Religion Books

  • In the Days of Rain - Hardback - 9780008209162 - Rebecca Stott
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    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is the Costa Biography Award Winner 2017

    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is a fascinating yet shocking memoir about her experiences growing up in - and breaking away from - a fundamentalist Christian cult.

    Any readers who were left stunned and captivated by Bad Blood and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal will find themselves fully immersed in this incredible true story. Rebecca recalls how her father begged her to help him write a memoir while on his deathbed. He wanted to talk about his family's experiences in a fundamentalist Christian sect but every time he reached a certain point, the painful memories all became too much.

    The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan and lived by a number of strict rules - women had to wear headscarves and any non-sect books were banned. Although Rebecca was born into the sect, she needed to know more about their culture and asked intelligent yet dangerous questions while growing up. She soon discovered her father, an influential preacher, had been asking the same questions.

    Here Rebecca talks about her father's ongoing struggle between faith and doubt and how this affected their relationship and livelihood for a long time after breaking away...
  • AHAYY
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    Originally written only for his personal consumption, Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" has become a key text in the understanding of Roman Stoic philosophy. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated with notes by Martin Hammond and an introduction by Diskin Clay. Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the "Meditations of Marcus Aurelius" offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius' own emotions. But while the "Meditations" were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years. Martin Hammond's new translation fully expresses the intimacy and eloquence of the original work, with detailed notes elucidating the text. This edition also includes an introduction by Diskin Clay, exploring the nature and development of the "Meditations", a chronology, further reading and full indexes. Marcus Aelius "Aurelius Antoninus" (121-80) was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius and succeeded him in 161, (as joint emperor with adoptive brother Lucius Verus). He ruled alone from 169, and spent much of his reign in putting down various rebellions, and was a persecutor of Christians. His fame rest, above all, on his "Meditations", a series of reflections, strongly influenced by Epictetus, which represent a Stoic outlook on life. He was succeeded by his natural son, thus ending the period of the adoptive emperors. If you enjoyed "Meditations", you might like Seneca's "Letters from a Stoic", also available in "Penguin Classics".
  • AAKSL
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    "God Is Not Great" is the ultimate case against religion. In a series of acute readings of the major religious texts, Christopher Hitchens demonstrates the ways in which religion is man-made, dangerously sexually repressive and distorts the very origins of the cosmos. Above all, Hitchens argues that the concept of an omniscient God has profoundly damaged humanity, and proposes that the world might be a great deal better off without 'him'.
  • ADXFS
    Jane Hope
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    "Introducing Buddha" describes the life and teachings of the Buddha, but it also shows that enlightenment is a matter of experiencing the truth individually and by inspiration which is passed from teacher to student. Superbly illustrated by Borin Van Loon, the book illuminates this process through a rich legacy of stories and explains the practices of meditation, Taoism and Zen. It goes on to describe the role of Buddhism in modern Asia and its growing influence on Western thought.
  • AKTNE
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    Normon Solomon's succinct book is an ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. Demonstrating the diverse nature and ethnic origin of those with the Jewish faith, Solomon explores how the Jewish religion has developed in the 2,000 years since the days of the Bible. This Very Short Introduction starts by outlining the basics of practical Judaism - its festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects - and goes on to consider how Judaism has responded to, and dealt with, a number of key issues and debates, including the impact of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. In this new edition, Solomon considers issues of contemporary Judaism in the twenty first century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
  • ADXGJ
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    Islamic culture has produced some of the finest achievements of humanity. "Introducing Islam" is a fascinating look into a sometimes misunderstood faith.
  • AAIUH
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    2,500 years after the passing of Buddha, his message continues to resonate. This highly accessible, best-seller covers topics such as: Who was Buddha?; The nature of our mind; Past and future lives; Karma; Why and how to meditate; The path to enlightenment. The book explains the essential principles of the Buddhist way of life and what it means to be a Buddhist. Meditation is explained clearly and simply as a tool for developing qualities such as inner peace, love, and patience. Those developing an interest in Buddhism and meditation will find this book an ideal guide.
  • AGGKX
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    Geza Vermes, translator and editor of "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls" and worldwide expert on the life and times of Jesus, tells the enthralling story of early Christianity and the origins of a religion. The creation of the Christian Church is one of the most important stories in the development of the world's history, yet one of the least understood. With a forensic, brilliant re-examination of all the key surviving texts of early Christianity, Geza Vermes illuminates the origins of a faith and traces the evolution of the figure of Jesus from the man he was - a prophet in the tradition of other Jewish holy men of the Old Testament - to what he came to represent: a mysterious, otherworldly being at the heart of the official state religion of the Roman Empire. "Christian Beginnings" pulls apart myths and misunderstandings to focus on the true figure of Jesus, and the birth of one of the world's major religions. Reviews: "A beautiful and magisterial book". (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, "Guardian"). "An exciting and challenging port of call, sweeping aside much of the fuzzy thinking and special pleading that bedevils the study of sacred scripture ...courteously expressed and witty". (Diarmaid MacCulloch, "The Times"). "A challenging and engaging book that sets out to retrace the route by which a Jewish preacher in 1st-century Israel came to be declared as consubstantial and co-equal with the omnipotent, omniscient only God". (Stuart Kelly, "Scotsman"). "A major contribution to our understanding of the historical Jesus". ("Financial Times"). "A very accessible and entertaining read". ("Scotland on Sunday" Books of the Year). "A magnum opus of early Christian history and one of the year's most significant titles". ("Bookseller").
  • AKZDI
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    It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the odds. It spans the millennia and the continents - from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It is a story of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.
  • AADCS
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    This is a book about awareness - it's about being 'awake' and in touch with what is going on here and now. Practical and down-to-earth, it deals exclusively with the present, not with speculation, theory or belief in some far-off time and place. The teachings of the Buddha are plain and straightforward, and because they remain focused on the moment they are just as relevant now as they have ever been. "Buddhism Plain And Simple" is the book for anyone wanting to discover, or rediscover, the essence of Buddhism.
  • AJAOS
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    Paganism 101 is an introduction to Paganism written by 101 Pagans. Grouped into three main sections, Who we are, What we believe and What we do, twenty topics fundamental to the understanding of the main Pagan traditions are each introduced by essay and then elaborated upon by other followers and practitioners, giving the reader a greater flavour of the variety and diversity that Paganism offers. With introductory essays from leading writers such as Emma Restall Orr, Mark Townsend, Brendan Myers, Jane Meredith, Alaric Albertsson and Rachel Patterson and with supporting vignettes from those at the heart of the Pagan community, Paganism 101 offers a truly unique insight.
  • ADEPC
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    Buddhism is a faith that commands over 100 million followers throughout the world. Buddha revolutionized the religious ideas of his time to advocate a new way of living. All that is known about him comes from a collection of ancient writings that fuse history, biography and myth. Karen Armstrong distils from these the key events of Buddha's life: his birth as Siddhatta Gotama in the fifth century BC and his abandonment of his wife and son; his attainment of enlightenment under the Banyan tree; his political influence; the divisions among his followers; and his serene death. Armstrong also introduces the key tenets of Buddhism. In our own age of secular anxiety, she shows that it has profound lessons to teach about selflessness and the simple life.
  • AEOXF
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    This is the story of Islamic religion, culture and civilization, from the time of the Prophet to the modern day, shown in over 180 photographs. It offers an overview of Islamic history from the time of the Prophet to the present day, featuring the successors to the Prophet, the power of the Umayyads, the golden age of the Abbasids, the Shiah empire of the Fatimids, the rise of the Ottomans, and the Muwahiddum movement. It explores the history of Islam in many different parts of the world, such as Iraq, Iran, Spain, North Africa, Turkey, India and China. It includes a timeline listing the major events in Islam's rich and culturally diverse history, and a glossary of frequently used Arabic terms. It is beautifully illustrated throughout with over 180 images of manuscripts, angelic visitations, scholars, rulers, mosques, battles, shrines, palaces, and modern pilgrims and leaders. With Muslims statistically representing around a quarter of the global population - some 1.4 billion people - Islam is a powerful force in today's world. This book offers a chronological history of the main events that have shaped the Islamic religion since the year of Muhammad's birth in 570. Topics include the preservation of the Prophet's sayings; laws and scholars; mathematics, medicine and astronomy; the Islamic Renaissance in Spain; Islam in Asia; and radical Islam. A useful glossary of Arabic terms is also included. With over 180 paintings and photographs, this sumptuously illustrated book is a valuable introduction to the history of Muslim civilization.
  • AKZMA
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    A compendium of Wiccan knowledge, ideal for the novice witch. The Beginner's Guide to Wicca is the essential companion for anyone new to the ancient practice of magic. Whether by necessity or choice, many witches start out on their spiritual journey alone. Kirsten Riddle provides the solitary witch with a friendly, straightforward introduction to witchcraft, filled with practical tips for incorporating the Wiccan way into every aspect of your daily life. Kirsten begins with an accessible overview of Wicca. She dispels common misconceptions, explains the peaceful ethos of this nature-based spiritual practice, and provides a quick and easy quiz that allows you to discover your Wiccan strengths. Chapters cover topics such as herbal, moon and kitchen magic, and include simple spells and rituals using everyday objects and household items. Kirsten's easy-to-follow, modern spells can be used to boost your creativity, improve your health and revive your love life. With The Beginner's Guide to Wicca you will discover how to tap into the energy of the natural world and take your first steps on the Wiccan path.
  • ADXGH
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    "Introducing Hinduism" offers a guide to the key philosophical, literary, mythological and cultural traditions of this extraordinarily diverse faith. It untangles the complexities of Hinduism's gods and goddesses, its caste system and its views on sex, everyday life and asceticism. This work answers questions including: Why do Hindus revere the cow? Must Hindus be vegetarian? And much more...
  • ARBRO
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    'Absolutely, definitively alone', a young Jewish student in Romania tries to make sense of a world that has decided he doesn't belong. Spending his days walking the streets and his nights drinking and gambling, meeting revolutionaries, zealots, lovers and libertines, he adjusts his eyes to the darkness that falls over Europe, and threatens to destroy him. Mihail Sebastian's 1934 masterpiece, now translated into English for the first time, was written amid the anti-Semitism which would, by the end of the decade, force him out of his career and turn his friends and colleagues against him. For Two Thousand Years is a prescient, heart-wrenching chronicle of resilience and despair, broken layers of memory and the terrible forces of history.
  • AMQXK
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    We are not alone. And we never have been.For years we've been taught that human progress has been a long, slow climb from the primordial ooze to hunter-gatherers to empires. But what if that's only part of the story?Bestselling author and legendary conspiracy researcher Jim Marrs now takes on his biggest subject: the history of humankind. Offering mind-blowing information that will radically alter the way we think about the world and our place in it, Marrs goes beyond the revelations of his classic Alien Agenda, interweaving science and authentic archaeological finds with provocative speculation to show how human civilization may have originated with nonhumans who visited earth eons ago . . . and may still be here today.Marrs sifts through the historical, scientific, and cultural record, showing how numerous ancient texts and tablets tell of visitors from the stars colonizing the earth. From the flying vimanas of the Hindu Vedic literature and the flying shields reported by the Romans to the mysterious airships of the 1800s and the UFOs of today, he argues that someone other than us is still present on this planet. But are these visitors simply observers--or do they play a much more active and controlling role? Jim Marrs raises this shocking question and more in the provocative and persuasive Our Occulted History.The truth is out there . . .
  • ASQKC
    John Man
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    Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world's preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such tolerance and generosity that many Europeans, appalled at the brutality of their own people, saw him as the exemplar of their own knightly ideals. But Saladin is far more than a historical hero. Builder, literary patron and theologian, he is a man for all times, and a symbol of hope for an Arab world once again divided. Centuries after his death, in cities from Damascus to Cairo and beyond, to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, Saladin continues to be an immensely potent symbol of religious and military resistance to the West. He is central to Arab memories, sensibilities and the ideal of a unified Islamic state. In this authoritative biography, historian John Man brings Saladin and his world to life in vivid detail. Charting his rise to power, his struggle to unify the warring factions of his faith, and his battles to retake Jerusalem and expel Christian influence from Arab lands, Saladin explores the life and the enduring legacy of this champion of Islam, and examines his significance for the world today.
  • ABSQJ
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    Your hands-on guide to one of the world's major religions The dominant religion of India, "Hinduism" simply derives from the word "India" and refers to a wide variety of religious traditions and philosophies that have developed over thousands of years. Today, the United States is home to approximately one million Hindus. If you've heard of this ancient religion and are looking for a reference that explains the intricacies of the customs, practices, and teachings of this ancient spiritual system, Hinduism For Dummies is for you! * Provides a thorough introduction to this earliest and popular world belief system * Information on the rights, rituals, deities, and teachings associated with the practice of Hinduism * Explores the history and teachings of the Vedas, Brahmans, and Upanishads * Offers insight into the modern daily practice of Hinduism around the world Continuing the Dummies tradition of making the world's religions engaging and accessible to everyone, Hinduism For Dummies is your hands-on, friendly guide to this fascinating religion.
  • ALIBA
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    The Ramayana is one of the great epics of the ancient world, with versions spanning the cultures, religions and languages of Asia. Its story of Rama's quest to recover his wife Sita from her abduction by Raavana, the Lord of the Underworld, has enchanted readers and audiences across the Eastern world for thousands of years. Daljit Nagra was captivated by his grandparents' Punjabi version as a child, and has chosen to rejuvenate the story for a new generation of multicultural, multi-faith readers. By drawing on scenes originating in versions such as those from Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, as well as the better-known Indian Ramayanas, and by incorporating elements of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and secular versions, Nagra creates a consciously multicultural Ramayana. This dazzling version is both accessible and engaging, written in Nagra's typically vibrant and eclectic language, and bursting with energy, pathos and humour.
  • AMKIF
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    From its obscure beginnings in Jamaica in the early 1930s, Rastafari has grown into an international socio-religious movement. It is estimated that 700,000 to 1 million people worldwide have embraced Rastafari, and adherents of the movement can be found in most of the major population centres and many outposts of the world. Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction provides an account of this widespread but often poorly understood movement. Ennis B. Edmonds looks at the essential history of Rastafari, including its principles and practices and its internal character and configuration. He examines its global spread, and its far-reaching influence on cultural and artistic production in the Caribbean and beyond. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
  • AOLHE
    • £8.89
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    The development of Judaism from ancient times to the modern day, shown in over 190 pictures. It traces the history of Judaism across the centuries, from ancient, rabbinic and medieval times to the present day. It discusses the creation of a Temple in Jerusalem, the Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes, the emergence of rabbinic Judaism, the Jewish faith in the modern world, and untraditional Judaism. It is meticulously researched, with over 190 photographs of paintings, manuscripts, statues, important historical sites and archaeological revelations. It is a concise and readable account for both students and general readers. Judaism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. This book covers the history of the Jews from the biblical period to the fall of the Temple, as well as life in the medieval and modern world. It explores many different forms of Jewish existence from the period of the twelve tribes through to the medieval mystics, and continues to modern kabbalism and Jewish renewal. The abundance of the Jewish heritage and its influence on other religions and modes of thought are also covered, including gender issues, the environment and vegetarianism.With its magnificent illustrations and expert text, the book is a fascinating guide to a rich and complex religion.
  • APLJD
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    Since 2009, Minecraft has taken the gaming world by storm. Now hugely popular with children, those familiar with the phenomenon will love this new world and the adventures of God's people. Garrett Romines, and Christopher Miko; skilled in using games and toys to create fun learning environments and products for children, have re-created Bible stories with the famous virtual blocks to produce vibrant, and complex 3-D worlds filled with adventure and using astonishing imagination. The images have been captured and combined with text boxes and speech bubbles to explain the stories for 7-11 year olds. The text is light, but explains the events thoroughly for the age group, and the dialogue includes in-game humour.
  • AAROW
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    An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions, The Hindus elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account: many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated even within a century; its central tenets karma, dharma, to name just two arise at particular moments in Indian history and differ in each era, between genders, and caste to caste; and what is shared among Hindus is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the things that are unique to one group or another. Yet the greatness of Hinduism - its vitality, its earthiness, its vividness - lies precisely in many of those idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today. Wendy Doniger is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world. With her inimitable insight and expertise Doniger illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon. Without reversing or misrepresenting the historical hierarchies, she reveals how Sanskrit and vernacular sources are rich in knowledge of and compassion toward women and lower castes; how they debate tensions surrounding religion, violence, and tolerance; and how animals are the key to important shifts in attitudes toward different social classes. The Hindus brings a fascinating multiplicity of actors and stories to the stage to show how brilliant and creative thinkers - many of them far removed from Brahmin authors of Sanskrit texts - have kept Hinduism alive in ways that other scholars have not fully explored. In this unique and authoritative account, debates about Hindu traditions become platforms from which to consider the ironies, and overlooked epiphanies, of history.