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Human rights and the world's major religions.

Other Authors: Haas, Peter J.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Westport, CT : Praeger, 2005
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Review by Choice Review

This ambitious and valuable reference work examines the history of human rights from the perspective of the world's five major religious traditions. A recognized, distinguished expert in a specific religion prepared each volume; all of the authors' credentials demonstrate a focus on human rights or ethical studies. The first half of each volume is a narrative history of central human rights issues in the context of each religious tradition, from its founding to the present day. The authors are careful to point out successes and failings within the religion's human rights history, and they explore the question of whether the concept of human rights as it is understood today actually exists within the faith. The second half of each volume provides lists of primary sources relating to the religion's position on human rights, reproduced in their entirety if space allows (selected passages or summaries are substituted if not); biographical sketches of important figures in the history of human rights; and a bibliographic list with annotations of varying lengths. Also included for each religion is a time line of events affecting human rights. The Hindu volume adds a glossary. Because these volumes are not organized like most traditional reference books, those who consult them will have to rely heavily on the indexes to find specific information on places, events, documents, and individuals not included in the biographical section. This set will be indispensable to those researching human rights in religion, as it pulls together important elements of the topic previously unavailable in a single reference work. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Academic libraries serving lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. C. Bombaro Dickinson College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Using the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a springboard, these five similarly structured volumes examine human rights within the context of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The first part of each volume considers the historical development and analysis of the religion; the second is a selection of excerpts from relevant texts followed by brief biographies of the major thinkers mentioned and an annotated bibliography. Haas (Jewish studies, Case Western Reserve Univ.) considers the Jewish experience in America and modern Israel; Harold Coward (history, Univ. of Victoria) and Robert E. Florida (Ctr. for the Study of Religions and Society, Univ. of Victoria; Buddhist Tradition) argue that the concept of human rights is really a Western one; and Muddathir `Abd Al-Rahim (political science & Islamic studies, International Inst. of Islamic Thought and Civilization) looks at the compatibility of Islam and democracy. All of the books are written fairly objectively. In the volume on Christian tradition, for example, William H. Brackney (religion, Baylor Univ.) includes material from the Vatican as well as from various Protestant sects. Raising important issues about religion and human rights, this clearly written set is not only worthwhile for advanced students but also accessible to mature high school students. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.