ISBN 13: 9780002551403
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