What World Religions Teach

By E. G. Parrinder | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

This study of What World Religions Teach is intended for readers who want a short survey of the religions of the modern world and their teachings, and in particular for sixth forms of schools which are looking for general courses outside the specialization of examination classes, for students in teacher training colleges, for university students doing general first-year courses, and for evening and university extension classes.

The encounter of the religions of Asia and the West is one of the great new facts of this century, and one of incalculable importance. Never before modern times has there been sufficient knowledge available to make a study of other religions possible. Judaism and Islam were the only other religions known to Christians, and very imperfectly. The Quran and the Talmud were not read, and the sacred texts of Hinduism and Buddhism were quite unknown here. But now the position is reversed. Many oriental scriptures have been translated into English, and selections from them are easily obtainable. A flood of literature about Asian religions is to be seen in many bookshops. And at the same time the Bible has been translated into over two hundred languages, and parts of it into nearly a thousand. Study of all the world's religions is therefore possible, and it is important for educated men and women.

In making this study some historical background must be given to religions that are strange to the West, for most school and university teaching of history is limited to the West. Where there are founders of religions or reformers a synopsis of their life history is important. There are many books that do this, in more or less detail. But special emphasis is laid here on the particular teachings of the religions, for these are what they offer to the world today. Typical quotations will be made from the texts,

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