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The Rivers of Paradise
Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammad as Religious Founders
POD; Published: 11/17/2000
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2957-3
Price: $ 56.50
716 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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This is a print on demand book and is therefore non- returnable.

Many of the major religious traditions of the world owe their existence to the vision of ancient founders — historical figures whose charismatic personalities, authoritative teachings, and organizational genius established the enduring faiths we encounter today. The Rivers of Paradise explores the lives of five such founders of world religions, chronicling what is actually known of these fascinating men and introducing readers to the cultural and religious worlds that originally heard their messages.

Carl S. Ehrlich (York University, Toronto) introduces Moses and the development of Judaism, the numerically smallest yet historically oldest world religion. Richard S. Cohen (University of California, San Diego) discusses the life and role of Shakyamuni as the historical founder of Buddhism. Mark Csikszentmihalyi (University of Wisconsin at Madison) explores Confucius the man as well as later portrayals of Confucius the exemplar. Michael J. McClymond (Saint Louis University) examine Jesus through the lens of recent developments in the scholarly "quest for the historical Jesus." Daniel C. Peterson (Brigham Young University) discusses the life of Muhammad, founder of Islam, the world's newest and fastest growing religious tradition. The aim of each author is to present each of the great prophetic (personality) religions in terms of its founder, its governing principles and beliefs, and its historical development from the time of its founding up to the present day. Each of these compelling figures is viewed in light of contemporary scholarship and in comparative perspective. Indeed, The Rivers of Paradise is the only recent work to examine all five of these religious founders together.

Accented throughout with informative photographs and illustrations, these superb biographical essays, together with a concluding discussion of Max Weber's well-known model of religious founders, provide an ideal introduction for teachers, students, and general readers alike.
Brian C. Wilson
—Western Michigan University
"The Rivers of Paradise is a rarity among scholarly works on religion today, as it can be read profitably by specialists and general readers alike. Students who are looking for brief yet sophisticated introductions to Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam will find these essays engagingly written and satisfyingly detailed. Specialists, on the other hand, will find a book that takes comparative religion seriously and that boldly redefines the contentious category of 'world religion' through the lens of Weberian sociology. Not all who read The Rivers of Paradise will agree with the authors' assessments, but the book will spark debate, and for this reason alone it will make an ideal text for both undergraduate and graduate courses in religious studies."
Willard G. Oxtoby
—University of Toronto
"No religious tradition begins in a vacuum. This book's authorial team ably explains what we can hope to know of the varying lives and times of five important religious founder figures."