The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume I : The Peoples of God
The world's three great monotheistic religions have spent most of their historical careers in conflict or competition with each other. And yet in fact they sprung from the same spiritual roots and have been nurtured in the same historical soil. This book--an extraordinarily comprehensive and approachable comparative introduction to these religions--seeks not so much to demonstrate the truth of this thesis as to illustrate it. Frank Peters, one of the world's foremost experts on the monotheistic faiths, takes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and after briefly tracing the roots of each, places them side by side to show both their similarities and their differences. Volume I, The Peoples of God, tells the story of the foundation and formation of the three monotheistic communities, of their visible, historical presence. Volume II, The Words and Will of God, is devoted to their inner life, the spirit that animates and regulates them.Peters takes us to where these religions live: their scriptures, laws, institutions, and intentions; how each seeks to worship God and achieve salvation; and how they deal with their own (orthodox and heterodox) and with others (the goyim, the pagans, the infidels). Throughout, he measures--but never judges--one religion against the other. The prose is supple, the method rigorous. This is a remarkably cohesive, informative, and accessible narrative reflecting a lifetime of study by a single recognized authority in all three fields.The Monotheists is a magisterial comparison, for students and general readers as well as scholars, of the parties to one of the most troubling issues of today--the fierce, sometimes productive and often destructive, competition among the world's monotheists, the siblings called Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Historian Peters (The Children of Abraham) has long been an astute and objective chronicler of the history and beliefs of the three great monotheistic religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In this sprawling, majestic and elegant narrative, he offers the best study we presently have of the ways, words and wisdom of these religions. With straightforward prose and evenhanded examination, Peters devotes Volume 1 to an historical overview of the Abrahamic faiths, tracing each religion from its earliest expressions to the 17th century. Although he devotes separate chapters to each religion, Peters often points out the similarities and differences among them. For example, Islam honors Jesus, Ishmael and Isaac as prophets, but does not accord them the same status as either Christianity or Judaism. The greatest similarity, he points out, is the drive in both Christianity and Islam to gain new members though conversion. In his second volume, Peters focuses on the various beliefs and practices of each religion, examining the canonization and interpretation of scripture, scripture and tradition, God's law and its observance, worship, ethics and eschatology. In this volume, he also investigates the traditions of mysticism and monasticism that arose in each religion. Throughout the book, he includes boxed notes for historical asides or to explain terminology. Peters's magnificent book is the new place to turn for a first-rate historical introduction to these three religions.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Princeton University Press
July 24, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.