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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars18
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 12 June 2009
This was on the reading list for University, so I bought it before I started. Smart writes a work that is easily absorbed while providing enough detail to engage. As a review of the worlds major religions and what it is that constitutes a religion this work has been a valuable asset throughout my first year.
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on 10 July 2011
This book is a masterpiece; well researched and comprehensive which shows unparalleled knowledge of the 'big six' religions whilst not ignoring the depth of minority religions and belief systems out there. In particular, I really enjoyed the sections on communism which I found incredibly insightful. So why did I give it four stars instead of five?
First of all, through no fault of it's own,it's quite outdated. I can't help thinking this would have been a different book if it had been written 3/4 years later.
Secondly, Smart has a tendency to jump around in his explanations which can confuse the reader's perception of chronology and his approach, unsurprisingly, emphasises the phenomenological and historical aspects of religion. I would often find myself unclear as to what a particular group actually believed in.
Third, in terms of content, I would have preferred more of an emphasis on some of the minority religions.
Overall, this book to me is a perfect reference text, for especially talented a-level students, undergraduates and interested adults. Yes, it's dry and yes, it has the faults listed above, but if you want to start the study of religion, I honestly don't think their is a better place to start... assuming you can get through Smart's prose!
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This book is fantastic. It is probably the most in depth book on this topic i've ever read. It focuses on the main world religions, as well as some of the more obscure faiths/beliefs from around the world. It has beautiful photographs and a clear, engaging style. You could just as easily read it in one go, or dip into it as the mood takes you. Unsurpassed reading.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 5 September 2011
This is possibly the best book on Religion I've ever read. It covers not only the major and some minor religions, but it looks at how they interacted, and how they influenced each other.

This is more than just religion though, this is a timeline of the history of human thought, and shows how each religion has had to adapt and change to meet changes in society from the earliest times.

There are also two brilliant timeline graphics which show the evolution of the various religions side by side.

Truly enlightening.
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on 16 April 2014
Ninian Smart was the world's leading comparative religionist. I bought this book for few cents. It was used and in very good condition. The only problem is that it was not the newest edition (which is something that I was well aware at the time of the purchase)
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on 14 December 2010
This covers world religions from different country's viewpoints and it goes into great depth. It does not cover each religion in turn, but most religions will be found in the various country reviews. An interesting read.
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on 29 May 2014
Very useful to have on hand for reference for any religious study. Very learned and interesting. It looks at the worlds religions and discusses a seven dimensional model to understand them that I found invaluable.
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on 5 November 2008
This book is most certainly a must have for those interested in the study of religion.
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on 3 September 2001
This is probably one of the best books around ont his subject. It takes every Religion from around the world looks at what they beleive, where they like how many are around the world, where ti all started and so much more. A must for any one remotely interested in this subject.
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on 3 November 2013
What I very like on this book is he it make a big travel journey with you around our lovely planet anf focusses on the world religions. From Polynesia to Russia and it is rather up to date regarding the split up of Russia. Good contents, good backgrounds. Compliments for the author.
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