Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Faiths across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Faiths across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History

Article excerpt

Faiths Across Time: 5,000 Years of Religious History. By J. Gordon Melton. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014. 4 vols. acid free $415 (ISBN: 978-61069-025-6). E-book available (978-1-61069-023-3), call for pricing.

This timeline represents a vast undertaking for a single author. Using Egyptian records as a starting point, Melton has arranged major religious events and developments from around the world into a single chronology. This chronology is more inclusive, especially regarding traditional religions, than Tim Cooke, ed. Concise History of World Religions: An Illustrated Timeline (National Geographic, 2011). Melton also provides up to two paragraphs describing each event in the chronology, while the National Geographic publication usually provides only a single sentence. These differences account for the difference in length, where Faiths Across Time requires four volumes that are each approximately the size of the Concise History's single volume.

Faiths Across Time includes a few longer, informative essays, usually a half page or a full page, on selected topics from the timeline. It also includes occasional grayscale photographs and illustrations. By comparison, the Concise History of World Religions includes more frequent essays, long chapter introductions, and ubiquitous color photographs and illustrations. Overall, this renders the Concise History more visually appealing, while Faiths Across Time is more informative and more comprehensive.

Faiths Across Time also comes across as more objective and more culturally sensitive than the Concise History. For example, a one-column essay about Greek Religion in the Concise History focuses on the hedonistic qualities of the Olympian deities and on the philosophers' negative reception of that tradition, without discussing how the Olympian religion might have been an expression of the human condition or held any meaning for its adherents. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.