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Bentley, Sid
Port Moody (B.C.), Bentley West Publishing, 1989. 267pp, paper, $15.99, ISBN 0-921308-02-7. Distributed by Bentley West Publishing, 1941 Charles St., Port Moody, B.C. V3H 2M4. CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up

Reviewed by Kenneth Elliot

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

This work is a condensation of a larger project of eight volumes in which the author examines the major religious belief systems of the world.

The present volume is divided into twenty-four chapters. It covers Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, the Unitarians, Zorostrianism, and the Baha'i faith. Each chapter contains a brief review of the belief system with a glossary. The table of contents provides a clear listing of each of the chapters listed under eight headings. A seven-page index completes the work. From the very beginning the reader is cautioned that the work is non-academic, but unless this disclaimer is kept in mind, the reader will be disappointed with the content, organization and design of the material.

The most positive trait of the book is its broad spectrum of religious thought. The size of the work is an obvious constraint, which one feels reading through its pages. Typos pop up throughout, and the author's personal feelings and biases bubble up on a number of occasions. An example of questionable pedagogy is found on page 48. There, Bentley states, "In our culture, fine land is used to plant bodies instead of vegetables."

At the scriptural level in the discussion of Christianity one also finds gross oversimplification. On page 165 Bentley says the Last Supper was really a Passover feast. Such a "fact" contradicts the majority of serious scholarship on the matter.

As a reference text this work may prove useful. But for a serious approach to the systematic study of the major religions of the world, there are a number of excellent contributions already on the market that would be much more suitable.

Kenneth Elliot, Laval Catholic High School, Chomedey, Que.

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