The Message and the Book

Sacred Texts of the World's Religions

John Bowker

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A magisterial single-volume guide to the great faiths of the world through their most important writings

Grand in its sweep, this survey of the sacred writings of the major religions of the world offers a thoughtful introduction to the ideas and beliefs upon which great faiths are built. Under the expert guidance of John Bowker, a religious scholar and author of international stature, readers explore the key texts of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Confucian, Daoist, and Shinto traditions. The author discusses some 400 books, among them such well-known sacred texts as the Bible and the Quran, but also spiritual writings by theologians, philosophers, poets, and others.

Bowker provides clear and illuminating commentary on each text, describing the content and core tenets of the work and quoting pertinent passages. He also sets the writings in religious and historical contexts, showing how they have influenced—and in many cases continue to influence—artistic, musical, literary, and political traditions. The Message and the Book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the meaning and the deep significance of primary religious texts of civilizations around the globe.

John Bowker is a former fellow of Corpus Christi College and Trinity College, Cambridge, and of Gresham College, London. He lives in the UK.

“Writings by a wide range of scholars and poets such as Dante and Bonhoeffer, al-Ghazali and ibn Ishaq, Maimonides, Nichiren, Kabir, and many others. . . . Recommended.”—Choice

"A masterly survey of the major writings of the religions of the world, presenting their canonical texts along with texts regarded as secondary revelation and other writings from theologians, philosophers and poets. Grand in its historical sweep and extensive in geographical extent, this richly textured book is detailed, engaging, clear and original. Anyone wishing to understand the world's religions should read this book."—Gavin Flood, Oxford University
ISBN: 9780300192339
Publication Date: February 22, 2013
416 pages, 6 1/4 x 8 15/16
37 color illus.