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Four Testaments: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada, Bhagavad Gita: Sacred Scriptures of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism

Victor H. Mair

6 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1442265779 / ISBN 13: 9781442265776
Published by Rowman & Littlefield
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Title: Four Testaments: Tao Te Ching, Analects, ...

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


Four Testaments brings together four foundational texts from world religions-the Tao Te Ching, Dhammapada, Analects of Confucius, and Bhagavad Gita-inviting readers to experience them in full, to explore possible points of connection and divergence, and to better understand people who practice these traditions. Following Brian Arthur Brown's award-winning Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, Quran, this volume of Four Testaments features essays by esteemed scholars to introduce readers to each tradition and text, as well as commentary on unexpected ways the ancient Zoroastrian tradition might connect Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism, as well as the Abrahamic faiths. Four Testaments aims to foster deeper religious understanding in our interconnected and contentious world.


Brian Brown has done it again with his usual mix of good scholarship and good humour. Four Testaments is the companion volume to Three Testaments, and covers the major Eastern religions. It provides important primary texts, as well as material to help non-specialists understand those texts. More importantly, it shows us the connections between our religious traditions.--Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University

This is an insightful inquiry into the connections between the primary scriptures of the East, in the context of their cultures, and the primary scriptures of the West. The volume expertly affirms the interconnections between various textual traditions. It is a welcome addition to the ever-growing field of intertextual studies.--Sharada and Rasiah Sugirtharajah, University of Birmingham

Four Testaments is an excellent overview of the Eastern religious traditions and an ideal complement to Three Testaments on the Abrahamic religions. If Three Testaments is your text for an Introduction to the Scriptures of the Western Monotheisms in the autumn semester, Four Testaments should be your text for the Scriptures of the Eastern Monisms in the spring.--Jonathan Kearney, Saint Patrick's College, Dublin University

Four Testaments is certainly invaluable both worldwide and in the Global South. People may be more open to inter-faith and inter-religious dialogue--a lived reality--than is sometimes realized. Four Testaments showcases this dialogue at its best.--Rev. Joy Abdul-Mohan, St. Andrew's Theological College, Trinidad & Tobago

The religions of India and China, which were once seen by Westerners as exotic but not very important personally, have now become, due to modern communications, religious influences on people all over the globe. This second volume of an important set thus serves as an essential introduction to how traditionally Eastern religions think about individuals, society, the environment, and the transcendent so that we can come to know each other and work together for the benefit of all of us.--Elliot Dorff, American Jewish University

From the Foreword Four Testaments is an important work, suited to the times in which we live. Of course, the reading is not so simple or arbitrary as to end with just one volume. One needs to keep the Four Testaments on one's desk or nightstand alongside the Three Testaments, moving back and forth between the two volumes and their several great texts.--Francis X. Clooney, SJ, director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University

Brown (Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, Quran) makes a fascinating case for Zoroastrianism as the connecting point between the Vedic religions of the east (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism) and the Hebraic religions of the West (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Asserting that Zoroastrianism spread in two directions along the Silk Road, that Zoroaster lived the generation before Cyrus the Great (a contested theory), and that the Axial Age lasted only about a century in roughly the sixth century BCE, Brown locates developments in major religions that he attributes to Zoroaster's influence. Some of Brown's case is speculative but not unreasonable, relying on the anticipated discovery of 'Dead Zee scrolls' of lost Arvestas comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls (or the yet uncovered 'Q' document believed to have been a template for the New Testament) in Silk Road caves. Along with tracing the contours of a tantalizing mystery, Brown includes translations of the Tao Te Ching, Dhammapada, Analects of Confucius, and Gandhi's translation of Bhagavad Gita, creating a rich compendium. Especially when compared with the numerous books repeating shopworn notions, the wealth of new information in this volume is immense. Readers outside of academia will hope Brown produces a shorter version for a popular audience.--Publishers Weekly

In a companion volume to ThreeTestaments: Torah, Gospel, and Quran, Canadian pastor Brian Arthur Brown presents the sacred scriptures of four Eastern faith traditions alongside critical essays about the texts. Accessible to nonscholars, Brown's underlying narrative posits an ancient meeting between the textual traditions of East and West in the Zoroastrian faith. The primary value of this book for many readers, however, will be in the words of the scriptures themselves. Locating scriptures of diverse traditions on adjacent pages is not without risk--but it is valuable for those who seek to be illuminated by the texts and moved to fruitful dialogue.--The Christian Century

Four Testaments is an excellent compendium of scriptures of the Eastern religious traditions. Complementing Brown's Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, and Quran (2012), the present volume introduces Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism through religious texts. The collection boasts translations of these texts by a variety of hands, including for example the Bhagavad Gita in the words of Mahatma Gandhi. Readers are guided through these rich and diverse texts in brief introductions by experts. The Gita, for example, is framed by an explanation from Arvind Sharma. This rich array of texts, interpreted by a wide range of scholars and theologians, is one of the book's strengths. Brown's focus is the meeting of East and West, and this is what gives the manuscript its uniqueness as it strives to make previously unarticulated connections between scriptures. This accessible volume should have a wide readership. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.--CHOICE

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