Read e-book online A history of religion East and West; an introduction and PDF

By Trevor Ling

ISBN-10: 1721191771

ISBN-13: 9781721191772

The spiritual traditions of Asia and Europe, the 'East' and 'West' of the name, are often considered as being in sharp distinction with one another, the only 'mystical', the opposite 'prophetic'. each time their religions usually are not so contrasted they're frequently taken care of in isolation from one another: the faith of Israel, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Dr Ling, even if, stresses that there's enormous overlap and interpenetration among the 2 forms and parts, and that it is very important see the ancient inter-relation among those religions and to watch how, in the course of given sessions of background, there are parallel advancements or major divergences. He covers the interval 1500 B.C. to the current time, supplying an summary of the improvement of Asian and ecu spiritual traditions and associations, and discussing the social and monetary components eager about the improvement of religous traditions, even if he exhibits that such components by myself don't account for the spiritual lifetime of guy. Dr Ling is going directly to interpret the modern value of those religions and their capability for the long run lifetime of humanity. He means that the current level of non secular enhance is characterized through open-endedness in the direction of the longer term; no longer all religions show this personality, yet none has but exhausted the chances of improvement. This e-book is meant to be used an an advent to the research of faith. even supposing reference is made within the textual content to assets of additional details, the ebook can be utilized irrespective of them.

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There is first of all the strong tradition of a profound personal experience of an inaugural kind - inaugural, that is, to his activity as a charismatic leader - the tradition which is contained in the narrative of Exod. 3. The vision of the bush which glowed as with fire and yet was not consumed; the overwhelming consciousness of a divine presence; the awareness that he was being personally addressed by this divine reality whose name (that is, whose nature) he did not as yet know; the enigmatic name which was conveyed to him in this experience - YHWH, meaning possibly 'I will be what I will be' or 'I am what I am' or even simply 'He who is' (the name which in the English translation of the Old Testament is indicated by the word 'LORD' in upper-case letters): all these are characteristic features of the initial vision and 'call' of a prophet in Hebrew tradition.

For these and other reasons it is difficult to find any clear differential factor between what are broadly the original religious traditions of West and East, and even these now overlap one another geographically. This overlapping came about, first, by the large-scale missionary expansion of Islam into Asia from the eighth century onwards, to be followed later by Christianity; and then in modern times by the missionary expansion of the Hindu and Buddhist systems into the Western world. It is therefore inappropriate to speak of the religious tradition of the West as monotheistic, or prophetic, and that of the East as pantheistic, or mystical, as some people especially in the West are inclined to do (and more especially if when they call something pantheistic or mystical they are thereby indicating its inferiority to what is monotheistic and prophetic).

And this is how the book of Genesis very naturally and easily divides: the historical material begins in chapter 12, with Abraham's sense of a divine call to him to leave Mesopotamia and journey into some new territory; before that now stand the eleven chapters which consist largely of ancient Near Eastern mythology, modified and adapted by later Hebrew thought. The fact that later on in Israel's history it was felt to be necessary to preface the 'salvation-history' which began at Abraham with a cosmological introduction reveals the extent to which the Hebrews were influenced by the culture of the rest of the ancient Near East, particularly of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

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A history of religion East and West; an introduction and interpretation by Trevor Ling


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