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Publisher's Summary

Get a solid working knowledge of the spiritual beliefs that unite and divide us - as well as the perspective from the other side of these divisions. These 24 lectures offer you an opportunity to gain a solid grasp of the key ideas of religion itself - the issues that repeatedly surface when you look at any faith's beliefs, practices, and organization. Using five major religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism - as illustrations of how religions can address the same core issues in parallel and different ways, Professor Kimball leads you on an exploration of religion's complex and multidimensional nature. It's an exploration that can strengthen the interpersonal understanding that underlies your daily relationships, enhance your perception of events in a diverse world, and deepen your appreciation of your own beliefs and the traditions followed by others.

Using the basics of these five major religions as a starting point - and explaining those basics so that no prior knowledge is needed - Professor Kimball plunges deeply into each to reveal and clarify the essential structural components shared by all faiths. Among the aspects of faith you compare and contrast are creation myths and sacred stories, concepts of the divine, sacred texts and spaces, and religion's ultimate goals - the reasons its adherents give them such importance.

After completing these lectures, you'll be able to "see with a native eye", as Professor Kimball puts it, when you wonder why followers of a given religion believe or act as they do.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intelligent, unbiased and excellent

This course covers a variety of topics and compares them across religions, including creation, where we're going, rituals (in time and space), important people, places and objects, the nature of God, the afterlife and everything in between.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent content with a boring speaker

Is there anything you would change about this book?

A different lecturer.

Any additional comments?

The lecturer is supremely boring in spite of very interesting content. I found my mind wandering constantly unable to pay attention to the monotonous and unenthusiastic delivery of the lecturer. So many better Great Courses out there - this was really disappointing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very Good introduction

Where does Comparative Religion rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is my first great courses book, and I find it very relevant, easy and covering a lot of topics. The best thing in it, that it developed my hunger for more of those !

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great information.

I enjoyed these lectures and found many points enlightening but agree with other reviews that it is very Christian oriented. Less focus on the bible and Jesus and more comparisons on the contrasts and similarities would have been better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Evident Bias in Narration

The narrator is a Baptist minister and tends to give Christianity the spotlight throughout the narration. You will find that he spends significantly more time reading texts out of the Bible, and does not do the same favor nearly as often to texts he mentions, such as the Baghavad Gita, the Upanishads, or even the Quran. As someone who is familiar with comparative religions on an empirical level, this audiobook was somewhat beneficial for me as I enter my major in Comparative Religions.

Too much attention is given to Christianity in this audiobook, which is disappointing as this is an all too prevalent issue amongst teachers of Comparative Religion as it is. The Narrator also too frequently brings up anecdotes of his experiences in the Christian church, which each religion of study in the course seems to be contrasted with. Additionally, on three occasions he felt compelled to share how successful he was in particular classes during his academic career at Harvard, which was honestly annoying at times. The narrator sounds like your typical Christian-radio talk show speaker, so the narration is monotonous at best.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent synopsis and objectivity.

as a Christian I have been looking for an objective description and Analysis of all the major world religions. This seemed to fit the bill. I was very pleased with the scope and detail and attempt at fairness and objectivity which is very difficult to do in this explosive area

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Great Introduction to Religious Traditions

This was a great introduction into the world of religious beliefs. The material was masterfully presented by the Professor.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ap
  • 12-21-17

Just ok

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Charles Kimball?

not on comparative religion

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

yes

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrators obvious christian bias come through. way too much time spent on Christianity without giving a balance view of the other religions. I was a christian until i really studied Christianity, and decided it was no more true than other religions. The narrator is a ordained christian minister, and cant give a proper unbiased view of all the other religions.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

its was a very rudimentary into to comparative religion. i wanted something more, and also something without all the christian bias.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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comparative religion

this was great I am now looking to take the course and comparative Religion Now

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too Christian Centered

What disappointed you about Comparative Religion?

It is told from to much of a Christian point of view. It gives short shrift to the other religions.

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Yes.

What didn’t you like about Professor Charles Kimball’s performance?

My concerns are performance based.

What character would you cut from Comparative Religion?

N/A

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • 10-10-15

Interesting topic. Dull delivery.

Topic should have provided for a fascinating journey. It's unfortunate that the narration was not engaging at all.