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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a brief and enjoyable history of religous belief
This is a very readable history of religous belief, which traces how the worlds major religons have evolved over time. Christianity receives the most detailed exploration but there is much here about Judiasm, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism too, with Aztec and Inca beliefs examined briefly, before coming up to date with the rise of Scientology.

There is a lot...
Published 19 months ago by markr

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it really what it claims to be ?
A funny little book which is interesting to a point, but which seems to me to be too deterministic in its overall viewpoint. Although it is interesting to see that a number of themes have arisen in different religions in response to particular external influences, one finds quite often phrases such as "the christians reacted to this external threat by ...." or...
Published 18 months ago by Orpheus


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and written book, 8 Oct. 2014
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Well written and researched book. I would recommend it to any one interested in the history of religion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting. I perhaps ought to read it again ..., 12 July 2014
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Very interesting. I perhaps ought to read it again before commenting but it has certainly made me think!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definitive work, 31 Mar. 2014
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Whilst predominantly history based this will resolve any doubts. If you don't have any then this will provide them 'in spades'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 31 Oct. 2014
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Ian Thompson (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
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Enjoyable and informative. Non-atheists might find it interesting too.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I heard the Neil Denny interview with the author on the Little Atoms radio show (actually podcast)., 19 Feb. 2014
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It was such an interesting and intelligent discourse that I decided to buy the book and read it at leisure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 23 Jan. 2015
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Excellent, recommended seller.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 12 Aug. 2014
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Interesting read
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Review in The Guardian, 14 Jun. 2014
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R.C.Wolff (Oxford, Oxfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(Not a newspaper known for its sympathy towards religion). Concluding paragraph to the review of this book :

"It bewilders me that he should have written a book so unreflective, so under-researched and so gratingly complacent. It reads, not like the work of the Booker prize-shortlisted novelist he is, but like an extended essay by a sixth-former who has just discovered Richard Dawkins. God willing and inshalllah, Matthew Kneale will not be giving up the day job."
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy with purchase, 12 May 2014
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A satisfactory present for my son-in-law, so while I have not read the book, I am happy with my purchase.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars like the numerous reports of "primitive" peoples being aware of ..., 12 Oct. 2014
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Tu Fu (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
A very disappointing book. Kneale has managed to write a history of religion without, as far as one can tell from the text, Index and Bibliography, reading William James, Maslow, Bucke, or Huxley. He avoids any mention of spirituality or mental states in connection with religion. Shamanism is glossed over in the first few pages, without any attempt to really describe or understand it's beliefs, methods or meaning. NDE,s are not mentioned, although such reports go back to Plato, and presumably did not begin there, but go back thousands, maybe even millions of years.

Other clues to belief, such as paranormal experiences, e.g. the numerous reports of "primitive" peoples being aware of events in distant places by other than normal communication, such as are described by a good number of modern and earlier African travellers, are also ignored. While to the regular naive materialist such beliefs are just "anecdotal" they are still of relevance to a history of religion, true or not. He even manages to discuss Buddhism without mentioning meditation at all, which is a travesty, meditation being the foundation of Buddhism.

Presumably the reason for this is that he is uncomfortable with such ideas, and presumably is a believer in the "brain creates mind" theory of mental life. In any case, the result is a straw man description, lacking half the available relevant material.
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