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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A readable sourcebook on Eastern religions, 12 Sept. 2012
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eastern Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto (Paperback)
Eastern Religions edited by Michael D. Coogan, Duncan Baird Publishers, London, 2005, 552 ff

This illustrated survey of the five principal Eastern religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto - is presented in highly readable text, though the small page size (195 x 130 mm) and tight binding make it a bit difficult to hold in your hands to read: it needs to be held open on a flat surface. This is a shame because in its material I think this is an excellent book giving details of the origins, beliefs, practices, scriptures and sacred sites relevant to each of the faiths. I have used it as a sourcebook of reference material on several occasions. Jainism is also mentioned but only in passing: there are no substantive details of this faith. The only other book covering the same material but in a completely different way - more like a prose storybook rather than a reference text - is Ram-Prasad's Eastern Philosophy. Prasad's book does cover Jainism but not Shinto. I particularly liked the Commentary pages at the end of each section of the Coogan book that provide various kinds of background of the chapter material -historical, geographical or political. If you want to explore the eastern religious philosophies, either of these books (Coogan's or Prasad's) will give you access to the fundamentals of each faith in a fair amount of detail, using quite different approaches. Coogan's book works through each of the religions in turn. Prasad explores the subject conceptually - the self, the good, knowledge, etc. The fact that I describe Coogan's book as a `sourcebook' must not give the impression that it is `stuffy' to read - far from it. It is as readable as Prasad but easier to use to find specific information, which is more difficult to extract with Prasad, despite a good index.
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