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Sacred Texts of the World | [The Great Courses]

Sacred Texts of the World

With few exceptions, the world's religions are anchored in their sacred texts-core writings that express the ideals and vision of the faiths, forming a basis for belief and action. Humanity's library of sacred writings is a huge canon that includes many of the most influential books ever written.
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Publisher's Summary

With few exceptions, the world's religions are anchored in their sacred texts-core writings that express the ideals and vision of the faiths, forming a basis for belief and action. Humanity's library of sacred writings is a huge canon that includes many of the most influential books ever written. In addition to the Hebrew and Christian bibles and the Quran of Islam, major sacred writings include the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist Sutras, Daoism's Daodejing, and the Analects of Confucius, as well as the beloved texts of religions such as Zoroastrianism and Jainism, and modern faiths such as Baha'i.

These are texts that people live by and, at times, are willing to die for.

In these 36 lectures, Professor Hardy takes you deeply into the body of sacred writings that have played a fundamental role in human culture and history. Discussing a broad range of texts, the course examines the scriptures of seven major religions, as well as nine lesser known or smaller faiths, including texts from the ancient Egyptian and Mayan societies. In addition to studying the scriptures of the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds, you'll discover religious texts from vastly differing cultures around the world.

These richly insightful lectures highlight a global legacy of faith, thought, and spirituality.

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (141 )
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  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 03-29-14
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 03-29-14 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

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    "An excellent introduction to various religions"

    This course is one of the best Great Courses lecture series I have come across. Prof. Grant Hardy has compiled and presents in this course a huge amount of information about various world religions through introducing their sacred scriptures. He presents it in such an enthusiastic and engaging manner that it is difficult to stop listening.

    During these lectures he deals with all the major religions in the world and a few of the lesser known religions. He conveys a lot of empathy towards the different religious traditions without sacrificing his own faith tradition. (He actually kept me guessing about his background, until I listened to his lecture on the Book of Mormon and the Church of the Latter Day Saints' liturgy used in their temples as a spoken form of sacred text. An internet search confirmed my suspicion. That said, his engaging, objective and open-minded approach to different religions ensured that no clear bias towards any specific faith tradition could be detected.)

    He dealt with Hinduism (4 lectures), Sikhism (1 lecture), Judaism (5 lectures), Zoroastrianism (1 lecture), Buddhism (6 lectures), Jainism (1 lecture), Confucianism (2 lectures), Daoism (2 lectures), Shinto and Tenrikyo (1 lectures), Christianity (4 lectures), Mormonism (1 lecture), Islam (3 lectures), Baha'i (1 lecture), Abandoned Scriptures (1 lecture) and Secular Scriptures (1 lecture) with an introductory and closing lecture added.

    It is very interesting and insightful. For me his lectures the Hebrew Bible, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism were the most interesting. The idea that the Hebrew Bible is a text in conversation with itself is a brilliant observation. I found his discussion of the influence Zoroastrianism on Judaism and Christianity thought provoking. He helped me also to get a much better grasp on Buddhism. There is however much that I didn't know about other faith traditions like Baha'i and Islam and the relationship between them.

    I would have chosen different abandoned scriptures (like the Ugaritic clay tablets or some Mesopotamian works, instead of the Egyptian Book of the Dead etc). However I realise that you cannot include everyone's likes and dislikes.

    If you want to get to know something about the most important faiths in the world and what they received as holy texts, this is the course to enlighten you. It is very well researched and presented. A must-have course!

    37 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BBraun Topock, AZ, United States 04-10-14
    BBraun Topock, AZ, United States 04-10-14 Member Since 2010

    Betty B

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    "A must"

    I very much enjoyed this book and will listen to it over again. The speaker is very easy to listen to and the content is amazing no matter your tradition. Great insights to other religions and the presentation is very good. Many questions are answered for the listener and I liked that he referred to other texts that may be of interest to the listener. I just wish there was a way to download the course content to make it easier to take notes.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Santa Clara, CA, United States 07-10-14
    Scott Santa Clara, CA, United States 07-10-14 Member Since 2011

    No B.S. reviews. I'll never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.

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    "Another great series from The Great Courses"

    I found this series of lectures to be enlightening and informative, and Professor Hardy is a very competent narrator and communicator.
    The religious texts discussed in this series are treated with the utmost of respect—and, although I suspect the professor could take cheap shots at any of them—perhaps by focusing on some more unusual or arcane aspects—there is a strictly professional approach to them all. In the end, one can only say that the treatment of all the texts is reverential, if somewhat detached.
    Not to say that Professor Hardy doesn't love these works—he absolutely does. I suppose it would be a high compliment to say that these lectures helped to dismantle my own prejudices, yet this is not quite true. At the end of the day, the sheer diversity of the texts—and the belief systems they embody, it seems to me—cannot be a recommendation for any one of them

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale 04-21-14
    Dale 04-21-14
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    "World Religions"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great introduction to the study of world religions. It's very well organized and the author/narrator portrays--strangely enough--a great love for every sacred text he discusses.


    What other book might you compare Sacred Texts of the World to and why?

    The Old Testament, from the Great Lectures Series.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Grant Hardy, Ph.D., Yale University’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved his lecture on the Book of Mormon.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rekha Reddy Bangalore, India 10-19-14
    Rekha Reddy Bangalore, India 10-19-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent Course"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sacred Texts of the World to be better than the print version?

    Yes, it is better than reading texts since it could be heard, even while going on with my daily chores and even while driving. When my eyes get tired because of reading for a long time, watching continuously at my laptop screen i prefer to listen, giving rest to the eyes.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like Professor Grant Hardy's soothing narration. His voice conveys honesty, simplicity and authority.


    What does Professor Grant Hardy, Ph.D., Yale University bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Hardy's examples from personal life, makes the course real.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    One sitting. No! i have realized my ears also get tired if listed too long.


    Any additional comments?

    I look forward for some more works of Prof. Hardy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 04-13-14
    Saud 04-13-14

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "Easy to pick up, hard to put down"
    What about Professor Grant Hardy, Ph.D., Yale University’s performance did you like?

    He shows a deep understanding on all the religious texts he covers in this course, as well as what it means to the members of the religion it's a part of. I would definitely get any other course he gives.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were several, including the verses he cites from each religious text.


    Any additional comments?

    If you've ever been curious to understand how religious teachings really are in one or more religion, this is the course you have to get.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    Sean 05-10-15
    Sean 05-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Lots of info, fantastic overview"

    A lesson everyone should learn as a means of understanding where others are coming from.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    satya 04-18-15
    satya 04-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A lengthy synopsis."

    I thought 32 hours will get me a better understanding of the whole religion but I am left wanting. I wanted to understand more about the religious aspect of the texts, but I got a small portion of them in some historical and social context. Perhaps my expectations were too much and it would probably take all 32 hours just for one. That being said, the next time I want to learn more I have some context.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Jones Bethel Springs, TN United States 01-30-15
    David Jones Bethel Springs, TN United States 01-30-15
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    "Generally excellent and worth the money."
    Where does Sacred Texts of the World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sacred Texts of the World?

    The discussion of Zoroastrianism. It was an area of which I was ignorant and the author was clearly enthusiastic and knowledgeable,


    What about Professor Grant Hardy, Ph.D., Yale University’s performance did you like?

    Dr. Hardy did well. He did let his preferences toward various religions show a bit.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    A great value for anyone interested in comparative religion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    sogood 01-30-15
    sogood 01-30-15
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    "full of information"

    it was an interesting lecture series full of information. You'll probably need to listen to it a few times to absorb it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Sharla Race
    UK
    12/4/14
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    "Great introduction to a vast subject"

    A great introduction to a wide range of the sacred texts of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Chinese Classics, and Islam. Some ‘smaller’ religions are also covered such as Zoroastrianism and the Mormon faith. In total there are 36 lectures and I think Dr. Grant Hardy does a good job at providing an overview of the word’s main sacred texts. I learnt more than I expected I would.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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