Top edge of jacket has suffered 3 short tears, top of textblock shows a small (coffee?) stain. Contents pristine.
An Eighth Day View:
Religion has the unique ability to define and destroy political borders, influence language, shape value systems and moral codes, and inspire both pacifists and fanatics. The Role of Religion in History by George Walsh is a two-part comprehensive survey of religion and its profound effects on history. It provides a historical context for in-depth analysis of theological, social, and political themes in which religion plays a major role.
In part 1, "Rise of the Two Major Forms of Religion," Walsh traces the rise and impact of primitive religions and the Indian tradition, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In these three religions the primacy of consciousness and the fundamental impersonal concept of the supernatural, are paramount. Walsh goes on to analyze the Semitic tradition of Judaism and Christianity and the evolving conception of a personal God. He discusses the history and chief doctrines of Islam here as well, with its fundamental respect for desert tribal values, and its emphasis on both the authority of God and the brotherhood of believers.
In part 2, "The Ethos of Judeo-Christian Tradition," Walsh compares Judaism and Christianity. He argues that Judaism is marked by a profound ambivalence between the values of tribal, nomadic desert life and the values of urban civilization, individualism, and collectivism. Judaism is "this-worldly" but the Christian worldview is "other-wordly."A radicalization and internalization of the Jewish ethic, based on man's predisposition toward evil and rooted in the sharp dichotomies between soul and body, the spiritual and material, and the sacred and secular realms.
Walsh closes with a timely discussion of the ethical, political and economic teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition. He focuses specifically on their differing attitudes toward sex, reproduction, and marriage, and their basic views of mind and body and man's relation to God. Walsh's chronicle of the dominating role of religion throughout history is unique in its breadth and brilliant use of detail. It will attract a broad audience among religionists and culturologists, as well as social scientists.