Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review: Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions

As a comparative world religions professor I am always hunting for good guides to religion, and as a Christian pastor I am always looking for books I can recommend to people who want to learn more about religions. Ideally, the source needs to give a good comprehensive overview of religious beliefs. So, I was very excited to see Nelson publish The Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions: A Comprehensive Introduction to the Religions of the World. The title gave me the impression that this just might be the book I could recommend. I quickly got a copy to review.

Though I am sure James Beverly has a comprehensive understanding of world religions it does not come out in this book. As a guide, it seems to focus more on controversial issues surrounding religions rather than giving good comprehensive information concerning their beliefs and/or history. Any “comprehensive guide” to religion should give the reader comprehensive information concerning the history and beliefs of religions. It would have been more accurate to title this book “A Comprehensive Guide to Religions and The Controversies Surrounding Them.” The one redeeming quality of the book was in that it gives websites of the religions for further investigation.

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