The Joy of Sects: A Spirited Guide to the World's Religious Traditions
Religion is one of the oldest human activities, and even in the present day pervades almost every aspect of human life. Yet it is divided into so many different sects with so many confusing beliefs, laws, rituals, and terminologies, that you can't tell the players without a program. The Joy of Sects overcomes this confusion by presenting a rich trove of information in a concise, browsable format.
It is a guidebook to the world's religious traditions not only for the devout follower but also for the interested outsider, for the curious unbeliever, and for anyone who ever wondered about the difference between karma and dharma, yin and yang, samadhi and satori, Talmud and Torah, the astral plane and the akashic record, Pharisees and Sadducees, Sunnis and Shiites, Aricans and Eckists.
Here you will find detailed narrative histories of the six great religious traditions of East and West -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- along with information on related traditions such as Sikhism, Shinto, Confucianism, Gnosticism, Bahai, Zoroastrianism, and the many disparate beliefs and practices that make up the New Age. Each chapter contains brief sections on the sacred scriptures, places of worship, terminologies, and listings of the numerous sects, denominations, orders, and schools that compose the great millefleur tapestry of world religion.
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Praise for The Joy of Sects
"A great accomplishment." Wayne Dyer (author of Real Magic and Your Erroneous Zones)
"Compresses surprising breadth and depth into a compact reference designed for the television and computer age, an intent realized with a lively narrative that's amplified by sidebars, glossaries and more than 30 b&w illustrations. . . . But what makes this guide outstanding is its uncanny confluence of seriousness and breeziness, undergirded by an agile integration of current scholarship (including that on the Goddess phenomenon) with nuggets from classic sources." Publishers Weekly
Comparative religion can be dry but not the way Occhiogrosso writes it. Not only is this fat book comprehensive, it's lively and, perhaps best of all, easy to understand. [He] explains the world's religions so clearly and with such easy wit that even those befuddled by religious terminology--from kosher to karma--will find themselves seeing the light for the first time." -- Booklist
Not so much required reading as an absolute must edition for the permanent library, to be kept on hand for spiritual perusal. Occhiogrosso takes obvious pleasure in the rich diversity of the religions of the world. Each section is replete with anecdotes, illustrations, personalities, beliefs, vocabulary and fascinating tangents." Stephany Evans, Free Spirit
"THE JOY OF SECTS can take its place alongside Huston Smith's classic The World's Religions in making reading about comparative spirituality a provocative and stimulating experience in itself." The Hoffman Center News
"Despite the irreverent title, this serious-minded, comprehensive and always provocative exploration of the world's religions succeeds in lucidly and concisely conveying a vast body of information about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and New Age beliefs, as well as a host of other traditions."
-- Steven Schnur, Reform Judaism