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Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms Paperback – 21 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (21 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405184582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405184588
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.2 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This volume is highly recommended for undergraduates, andeven graduate students and general readers.  (Religious Studies Review, 1 September 2014)


This book offers the most original and provocativerecasting of the comparative study of religion in decades, andit s aimed just where we need this rethinking the most: theclassroom. Other textbooks tend to work with a checklist ofsubjects as they summon the major religions serially to the stage.Kripal starts instead with the mystery of the comparative actitself, allowing that to determine what he brings forward for ourattention. So it s charisma, sex, the paranormal, and soul practices more than it s Hinduism,Buddhism, Islam. Kripal recognizes the comparativist in each of usand urges us to take it seriously. The result is deep and wide, andexcitingly open–minded.
John Stratton Hawley, Barnard College, ColumbiaUniversity

Armed with an extensive array of case studies and arichly diverse portfolio of illustrations, Kripal not only providesa lucid survey of the facts of the world sreligions, but inspires us to embrace the fundamentallytranscendent nature of the religious experience in all of itsmanifestations, both ordinary and uncanny, and to confront theinherent challenges of studying religion in a responsiblycomparative manner. Comparing Religions is a masterlyexample of how a book intended for the classroom can be aninvigorating stimulus toward new ways of thinking about aphenomenon that pervades every aspect of our world.
Sarah Iles Johnston, The Ohio State University

Kripal is at his very best in this exceptionalintroduction to the study of religion. After a self–reflexivejourney through the religious realms of myth, ritual, nature,science, sex, charisma, soul, salvation, and the imagination andits paranormal powers, we are guided to put it all back togetherwith an eye to religious tolerance, freedom, and pluralism. Thisbook is the red pill. Ingest it and you will beenlightened.
April D. DeConick, Rice University

Comparing Religions is a lucid, entertaining, andeven fun introduction to the comparative study of religion. It willbe effective with its target audience, young people and theundergraduate classroom, because, while they must wrestle with theway scholars deconstruct and reduce to social or evolutionaryfunctions such phenomena, Kripal never loses sight of theexperiences and meanings of those transformed by, engaged in, andmobilized through it. There is no better single volume to enticestudents into the fraught and fascinating study ofreligion.
Bron Taylor, author of Dark Green Religion: NatureSpirituality and the Planetary Future and editor of TheEncyclopedia of Religion and Nature

Jeffrey Kripal provides a thoughtful and compellingdiscussion of key themes, ideas, and challenges that ground thestudy of religion across traditions and geographies. It is alayered and textured treatment that will capture the imaginationand engage students from start to finish. This important and timelytext is not to be missed.
Anthony B. Pinn, author of Introducing African AmericanReligion

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ohad rosenberg on 10 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great and coming from a Layman 11 Sept. 2014
By G. Ridgeway - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely excellent book, I purchased this book actually after hearing Kripal speak on Coast to Coast, his perspective on "Super Natural" events as he describes them in the book and as he was talking about them on Coast to Coast, I found refreshing and similar to my own. Skeptical but also open minded.
This book, obviously, is an undergraduate college textbook, and that’s what audience it is mostly geared for, but I have been studying religion and the Occult for years, and this subject has always been one that I have personally enjoyed.
The book flows well, without getting to dry, though there are a few spots, they are few and far between. And the breadth of what is covered is grand, from perspectives on practice and morals, to the supernatural and death, the whole time, keeping the reader focused on the comparative act rather than taking sides.
Now that I read this book for enjoyment and my own personal knowledge and I am not a college student, and I greatly enjoyed it. I would say that I would find it hard than for most college students to be bored with a class which uses this as its textbook. Because if there was anything that I would have added during my reading of it, was to be in a class where its contents could be discussed.
College student, layman or just plain interested, this book is worth the money to spend on it, especially if it is a topic which you don’t see yourself focusing on really too much. If there is one book to pick up that covers comparative religions, I would say that you need go no further than this great volume to find it!
And if you do happen to enjoy what you find contained within, there is a website, listed in the front of the book which has all sorts of goodies, especially an EXTENSIVE, bibliography with some wonderful suggestions for further reading and study.
Well done Mr. Kripal and company, well done!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book! 22 Jun. 2014
By Cindy M - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
A must read book for anyone interested in exploring, in an unconventional way, religious traditions and their place in the modern world. Insightful, well written and absorbing. Fabulous illustrations in the non-kindle editions!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
To Quote Abbie Hoffman: "Steal This Book" 21 Oct. 2014
By Kenneth Earl Green - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This may have been written to be an undergraduate textbook; but it certainly goes way beyond, and should be required reading and seminar foundation for graduate students in all disciplines at all graduate schools. And without question, this "non-dry" textbook can be easily read and understood by those outside the walls of academia. Kripal and his associates have set the bar quite high in terms of presenting exceptional scholarly and engaging work that forces the reader into very deep moments of thinking, questioning, and reasoning. "Religions" in the book title might be its weakest feature, one that could cause some to dismiss any interest; but religion is not the purpose, it's just the universal institutional example used for an excellent illustration of comparative research methodology. And, "religion" (as the book subjects itself to it) has a great deal of historic and present day relevancy that should be better understood by everyone...religious or not.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Thought provoking and intriguing. 30 Dec. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't a book that actually compares religions that much. (Not a catalog of beliefs.) Rather, it is a thought provoking exercise in learning to look at all religions "from the outside." As a Christian myself, I found it very helpful. The author makes a very good case for the reality of religious experience and the importance of not putting too much emphasis on any one faith tradition. Fair warning, I found the first half or so to be tedious, but stay with it. You'll need that background for the second half, which is far more interesting.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Text 9 Sept. 2014
By Paul Giurlanda - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kripal is one of my favorite scholars of religion. Different--and fascinating "take" on world religions. But it IS a textbook, crammed with facts, so not something you pick up for a fun read.
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