The Meaning of Life in the World Religions/Love, Sex, and Gender in the World Religions/Ethics in the World Religions

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The Meaning of Life in the World Religions. Edited by Joseph Runzo and Nancy M. Martin. Oxford: Oneworld, 2000. Pp. xvi, 330. Paperback £14.99 / $23.95.

Love, Sex, and Gender in the World Religions. Edited by Joseph Runzo and Nancy M. Martin. Oxford: Oneworld, 2000. Pp. xvi, 320. Paperback £14.99 / $23.95.

Ethics in the World Religions. Edited by Joseph Runzo and Nancy M. Martin. Oxford: Oneworld, 2001. Pp. xvii, 381. Paperback £14.99 / $23.95.

These books are the first three volumes in the Library of Global Ethics and Religion. They each consist of papers presented at conferences held at Chapman University in Orange, California, in 1997, 1998, and 2000. Huntington, Francis, and Griset Lectureship funds were used to sponsor all three conferences; the last was also sponsored by Loyola Marymount College of Liberal Arts and its Program in Asian and Pacific Studies.

The spirit of these conferences arises from an evident desire to find ethical universale among the world's religions, while at the same time showing critical respect for differences of expression of those same universale in the discrete religious traditions. They offer a "pluralistic and global perspective on questions of religion and ethics" (Meaning of Life, p. xv). The first volume is dedicated to John Hick and Huston Smith, the second to Julius Lipner and Arvind Sharma, and the third to Keith Ward and Chris Chappie. The editors are professors in the religious studies department of Chapman University.

The volumes follow a consistent pattern. After two or three introductory articles setting the context of the issue (meaning, gender, and ethics) and its relationship to religion, scholars of Western religion give a Jewish, Christian, and Muslim view of a subject, followed by scholars of Asian religion giving a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Chinese view. Articles are then presented that give a cross-religious view and global views. The content of the articles is excellent.

It is hard to imagine a better collection of scholars to address this fundamental issue of ethical cooperation among religions in order to address the problems of the world as they relate to meaning, gender, and ethics. …